Evan Rich: Being a Fly on the Wall Wedding Photographer

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All images by Evan Rich. Used with permission.

Photographer Evan Rich has the blessing of being born into a creative family. After a short stint in the finance world, he became bored and eventually enthralled by the passion that he had for photography. He became a destination wedding photographer–perhaps one of the toughest things that any photographer could try to do. As exciting as the job is, it takes a special kind of shooter to pull this off flawlessly. And where we believe Evan excels the most is capturing candids.

So how do you become the “fly-on-the-wall” type of photographer like Evan? He states that it isn’t about being covert at all–instead it’s about blending in.

Phoblographer: Talk to us about how you got into photography.

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Evan: My mother was an art teacher who gave me an appreciation for creativity and imagery. I started fairly young thanks to a gift from my parents and have been photographing for over 20 years. I kept with photography all through my youth and used it as a way to tell stories about my travels. I liked to document static objects and nature but gradually moved on to photographing people, which is infinitely more difficult but equally as awe-inspiring.

Phoblographer: What made you want to get into wedding photography?

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Evan: I actually had a past career in finance and was doing a little bit of photography on the side. I found myself lacking some real challenges in that path and decided to walk away and to pursue photography as a profession. I spent some time learning different disciplines before focusing in on wedding photography. I found that it required such a broad and deep skill set that it really drew me in once I began to understand the nuances of the craft. No other form of photography that I had experienced required such a balance of interpersonal skills, technical understanding, spontaneity, and creativity. Although it can be incredibly intense at times, it is always so incredibly rewarding and enjoyable to be a part of such an incredible time in peoples’ lives and to be around so much happiness all at once.

Phoblographer: Your creative eye combines landscape shooting, photojournalistic shooting and fine art. Talk to us about how you’ve worked to create this specific vision.

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Evan: My goal on the wedding day is to tell an amazing story through my images. The storytelling begins by setting the scene. I really love to start it off by capturing the environment of the grounds, the sky, the rooms and more. The locations play such an important part of the day it is really important to capture that aspect of the story. I like to incorporate a lot of context in my photographs. There is so much vibrant energy on the wedding day and it is all so incredibly relevant to the moment that it is imperative to balance all of this together in the composition to preserve the meaning of it all.

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Photojournalism is probably the most important aspect to my style. I want to document a wedding as it unfolds and allow the couple to enjoy every aspect of the day without derailing it with an outside vision. Capturing natural interactions and the unexpected is really what can make a visual wedding story so special and so memorable. These are the photographs that will inspire emotion decades down the road and probably will be the most delightful to children and grandkids one day. Finally, I like to take creative portraits which can be incredibly powerful in documenting and displaying the nature of a relationship. They are also an awful lot of fun.

Phoblographer: You’re a destination wedding photographer and shoot all over the world. How do you go about marketing yourself to people all across the world?

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Evan: I am lucky enough to live, work, and photograph in one of the most beautiful and culturally diverse cities in the world. It also happens to be one of the cities people like to vacation to after becoming engaged or even where people like to propose. I photograph a lot of stand alone engagement shoots and proposals with those from abroad or those that live in Miami who will get married in their home country. People often end up having such a fun time on the engagement or proposal shoot that they decide to invite me along on the wedding day wherever that may be.

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Phoblographer: Let’s talk about candids, you have a great eye for catching them. How did you develop a responsiveness to being able to capture such close and personal intimate scenes?

Evan: I find that more and more people these days care about preserving the authenticity of their wedding day over some artificial vision of what they feel it should be. Candids are are probably the most important part of the story that I want to tell that I am always focused on improving this aspect of my work above all else. I have no vision of how the wedding day will unfold when I arrive and never want to direct or recreate any moments. I am always running around, never stop, and always trying new angles. I am always paying attention to what is going on around me and how everyone is interacting.

I try to get myself right on the edge of everything that is happening without interrupting. It is really important to pay attention to conversations and and understand when the laughs, hugs, and tears are going to come. It can also be as equally important to pay attention to the reactions of others when the action unfolds. Every moment of the wedding day is a natural photographic opportunity packed with meaning, it is just up to me to understand how to capture the meaning of that moment without directing it.

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Phoblographer: How do you get close enough to them without breaking the moment?

“I find that more and more people these days care about preserving the authenticity of their wedding day over some artificial vision of what they feel it should be. Candids are are probably the most important part of the story that I want to tell that I am always focused on improving this aspect of my work above all else.”

Evan: It probably helps that I am completely unintimidating and always have a smile on my face. I try to make my relationship with my clients a personal one. I always encourage prospective clients to stop by the studio so we can meet and get to know each other. On the wedding day I introduce myself quietly and individually to everyone and get up close and personal right away and break down barriers.

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I actually don’t try to be a “fly on the wall” so much as I try to fit in. I don’t wear all black to disappear, I dress similar to the guests to blend in. People get used to me and what I am doing and learn not to look at the camera right off of the bat. I do not try to insert myself right into the middle of the action if it is going to be disruptive. I actually use depth and layering as context to the image by shooting over peoples’ shoulders or through the crowd etc. to help preserve relevance of the moments.

Phoblographer: Tell us about the gear that you use. Do you feel like it helps you capture the scenes that you do?

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Evan: I am not much of a gear head. I use a pair of Nikon D800 bodies and prime lenses. Low light capabilities and autofocus are the characteristics that really help me capture moments quickly in the most challenging lighting conditions. I primarily use a 85mm f/1.4 and 35mm f/1.4 combo for most of the wedding day in order to be able to unobtrusively shoot in low natural light without the need for swapping lenses. I feel like the 35mm is the best focal length for storytelling and exhibits such an exciting perspective that I would be lost without it. It is a magical lens.

Phoblographer: What are some tips that you can give readers on being the fly on the wall type of shooter at a wedding?

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Evan: Ignore any preconceived notion of how the wedding day will unfold and leave shot lists at home. Try to connect with people and blend in. Never underestimate the moments in between the big traditional wedding events. Never put your camera down for one minute. Focus your attention on the people and the relationships, not your preconceived shots and ideas.

“It probably helps that I am completely unintimidating and always have a smile on my face.”

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