Jamie Saechao: Striving for Elegance in Wedding Photography

All images by text by Jamie Saechao. Used with permission.

I fell in love with photography while working at a job I absolutely hated! Sometimes you have to find what you don’t love to do in order to discover what your true calling is. I needed a creative outlet and photography allowed me to express myself, connect with others, and feel alive again. I especially loved connecting with other women, celebrating their beauty, and building confidence through portraiture.

I strive to create images that are elegant, timeless, and romantic. I feel most accomplished when I’ve created a portrait that makes someone stop and look a second time… although to be honest I think those images come to you, in the midst of creating. It’s something you have to wait patiently for.

I have also found great joy in documenting nature on film…there is a certain joy in capturing the beauty and simplicity of combining the two!

What photographers are your biggest influences?

I love the simplicity and beauty of Jose Villa and Elizabeth Messina’s work. They inspired me to start exploring film.

How long have you been shooting?

7 years

Why is photography and shooting so important to you?

Photography has been a way for me to not only connect with others but to reconnect with my own soul. Creating images is certainly an art form, but I have also found it to open a path to discovering myself… allowing me to step forward as an artist and express and create has been life changing.

Do you feel that you’re more of a creator or a documenter?

Since I shoot weddings, I definitely document. However I think I am more of a creator in general. The art of posing someone is brings out my creativity and joy for the art. I also love the process of editing and displaying images in a story telling way.

What’s typically going through your mind when you create images? Tell us about your processes both mentally and mechanically?

I am inspired by nature and my surroundings. I look for the feel of the “story”, whenever I am shooting. I have found that the story is usually revealed in small, sometimes overlooked elements, such as the way a woman brushes the hair out of her eyes, or the moment two people melt together for an embrace…when they don’t think the camera is on them. I feel like I have a strong intuition for what looks natural in a photo, and what doesn’t. I’m always striving to hone that in.

Mechanically, I have tried to become intuitive with my gear so that I can “shoot without thinking”. That allows me to focus on my subject and the light!

Want to walk us through your processing techniques?

Since I shoot a lot of film, I ship my film rolls to the Find lab after shooting. Once I get my basic scans back from the lab, I will edit slightly in lightroom. I usually just adjust brightness and contrast.

What made you want to get into your genre?

The love of beauty, romance, nature and story telling!

Tell us a bit about the gear that you use and how you feel it helps you achieve your creative vision.

Shooting film has strengthened my work. I am careful about each frame I create and I love the anticipation of waiting for the images after the shoot or event. Becoming a film photographer has given me a confidence in my capabilities that I don’t think I could have reached shooting digital. I use 120 mm film and the Pentax 645n, typically.

What motivates you to shoot?

The love and joy of creating. I also find great satisfaction in delivering an outstanding product to my clients and giving them a comfortable and memorable experience in front of the camera.

Chris Gampat

Chris Gampat is the Editor in Chief, Founder, and Publisher of the Phoblographer. He also likes pizza.