Capture The Greatest Wedding Day Moments with Anna Martinez Chamorro
When it comes to weddings, I think we can all agree that there’s something truly magical about the atmosphere.
You’ve got the couple who are so excited to be together that they can’t help but be giddy—and you have their family and friends who are just as excited to celebrate with them.
And then you have the guests: people who might not know each other very well, or at all… But suddenly, they’re all in one place and everyone is so happy!
There’s nothing quite like it, and that’s why I love weddings so much.
And in this video, me and Anna Martinez Chamorro, a wonderful wedding photographer, will discuss about the how to capture the greatest moments in a wedding day and what usually happens with wedding planners during the big special day.
Gillian de Souza: Hello folks! Welcome to DC Weddings with Gillian. Thanks for joining us. Well, you would want to stay tuned today because if you are looking for a photographer who will take the time to understand your needs and will tirelessly to get you the best memories for your wedding, you won’t be disappointed with our next guest.
Hello folks. Welcome again to DC Weddings with Gillian. My goodness, I have here with me, Anna Martinez Chamorro of Anna Isabel Photography and I’m so excited to talk with her. Hi Anna!
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Hi! Excited to be here.
Gillian de Souza: Indeed. Indeed. I know we’ve worked together and seen each other at events before. But I want to introduce you to our great audience that’s looking for wedding professionals other than catering. And this is a great forum to bring you in front of people whom are looking for us. So I’d like this to be all about you. And so that you could tell our audience why it’s so wonderful to work with Anna Isabel Photography. So tell me, how long have you been in business here in the DC area, Anna?
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah, thank you. So I’ve been in business since 2009. And then as I transition into fulltime photography, that’s been about the last six years. So it’s been my full-time job for the last six years in the DC area. So it’s been a really fulfilling time for me.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. So how did your wedding journey begin?
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah. So I was actually in college, I was photographing for our school newspaper in college, and I really enjoyed that. And then I started doing portraiture because in college, people wanted their graduation portraits. So we take a lot of graduation portraits of colleagues and friends.
And as we all transitioned out of that, a lot of my colleagues started getting married. And so I was asked by someone to photograph their wedding and I said, “Whoa, a wedding is very different than photographing a portrait of you.” So I actually reached out to other photographers in the area who had actually also gone to my college and asked them for advice and feedback so that I could shadow them and know what I was doing on a wedding day, cause you can’t really redo very much on a wedding day.
And so then with that knowledge, I started off with my first wedding and I continued to keep in touch with those two folks and they kind of took me under their wing. And that’s how I really got to know about the wedding industry.
Gillian de Souza: That is so fantastic and very exciting for me to hear that other photographers will take you under their wing and allow you to becoming you and your photography journey. Because as you know, in this wedding industry, we are getting ready to help people with one of the most important days of their life that they would remember for a lifetime and then their families and generations would remember. So tell me, what is it about this wedding industry in particular, as you transition into wedding, what is it about this wedding industry that brings you joy?
Anna Martinez Chamorro: It’s funny that you mentioned the word joy, cause I was gonna say it’s happy. Everyone’s happy.
On a wedding day, people are excited to be there. The guests we’re excited to be there. The couple’s super excited. The family’s excited and sometimes there are a little bit tricky dynamics, but everyone forgets about it cause they’re all there for one reason. So that’s what I really enjoy about weddings, is that it’s a fun, lively celebration.
And at the end of the night, everyone’s gonna be on the dance floor, dancing it up.
Gillian de Souza: And you’re there to capture it. The one thing they get to take away beside their spouse is your work. That’s what they’ll have for long time. Right? Wow. So tell me about what is it a bride or groom or couple can look forward to in working with you at Anna Isabel Photography?
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah, I really try to make sure that my clients are super comfortable on their wedding day. I mean, it does happen once, but you also want to enjoy it. And I’m always very cognizant of not being in the way so that they can enjoy the day. So I always tell them, make sure I walk them through the day and what my plan is to be where, but my goal, especially after taking formal portraits is to kind of be behind the scenes.
One of my favorite things that people tell me, especially clients and their guests is that, “Oh, I can’t believe you even took that photo because I didn’t notice you were even there”, which is perfect. That means I blended right in and I’m able to capture those really nice candid photos that people really love.
But in order to do that, you have to take a step back and take that from a little bit of a distance so that people can be themselves. And so I really enjoy that aspect and bringing that to my clients because that’s a difficult thing to do. And I know it’s a very common ask, but it also requires my clients to just put their full trust in me and know that I’m gonna get those images.
Gillian de Souza: That’s interesting. So I love what you said and I love your energy and I know I can see you in the room doing this work. But getting your clients to put their trust in you, what techniques do you employ or what is it that you can tell a listener even now that will get them to say, “Oh my gosh, I have to at least talk with Anna about my photography.”
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Well, a few things actually, most clients actually come through planners and I know you and I have both worked with wonderful planners in the area and you’ve interviewed a few as well. That is probably my favorite way to meet clients because they already have one level of trust. And that planner can definitely vouch for me and my work.
And that planner can also be very honest. And I appreciate that. So they know the style that I will bring to the client and if I’m a good fit for that client. But once I do get a chance to talk to ’em, I really try to give them a rundown of where I’m going to be in the day so that they can visualize it so that if they do need to find me, I’m in the room, but I’m not in their face.
And so having that bit of trust with them and kind of telling them and walking them through my process helps them understand what I’m thinking about during the day. So they don’t have to worry about it cause they know I’ll always be there.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. And taking away a client’s worry is just like half the battle of one, because if they can be relaxed and trust you and you can do even a better job for them.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Absolutely. Yeah. I mean, I’m sure it’s the same for you, right?
Gillian de Souza: Absolutely. As I’m hearing you talk, I’m saying, well, that tracks along with how we engage with our clients as well, because it’s not just a you bought a service and let me render it for you.
It’s a partnership. It’s a constant understanding of what that couple might have been thinking about for a long time. Then we had just coming to see a little sliver up, but then we are a big, not a small. It’s not to say anything against bakers or so on, but they have their part and they’re gone.
We’re there, we’re there from start to finish. The Good, the bad, the ugly, all in between, we’re there. So —
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah, we sure are.
Gillian de Souza: Yeah, we see it all. So knowing what the client wants, and as they are away doing their ceremony or enjoying their guests, we can roll with the punches behind the scenes as things happen and still give them what they want, even though we didn’t have access to them. So —
Anna Martinez Chamorro: You know, that’s the thing, right? Like when people don’t know and they don’t see the behind the scenes, because everything goes so well, you know, you’re working really hard. It’s usually when everything goes wrong, that everyone can see that they’re like, “Oh, we didn’t have a good insert, you know, event professional here”, but we all are working so hard behind the scenes.
So that everything is seamless. And of course the both of us are right there the whole time, and we’re probably some of the folks that stay there from beginning to end.
Gillian de Souza: Absolutely. And again, I so love what you say, because I tell clients this all the time, when they say, “Well, I’ve been to my sister’s wedding and it seems so seamless that they didn’t seem to need a coordinator or they didn’t seem” — I said that’s because they have a good one. Because they had everything done. If they hadn’t and you’d seen the problems, then that’s when you have an issue. So it’s just very interesting that what you want is that seamlessness on that day, even though we know how much we have to put in, in order to get there.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: And it makes a difference when you’re working with people you also enjoy. I think that’s probably one of my biggest thing. It’s like, I always compare it to school and picking — when you had to have group projects and they assign you, your team and you’re like, “Oh, this person’s not gonna do their work and know I’m gonna have to do the work for this person and this person’s cranky.”
But when you work with people you love and enjoy, which is great, everyone’s gonna do top notch. Everyone’s gonna be on it. Everyone’s gonna be super respectful and it makes the entire day so much easier for everyone.
Gillian de Souza: It makes going to work fun.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yes it does. Well, it makes my job easier even when photographing food. I’m like, “Well, it’s all set up and perfect for me”.
Gillian de Souza: Yes. Yes. And again, I tell couples all the time because we are the caterer, if the florist has to clean up and get out on time and they’re running late, you just jump in and help. You just jump in and get it done.
Cause the bottom line in all of it is this product that we are doing for our client. Not my piece and your piece and the other piece. It’s the entire congealed experience that we are doing for our clients and working with professionals just as you said, I’m echoing it, it not only makes it easier to do, but when you enjoy doing your work, you do it with such vigor than if you were having a hard time and not an upset and grumpy people were around you and you still have to get things done. It’s not good.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: You end up going above and beyond for those clients much more than others because they got a good team. They trust you a hundred percent.
Everyone else is on the same wavelength. And those are the clients that it’s so easy to do that extra step, that extra time, that extra touch, because you know, they’ll appreciate it, but they’ve already have their full trust in you. So it’s so much easier to do that.
Gillian de Souza: Yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. This is good stuff.
I love when we are talking with other wedding professionals who get what we get and want to literally do what we wanna do. And that’s exactly what you’re speaking to right here. So that is fantastic. And again, the client benefits in the end.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yep. Yep. Always.
Gillian de Souza: Well, I’m gonna ask you a loaded question. If you wanna keep a generic, you can. But tell me about some of your — I mean, all of my clients are my favorite clients. They’re all really great, but tell me some of the most favorite couples to work with, or maybe even something very unique that you might have had to do in the past that our listeners would be interested in hearing.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah. One that immediately comes to mind is, I had a client who had their ceremony space. The chairs were different for their ceremony space. So they had a little like low couches. They had some individual chairs. So that way everyone can kind of just fill in whatever’s most comfortable for them during the ceremony.
Because as a guest, sometimes you’re like, “Okay, I’m gonna sit in this one chair for 30 minutes.” Right? And it feels like a classroom. And so having the different chairs and they had ottomans, and then they had little carpet or rugs different places. That was super neat for me, because again, like it also made the photos really interesting.
But everyone kind of pick their own experience and how they wanted to experience the ceremony. So that’s something that I saw that has really stuck with me over the last few years.
Gillian de Souza: That sounds great. This sounds very intimate as well.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Yeah. And I think that’s exactly what happened. It was a solid 150 people, probably more, but it didn’t feel like that.
Gillian de Souza: Yeah. Interesting. That sounds wonderful. I knew we find lots of interesting things that people do. And I guess, as a photographer, I imagine — I’m sure you are very creative and can probably see something in a scenery that the average person doesn’t see.
So tell me about something at a wedding that was just very different and unique for you that kind of stretched your imagination and your creativity a bit.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: The difficult moments is always when people are sitting down and eating during COVID and actually I kind of had that before COVID too, just based on the venue and the space where we had some folks sitting indoors, some folks sitting outdoors, some folks sitting in another room within the venue. And for me, it’s challenging because my lighting would change in every single room. So if the client, the couple is going from one room greeting folks, I’m constantly also shifting my lighting for each one of those.
So that’s usually like my typical challenge during reception. But it’s also exciting for the guests. Again, they get a variety of locations to sit in, if they want to. But I enjoy it. I think that’s kind of the fun part of being in the wedding industry. They say, no wedding is the same and that’s very true, but they all have some sort of like, you will have a ceremony, you will have a reception, so they do have some sort of a prescription to it.
But the things in between that really change it up is I think what keeps us going.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. Sounds wonderful. Now I hope we are post pandemic. I think we could say that we are heading in that direction. We’re heading there. So, obviously a lot has changed. A lot has changed in the industry. A lot has changed with even our clients and what they would like.
Tell us about something that has changed in your business practices post COVID that maybe can not necessarily COVID related, but that has happened because of COVID that now give your client a better opportunity with you as a business person.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: You know, what’s funny? I think I actually was prepared for COVID before COVID was a thing. I previously saw — what’s different about me and what was actually difficult pre COVID for me to try to describe to folks was that I charge at an hourly rate.
So I didn’t really have packages because a lot of my clients would sometimes have a five hour wedding or a 12 hour South Asian wedding or a two hour elopement. And so my clients range so much on time that one, two or three package, like just never quite fit them. And so I had already been working on hourly rates over time, and it was hard to convince some folks into that because they wanted to pick the one, two or three option.
But when COVID hit and I had already been doing elopement, I had already been doing shorter time weddings. People immediately understood exactly what I was selling. And I already had the portfolio of my clients who had been doing that. And a lot of ’em were actually really non-traditional, which I appreciated. Didn’t always fit the white dress perspective or had shorter dresses or had just pants suit, like all the different were my clients, some of my clients pre COVID. And then when we bolded into COVID, I was like, I’ve been doing this. I’ve been doing this, this whole time. Whereas a lot of people had to pivot. A lot of photographers how to figure out how to break up the packages for an elopement.
And so being hourly helped me so much during COVID. It actually strengthened my reason of why I keep that up. But also cause you know, again, like we said, sometimes there is a ceremony and a reception and et cetera, but that could be a whole two hours cause we learned that during COVID too. Right?
Like we did that in a much shorter time span. Or sometimes that could be eight hours and that’s fine. But having that hourly rate previously and folding that into COVID was probably the best — in hindsight, the best decision I made.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. And then it already helps your client see another way of pricing that would be beneficial to them.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Totally.
Gillian de Souza: That’s great.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Very uncommon. It was really uncommon before, but now I think people get it.
Gillian de Souza: Yeah. Like for instance, pre COVID, if I had to do a design consultation with a client and they couldn’t come or their coordinator was too far away and stuff. And I would suggest that we can do a video conference.
They would be like, “No, I need to be there. I need to feel it. I need to touch it. It’s not the same. No.” And they would rail against doing it by video. Well, you know what happened there? That’s the only way of doing it. So I understand what you’re saying, but that is great for you because you didn’t have to figure it out during COVID. You were ready to go with your clients. That’s wonderful. Fantastic. So Anna, if you were to give your — a person listening, one tip, you can do more than one if you want. But at least one tip about working with you and why they should look at you, Anna Isabel Photography and work with you.
What would that tip be or tips? Floor is yours. You can say and tell them anything that you would like. They’re listening. They’re curious now.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: I boarded the line of traditional and non-traditional. I like to mix the two. I always tell my couples, when I’m photographing them and I’m doing portraits, I’m like, we’re gonna do something fun and something that you want.
And then we’re gonna do something that like your parents want, because we all know all the parents want the one photo of the two of ’em together facing the camera. Right? So I try to mix the two of traditional and non-traditional to really fit in with my clients needs and wants cause at the end of the day, it’s their day.
But I also understand having to meet everyone else’s needs and expectations as well. So for me, if anyone’s watching and considering photography services, I like to mix the two together to really bring you a cohesive vision of your day. And I also do a lot of candid portraiture and photographs of your guests.
The other thing I really like to do is I always say, I wanna at least try to get one photo of every guest there. And sometimes it’s a great challenge for me because then I can really try to find every single person you had there. But again, my clients enjoy it cause they sometimes don’t even realize that people are having that much fun at their wedding or really breaking it down on the dance floor.
But that is also the biggest compliments I get is that, they didn’t expect all of that, which I appreciate. And again, like we said, I enjoy going above and beyond. And so the clients have put the full trust on me. It’s so much easier to do that way.
Gillian de Souza: Fantastic. So now, let’s say I was planning my own event with you.
So because you do things other than weddings, right? You do birthday parties and so on. So if I’m planning an event with you and I tell you, you know what my most favorite thing to do is skydive or something. And I’d like to have some sort of photograph that makes me look like if I am, you know, jumping out of something or — is that something that you could make happen?
Anna Martinez Chamorro: I don’t typically do green screen which I think is what you’re saying. I don’t do that, but I will go skydiving with you, if you want me to take the photo.
Gillian de Souza: So you see you are the professional. You were able to pull out how it is. You can do that if I did want it, but I think we have a date. Let’s do skydiving.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: There you go. It’s done.
Gillian de Souza: But that time you will have to get somebody else to photograph us so we can show the viewers that we kept our performance that we’re gonna go skydiving.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: That’s right. Oh my God. Now I’m being held to it officially, right?
Gillian de Souza: Indeed. Indeed. So Anna Martinez Chamorro, it has been a pleasure bringing you to our clients. This is Anna Martinez Chamorro with Anna Isabel Photography.
And as I said, we too have worked with her and would highly recommend her to our clients. So again, thank you so much for your time Anna and I’ll see you at the next wedding.
Anna Martinez Chamorro: Thank you so much for having me.
Gillian de Souza: You’re very welcome. It was a pleasure.