It was a treat to talk shop this past week with Chicago-area photographer, Emma Mullins of Emma Mullins Photography. Originally from Wisconsin (she is still active in the Milwaukee-area), Emma has traveled the world to develop her unique approach to docu-style event photography.
Not only does Emma have a cool and capable energy (ideal for that potentially frantic wedding day photoshoot!), but she is one of the most responsive and positive vendors you'll find. (Yes, we are suckers for anyone who responds to our emails within 5 minutes!) Read on to learn more about Emma's influences, knack for capturing an urban landscape, and how to make the most of your relationship with your photographer, even if you're a bit camera-shy.
1) After perusing your portfolio, it seems like you have an affinity for a fair amount of hip, edgy, fun clientele. Would you say this is something you've sought out, or have these clients just magnetically gravitated toward your work?
Oh wow! I suppose a lot of my clients do fall into the hip and edgy category – and yes, the point (to me) of being photographed is to have fun! That’s definitely something I encourage with my couples at all times.
The work shown in my portfolio is based on a number of factors, including what I love to shoot the most. As much as I enjoy nature and outdoor weddings, I’m definitely a city girl. Urban landscapes can be just as breathtaking as natural ones – and provide so many options when it comes to photography! I think it’s fair to say I seek out couples who possess a similar style and vibe.
2) It sounds like you are a pretty experienced world traveler. When you're on a personal adventure, do you always bring your eye for composition to document the experience, or do you prefer to put the camera down? Do you have a favorite photo from your travels?
This is a great question. Traveling has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember – it’s actually how I got started with photography. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t visit new places. I still always bring (at least one!) camera with me whenever I travel, but in recent years have made it a point to enjoy my travels from a non-photography standpoint as well. Of course, I still end up with tons of travel photos! I believe every trip is worth documenting if you have the chance.
3) As a self-described “documentarian,” can you cite any specific photographers or filmmakers who've inspired your aesthetic and approach?
Two documentarians that come to mind are Sophie Calle and Errol Morris. I really admire the way each of them approach storytelling and have incorporated their personal lives into their work. I know it’s cliché, but another photographer whose work I will never tire of is Ansel Adams. I even spent a summer out west visiting a lot of the same locations and monuments he has made so famous in his life’s work.
4) Is there a perennial tip that you share with all of your clients when it comes to planning the approach to their photography package? Or is it more of a case by case scenario?
Every wedding day is different, just like every couple is different. It’s pretty case-by-case. If there’s one thing I always recommend it’s adding an engagement session, so the three of us have a chance to hang out together before the wedding day. The more used to each other we are before their wedding, the better their photos will turn out! It’s the very best thing couples can do to prepare - especially for particularly camera-shy individuals.
5) It seems like photography involves a healthy amount of being out in the world, but also editing behind the scenes. Do you prefer one part to the other, or do they each have their own pros and cons?
This is very true! I definitely spend more time behind the scenes than actually shooting. Something that not everyone realizes is how many hours go into creating a finished wedding gallery. I will admit that I much prefer being out in the world capturing moments that editing in the studio, however there’s nothing like getting into a good editing flow! Editing season = podcast season, basically :)
Want to work with Emma for your special event? Read more HERE!