Name: Lisa Boggs, 36
Position: Wedding photographer
What she does
When a couple vows “in sickness and in health,” wedding photographer Lisa Boggs issues her own promise: in good weather and in bad. Even the extremely bad.
When Hurricane Irene hit in 2011, Boggs was adamant that a couple saying “I do” in the downpours and wind gusts would still emerge with the photos they’d been counting on for more than a year. She secured umbrellas, rain boots and rain jackets that matched their wedding colors — white, pink and navy — and captured striking shots against a stormy sky.
“It’s still one of my favorite weddings because we just ran with it,” says Boggs, who’s been in the business for more than a decade. “We went out into the rain and I got soaking wet, but we were still able to get the photos they had envisioned. You have to adapt and make sure you’re still having fun with it, even when challenges come your way.”
Couples typically enlist Boggs’ services about a year in advance of their wedding, often booking her for engagement photos, too. That first photo shoot is like a get-to-know-you date, she says: It offers the future spouses a preview of what their wedding photos might look like.
“I try to keep things natural, but of course you do put couples in poses, and they can see them and say, ‘Oh, this is not my good side,’ or, ‘I love this particular kind of photo, let’s do that again,’” she says. “It’s like an open conversation — I want them to be comfortable, and I want to be able to show them the photos I’m taking and make sure they feel great.”
Boggs photographs about 15 weddings a year, down from 30 in her early years. Now, she says, her goal is to allow ample time to get to know each couple and incorporate their story into their photos. She loves highlighting what makes a couple unique — like the groom who worked for the Washington Nationals, where he met his bride-to-be, who was an intern for the team. They had engagement photos taken at the park. Another couple showcased their love of travel by having their photos taken at Reagan National Airport, grinning at each other in National Hall. Pets are also highly encouraged.
Boggs offers a variety of packages based on time spent, and clients can decide how they want to spread out her hours — focusing on getting-ready shots versus a sparkler send-off, for example, or deciding they can’t miss a thing and booking her for the entire ceremony and reception.
About a month before the wedding, she does a walk-through with the couple and other wedding vendors, and everyone involved reviews the timeline. Boggs closely examines the venue, noting places she thinks would be ideal for photographs and gauging whether the couple likes them.
Once the big day arrives, she takes thousands of photos; when she gets home, she begins uploading, noting that she’s a “multiple backup person.” She sends a few immediate favorites to the couple and, with their permission, posts a sneak peek on social media — online promotion has become a big part of the job. She then culls down to the number of photos in the coupe’s package, editing with Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop, and ultimately delivers the images eight to 12 weeks post-wedding.
How she got the job
Boggs studied the fine arts — mostly photography, painting and drawing — at Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. In 2006, a family member happened to be assisting a wedding studio in Leesburg, Va., and approached Boggs with a proposal. “She said, ‘It’s really fun and interesting, and I think it’s something we could do,’ ” Boggs recalls. The two started photographing together, and Boggs was smitten. “It hadn’t even been on my radar at all, but I loved it so much,” she says. So she stuck with it and launched her own company: Lisa Boggs Photography.
Who would want this job
Are you artsy and creative, with a good eye for photographs? If so, it might be a match. Being able to skillfully interact with a lot of (potentially stressed-out) people will also be helpful; the same goes for flexibility and attention to detail. Be aware that wedding photography can take a physical toll on your body: Boggs carries two heavy cameras and a slew of gear on her shoulders, so she recommends keeping the upper body in shape. Note, too, that you’ll spend a lot of time alone in an office editing photos and communicating with clients. Boggs balances the lack of a traditional office with frequent networking, which she makes a priority.
How you can get the job
Studying the fine arts (with an emphasis on photography) can be helpful, but it’s not the only path to the alter — er, success. Boggs recommends reaching out to wedding photographers whose work you admire, and offering to buy them lunch or coffee. Pick that person’s brain, and ask if you can assist him or her at an upcoming wedding. That will help you start building a portfolio, which you can use to book your own small gigs. If you enjoy the work, you’re in for a blissful ride. “It’s really hard not to get swept up in the romance and happiness. I feed off the energy of a wedding day, and it inspires me,” Boggs says. “Most of the time I’m smiling behind my camera because it’s so much fun, and I feel really lucky that these people trust me with really special, intimate moments of their life.”