There are probably more moving parts to wedding photography than you’d imagine, and even though Matt is pretty cool and well, awesome, he still can’t do it alone. You know, for one, there’s his wife, Teri, who is the big business brains behind the magic curtain. But your probably aren’t as aware of his super helfpul photography assistants.
We wanted to remedy that so, drum roll… (hit that link if you’d like an actual, crazy drum roll)…
Meet Our Photography Assistants:
But wait, first, you might ask, what the heck do these photography assistants do? These fantastic three (sounds like superhero stuff there) help with detail photography. This is important… everyone, whether they realize it or not, will be so glad to have close up photos of their rings, shoes, bridal gown, and all the little bits. It’s the stuff that you can miss on the day because you’re so focused on all the excitement.
They also capture video. All day long, they’ll be like ninjas of the video, surprising you later with what they got.
To help you get to know them better, we asked them some (we hope) fun questions and we’ll hand it over to them now:
Where are you from? What’s your connection to Erie?
SaraBeth: I am originally from Georgia. However, I was living in Tallahassee, FL before moving to Erie. My husband (then boyfriend), Paul, was assigned to Erie, PA for recruiting duty. Six months after moving, we got engaged and needed some engagement photos, which is how we met Matt.
(Meads: We were excited to find out that SaraBeth is a wonderful photographer!)
Kayla: I was born and raised here. Grew up in Harborcreek. Most of my family still lives here. Met my fiancé while we were both in school down at Penn State and after graduation he moved up here, too. We bought a house, so I guess we are staying a while because my pupper likes his current walking path. Haha
(Meads: DOGS FOR THE WIN!)
Abby: I was born and raised in Erie PA (specifically Fairview)! Because almost my entire family is here, I decided to stay in Erie for college and attend Mercyhurst University.
Tell me 5 things that very few people know about you.
SaraBeth: 1. I was Peace Corp Volunteer in Sierra Leone for two years. 2. My husband and I have close to 600 books in our house. 3. I am obsessed with baking and have been told I make the best Rice Krispie Treats ever. 4. I will greet your pet before greeting you. 5. My first (and favorite) photography class in college was black and white film.
(Meads: Greets your pets first?! Loves black and white!? See why we like her!?)
Kayla: 1. I actually have a bachelor’s degree in photography and fine arts from Penn State. 2. I prefer photographing objects over people because I’m really quite an introvert. 3. My tattoos are actually the characters I created in the games I love – I’m a huge Dark Souls fan. 4. I have taught myself how to sew fairly intricate clothing and costumes. 5. I used to own almost 100 pairs of high heels! Bonus — I could write you a book on the joys and benefits of adopting a senior shelter dog.
(Meads: we would buy that book. Of course.)
Abby: 1. I lived in the same house my entire life. 2. I wanted to be a veterinarian until about 9th grade when I decided I didn’t want to go to school for 8 extra years. 3. I have a Siberian Husky named Bella. 4. I was Homecoming Queen my senior year of high school at McDowell. 5. My mom is my best friend and I call her literally every single day.
What draws you to photography?
SaraBeth: I have always been drawn to photography. As a child I would always have a disposable camera in hand, and I would cherish those photos, even the ones with fingertips in them, which were a lot of them. Haha! However, the photo bug really took a hold of me during a study abroad trip to Ireland. My mother gifted me a small point and shoot Nikon and I was done for. I loved capturing the small things that people walked by and documenting the moments I never wanted to forget. During that trip, I decided to change my major to Art from Psychology as soon as I was back in the states.
Kayla: I think mostly I enjoy the creative/art side of photography, if that makes sense. I like to compose images that take into consideration the entire frame – what is in the frame and what is not in the frame.
Abby: My uncle being a photographer is what draws me to photography. I also think fancy cameras are pretty cool.
(Meads: Yep, Abby’s our niece. And she’s constantly learning more and showing she has a real knack for reel filming.)
What’s your favorite thing about being a photography assistant to Matt? ((ha)) About working weddings?
SaraBeth: My favorite thing about working with Matt is how much he cares for the couples on their wedding day. He does everything in his power to remove any stress from the couple while making sure he is always getting the shots, which I am so thankful to be a part of. One of my favorite feelings is knowing I helped the couple have a wonderful stress-free wedding. The couples are allowing us a glimpse into their love stories, and they have entrusted us to document that. It is such a wonderful experience!
Kayla: Hmmm… I do like seeing all the different venues and meeting all the different couples/people along the way. It also keeps me out here using my camera and keeping my skills sharp when other things (like life) keep pulling me away.
Abby: My favorite thing about working weddings is definitely the yummy food and getting to see a lot of gorgeous wedding dresses. My favorite thing about working with Uncle Matt is the fact that he’s my uncle and I can make fun of him whenever I want (my grandma and grandpa gave me permission to do so.)
(Meads: HEY! So that’s who did that!)
How is Matt most annoying? Really, a photography assistant should know… ((laughing))
SaraBeth: I would say that one of my favorite quirks of Matt’s is how focused he gets at weddings. It can sometimes come off as he is too serious, but he is actually just giving the couple 100% of his attention.
Kayla: My favorite is that Matt is constantly thinking he will have a better ring shot than me at the weddings. We’ve got a little bit of a competition going on that front (but luckily for me, my product photography brain give me an upper hand haha!). It keeps me looking for new ways to create the best photo I can. That way our couple gets one of a kind photos AND I get to keep my bragging rights!
(Matt, specifically: Game on, Kayla!)
(Teri, specifically: ((rolls her eyes)) )
Abby: I wouldn’t consider him annoying…I guess…but my favorite story is the time that he (accidentally) slapped the mother of the bride across the face.
(Meads: Okay… yeah… accidental, for sure and there’s obviously WAY more to that story! HA)
What’s most challenging about being a photography assistant and at weddings in particular?
SaraBeth: I think the most difficult part of working a wedding is also the best part of working a wedding. Every wedding is unique, so every wedding has its own challenges. And that is what makes weddings so fun!
Kayla: There are a few things! In weddings, probably the biggest pet peeve is when people try to make changes to the timeline that has been established. In most cases this throws the entire day off and can make the most important moments feel rushed or unnatural. The most challenging in photography overall is when you go through periods where you don’t feel inspired or you lose your spark. I think it is like that with most artistic things – like when a writer gets writer’s block.
Abby: Definitely following a strict timeline. It can be very difficult to keep everyone and everything on track and it’s very easy to get behind schedule if we’re not careful.
(Meads: and that’s a big reason we need and are so grateful for wonderful helpers!)
What’s inspired you the most in this work? Do you have a favorite photographer (besides Matt, of course) or type/style of photography?
SaraBeth: The most inspiring moment in photography for me is the second after the shutter clicks and you know you captured a moment in time perfectly.
Kayla: I don’t have a favorite photographer, but I do have a favorite style. I like to shoot “things” – products, food, etc. It’s like giving inanimate objects life through impacts like setting, lighting, forced perspective, etc. I think I like this most because I don’t have to tell people what to do (how to pose, etc.). The image that is produced relies solely on my talent and nothing else.
Abby: The relationship that Matt has with his clients really inspires me. Usually he ends up becoming really close friends with the couples he works for, and I love it!
What’s your dream job? (Besides working for Matt… ha)
SaraBeth: My photography has always leaned towards storytelling, and I would love to explore that more. I would love to create a series documenting the small moments in life that make it amazing.
(Meads: Oh… we love that…)
Kayla: I don’t know. This changes all the time. In the last two years I have developed a strong affinity for designing and creating cosplay costumes from scratch. I don’t have any sewing background, but I have been figuring it out as I go and have made some really elaborate things for my fiancé and me. My “real” job is a combination of bar tender, server, bar manager – and I actually really love it most times. I constantly feel like people look down on people who are servers are bar tenders – but it’s a great line of work!
Abby: My absolute dream job is to be a Broadway performer!
If you could share any kind of helpful words about weddings as a photography assistant, what would that be?
SaraBeth: My advice is to remember the wedding is for you (the couple). This day is an expression of your love for each other, so you can do WHATEVER you want on your wedding day. It’s for y’all and no one else!
Kayla: TRUST your vendors. I think people forget that their vendors have done literally hundreds (if not thousands) of weddings and they know what works and what doesn’t. We’ve seen almost everything, and what you think might be really cool can actually turn into a day-ruining disaster in a matter of moments. Remember to slow down and try hard not to try to make everything perfect during the day. If you have planned well, when the big day comes the big moments will take care of themselves – and they will be much more memorable for you if you just let them happen. Sometimes things that don’t go 100% according to plan actually end up better than you had ever hoped.
Abby: Helpful wedding hints…breathe, remember to have fun, and for the love of God…drink water!!
Thanks, Super Photography Assistants! We appreciate you, and we couldn’t have put any of that better ourselves!