We are very honored to spotlight the über talented and insanely kind Elizabeth Messina. We are working with Elizabeth on two weddings in 2014. In February, Alison (our very own Creative Director) will marry her teenage sweetheart at Manka’s Boathouse in Inverness, California, and in April another lovely couple will marry in the south of France at the beautiful Hotel Du Cap Eden Roc. We are so happy she has taken the time out to share with you all.
Read on for a little Q&A with this amazing photographer and to see some of her beautiful work (including some images of Alison and Markus’s engagement shoot).
Where are you based?
What you do/specialize in?
I am a film photographer. I photograph weddings all over the world and I also photograph portraits, boudoir and bambinos, and quite a bit of editorial work. I am an artist at heart and specialize in creating beautiful images with natural light.
How did you get started?
I got my first camera at the tender age of twelve, it was a gift from my mother. I loved it and photographed my friends and surroundings constantly—although I had no real understanding that I could be a “photographer”. It wasn’t until many years later that I truly embraced my dream and began creating images with purpose.
What inspires you/your work?
Life and my children. There is nothing more humbling than motherhood. It keeps me grounded and always on my toes. I love the way my children see and interpret the world. They are a source of constant inspiration to me.
What do you like to do in your free time?
Sometimes I feel like “free time” is something I left in my youth somewhere. My days are full — I am blessed to be a quite busy photographer, and when I am not on assignment, I am faced with a barrage of paperwork, editing, and deadlines. At home, our life is a beautiful mess of laundry and sneakers, basketball games and bedtime stories. If I truly have “nothing” to do, I think my happiest place on earth is snuggling somewhere with one of my children.
What’s a fun fact about you that your clients may not know?
I have a rather devoted obsession with Pinterest and Instagram and although I tend to be rather reluctant to embrace any form of social media, I have now not only embrace both of these but I really enjoy them. Pinterest is an endless source of inspiration (I am a collector of beautiful things, and this site allows me to collect without limits and yet leaves my home and office uncluttered). And Instagram is sublime. I love the way it connects me to the world with images and allows anyone who is interested to keep up with my daily life. I share images from my home life, editorial shoots, my travels, real weddings and boudoir…nothing is off limits and yet I am very thoughtful about what i share. I think of my feed (which is a mixture of iPhone and film images) as a curated body of work. And I can get lost for hours looking at other peoples images too.
What is one of your favorite destinations and why?
Last year I photographed a stunning wedding in Ireland (which I am so thrilled that Martha Stewart Weddings is publishing in November) and it literally took my breath away. From the rolling hills to the historic architecture, I was smitten. I’d love to go back someday. Sometimes I secretly think I was supposed to have been born in Europe!
What is one of your favorite venues to work on the West Coast and why?
I am quite taken with both the Villa at Sunstone Winery and the San Ysidro Ranch. The Villa is in the Santa Ynez mountains and sits amongst a stunning valley of grape vines and trees. It’s a stone estate, that feels like it could be in the middle of Tuscany. The ranch is nestled in the hills of Santa Barbara. It’s an intimate oasis that’s so beautiful and has a bit of modern history (JFK and Jackie Onasis honeymooned there).
What’s trending in the photography industry for weddings/events now?
I really think there is a surge in people seeking out film photography. Although digital is an incredible medium, when brides find out I am a film photographer, I can sometimes here audible delight in their response. Film is truly an art form and I think many people like to honor their wedding and have “art” created throughout their day. In fact, I am doing as many “love shoots” as “engagement shoots” these days (married couples who seek me out, because they were lacking something in their “wedding photos” that they want to have captured).
What trend are you tired of seeing?
Anything that feels inauthentic. I know that seems vague, yet in an age of sharing and over-sharing it seems sometimes images and ideas are re-used, especially in weddings. For instance, if you grew up on a farm and love mason jars, then by all means incorporate them into your wedding if you like, but if you are using them just because you saw it somewhere, maybe re-think it. The beauty in life and in love is our personal experiences, so bring some personal touches to your wedding. Being personal and authentic will never go out of style.
What’s your favorite photo to capture during a wedding?
Love, and expressions of tenderness between two people in love…there is nothing more beautiful.