When you live in a city as big as San Diego, you oftentimes “watch” vendors that you’d love to work with from afar before actually getting the chance to. And, Cavin is one of those people that I watched start up her business and grow it while patiently awaiting the day I’d get to work with her. So today, I am excited to introduce you to this ballet-loving-sweet-tooth-of-a-photographer!
You have a Master’s degree in International Relations. How did you start your path as a photographer?
The idea of being a professional photographer arose when I was in high school. Unfortunately, I had many adults tell me photography is a hobby, not a career, because you can’t make six figures with it (you can, actually). So, I unfortunately let their words affect me and I abandoned that idea. I found that in college I loved political science and international relations, especially as it related to the human rights field with refugee, political conflict, and other related issues. After I completed my degree, I went straight to grad school in DC and further refined my studies. On the side, I began offering family portraits for extra income. Eventually, I shot my first wedding and it clicked that photography was truly my passion. I finished my degree and my internships and then began my official career as a wedding photographer and haven’t looked back since!
How do you describe your photography style?
I describe the style of my photography aesthetically as modern, clean, and natural with chic portraits and sentimental documentary photojournalism.
What is your favorite piece of equipment?
I tend to go back and forth on my favorite piece of gear. Currently, I love my 85mm portrait lens because it produces beautiful and creamy images. Sometimes, during the summer, I would perhaps answer that my thermos full of water is my favorite!
Tell me about how you fell in love with ballet and how that became one of your main inspiration points.
When it comes to ballet, I am purely an enamored spectator and admirer of the art. Although I took a few classes in elementary school, I was never a dancer. My love for ballet was sparked in college, where I had the opportunity to see performances by many of my close friends. When I moved to DC, I would always catch the NYC Ballet perform at the Kennedy Center. Each season, I fell further and further in love with its graceful and feminine nature. The way that the choreographers and dancers make something that’s incredibly rehearsed look so effortless and natural inspired me to evoke that feeling in my couples’ portraits.
How do you help couples feel relaxed when you are photographing them?
By giving my couples very constant and consistent direction during portrait sessions (engagement, bride and groom on the wedding day, etc.), they are able to relax and soak up the moments together. This direction creates confidence and comfort because they never feel unsure of what to do. Also, the feeling of relaxation for my clients comes from the relationship and trust we build together along the planning process timeline. Getting to know my clients really well helps me construct images and poses around their personalities so that they never feel too far from their comfort zone.
Modern or traditional ballet? Traditional/classical
Sweet or savory? Sweet always!
Best meal you ever had? Probably a Georgetown Cupcake banana split cupcake (sweet tooth)!
Every Wednesday you publish a video with wedding tips for better wedding photos. What inspired you to start creating these videos?
Although I’ve currently hit the pause button on my YouTube channel during my busy season, I started it to create a library of educational videos for brides. So many photographers only educate other photographers. I think it’s important also to educate brides about the wedding planning process in a way that will lead them to make decisions that ultimately help their photographer produce more beautiful and personalized images.
If you were hiring a photographer for your wedding, what questions would you be asking them?
You’ll find all sorts of unnecessary questions on wedding blogs for what to ask your potential photographer. Most of them don’t affect the couple in any way and take time away from the more important and deep questions.
I would ask my potential wedding photographers what inspires them, how they would make me feel comfortable, and how they would ensure I look my best. I would also ask to see at least one or two full wedding galleries to get a sense for their work from sunny noon to the dimly lit reception.
Also, I would ask questions to get to know them. While the consultation should mostly focus on the couple, I do think it’s important to learn more about your potential photographer. That truly is the start of the trust-building process that will make an incredible impact on the final wedding images.
You shot our styled shoot at The Romantik studio this past spring (!), is there anything about your process that changes when everything is staged?
Only that I always have the amount of time I wish for. With wedding days, the timeline or one of the other vendors might limit the time I have to shoot certain aspects of the day. The more time I have, the more creative I can get, which is why I do love styled shoots so much.
I obviously do have the opportunity for many more candid images on a wedding day, so I am extra conscious of any impending laughter at styled shoots that will allow me to give the images a more natural and genuine feel.
Where in the world are you just itching to photograph a wedding? Or a styled shoot!
Paris 100%. And also Santorini. I also spend a lot of time in the Berkshires in Massachusetts and I’ve been dying to shoot at one of the many beautiful venues there.
What are you most excited for in 2017?
Traveling! I’m currently planning a trip to Paris for May and will also be heading to the East Coast a few times for weddings.
Want to see more of Cavin’s work or connect with her? Visit her website cavinelizabeth.com