Tell us a little bit about yourself, your business and what you do?
I’m Kelly of Kelly Sweet Photography. I’m a hybrid (film and digital) photographer based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, but travel wherever my work takes me. I specialize in weddings and find myself most often in the Detroit and Northern Michigan areas, but also travel out of state and even outside of the US. Traveling and photography are my two favorite things to do so when I can combine the two, that’s an extra bonus. I typically take on about 20-25 weddings a year and prefer venues with plenty of natural light.
How did you get started?
I got my BA in Photojournalism from San Francisco State University (I lived in San Francisco for 9 years). After graduating, I accidentally fell into photographing weddings and shortly after realized they were a great place to combine what I learned studying Photojournalism along with my love of fine art portraiture. That was in 2004 and I haven’t looked back since. I love my job and feel very lucky to make money doing what I love to do.
What is best your advice for your clients or brides planning their weddings?
First, I highly recommend not trying to do it all yourself. This is so important and a mistake that too many brides tend to make. I have photographed weddings where the bride was running around setting things up, answering questions on where this goes and how to do that and didn’t have time to relax and enjoy her day. Hiring a professional planner in the beginning is going to save a lot of time, energy and stress throughout the planning process and on the wedding day. Additionally, you’re going to end up with a wedding that is unique to you and not something that you saw on Pinterest or social media. With a professional, you can describe your vision and they will know what to do and who to contact to make it come to life.
Second, hire a great photographer to capture all that you worked so hard planning. I’m a little biased here being a photographer myself, but I have heard so many times about a couple not hiring who they wanted because it wasn’t in the budget. I recommend setting your budget for photography a little higher than you think it should be and decreasing your budget in another area if you need to. The photographs are what you are going to be left with to remember your day and you want to love those images so you can look back on them and be reminded of how lovely your day was.
You see so many weddings and all the gorgeous details, if you were getting married right now what would you incorporate into your special day?
It’s funny you ask this because I actually did just get married myself. 2 months ago actually! We wanted a very small wedding with just our closest friends and family members. We also knew we wanted to get married in a villa in Tuscany, Italy. I took my own advice and hired a planner/florist to help make the day beautiful and stress free for us and our guests. It was the best decision we made and I enjoyed every minute of my wedding day. We hired someone I trusted would do a fantastic job and I pretty much left the design aspect up to her and let her do her own thing with only a few suggestions of things we liked and/or disliked. Our entire wedding day took place at the villa we rented. We did a small intimate ceremony in the olive grove, followed by cocktails and then dinner at the beautiful table our planner set up in the courtyard. The table was decorated with beautiful centerpieces and items (grapes, figs, apples, olive branches, etc.) that she foraged from the villa countryside. She ran some grey silks down the center of the table and included a lot of open flame candles along with a small loaf of bread for each guest. Everything was very elegant with white dishes and pops of color in the flowers. We hung bistro string lights above the table and hired a violin/cello duo to play music throughout the dinner. Our Italian cooks served us a fantastic 5 course dinnner that took place over 3 hours. It was all so perfect.
Kelly, that sounds so beautiful! Thank you for sharing! And here is some of Kelly’s work for you to admire. I think you will see why she is one of our favorites.