Hello! My name is Jenn Grachow. As a wedding and boudoir photographer, I absolutely love to work with people. My introduction to photography happened in grade 8. For science class, I chose to do a project on photography and the photographic process, so I started learning about black and white photography. Shooting with my mother’s 10mm camera and a 35mm camera, I visited my local high school to learn about shooting with film and developing negatives and creating images.
When it comes to wedding photography in particular, I love the celebration! There are so many emotions during the day, and it’s such a joy to be able to photograph couples at their best. Everything about the day, from the glamour of the wedding attire to the joy of the celebration… it’s such an honour an privilege to be chosen to capture those moments.
There are plenty of wedding photographers out there, but there are many ways to differentiate yourself from every other wedding professional in your genre. Part of it is my unique and friendly personality, and the other part is providing a level of customer service that is unmatched. Another unique part of my business is my husband who, as an illustrator, has a particular talent that we have been able to use to create unique artwork for our clients on their special day.
It’s important to stay on top of my game, especially creatively. I draw inspiration for my photography from everywhere! I watch movies and TV shows and pay special attention to the great dramatic lighting that they use. Magazines, books, and the web are other great ways to be inspired. Of course, part of my inspiration comes from my clients themselves and the locations they’ve chosen for their photographs. It’s always great to make use of beautiful architecture and interior design to get the wheels spinning in my head.
Early in my career, I tried to emulate the work of other photographers, but as I’ve grown in my craft, I no longer attempt to be somebody that I’m not. My style is one of the reasons my clients choose me! If they ask me to shoot like somebody else, I ask them why they didn’t just hire that particular photographer.
When shooting during a wedding, it’s always important to be mindful of what you put in your gear bag. I carry two Nikon bodies with me – currently I shoot with a Nikon D700 and a D7000. My workhorse lens is my 24-70mm F/2.8, with the 70-200mm F/2.8 VR coming in at a close second. I carry my 50mm F/1.8, but I don’t use it that much on the wedding day. I’ll also carry a LensBaby just in case I have time to do some crazy shots! Lastly, I bring two flashes, pocket wizards, and lots of memory cards and batteries.
While weddings are of overwhelmingly positive experiences, negative experiences can happen while shooting a wedding, but it’s how you handle them that counts. The best thing to do is keep a smile on your face and do everything in your power to keep things running smoothly. Know when you should put your camera down and when you should keep shooting. I’ve had weddings with medical emergencies, and these are the times when the cameras should be down, and you need to respectful. Plus, there are some memories a couple really don’t want to have!
When I’m not shooting weddings, I love shooting boudoir photography. I love giving women a feeling of empowerment and to provide the ability for them to recognize how sexy they are! They don’t need to look like a supermodel to be super hot. These shoots are also more relaxed than a wedding and extremely fun. I also enjoy travel photography – taking pictures of landscapes and cultures that are different is always exciting.
It is very important to keep my mind and eyes fresh for my next shoot. I always get a good night’s sleep and make sure that I’m well prepared. I usually have everything ready to go two days before the actual wedding day so I don’t have to stress out and worry if everything is packed. I also bring lots of healthy snacks with me and when I arrive on a shoot, I look for the places that speak to me first.
My advice to aspiring wedding photographers is to learn as much as you can and be sure this is something you really want to do before getting into it. Everybody thinks weddings are easy money but they are a lot of hard work and a lot of responsibility. You have to be willing to sacrifice. If you’re not ready to shoot your friends’ weddings, no matter how much they want you to, then help them find a suitable photographer! You never know… you could always ask that photographer if you can second shoot for them.
Photography is not an easy career. As fun as it can be, it involved a lot of hard work and a lot more than just knowing how to take a great picture. Know yourself and don’t get pressured by friends and family to pursue a career just because you have a nice camera or like to take pictures. I have friends that are amazing photographers and have had to quit the business and just go back to their love affair with photography as a hobby. Personally, I can’t see myself doing anything else, but it has taken a lot of blood, sweat, and tears (and money) to get where I am today!
Please feel free to get in touch with me if you’re in need of a wedding photographer or if you have any questions about photography. You can find me online at: