Chris and Erinn Austin of White Haute Photography moved to Salt Lake City from California just one year ago. They’re an experienced husband and wife team of photographers who began their business in 2004. Their work is well-known and has been featured in several local wedding magazines as well as Style Me Pretty, The Knot, and more.
Q. Let’s jump right in, what makes White Haute unique?
Our goal is to bring out the inner beauty of the couples we work with. We want them to feel comfortable and natural. Our style is more natural, and depends a lot on what our clients are going for. Sometimes they want a high-fashion look, while others are unsure of what look they want. We work with our couples to figure that out and we definitely try to bring out their individual style. No matter how much or how little time you’ve spent in front of a camera, we’ll make you have a good time and capture beautiful images.
Q. What’s your photographic style?
We love to capture the raw emotion between our couples. Sessions with us are usually laid-back and relaxed because we like to make our sessions fun for our clients. We know clients are often nervous and unsure what to do, so we give plenty of direction where needed. And, also be prepared to laugh!
Q. Do you and Erinn both show up to the event on the wedding day and what’s the benefit of having two photographers instead of one?
Erinn and I shoot together. My wife, having been a bride herself, can connect very quickly and easily with brides on their wedding day. Together, we’re able to seek out the most complimentary poses and images because we both bring our own individual styles.
Our couples get two different looks, which our clients love because they can choose from a variety of angles and photographic styles. Another huge benefit to hiring a husband and wife team is that you get two different perspectives, clients get both the male and female points of view.
During the getting ready process, brides tend to feel more comfortable with Erinn in the room. She’s a true professional, so she’s knowledgeable and can make adjustments to a bride’s hair or dress if it’s needed. Our couple’s also get two people who are very competitive when we are shooting; we’re always trying to one-up each other.
Q. What advice can you offer couples when they’re seeking out a photographer for their big day?
Hire someone with experience.
The more experience a photographer has, the faster they’re able to adapt to a problem that may arise. Our 14 years as photographers has taught us that so many little unexpected things come up on a wedding day, and someone with experience understands that and has the ability to quickly do what needs to be done to continue getting the best images. You don’t want to look over and see your photographer not taking photos because his or her battery died or the flash suddenly stopped working, and they don’t know what to do.
Also, look to hire someone that you feel very comfortable with on a personal level. You want someone that you connect with, that you can laugh with, that you can trust. And you want to feel this way before signing a contract. It’ll make all the difference on the big day.
Q. Why is it important to invest in wedding day photography?
Spend the money to get the photographer you really want. I’ve heard of so many couples who go with people who charge a cheap rate, or a family member/friend to take their photos and later, they always wish they would’ve gone with a professional.
Once the wedding is over, the cake is gone, and the flowers are dead, the photos are what you’re left with the rest of your life. Don’t trust that big responsibility to an amateur or inexperienced photographer just to save a few dollars.
Q. What if a couple doesn’t have large budget to spend on wedding photos?
Budget is a concern, but put a little more into photography even if you have to take it from somewhere else.
I’ve had customers who were unhappy with their images from their photographer, and we’ve had to reshoot their portraits long after the wedding day, but you can’t redo the ceremony or reception. Guests won’t care if you switch from steak to chicken or if you spend less on the centerpieces. We want people to be happy with their pictures, whether they’re our clients or not, and the only way to be sure of that is to hire someone with experience, that you connect with.
Q. What are some ways you can tell if the person you’re hiring is a professional photographer?
Usually, you can tell if someone is a professional just from their contact email. A professional should have an email address that ends in their company’s name, not a free email service. Also, they should have a website and portfolio, not simply a social media account with a few select images.
Before you book, ask if they have liability insurance because anything can happen, and it can protect you as the client if something does go wrong. Many venues require proof that all vendors carry a minimum amount of liability insurance prior to the wedding day. Also, ask what kind of backup equipment they’ll bring to your wedding. A professional should have back up cameras, flashes, lenses etc. Also ask about the Professional Photographers of America membership, many of us in the photography industry are members of that organization and it requires certain criteria are met in order for us to join, and remain in good standing.
Q. Say your client wants to travel, do you have any limits/advice about destination shoots?
We’re up for anything when it comes to our client’s photos. We’ve hopped on planes to Seattle, or driven to Vegas just for engagement sessions, and we have photographed weddings from Hawaii to the East Coast…We’re always up for an adventure, and we highly recommend it for your engagement session, when you aren’t constrained by location or time. Once we book, we take a survey about the couple so that we can tailor sessions around their personalities. We usually suggest locations based on personal interest or shared hobbies.