Nanette and Karl and Luminaire foto
1. Could you tell us a bit about Luminaire Foto and how it got started?
Karl had been building his photography portfolio with a few wedding companies and once we were married we moved cross-country from Michigan to South Florida. We loved the area andall it had to offer and Karl quickly developed his own clientele,thus Luminaire Foto was born. My official start was assisting atour first big LF wedding. I came along to assist (i.e. carry andwatch equipment.) but quickly began shooting. In our first yearunder Luminaire we shot twenty weddings, then forty the next,and this past year we photographed sixty weddings! Now thatwe have established ourselves we’re busy finding balance.
2. I know you both care deeply about the environment and social responsibility. How do you incorporate that into your business? What suggestions do you have for other professionals in this industry who want to develop more socially and environmentally responsible practices in their business?
The social and environmental aspects of our business arereally just an extension of our personal lives. We like to reduceour impact on the earth as well as support human rightswhenever we can. For our business that means our printed material is done with vegetable inks and low-VOC solvents, our paper and defunct computers and disks are recycled, we makeour fotobooth photos available for email, and we use recycledand recyclable packaging whenever possible. Karl and I workwith like-minded professionals when we can, whether that bewedding planners, album manufacturers, or florists. We’ve foundthat most pros are very open to finding earth-friendly and fairtrade solutions. We also donate our fotobooth and time to local non-profits several times a year. Additionally, making responsible choices can often be more costly, so we offer up to 15% off our services to couples making significant efforts to that end. It’s our way of saying thanks for being thoughtful!
3. Photo booths have been quite the rage lately in weddings and we hear you two have a booming photo booth part of LuminaireFoto. Could you share with us about your photo booths? What is your all time favorite Photo Booth shot?
We started offering our open-concept fotobooth a couple of years ago when there were none available in our part of the state. Since then photo booths have exploded at parties and weddings. We bring ours to about 75% of our weddings and we now have two separate setups. Our booth has always been about interaction, with other guests and with the camera. Guests take their own photos with a tiny wireless remote and they can take as many as they like. Fitting with our eco-minded philosophy is that we offer an onsite iPad for guests to email the photos rather than making prints. Guests can also order downloads and prints from our website if they wish.A recent fotobooth fave is a shot of our friends taken a month before having their first child. They’re kissing and spelling their baby’s name. So sweet!
Here are a couple of photos from the booth!
4. Could you each tell us how you got started in photography? What drew you towards it?
We’ve both been in the art and design realm from a young age. I grew up in a family of artists and creative souls, and Karl became interested in photography and design in high school.Karl and I met while attending Kendall College of Art & Design.In a roundabout way we met through a photography course: he was in my roommate’s class and he asked her out on a date! Karl shot his first wedding during college and enjoyed it enoughto continue shooting, at first for friends and family. It wasn’t until Karl decided to pursue wedding photography as a profession that I came on board. Couples love that we’re a husband and wife team.
5. What are your other passions aside from your work?
During our slower seasons we like to take off and explore new places. In the last year that included trips to Argentina,Germany, France, The Netherlands, Belgium, and more locally amini-tour of the Northeast, Chicago, Key West, and New York City. This is our reward after working seven-day weeks formonths on end! It gives the two of us time to get away from our computers and start new adventures. Much of these trips includelocal food tours. High on our list for the future is a volunteer worktrip to a third world country. Any suggestions?
6. You have a video portion of your company. Could you tell us about that?
We make what we call foto videos. They’re little still motion movies, two to three minutes long, that encapsulate an entire event in a way that’s fun to watch and easy to share online. At a wedding we might take 15,000 photos to string together for a foto video. To make this happen we have a dedicated assistant helping us shoot while we focus on capturing the wedding photos. Some of the shots are about time lapse, like the sunsetting over the water. Other shots are about animating an object such as shoes dancing around on their own.
(P.S. Two Bright Lights is expanding to video!!!! Yay, we are so excited. But we are looking forward to talented creatives like Luminare Foto uploading their videos and submitting them via Two Bright Lights come January!!)
7. We know you have stellar background in wedding photography. What is your favorite wedding you have shot? What other sorts of photography do you do?
If we think about our favorite wedding, twenty come to mind! Really we can’t pick. Our favorite weddings are always about the couple: those that are deeply in love and excited about their wedding photos. We’re so excited when both the bride andgroom are engaged (no pun intended) in the whole weddingcelebration. When they reciprocate that energy towards us weget some really amazing photos. Weddings keep us so busy thatwe do not have time for much else! We do enjoy a change ofpace every now and again and we also do boudoir photography, editorial work, and family shoots, among others. But here are a few of our favorite wedding and engagement images!
8. What role does Two Bright Lights play in your image sharingand publication process?
We recently submitted our first wedding to Two Bright Lights that was picked up by a blog within 24 hours! The buzz is that TBL is a game changer and everyone loves using it for submissions. Anything that makes the process simpler is a definite plus in our book. The whole process of uploading an album, tagging vendors, and submitting to publications is quite easy. We can’t wait to see where it takes us!
9. What are the unique challenges you have faced andovercome as a photographer? What lessons have these taughtyou that you could pass along to our readers?
Guess how much we knew about running our ownbusiness when we dreamt up Luminaire Foto? Not much! Unfortunately our art school focused mainly on our craft and not on self-promotion, the fun legal aspects, and the like. Most of our business training has been on the job. If we could do it again, we would take a few more courses and read a few more books on being self-employed. Also we shouldn’t have put off joining the local networking groups! Making local wedding-pro friends has been invaluable and inexpensive with a high return.
10. Who and what inspires you?
Karl and I have tremendous fun getting to know other photographers and artists both near and far. We get so muchfrom listening to others and even by sharing our ownexperiences. There’s a quote by Paul Arden that we love: “Do not covet your ideas. Give away everything you know, and more will come back to you.” Pushing ourselves to find new ways to shoot and new locations keeps our work exciting.