This week on Queers You Should Know, we’ve got LGBT wedding photographer, Tara Beth Robertson. I met Tara through a ton of mutual friends. She’s a Philadelphia based photographer with a knack for capturing the perfect wedding photos.
Tara, tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m 27-years-old and originally from Westchester, Pennsylvania. It’s a suburb of Philly. I studied fine art at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. After I graduated I built my business, Tara Beth Photography and started shooting weddings. I fell in love with love as silly as that sounds. I loved photographing people at their happiest. Wedding Photography allows me to capture people surrounded by their closest friends and family while partying the day away. I have the best job in the world.
That’s so sweet. You’re a hopeless romantic aren’t you?
I guess you could say that haha. Wait… why?
Come on now Tara, the people want to know the details. Are you headed down the aisle anytime soon?
hahahahaha no way. I’m happily in a very committed relationship with my black lab, Savannah.
Okay… Okay I’ll back off hahaha.
no no no it’s okay. hahaha It’s okay, I was just a little caught off guard. I’m used to being the one behind the lens. I’m a little nervous to be in the hot seat.
In that case… for real.. are you single? Looking? This is your chance, thousands of people will be reading this post…
hahahaha YES, Meg find me a wife! No, but seriously, I’m single. Dating around and having a good time with life.
Hear that ladies? She’s on the market. Does shooting weddings make you have a romanticized version of love?
I wouldn’t say I have different standards or that it’s romanticized. I think it gives me something to look forward to and the chance to really sort out what I’d like. I want to be able to share that moment with my best friend. I want to have a partner in crime to grow old with - cause trouble with.
Awe, that’s really sweet and such a positive outlook. Do you have a favorite type of shoot to do?
I really am a hopeless romantic so I prefer to shoot couples that are really in touch with what it means to commit to someone for the rest of their lives. I like to shoot couples who realize that getting married is about more than a ceremony or a big party. When the couple is really in touch with their love and what it means to be married it’s fun for me because I can focus on creating my art.
How do you scout your locations? Does the couple bring you ideas or are you continuously looking for new places?
A little bit of both to be honest. Sometimes couples will have their heart set on a place and other times I will introduce ideas to them. I love when couples get really adventurous. I’ve made my wedding parties climb to the top of a mountain to get the best shot. One wedding I shot In Martha’s Vineyard ended with almost a dozen people scaling the side of a cliff. Some of them in heels and dresses too.
For the engagement shoots I tell the couple to think outside the box and get really creative with the locations. I did one wedding at Philly Magic Garden that I really loved. I want either a place that has a deep connection to the couple or somewhere that is super artistic.
I LOVE Philly Magic Garden, such an awesome place to shoot photos. I can definitely see why people would like to do their photo shoots there. Your online reviews are incredible. All of your clients are raving about your style, what sets you apart from other photographers?
My personality sets me apart from other photographers. Honestly, anyone can learn the skills to shoot a wedding. You have to have the personality to know when to stand out and when to still be low key enough to blend in the crowd. I am the only source of zen on the big day, which is great because the couple definitely doesn’t need to be worrying about the shots, they just need to live in the moment and enjoy their day. I take care of all that.
I feel that, I can’t imagine getting married. I’m so Type A that I’d probably end up being one of those Bridezillas. How do you describe your shooting style?
I’m not a posey photographer. I’ll do some posing, but I prefer to let my clients be themselves naturally. I don’t want anything too contrived. Sometimes couples come with a list of photos from Pinterest and definitely want certain poses. I can’t promise they’ll turn out like those images, but I do my best to make sure the images are beautiful.
How do you feel about Pinterest? I’ve heard other artists say that they feel it takes some creativity out of the creation process.
Pinterest does take away from an artist’s organic vision, but that’s part of the job. Sometimes it makes me feel like the couple doesn’t trust my vision. But I know they aren’t thinking like that. It’s not a personal thing for them. I’m an artist, but I’m also a business owner and I need to make my clients happy. Pinterest is a useful tool for inspiration, but a lot of folks copy images they see outright. I’d prefer to use it as a source of inspiration rather and give the images my own personal flare.
I mean, I get that. I see where you’re coming from there. You shoot a ton of LGBTQ weddings. How did that happen? Do you set out to find LGBT folks? Do anything differently than straight weddings?
Nope. I know alot of LGBTQ people so a lot of people in my social circle wanted to work with me. It’s about 60-40 straight. But because I’m a member of their community. I’ve had people reach out to me who specifically wanted an LGBT photographer because they don’t want to be judged. I can’t deal with all these wedding vendors who are coming out of the woodworks saying they won’t work with LGBTQ clients. They’re morons. At the least they’re alienating potential clients. At the worse they’re morally bankrupt. Love is love and who are you to say anything? My straight couples tend to be very liberal and have LGBTQ friends or family, but I shoot the weddings the same way. I listen to what the couple wants and use my own style of candid photography that isn’t too posed.
Okay, now the million dollar question… Where can we book you for gigs?
You can book me for work on my website. Or just shoot me an email. It’s on my site. I like to keep the communication between me and the client really open. Lots of emailing, phone calls and conversations about what they’re looking for in the photos. Fair warning, I do book up about a year in advance. The dream venue, photographer, florist all of that needs to be booked well in advance. A couple contacted me last week for a date in Sept of 2016 and I was booked, some of it is luck of the draw.
Want to learn more about Tara Beth Photography? Follow her on Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.