We love expanding our vendor base.
During the Storybook planning process, we find value in sharing truly comparable options with our couples.
When we came across Ann of Ann Mark Photo, we knew that we had to get to know her better.
We are so excited to share our interview with you.
Storybook: Hey Ann! Tell us a little bit about yourself!
Ann: Hi, I’m Ann! I’m a big fan of any true crime series, love taking road trips, I type in all caps way too often, I’m a huge fan of the oxford comma, I went viral on Twitter a few times, and I wake up 3 hours before I have to be anywhere because I like to drink my coffee slowly. Feel like you know me yet??
Storybook: How did you get started in photography?
Ann: My first wedding came 6 months after I bought my first camera… which is CRAZY to think about now. From the very start, somehow I was given clients who saw me as a friend and someone they trusted unconditionally. That was my biggest blessing in this career- all the people who took a risk booking the girl with big dreams and no experience.
It majorly shaped how I viewed “clients” and what kind of service I provided for them. This job isn’t something that can be viewed as transactional– you pay me $XXXX and I give you these 500 photos. It’s something so much more- it’s learning their story and crafting the way you portray it, and it has to be done with full and complete commitment.
When I think about it, I know my biggest inspiration to do weddings was the Hearnes on Instagram. They’re a couple that lives in a van and travels around to shoot elopements in national parks. I was like… DREAM career, right there, I’m going to do it. Things have changed just a bit since then, although I do have a 4Runner and rooftop tent now that I’ve been dying to take an extended work trip in. So I started out thinking “I’ve got to do these adventure elopements, they’re so cool,” and then I took part in a few big weddings. I’ve fallen in love with all of the emotions that surround any wedding, traditional or not, and so now I’m here to serve any client that’s in love and trusts me– that’s all I’m about. I’m thankful for the round-about way that I got here!
Storybook: How would you describe your photography shooting and editing style?
Ann: I love being part of the group because it allows me to be a bit of a fly on the wall. If the wedding party knows me and is comfortable around me, they’re less likely to straighten their back and awkward smile when they see me. They might continue telling a funny story, turn and share a laugh with me when the punch line hits, or tap me and whisper “grandma’s singing to the flower girl on the porch, can you grab a shot of that?”
When it comes to editing I want my photos to be timeless, first and foremost. That’s been a big lesson throughout my career, and something I value now more than ever. We all thought those oversaturated orange skin Tumblr photos were great at the time, but now we have a good laugh. So I’d say true-to-color skin tones first, and then a little contrast and warm life added in after that.
Storybook: Have you always been in Austin? What are some of your favorite places to photograph?
Ann: I’m from New Braunfels but started my career here in Austin! It’s majorly cliche but I always tell couples we’ll find a location that feels like “them”. One time a couple and I just walked through a neighborhood because that was something they loved to do together, one time I simply crashed their weekly date-night at HopDoddy. I think the more “you” your engagement session is, the more authentic and memorable the pictures will be. A few spots to name that are great are Commons Ford, Circle C Metropolitan Park, Laguna Gloria (drool), and Sekrit Theater. I’d say those are the most popular!
It’s definitely less about the location and more about the experience. When you look back on your engagement session, I want you to see yourselves in a beautiful and authentic light, instead of seeing a really beautiful setting.
Storybook: What do you love most about the wedding day?
Ann: Oh gosh! First off, I’m the nosiest person ever. I love seeing all the intimate moments, and I consider it such an honor to be the one to sweep you away for golden hour and spend time with you on your wedding day.
Weddings have a lot of intimate layers to them, right? With all of the different friends and family members, near and distant, there’s a wide range of emotion besides the typical “happy”. There is always joy, don’t get me wrong, but sometimes it’s mixed with a lot of human feelings. That manifests in uncertainty or a sense of “loss” from a sibling or former roommate, some tough bitterness from the girl who’s been waiting for her engagement and doesn’t see it coming, or awkwardness between a new in-law and a bride that just hasn’t smoothed itself out yet. I love every bit of the layers, and I think it’s so important to understand how much weddings can trigger every emotion on the spectrum. Most importantly, I love being able to capture the emotions that are shown on a wedding day while navigating through the hidden layers. Understanding those complex relationships and contexts give a lot more meaning to the photo of Dad shedding a tear.
Storybook: When booking a new couple, what do you like them to know about you and the way you work with couples?
Ann: That I don’t need them to show up ready to pose for a camera, in fact, I don’t want them to. If I wanted to shoot models pretending to be in love I’d be doing perfume commercials! One of the most important parts of my job is leading you through the shoot in a way that makes you feel comfortably like “YOU”. What that means is that I’m usually giving couples prompts to interact with each other, instead of asking them to interact with me and my camera. I love asking couples to look back on their relationships with questions like “Ashley, tell John about the first time you kissed, from your perspective”.
It starts a conversation and sometimes refreshes a lot of the “butterfly” emotions from the beginning of a relationship. If we can create a memory of an intimate, emotional, loving space, then I think couples look at photos from their shoot with fondness, like looking back on a great memory. It’s so valuable to be able to set the tone for your first 30 minutes of marriage by stealing you away after the ceremony and walking you through that private moment together. Whether it’s me stepping away and asking you two to pray privately over your marriage, playing the album that triggers all the dancing in the kitchen memories, or having you two read your private vows, I’ll take that experience over “I remember having to tilt my chin down 12 times” any day.
In my first email to my clients and all over my website, I tell them “I can’t wait to know you”. And that’s the truth- because the best way I can serve my clients is to know them. It’s my joy!