Snapping kids’ photos for school pictures wasn’t Hannah Toldt’s dream side hustle to her graphic design career, but it made her feel comfortable behind the camera. It also honed her skill with especially shy subjects “to help them see their own beauty and capture who they are,” says Toldt.
She shadowed local wedding photographers before going out on her own. She quickly realized her role as therapist (de-escalating stress) and problem solver (adjusting shots due to weather shifts). And she learned that wedding photos shouldn’t just include the couple.
“A lot of people think a wedding is all about its romance,” she says. “That day is actually about the coming together of families. You see love on so many spectrums.” An example? When the ring box at one ceremony was unexpectedly empty, the couple’s parents, seated in the front row, removed their own rings and handed them over.
A fan of organic action shots – “it goes way beyond the bridal party lined up against the wall” – Toldt is honored to be invited into the couple’s circle.
“You spend more time with the bride that day than anyone else,” she says. “You see a lot of joy and a lot of nerves, anxiety and stress. I love sitting with someone through those emotions.”
ADVICE: “Anybody can make 50 Instagram photos look great,” says Toldt. When choosing a photographer, ask to see their full gallery. And make your choice based on personality – not years of experience. “Make sure you like them: how they handle conflict, their attitude and their personality,” she says. “Get on the phone with them.”