Vendor Spotlight – BTW Photography

Michigan Photographer

We had the tremendous opportunity to speak one on one with a Metro Detroit photographer, Brian Weitzel, owner of BTW Photography. For more information about BTW Photography and its services, please take a look at our Q&A session we had with Brian below.

1.)  Tell me about how you got into photography and how BTW Photography started?

“I have always been interested in photography.  I have so many stories of how photography played a role in my youth: My earliest memories were of me sitting in the corner of my aunt’s house for hours at a time, looking through her stacks of National Geographic.  I never read anything, but would stare at the pictures and imagine the different worlds the photos came from.  I was very fortunate in my youth in that I spent a year abroad (Poland, 1993.) Remnants of communism still existed; there was only enough power on the grid to keep the lights on until 3:30 p.m! With no power and little technology, my parents gave me my dad’s old camera to run around and take pictures with to pass the time.  Rarely was there ever film in the camera, but when we did travel, that was my souvenir – a roll of film.  One of my most prized possessions is a letter I wrote my grandma when I was abroad.  I told her that “my photos could be postcards” and that “I was going to be a photographer one day.”  She saved it and gave it to me after I passed.  

     Years later, I asked my parents to subscribe me to two photo magazines: Popular Photography and American Photo.  God bless them because they did and I didn’t even own a camera at the time!  (My dad’s camera broke and was never replaced.)  I think this was probably one of the most important junctions with my relationship with photography because they could have easily brushed me off and my thirst for dreaming about being a photographer could have died.  After three years of reading about cameras, technique, etc. in these magazines, I took a photography class in high school.  Spending time shooting film and developing it had a big impact on the way that I shoot today: I shoot for perfection and authenticity in-camera and try to minimize the post-production editing.

   When I was in college, a friend asked me to shoot her wedding.  I didn’t want to, but she assured me her family was fun and easy to work with.  I agreed.  That night, I knew my dream of being a travel photographer was dead and I was going to be a wedding photographer.  I launched the business after graduating and the rest is history.”

2.)  What are some of your favorite photography shoots to shoot?

“My favorite things to shoot are the things you only get one chance at and are highly personal, emotional, and a milestone in life: proposals, weddings, and births.”  

3.)  Talk to me about some of your most memorable shoots you have photographed?

“Oh goodness, how much time do you have?  Honestly, I don’t know if I even want to.  The reason being is, the most memorable shoots are also the most emotional.  I normally get choked up when I shoot proposals, births, and even weddings.  Shooting these events allows me to silently participate and have a heightened awareness and connection with the people.”  

4.)  What is your favorite thing about photographing proposals, engagements, and wedding shoots?

“The people.  Plain and simple.  The best part of this job are the people you meet and the relationships you form. Many of my clients have become close friends well beyond their wedding day.”

5.)  What makes you stand out versus another photographer?

“One of the first things I try teaching photographers that I mentor is to leave your ego outside.  You are a humble servant on someone’s wedding day.  It is not about you.  It never should be.  I think taking that approach and putting the couple first in all aspects of the day and even business model makes a huge difference.  The couples think they are booking me as a photographer and quickly realize that they are getting so much more than just photos.  They are getting experience, expertise, a consultant, and a trusted confidant on their wedding day.  They ask for photos, but they get a whole experience.”

6.)  What would you describe your photographic style as?

“I am influenced by three genres in my photography: classic portraiture, fashion-inspired lighting, and photojournalism.  I use these three techniques to create images that are elegant, emotional, and timeless.  A good photo will embrace all three traits.”  

7.)  What do you believe the most important component a couple must consider when choosing their photographer?   

“When all of the planning is done, your wedding day is complete, and you start your life as a married couple, the only thing you will have to remember your day are you wedding photos.  To me, photos are some of the most important things in life, especially on your wedding day.  You want to find a photographer who you connect with as a person.  They are going to be with you more than anyone else on your wedding day.  You also want to view your photographs as an investment.  These will become your first heirloom as a couple or maybe, a family.  They will only grow in importance and beauty over time.”   

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