Before venturing into the wedding photography industry in Greenville, South Carolina, Zack Bradley got married. The buildup to the wedding was full of unknown’s that caused a fair amount of stress, and the wedding day itself passed in a blur. When it was over, however, Zack remembers looking over at his brand new wife and saying, “That was awesome! We should do it again!” It was the feeling in this moment that inspires the way Zack strives to give his clients peace of mind and ensure that the most important moments of their wedding day are captured and preserved to be shared for generations. We recently interviewed Zack about his work as a wedding photographer to share his unique insight with those of you looking to break into this highly competitive industry. You can find more of Zach’s work on his Website, Wedding Maps Profile, and Instagram profile.
Welcome to the Featured Artist Series at The Photo Argus, a place where we feature the stories and work of incredible photographers from around the world. Many of these features are from the best wedding photographers over at Wedding Maps. However, we also feature photographers in other genres as well. If you’re interested in being featured, please contact us.
What’s in Zack’s Gear Bag?
- Dual Canon R6‘s
- Canon 5D III
- Canon EF f/2.8 24-70mm + adapter
- Canon RF f/2.8 70-200mm
- Canon RF 100mm
- Godox AD200’s for off-camera use (Flashpoint version here)
- Godox TT600 for on-camera fill and direct flash (Flashpoint version here)
- Magmod (spheres, grids, gels, and softbox)
- Manfrotto 1004BAC Light Stands
Let’s jump into the interview!
What is your favorite camera lens and why?
The Canon EF 24-70mm is an absolute workhorse. I use it for 90% of any wedding day or session. The focusing is quick and quiet and delivers super sharp images. The range is excellent for getting up close or compressing the image a bit especially when paired with the R6’s digital crop feature.
How long have you been a photographer? What got you started?
I’ve been a wedding photographer for about 7 years now. I started off by taking photos of landscapes and animals and it was more a hobby than anything else. Then, after a friends wedding I talked for a few hours at a bar with their wedding photographers and they offered me an apprenticeship. It’s been my passion since the first wedding I photographed.
How did you establish and define your shooting and editing style?
A ridiculous amount of trial and error. I have used every single auto and manual setting on my cameras and pushed/pulled every slider on lightroom and photoshop. I’ve watched hundreds if not thousands of hours of youtube videos on photo and video techniques. And I’ve attended and eventually spoken at workshops that helped give me the knowledge and experience I needed to be better at my art until I found what works for me.
How do you differentiate yourself from the photographer down the street?
My brand focuses on the individuals and what is most important to them. So every wedding is 100% unique.
I could easily step into a day with a mind full of pre-conceived photos and inspiration from Pinterest, but that puts the spotlight on me and how I think the day should look.
We give a little direction to make sure everyone looks their absolute best but for the most part, I try to just let the day unfold as it will and capture those real moments and expressions as artfully as I can.
What is the best part about being a photographer?
For me it’s the ability to be with people on one of the happiest days of their life. Being able to document my couples wedding and relive that with them when they see their images for the first time while we design their album is extremely rewarding.
What is the most challenging part about being a photographer?
Running the business. As a creative minded person I often get sucked into hours of fine tuning images or helping couples pick the perfect location and outfit. When I should really be sorting receipts for taxes or testing ad copy.
Who are some of your favorite photographers?
- Chris Burkard has always been a huge inspiration even though he’s not a wedding photographer.
- KT Merry
- Ben Adams from Style & Story
- Jose Villa
- Jeremy Chou
- Two Mann
- Fire & Ice
What are your sources of photography inspiration?
Nature and architecture are some of the biggest factors I try to pull into my work. When those to things are combined well it can really set an image apart.
What do you think your keys to success are in this industry?
Being an open minded “forever student” and creating strong friendships and relationships with photographers and other vendors in the wedding industry.
What advice would you give someone wanting to learn photography?
Don’t be afraid to experiment! Not everything is going to work out but you’ll eventually figure out what you like and can build from there. Also, Youtube is an amazing FREE resource – use it to your advantage and try as many forms of photography as you can!