get to know your wedding photographers Jesse and Moira teaching photography workshop

Get To Know Your Wedding Photographers

Your wedding photographer is the vendor you’ll be spending the most time with on your wedding day, from “getting ready” until the final send-off at the end of the night. So, in addition to hiring a photographer whose work you love, you’ll also want to make sure to hire someone you get along with. As a result, it’s super important to get to know your wedding photographers before your wedding day.

In that vein, here’s a little bit about us!

Jesse:

I’m originally from a tiny town in Michigan called Manitou Beach. My parents are both artists and I spent a good portion of my childhood traveling around the country to art fairs and music festivals. I was fortunate enough to be exposed to many different creative mediums from a very young age and always had the sense that I’d end up doing something creative for a living.

I went to Central Michigan University for journalism (photojournalism concentration) and art history. When I graduated, I started my career as a newspaper photographer.

Moira:

I was born and raised in the largest city in Montana, whose population could just about fit entirely inside the Big House in Ann Arbor. My two brothers and I ran loose in our family’s restaurant/bar/casino, playing hide-and-seek, stealing marischino cherries out of the cooler, or checking the gaming machines to see if anyone left a quarter we could use to buy gumballs.

At the age of 18, not having any idea what I wanted to do with my life, I decided getting a business degree probably wouldn’t hurt. So, I packed up and moved 2,000 miles to Washington, DC, where I was awe-struck by all the escalators. (Billings has two, both at the airport, and it was a special treat when we got to ride them.)

Jesse:

During my senior year of college, a group of friends and I went down to The Bahamas for spring break. One night, I was standing at a crowded bar trying to order a beer, but couldn’t get the bartender’s attention. A young woman walked up next to me and the bartender immediately came up to take her order. She said something to the effect of “Can I get a beer? Oh, and I think this guy wants one too.”

I was blown away. In the drunken haze of college spring break, this person’s awareness and courtesy was remarkable. I knew this was someone I wanted to get to know. Fifteen years later, we’re still getting to know each other.

There is one known photograph taken of Moira and me that night. Found on a 27-shot disposable camera. Taken with direct flash and no red eye reduction. Glassy-eyed from a myriad of factors. Sporting a fresh sunburn from passing out on the top deck of the ship we took from Fort Lauderdale after having driven 1,400 miles with no sleep. And yes, I had an eyebrow ring.

But still one of my favorite photos of all time.

Jesse and Moira meeting in the Bahamas on spring break

MOIRA:

I remember it slightly differently, but we’ll agree to disagree.

What I do know is that I wasn’t looking for a long-term relationship on spring break. I was just about to graduate and had no idea what I wanted to do or where I wanted to do it. So I definitely didn’t want to factor another person into the equation. We both decided to keep seeing each other as long as we were still having fun. Never did I guess that 15 years later, we’d be having even more fun than we did in the beginning!

We spent about 17 months dating long-distance, which meant a lot of airline miles and early-morning taxi rides to the airport for me, and a lot of oil changes for Jesse.

Jesse:

In the fall of 2008, we decided to move to Colorado together. I’d recently been on a month-long road trip through the American West in search of a new place to move. The print journalism industry had recently gone on the decline and I needed a change of scenery. A clean slate.

Friends and family suggested that I look into shooting weddings for a living, to which I would reply vehemently “I will never be a wedding photographer!” The reason was that all of the wedding photos I’d seen up to that point in my life felt really boring and posey to me. I thought that was the style that would be expected of me if I were to shoot weddings.

So, of course, the first thing we did when we moved to Boulder was start a wedding photography business!

Moira:

Becoming a photographer wasn’t at all part of my plan. But I’ve been in the event industry in one way or another my entire life. So, when Jesse booked his first wedding, he asked me to tag along, ostensibly to help things run smoothly. The morning of the wedding, he handed me a camera and a piece of notebook paper with the basics of photography written on it. I looked at him like he was crazy.

Over the next three years, I probably took three good photos and thousands of truly awful photos. It took an additional three years before I’d even consider calling myself a photographer. And another two before I quit my full-time job.

Jesse:

When we first started the business, we thought it would be transitory. Just a way to pay the bills until we found something more fulfilling to do. But then a few years in, we had an epiphany. What we realized was that wedding photography doesn’t have to be boring! And that being the case, maybe we didn’t need to find a more interesting career. Maybe we just needed a more interesting approach to shooting weddings.

Right then and there, we drew a line in the sand and decided to start playing by our own rules.

Moira:

In the 15 years since, we’ve photographed over 200 weddings in 17 states and three countries. We’ve had the pleasure of shooting in some of the most beautiful places and developed relationships with some of the coolest people on the planet.

And we don’t take a minute of it for granted.

Jesse:

In 2018, ten years into our journey, we also started teaching wedding photography workshops, both online and in-person. Our student community has since grown to over 50 photographers from all over the country and the world. It’s been an absolute blast and has helped us grow and learn as well. When you have to sit down and figure out how to teach something, you begin to learn the subject much more thoroughly yourself.

Moira:

When we’re not behind the camera, we love to travel, ski, visit new breweries (of which we keep a massive spreadsheet), read copious amounts of books and watch copious amounts of movies.

Oh, and we’re really good at photo booths.

get to know your wedding photographers Jesse and Moira taking funny photos in photo booth

miscellaneous Fun Facts:

Jesse:
  • I was named after Jesse James (the outlaw, not the reality TV guy).
  • I’ve been to all 50 states and 19 foreign countries.
  • New Orleans is my favorite city. Portugal is my favorite country.
  • I used to work for Paramount Pictures. I was fired after one day on the job. No joke. One day.
  • Arlo Guthrie once wished me Happy Birthday.
  • I have a rare form of synesthesia called ordinal linguistic personification.
  • I once struck out 14 batters in a high school baseball game.
  • I broke the largest bone in my body when I was one year old.
  • I’ve twice donated 12 inches of my hair to Locks of Love.
  • I’m colorblind.
Moira:
  • I’ve never eaten a piece of pizza.
  • I won second place in the first ever Laffy Taffy joke contest. I got a letter. The next year, the second place winner got a computer.
  • I like dogs too much to own one with our current hectic travel schedule.
  • It’s pronounce “Moi-ruh” or “More-uh” and I truly don’t have a preference.
  • I won my elementary school’s spelling bee in fifth grade.
  • I’ve been yelled at by Chris Matthews, hugged by Maria Shriver, and hit on by a former president of Poland.
  • I’ve read every single book written by Agatha Christie.
  • I love spreadsheets and color coding.
  • The only time I’ve been to Hawaii, it set a record for greatest 24-hour rainfall anywhere in the United States.
  • I’m regular blind. (But I wear contact lenses.)

Thanks for taking the time to read about us! Like we said, we believe it’s incredibly important to take the time to get to know your wedding photographers before your wedding. If you’re interested in booking us for your wedding, reach out here and we’ll jump on a phone call (or meet up for beers or coffee) to get to know each other a bit better.

We’ll leave you some of our holiday card shenanigans!

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