Jessica Ryan Photography is a wedding photographer for couples that are building a fulfilled, happy & genuine life together; the couples that hold onto each other a little tighter, the ones that light up when they see the other enter the room & the couples that know how meaningful their love is to one another. She wholeheartedly invest into each couple that she photographs, and will always leave you with nothing but warm feelings towards your wedding photographs & your relationship with her as your wedding photographer. She has a passion for wedding & engagement photography that thrives off of photographing your love & the real & quiet moments between you & your loved ones on your wedding day. Get to know Jessica below!
Photo Credit: Andi & Zoe
What led you to photographing weddings?
In my life there have been times where I have been reminded that life is short and it is precious. During those times my love for wedding photography stayed with me and continued to grow immensely. I learned how precious photographs are to have and what the art of photography means to people. Through out college I knew that wedding photography was something I wanted to make into a real business for myself and I decided to concentrate on what my heart was leading me to. I completed college with a Bachelor of Fine Arts and started on my path to building my wedding photography business, through creating the art of such a special day and serving my couples well.
What is your favorite part of the wedding day to document?
I love countless amount of moments through out a wedding day and laugh, cheer and tear up with couples’ and their guests! Some moments that stick out to me the most are the Father and Daughter first looks, I love seeing this moment of the father seeing his daughter become a bride right before his eyes. You can see the years of dedication to raising her, helping her, and loving her flash before his eyes and knowing that this moment is thought about since the day she is born is something I feel as my eyes tear up! Another favorite part of the day is the couple seeing each other for the first time that day, whether it is through an intimate first look or at the wedding ceremony! Moments before a first look when I am with the groom, seeing him take deep breaths and trying to talk to me about how beautiful he knows that his bride is going to look when he sees her in a few moments, when he clearly cannot stand still! Moments that I know hold the power to be moments someone remembers their entire life are my favorite parts of a wedding day. The moments that they will think back too and remember how they felt, the way they looked at each other, what they said to each other and how they embraced.
What do you love most about Hampton Roads weddings?
I love that the Hampton Roads wedding and it’s wedding industry offers a lot of variety. Sure we are surrounded by beaches but couples do not have to travel far to see other types of venues like estates and wineries if a beach venue is not their ideal wedding venue!
Where do you find your inspiration?
I do online education and webinars any chance I get, whether it be about photography, the business side of things and building my clients’ experience with me! Also meeting with other entrepreneurs and brainstorming together or bouncing ideas off of each other, I find that is quite inspirational. Having people in your corner to cheer you on and just to give you that extra push of confidence does wonders for my inspiration!
Can you share with us three of your favorite images from weddings you’ve shot and why you love them?
I think it is important to get those moments of the bride getting her last details together, when the realization starts to kick in after the wedding dress is on, that in a short while she will be walking down the aisle to her soul mate, her best friend. These moments can be joyous and full of celebration, but they can also be a quieter moment that allows the bride to breath and take it all in. Both scenarios are just as beautiful as the other and I love knowing which one the bride needs the most. In this photograph I can feel what Allison was feeling moments before walking down the aisle to her groom.
Making people laugh and enjoy getting their picture taken is one of my favorite things to do! These next two portraits are different parts of a wedding day but they both are enjoying the moment to the fullest, and their genuine smiles show you that they were in the midst of laughter and enjoying their wedding day to the fullest. These are the moments that couples can look back on and remember exactly how they felt.
What is your absolute favorite Hampton Roads venue to shoot at and why?
This is a hard question. I would have to say two, the Hermitage Museum & Gardens and Holly Ridge Manor! Two very different wedding venues, but both are gorgeous! I may be a little biased, because my fiancé and I are getting married at the Hermitage Museum & Gardens next year, but I love the variety of the gardens and backdrops for portraits. The Hermitage also is a historical home and an art museum. So this wedding venue includes three of my favorite things, gardens, an art museum and a historical home with lots of character. Holly Ridge Manor also has a lot of land and has a different variety of back drops with more of a southern estate feel and pastures.
What are some great personal touches you have seen in weddings you have shot?
Ash & Chris’ wedding was a beautiful wedding in the mountains! Chris decided to share a video in honor of his Mother, who unfortunately passed away before their wedding day. As the video played Chris held onto Ash and everyone cried as they began to realize that Ash and Chris got married months prior so that his Mother could be present for their wedding day. The video recorded as Chris’ mother made a toast to them shared a few laughs, and made a joke about how many children they needed to have and then Chris and his mother shared a Mother and Son dance on the video. Chris choose to play this video on their wedding day with their family and friends when him and his mother would have been dancing together. It was a beautiful tribute to her and so unique to be able to witness his mother being able to celebrate with them. It is a moment I will always take with me when I am trusted to photograph someone’s wedding day.
I love when couples decorate and stay true to their style! Rachel & Mark wanted an intimate backyard wedding on the water, and that is just what they did! Mark loves to hunt and fish so they incorporated Rachel’s grandfather’s vintage decoys and filled one of Mark’s boats up with ice and put raw oysters on the ice!
On the day Allison and Joel got married, Joel took time out of their ceremony to specially get down on one knee and say his own vows to Allison’s daughter, Ellie! He also put a ring on her finger, to specially represent their bond together.
What do you do in your free time to relax?
When I am relaxing and not working or at a wedding I am usually with my fiancé and our two dogs, either hiking in the mountains or somewhere in the Hampton Roads. I also like to run trails by myself or sign up for races for charity! I am very involved in charity and helping people whether it is raising money, running a race in honor of someone, donating, or putting together a golf tournament that my parents and I do once a year.
What is the best piece of advice you can give to a couple who is searching for a wedding photographer?
I love this question because not only am I a wedding photographer but I was also just in this position about selecting a wedding photographer perfect for my fiancé and I! For me it was finding someone whose photographs represented who the couple was together, showing that they were comfortable in each other’s arms and how they interacted with each other! I value photographing real moments and giving couples actions to do together that create real emotion and allow them to be themselves in front of my camera. My advice is to find a wedding photographer that will exemplify you and your fiancé being yourselves! You can see this through the photographer’s wedding photographs but also how you feel when you meet with them and get to know them, as they are getting to know you! I love to meet couples in person at my office and I always enjoy getting to laugh with them, find commonality and learn more about the wedding photography that they are looking for!