Capturing bliss

A conversation with photographer Liz Banfield

Liz Banfield travels all over the country to photograph weddings. Her photos have appeared in many national magazines, including Real Simple Family. Her images appear in a new book showcasing more than a dozen weddings and parties called “Weddings by Tara Guérard.” Banfield recently opened a photography studio at 48th & Grand near her home. “In my profession I could really live anywhere but I choose Minnesota, long winters and all,” she said. “The creative community, cultural opportunities and easy lifestyle keep me inspired and grounded.” Here are highlights of a recent interview with Banfield.  

SWJ: How did you get into wedding photography?

Banfield: My first career was in advertising. I had been a hobbyist since I was 11 years old, but I really never saw it as a career track. When I worked at Fallon one of my accounts was Nikon cameras. … I suddenly had role models for what it could be to be a professional photographer. So it just opened my eyes to this thing that could be a career. I ended up quitting my job to be a photographer. I shoot a mix of editorial, advertising and weddings.

How has the recession impacted your business?

It has been a tough couple of years. One nice thing about having weddings as part of what I do is they are recession-proof — but not entirely. People are much more forthcoming with wanting to negotiate. It’s just a tighter market. I also think that last year fewer people got married. I think people were putting off the wedding entirely. So volume was down as well. People are much more price sensitive for sure.

What’s your approach to shooting a wedding?

I think my style is unique to me and my eye and how I see things. I’m really trying to  make sure that not only are the pictures beautiful, but people have a great time doing it. I’m directing things in a way that people enjoy and have a good time. That is reflected in the photos. … I go it the same way I would shoot a magazine story, which is to say I focus on the people, but also pictures that convey a sense of place and also honing in on the little details. The way that people accessorize a wedding and personalize it has been a huge revolution in the last 10 years.

What makes a dream wedding?

As a photographer, I’m inspired by novelty — by things that I haven’t seen before — and great lighting. Those are the two most important things to me. I see a lot of events. When a couple personalizes the event and gives it their own true personality, that’s when it’s not for show — it’s really about them. I love that. It’s more personal and more meaningful. That is always more photogenic.

Any tips for the wedding party to help them relax?

People really like to be given direction. They like to be told what to do for the most part, and that really helps them relax.  

Are you noticing any interesting wedding trends?

I see what’s happening all over the country. One of the trends that has been gaining speed for a couple of years, but now is almost standard, people are really into serving comfort food to their guests. … There is a trend back toward traditional weddings. Brides are wearing really big dresses. Forever — the last 10 years — it’s been all about the simple sheath. No beading. Now big statement dresses are definitely coming back. There are new colors that are starting to cycle in — yellow is getting really popular and gunmetal gray.