By Leslie Fandrich // Themes: Weddings, Portraits, Photography // Category: Creative People
Amber Marlow will never be a landscape photographer. She believes in love and friendship and her whole life's work focuses on capturing the joy in relationships. Amber specializes in portraits, elopements, and intimate weddings. She has also started shooting destination weddings and elopements, and would like to do boudoir
photography for individuals and couples who are underserved by the current boudoir industry, like masculine of center women, gays, and transgendered people. She loves seeing people presenting their best selves, loving each other, and celebrating life. It's exciting. She says being part of someone’s life, no matter how briefly, is a huge privilege.
A few months ago I visited Amber in her home to watch her take a head shot of her friend. I was struck by how Amber eased into the situation, got her subject comfortable and coached her into a very flattering pose. I could tell her friend was a little nervous at the beginning, as anyone would be in front of a camera, but Amber really had a way of playing down the nervous feelings and getting the shot she was looking for. I know from experience it's not an easy thing to do, but Amber is a pro at it and it's what makes her such a great portrait photographer.
Amber is a self-taught photographer who has been shooting with Canon equipment for the last 16 years. Her gear includes two camera bodies, a Canon Mark III and a Mark II, two lenses, a 24-70mm/2.8 lens and 50mm/1.2 and a 580 II Speedlight Flash. For post-processing she uses VSCO to capture the color and saturation of film that she grew up on and has been dreaming of since she started shooting digital. Her goal is to always capture everything in camera, the minimal edits that she does are very close to what she would do in darkroom.
Besides her mother's old photography books, Amber shamelessly takes small lessons from everyone and hopes that she inspires others too. She is close to a group of other female photographers that she keeps in touch with daily online and they have been a tremendous resource for practical things like creating albums and pricing and also for the more emotional things that come up when you are the sole proprietor of a small business.
When Amber is editing photos she likes to listen to podcasts at home or go out to the local bar to hear the happy chatter of a crowd of people and have a beer. She has learned that two beers while working is one too many though! Pressing "send" on a finished photo shoot is incredibly gratifying and leaves Amber with a total sense of accomplishment. Her clients always love the work that she sends them, just read the love notes on her About page!
Amber's studio is the whole world. She shoots exclusively on location, in homes or parks, in coffee shops and bars, depending on the client. She is interested in doing more travel and for 2014 she has waived her travel fees for clients who want to hire her for destination weddings, special events or portraits that are outside of the New York area.
I have loved watching Amber grow her business over the last few years and when I asked her what she had learned about herself through her work, this is what she had to say:
It's true that Amber loves to photograph people and love and relationships, but I see something a little deeper. She is committed and honored to help people document and tell their personal stories. Every photo shoot is a story to tell. “We got married in Central Park with just our parents there.” “We had a baby, and brought her home. She met the dogs for the first time.” “We have a two year old and a six year old. They’re rambunctious and joyful.” And more than that, the stories that Amber is most dedicated to telling are the stories that we don't always see represented in wedding and portrait photography. People who do not follow traditional gender roles, who are gay, lesbian or transgender, people who are mixed race, or in a mixed race relationship, people who have tattoos and do not fit into the tiny box of standard beauty. She is an LGBT advocate and celebrates all body types. Hiring her will guarantee that not only will you get amazing photography, but you will also get a wide open spirit who is excited about sharing ALL the stories that there are to tell and showing ALL the ways that people can love and be beautiful.
I want to thank Amber for letting me into her home to photograph her while she was working and for sharing all these amazing insights into her work and process! I hope you enjoyed getting a glimpse of the wonderful work Amber is putting out into the world and you should totally hire her if you need pictures.