Conducting an interview is one of the fun tasks Diane (President of My Lady Dye) gives to her intern every year. I have always been interested in photography and so, I excitingly chose to interview one of the best wedding photographers in Alabama, Jennie Tewell. I created an intense questionnaire and we set out for a trip to Mobile where we met with Jennie at her home based studio. The interview lasted 2 full hours! She answered all of my questions with so much passion! I could tell she really cares about educating photographers of all levels (beginner, mid-level, to advanced). And the cherry on top was getting my photo with her!
I had so many questions to ask her, so I will be posting this interview in 2 parts! What you are about to read are 6 of my top questions and Jennie’s responses “word-for-word”, as I literally voice recorded the interview!
- What does photography mean to you? “I feel like I could really talk a lot about this because I am so passionate about it. I love that it brings memories that will never be able to be repeated. That’s why I love weddings, because I am capturing moments in someone’s life that will only be lived out once. I also think about the legacies that have been left behind. Looking back at my generations of families that have come before me, the only way you can do that is by photos. I obviously do not know my great great grandparents but it is really fun to look back and look through those photos of the way they did things. It is just so different than it is now. So, I want to be able to leave that legacy for my family and not only for my family but for all of the clients that I get to serve and their families for years to come.”
- Whose work influences you the most and why? “There is several people that influence me. I love Julie Paisley. I have taken a few of her workshops and I really love her work. She shoots film and although I don’t shoot film, I feel like the look that she has and her authentic way of capturing things and posing is beautiful. I am inspired just by looking at her work. I love Katelyn James. She is an amazing photographer too. She is a great educator. While Julie Paisley shoots very much film, Katelyn James is very much natural. Her images don’t look like they are forced and even her editing is just very clean. I admire her work. There are so many photographers that I admire! I love Amy and Jordan Demos. They are a husband and wife photography team that I really, really admire. Also Alisha Crossley.”
- Whose work influences you the most in our local Alabama area? “Locally, I love Kayla Baptista. Her style is different than mine but I am obsessed with her work and I think it is amazing. Her work is gorgeous and she just blows me away with her creativity. I get inspiration from different photographers for different reasons. Some photographers, the way that they light a subject I’m just like WOW. Especially Kayla Baptista, I feel like her lighting and editing process is different than mine but it is still inspiring. I feel like that is one thing that even though people shoot differently than me, like how Julie Paisley shoots with film, but I feel like there is so much I can learn from them even though its not directly the way that I do my business.”
- How long does the process take, from taking the pictures to delivering the image gallery to the client? “Right away, I deliver a sneak peak which is my blog post, I blog all of the images. But, all of the images that I blog I also put in a gallery for them to have right away. I deliver that gallery within the first week to two weeks usually within the first week, but if I have three weddings on the same weekend some of them might be the second week. They have at least 150 pictures to use within the first week or two then it takes six to eight weeks to get everything back. That is a standard timeline. I feel like some people really excel in delivering it within the week of their wedding. I feel like that’s unrealistic for me. Some people tend to be like four or five months and I do not feel like it is still fresh. They are expecting a new baby and haven’t even seen their wedding pictures. I try not to stress out about it but my goal is always to over-deliver and under-promise. I always try to deliver in a much quicker timeline than I say. So I may say six to eight weeks but I am pushing for three to four.”
- What is your favorite wedding detail to shoot? “I love shooting the wedding rings. I feel like there is so many unique ways to shoot them. I love shooting them on flowers, I love shooting them on the invitation, and I love shooting them as the detail specifically. The rings or the invitations. I love capturing the invitations. I would say the invitations are my favorite detail if I had enough time on the wedding day to capture them the way that I would like to. Most of the time, I feel rushed in that area, so I do not have enough time to really capture them the way that they need to be. I love capturing the rings because I can capture like 10 ring shots in 5 minutes and get so much variety. So, I would have to say rings.”
Pro tip from Jennie, to ALWAYS shoot your wedding details because they set the mood of the entire day. She also recommends to schedule enough time for the details so that she can style everything beautifully and appropriately.
- How often do you travel for your customers? “I don’t travel a lot. I love to travel but in the stage of life I’m in right now with the three kids I have chosen not to travel a lot. I don’t market myself as a destination photographer. I don’t market to any other markets besides Mobile, Alabama. I still get inquiries every once in a while from areas like Fairhope, Destin,and Orange Beach. But I do love to travel! This year I’m traveling to a wedding in West Virginia that I’m shooting and think that is the only place that I am traveling that I know of right now, other than our surrounding areas. So I love to travel but I have just kind of chosen, that is not going to be my focus for now. When my kids are a little older and a little more independent, I would love to travel more.”
Fun Fact: Jennie is located in Mobile, AL but shoots weddings all over the Gulf Coast. She even designs her own magazines which showcases all of her current work and hands out printed issues to her potential clients. Learn more about Jennie’s magazine in Part 2 of this interview.
Read more about Jennie Tewell from our first interview with her back in Spring 2019, conducted by intern Lauren Hartman.
Here are some of Jennie’s favorite wedding photographs!
Written by Lila Brasili