One of the most important decisions while wedding planning for me was finding a photographer. I just think that beautiful photos are priceless especially since the rest of the day tends to melt away so quickly. Plus I rarely wear makeup so if I am going to get dolled up, I want enough material to provide me Facebook profile photos for a lifetime (just kidding! …..kind of).
That’s why I was so happy to have found our photographer, Jose Villa. I booked Jose before I ever got a chance to meet him and I have never regretted it. He is so incredibly talented and just has a super chill vibe that let’s you feel comfortable with him when you meet him (so important for a photographer). Plus, he is super nice – I have proof of this because he so kindly agreed to be interviewed for my blog! I know you will all enjoy meeting wonderful Jose – I loved this interview, and have included some of my favorite images from Jose throughout:
Who are you? What do you do, and where do you live?
I’m Jose Villa, a wedding photographer based in Solvang, California – the Danish capitol of America.. funny but true and I love it here. It’s also known for its amazing weather and famous wineries, including Firestone, Sanford and the list goes on and on.
How long have you been doing photography, and if you weren’t doing that, what would your profession be?
I’ve been a professional photographer for ten years, but have been shooting weddings for nine years.. I started out shooting kid’s sessions and that led to weddings. I have never looked back. I’m so in love with capturing the genuine love between people. I think I might be designing spaces and homes etc if I weren’t shooting weddings.
What tips can you share to help people look natural and flattering in photographs?
Good question, I think this is the toughest part of being a people photographer. The best advice I can give is to make sure to surround yourself in an area that you are most comfortable. As a photographer, look for the best back drops that compliment the people in the photos, also make sure you have found the best light.
Once this is mastered then move on to making sure the subjects look better than they even do in real life. This can be done by how you communicate with the subjects. Walking and interaction helps to loosen people and also certain angles and composition in a camera can really help to make people look great in the photo. I think I get the most compliments on my work when the subjects look and have a feeling of being so comfortable and genuinely happy.
What do you see people do in photographs that is your pet peeve?
Ha!!! these questions get better and better. Ha Ha.. I think my pet peeve is when people pucker their lips and want to emulate that Dolce and Gabbana model they saw in that national ad campaign .. or when a person sucks their stomach in to look thinner.. sounds funny but so true.
What details do you think photograph beautifully for weddings and that you encourage people to spend more time on? Whether it be the decor, how the dress hangs, table settings, etc?
I think floral is a huge part of a wedding. Finding the right florist and designer is key, make sure you meet with the florist and not just go off of their website, as things tend to be hidden in great photography.
What items do you think look almost universally flattering on people for photographs? Colors, patterns or no patterns, clothing items, cuts, etc?
I love flowy and thin materials on women.. I would say be careful of clothing that’s too busy in the photo. I love soft colors and tones in photos so I’m always attracted to those tones. Also, make sure to avoid logos. The colors black and white can be too harsh in photos for an engagement session, but also can be very classy as well. I think if you like those colors they just have to be paired up correctly to look great.
What other kinds of shoots do you like to do aside from weddings? Do you think it’s important for people to take time to do these photographs – because it’s not just your wedding day that should have beautiful photography to document it?
I started photographing kids sessions when I started my photography business and I love it. I still shoot these sorts of sessions, but I’m loving the weddings more and more. Im very into editorial work at the moment, and I’m getting more and more work from magazines – and it’s been so much fun. I look forward to seeing where the editorial work will take me.
Going back to kids sessions and family sessions – I think these are equally as important as weddings. The years pass us by so fast and one should really document their family and children at least every year. You dont want to regret not doing enough with photos.
What has been the best thing that has come out of your success? The most difficult thing?
I think I’ve been able to reach a further audience by having some sort of success. I feel like I have been in magazines around the world, and that has helped me find a market of clients that LOVE my work and my personality. These clients would have never found me if it weren’t for the magazines sharing my work in international markets like Europe, Asia, and South America. The toughest part is just keeping up with the amount of travel. Dont get me wrong, I love travel, but some times too much of it can wear you out.
Finally, please share something surprising about yourself!
Oh, I’m not sure I have a very interesting life outside of photography.. ha! Well, I shot my first wedding when I was 19 years old.. my third potential client ever, was in her 40’s and told me straight out that I was too young to even be asked to attend her wedding as a guest. She never did hire me.. boo on her!! LOL!
Isn’t he wonderful? Thank you so much to Jose for the interview and for sharing some of your beautiful images with us! For more of Jose, please visit his blog here. You can also check out his newly released book Fine Art Wedding Photography – 95 five star reviews – Jose, you are a rock star.
PS: I get quite a few emails from brides about wedding stuff/photographers and I am always happy to answer them – if you have any questions don’t be shy, feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.