when i decided to start this series, i asked some photographer friends for some recommendations on who to interview. when erin’s name came in, i looked her up and quickly knew i wanted to interview her. erin is an artist first and foremost and brings a fresh approach to an industry that is ultra competitive. she is a relatively new photographer, but personally, i think erin is off to an amazing start. so today i’m happy to introduce you to erin lassahn, a wedding and portrait photographer based in washington dc, whose romantic images celebrate love in a light, radiant and ethereal style. see more of erin’s work and connect with erin at:
- portfolio: portfolio.erinlassahn.com
- website: erinlassahn.com
- flickr: erin_lassahn
- twitter: erinlassahnfoto
- facebook: erinlassahnphotography
Do you have a mission as a photographer?
I’d say my main mission is to make my clients happy, and in doing so, capture the essence and dynamic of who my clients are as a couple. I love seeing the different ways that couples love each other, and if I can bring that out in my photos, well then mission accomplished.
Describe your photographic style or philosophy.
I think my philosophy is pretty much the same as my mission, so like the above answer, for me its really about bringing the best out in my clients, pulling out the reasons they love each other and showing that on camera. And well, of course hopefully doing all that in a creative and artistic way! For a wedding day, is also about telling the story of the whole day, not just the story of the isolated couple, but grabbing those moments of friends and family preparing, loving and celebrating alongside the couple. It’s about the happily ever after.
What are you working on these days? Where is your focus?
I am still in the early stages of building my business, and so a lot of my effort is spent on just becoming visible to the right audience, and working on my skills in a general sense. (p.s. Know any fun, creative, do-it-yourself kind of couples looking for a photographer?) But I would say one thing I try to work on in each session, whether just 5 minutes or 2 hours of the session, is getting my couples to really engage with each other. To hopefully forget I am there, and focus on why they are there, how they got to this point. Whether it’s their engagement session, their wedding day, or 5 years into their marriage with 2 kids circling their feet.
While my photography could be considered staged in many cases, and it is sometimes, I try to stage couples in a way that creates a real moment, if that makes sense. For instance instead of just telling them to smile and laugh at me, I drop the camera to my side, walk over to the guy and whisper so the girl can’t hear ‘I want you to walk over, take her hand, and lean in and whisper something that will make her blush.’ What this does is elicit a real reaction of blushing and laughter, instead of a completely fake one. And who knows, maybe that moment of laughter and secret words will become a real moment on that couples list of memories, instead of, ‘oh yeah remember when we got our picture taken…’
What do you love most about today’s technology?
INSTANT GRATIFICATION. What else can I say? The sheer fact that we can snap a shot, look at it, say ‘yay’, or ‘oh crap!’ and make adjustments that very second is way cool. Social networking helps with the instant gratification too…there’s nothing cooler than posting images on my blog, or on my Facebook fan page, and within 5 minutes getting comments from the client, or other photographers, or the clients friends. I mean lets face it, us artist types love, scratch that, need validation to keep up moving forward!
What do you dislike most about today’s technology? Has it presented you with any challenges?
Hmm, well….its friggin’ expensive!!!! Other than that, I hate the constant fear of data failure, and the gazillion steps it takes to ensure that I have backed up the files, and then backed them up again, and now which drive was that wedding from 2 years ago on? Let me plug in all 85 to find out….
Who are your inspirations?
Ya know, while I really should and want to take inspiration from genres of photography outside the wedding photography industry, (I swear, its on my to-do list) I always seem to find myself perusing the latest post from my favorite wedding photographers, some of whom are: Jonas Peterson, Samm Blake, Jesh De Rox, Max Wanger & Sean Flanigan. Why? Because these are all photographers who have taken a new approach to wedding and portrait photography….it’s not the stale traditional photography of yesterday….its modern, fresh, artful, meaningful storytelling imagery.
Of all the gear you’ve ever used, what’s your favorite?
I am still acquiring gear, and upgrading whenever I am able. But to be honest, I am not much of a gear head. My second shooter (who happens to be my boyfriend Stefan) is like most guys…technology and the intricacy of electronics gets him all giddy. He’ll come rushing home and be all ‘I just heard that Nikon is rumored to be releasing a brand new blah blah blah [insert technical mumbo jumbo here]” to which I nod and am all ‘That’s great honey….you get it, figure it all out and report back on how it works.’ For me, the camera is just a means to an end! That said, I am actually very anxious to purchase a tilt shift lens, as I love what some of my favorite photographers are doing with it (it gives a very distinct look) and I want to see what I can do with it too! (But obviously Stefan will have to figure it out first)
What are your aspirations? Are there things, with regard to photography, that you haven’t done yet that you’d like to?
Absolutely!!! In fact as a relatively new photographer, don’t think I have even put a dent in the list of things I would like to accomplish! I had never left the country, or even been on a plane until I was 21 and begged my parents to send me to study abroad for a month in Paris during college. If only I knew how to use a camera then! But ever since, I have wanted to travel, travel and travel some more. I have had the good fortune to be able to do a few destination weddings, in fact my first wedding EVER was in Salzburg, Austria, followed a year later by a gorgeous tropical wedding off the coast of Cancun, Mexico. But trust me, there are still tons of destinations on the list I would love to go, and if I can do it with a camera in my hand, taking pictures of people in love then all the better! So marketing myself in a way to grab some destination weddings is definitely on the list of things to accomplish. But travelling isn’t the only thing, a general but huge goal would be to just continue to improve my photography skills, and dive deeper into developing my own style and identity as a photographer. I’d like to find even better ways of bringing couples closer through photography. And then there’s all the superfluous stuff, like having an awesome space to meet clients at and work in, the cash flow to buy every last piece of gear on my wish list, and to desire to just be generally awesome. (Definitely still working on that last one) All in all though….I just want to keep propelling further ahead, always improving along the way.
Finally, why do you love photography?
There’s a quote about photography that I just love:
“Photography gives you the chance to capture the moments that make you feel alive”
And really that sums it up. We live our lives with the expectation that we get to see tomorrow, that we will have one moment followed by another and then another. What we can’t do is go backward. So many of the best moments in life are fleeting, and once we pass one moment we are already planning for the next. I love that as a photographer I have the ability to help freeze some of those moments in time. Whether its holding my hand out in front of my boyfriend and I at a party so that next year we can remember the joke he told that made me cackle, or taking a picture of someone’s first kiss as a married couple so that they can show their children in 20 years the day their marriage began, I have been given the amazing ability to lock down some of the best moments in peoples lives, so that they can never forget.
thank you, erin. we wish you the best of luck with your photographic pursuits!
i’ll be emailing everyone soon about the release of my new book – “Love Your Photos”, so if you haven’t already, sign up for my mail list so you see all future interviews and announcements about the book. don’t be scared – there will be no spam. i support infrequent emailing practices.