On a day that some might call the most stressful, whirlwind of a day you’ll ever experience in your life, it’s nice to have people that are of a calm and peaceful spirit in your corner.
Someone that will remind you that the moments that you’ll want to remember forever are the in-between moments. That 45 second belly laugh after a posed photo with your Aunt Pauline, the tear you shed when your best friend since kindergarten gives an amazing toast at your reception, or the tight embrace of your loved one after the ceremony is over and you slip away from the crowd to let it all sink it.
Those in-between moment are what husband and wife photography duo April and Paul Russell have built their photography business off of. The main mission of April and Paul photography is to banish the norm of hurried interactions of fake, stiff poses and awkward smiles from the norm of wedding photography.
They aim to capture the real moments – the real story – the real you.
As one of the most long-standing wedding photography businesses in Mississippi that truly do aim to tell each couple’s stories through photographs, we’re honored to have April and Paul kick off our 2016 Mississippi Makers series. You’re in for a treat with this one, folks.
How did you get your start in photography?
I (April) got my start in photography while Paul was working at a job in Jacksonville, FL. He bought me my first DSLR and I spent a lot of my time taking photos of our kiddos day to day lives. We spent some time living in beautiful Perdido Key, FL for a while after that which is where I really started diving in and learning the ins and outs of what my camera could do. At the time Paul was still working a ton of hours at his job. We longed to spend more time at home with the kids so Paul quit his job and begin learning the ropes as well. Being such a big gadget nerd already, he picked it up super fast!
What is the inspiration behind your photography?
Our inspiration comes from each of our couples and their story. We choose to tell each story as authentically as possible. We aren’t list checkers. We believe that wedding photography should be about the moments and not staged. Those moments are the ones that make each wedding story unique.
What is special about being a husband/wife photography duo?
I would say one of the big pros is that because we live/work/do life together on a daily basis, we have come to know each other pretty well. I know what Paul is taking pictures of on the wedding day and he knows what I’m taking photos of as well. It also allows us to split up for me to go with the bride and him with the groom (if that’s necessary), which is great for the couples so they can see what the other was doing while they weren’t around when they get their pictures.
What is your favorite part of shooting weddings/bridal sessions?
Our favorite part is the unknown. Even with all the planning that goes into a wedding day (which is SUPER important), there are always things that happen or don’t happen that causes an audible. We enjoy the high of having to go to plan B sometimes. Often this pushes our creativity to a new level and allows us to step outside of our comfort zone.
What’s your favorite part of being involved with people’s wedding?
We always say that your wedding day is the second most important day of your life. The first day should be the day you come to believe in Christ. With that being said, because it is an important day, we don’t take it lightly that we’ve been asked to be a part of it. Our favorite part of being involved is seeing the love that goes into it from family and friends, watching a marriage begin right in front of our eyes, and getting to know the couple even more.
How do you think you and your husband told your story through your wedding?
Unfortunately there wasn’t much of OUR story told through our wedding day. We had never been informed about the importance of having our day documented and didn’t spend anytime really Googling how to plan properly. We had a very small ceremony with very few people and no reception. Looking back, we definitely regret it. It doesn’t matter if your guest list is 500 people or 5 people, it deserves to be documented well. Your kids and grandkids will thank you.
If you could’ve written your future selves a note to read on your wedding day, what would it have said?
April: Your wedding day is an important day. Do what makes you and Paul happy. But most of all don’t forget that you have a lifetime with this amazing man and this is just one day.
Paul: Hey man, slow down and enjoy each and every season of life. Life moves so fast and you can get so bogged down in the day to day grind that one day you’ll wake up and realize the things you took for granted. One day your son will no longer need you to start his bathwater or your daughter will be too cool to sit in your lap and watch Disney movies… Enjoy every moment while you can. Soak up the date nights with your wife and let her know she’s special and loved.
If there was one piece of advice you could tell a bride or groom, what would it be?
April: Remember that this is your day. You will receive a ton of advice and it’s all well and good but you can’t forget that this day is about what YOU want as a couple. Your marriage is what’s most important. When things go wrong just take it with a grain of salt. Also, don’t go with the trends, just do you.
Paul: Be her rock. Regardless of how much planning goes on, its inevitable that something will go sideways. What better way to prove she’s making a good decision than to be there for her to relax her nerves or anxiousness during a time when others my be spazzing. You know what she needs better than anyone.
What are some of your favorite wedding vendors in Mississippi?
We work with so many amazing vendors it would be hard to mention them all!