Nick – I think I became aware of Erika and Lanny’s work back in 2013 in a Junebug interview. Around this time, I was just starting to get our photography business off the ground. My biggest influences and the photographers that I would model myself after at the time were Joe McNally and Ben Chrisman. I know that Joe doesn’t shoot weddings, but his use of light and his ability to tell a story in a single frame really resonated with me. I don’t think much needs to be said about Ben, because if every wedding photographer that reads this says they weren’t influenced by him in some way, I think maybe they aren’t being honest with themselves.
After reading that Junebug article and browsing their site, Erika and Lanny’s work literally ruined my opinion of what wedding photography could (should?) be. I saw use of light, shadow, and color that rivaled Ben’s and environmental portraiture that put a “face in a place” with storytelling reminiscent of McNally. Their photography literally combined; and at the same time improved upon, the work I respected the most.
To say that they have been an inspiration to me would be an understatement. I waited for newly-blogged weddings of theirs like a kid waiting for Christmas to come! Once I found out that they had started hosting workshops, I knew that I would attend the moment I had enough cash scraped together!
Fast forward to early 2017; Kelly and I knew that we used a few of the same techniques that they did, maybe some bold colors like them. We actually had apprehension before attending since we thought we were doing the same things as them, just just not as well! We then found out that a New York workshop was opening up and we went for it. Both of us went there with one thing in mind. We weren’t looking for tricks, gimmicks, or techniques to use in our photos. We wanted to get inside Twomann’s Twoheads to find out what makes them tick and; more importantly, how they get their minds in the right place to make amazing imagery.
Since completing their workshop, my brain has been unable to turn off the photography switch. I honestly can’t give a higher compliment than that. I have been entirely consumed with how to continually improve our craft, to evolve our client experience, and to aggressively critique ourselves. THERE CAN BE NO FILLER!
Just as important, Erika’s spot-on critiques of my work in particular led me to realize how my portraiture could improve significantly.
Kelly – I loved both Erika & Lanny’s work since I first saw it. They saw in bright, bold colors just like I did, and even their black and whites were bold. I, however, met Erika first at the Real Life Conference which she organized. I knew we had a lot in common which made me want to understand how she saw wedding photography. I also knew our work had a lot of similarities, but I could not quite put my finger on what was different about theirs. I loved their close-up emotional way of shooting that made me feel like I was in the photo, which has always been my goal when it comes to photography. Being a nosy person by nature, capturing moments came easier to me then the technical aspects. I knew that I wanted to learn how to put emotion, light, and composition all into one photo, so it had more of an impact. I also was intrigued by the fact that they were together for the majority of their time; much like Nick and I, and wanted to figure out how we could better utilize each other to be successful.
One thing I took from the workshop was that there are ways we can improve our client experience. Although I know we are good at it, we can always be better. I also have started tasking myself with seeing light that is there more, without making my own. Finally, and one of the main things, was that we really need to be true to ourselves in our work. Our portraits did not match the rest of our work and that was because our hearts were not in them. We needed to stop trying to make portraits and let the portraits make themselves just like we do with the rest of our work. The result so far has been fun, playful portraits that are so much more “us” as well as emotional, real portraits that fit our personalities and brand so much better.