It is hard to put into words what working with Chelsea has meant to me. I remember the moment her email popped into my inbox requesting to intern with me this past summer. I hesitated for a second…she was one of my brides after all! What would she think of all the sappy love movies I played over and over again while editing and all the silliness that went on behind the scenes on a wedding day. As normal as we (hopefully) seem on the outside, Mekina and I joke often and are a little quirky to put it in the best way. What would Chelsea think? Would she like our quirkiness or think we were total weirdos?
Then I considered how much I would learn about Chelsea over the months we would get to work together. I would really get to know who she was and I believed it would lead me to better capture her and Steve’s individual and unique personalities on their wedding day. And to be honest, I knew I would really enjoy her company. I quickly wrote her back expressing I would LOVE to have her on board!
In the months we spent together, I discovered so many amazing things about Chelsea. Super organized, kind, filled with contagious laughter, and passionate about the people she photographs, Chelsea’s skill set is PERFECT for wedding photography. On top of that, she has a gift for capturing real moments, filled with emotion and heart. Always present and super observant, Chelsea pours herself into telling a unique story that I believe truly added to the complete collection of photographs I was able to deliver to my brides at the end of their wedding day. I am so thankful for the time we got to spend together and will treasure the memories we made for years to come.
About a month ago, Chelsea launched her own website! I am SOOOOOOO proud of her and I can’t wait to watch her business grow and flourish. Get lost in all the beautiful moments on her website, “Like” her Facebook page, and leave her a little love. Thanks again for everything Chelsea and best of luck as you embark on this new adventure.
Chelsea was kind enough to write about her experience of working together this summer. If you like, you can read her story below.
Amy Rizzuto Experience
I met Amy in 2012 when she was doing engagement photos for my [now] sister in law. Really, my first opportunity to spend time with her was during the engagement shoot – and what I remember are the following: Amy was extremely professional, she was incredibly kind – while still able to give direction, and we had such a wonderful time with her! Of course, I immediately began following her on social media, and checking out her website! My boyfriend knew how much I love her work, and bought us a couples session – which then turned into a surprise engagement session (May 2013)! Amy was amazing, we felt sooooo comfortable being our silly selves during the shoots, and she completely embraced that, making it show in our photos. It wasn’t until later in the winter of 2013, after months of being inspired by her work, I felt empowered to begin thinking about starting my own business. I was terribly nervous to email Amy and ask if she would take me on as her intern for the 2014 wedding season, but those were completely unwarranted feelings. Our photography relationship started one night last winter when she let me know she would be happy to have me, and we talked about all of my hopes and aspirations
Due to my occupation as a Special Education teacher during the week, I could only work with Amy during the weekends, until the school year was over. Amy and I worked out that I would join her for as many or few (of course as many!) weekend weddings as I wanted. My first wedding I was so nervous! I showed up for the reception with my borrowed Cannon Rebel, ready to rock n’ roll, but not completely sure what that even looked like. Amy made me feel at ease, introducing me to necessary parties as soon as she could – filling me in on any important details, while making sure she was still capturing what she needed. After that first wedding I went with her and the other photographers to get some food. Amy was so ready to teach! She pulled out her Cannon 5D Mark II, and put me on the spot! Asking me given the light what would my manual settings be. I was SWEATING to say the least, but it was a perfect learning experience – as a wedding photographer, this is what needs to happen, in the moment decisions about what will capture a moment in the best way. Of course I totally messed up, but instead of making me feel ridiculous, Amy taught me what and why my setting should be a certain way (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) This was not a one time experience. At every wedding Amy made sure to take any possible moment to teach me. “Chelsea, do you want to learn how to use flash?” “Do you want to pose this couple?” “This is why I put them in this lighting – because it gives me this desired effect.” I could hardly believe how lucky I was to have someone who would not only let me come and photograph weddings with her, but took any possible teachable moment and used it to help me develop my craft. Amy would ask me to take on different responsibilities during the day, always making sure I was prepared with the knowledge and confidence to do so. Some days I would be in charge of the photo booth – what a HOOT! That was incredibly fun, but I was also able to get all the photos for getting ready, and the ceremony to develop my portfolio. Other days I would serve as 3rd shooter to her and Mekina (also soooo wonderful to work with). This ranged from trying to think outside the box to get angles she and Mekina weren’t getting, to dress fluffing, and veil flinging. No matter what stress she was feeling inside Amy was always beyond pleasant, and completely calm, cool and collected. If my words aren’t enough, they were all confirmed at EVERY wedding we worked together. Family members and friends of the couples would gush over her day of slideshow – tears, laughter, astonishment – and thank her an uncountable number of times for her work and overall fabulousness.
In the Office:
Part of my work with Amy also included going to her office in New Jersey once a week, although her cat was not thrilled about this prospect I was! Amy offered this as part of my internship which I gladly accepted so that I could both help her in the office, but learn more about the behind the scenes/business aspect of Amy Rizzuto Photography. Besides being wonderful to spend time with Amy as a person, in a calm environment, it was an amazing learning opportunity. I helped Amy with duties ranging from organizing files and clients, to culling photos, and more. While this was super helpful to do my favorite part was again those teachable moments. If Amy was working on editing photos, or the back end of her website, she would always offer to let me watch over her shoulder, as she explained what she was doing and why. We would also explore things on the camera together, such as shooting in Kelvin, and the function on the lock click on the power switch (haha), or the best way to shoot sparklers.Our days also included but were not limited to: watching romantic movies, drinking tea/coffee, laughing at her cat, eating delicious baked goods, watching Jasmine Star tutorials, me asking unlimited questions, and just chatting about life and my upcoming wedding (which she was obviously photographing), so much laughing. I am especially grateful to Amy for the time we would spend together at the end of the day. She would ask me what I wanted to learn about/work on, and off we would go! We spent time using different lenses, to best understand what desired look we could get from them, best lighting, flash, editing, creating my own website/blog. I was always blown away by the HUGE differences such seemingly small nuggets of knowledge provided.
I have a dual relationship with Amy. Yes she is my mentor and photographer, but I also consider her to be a great friend! It is rare that you can find people, especially as you “become a grown up” who are so true to their faith, conviction, and passion. These reasons and so many more are why I was able to be such a calm bride. Amy always produces the most incredible work, but she also is just the best person to work with, both professionally and as a client. I was able to be a little less of a controlling maniac at my wedding because I was so confident in Amy (and Mekina’s) ability to capture the moments I knew I wanted – and those I didn’t but LOVE that I have. I have experienced Amy, so many times, going above and beyond what I have seen most photographers do, to make sure that she is producing her best work. She recognizes the importance and uniqueness of every wedding day, always thinking of how she can hone and better her craft to produce amazing photos that her couples and people everywhere will love and cherish.
I truly feel lucky to have worked with and learned from Amy. She is always eager to learn more, and teach those around her who are equally as eager. To work with Amy in any capacity will always guarantee results beyond expectations. I am always learning from her, even now that I have started my own business and moved half way across the country. Her talent and friendship are to be cherished, as they are not a common commodity.