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Local photographer Rebecca Stark transcends the norm and delivers a collection of wedding day photos to savor
So, here’s the thing about Rebecca Stark: The local wedding photographer is something more than just a woman behind the lens taking photos. Think of her as an artist of sorts, somebody who not only has the eye for capturing the most unique shots on the “Big Day,” but also somebody who can truly interpret the vibe of the scenes playing out before her eyes. That’s a good skill to have, especially if you’re going to be getting up close and personal with the wedding couple—and their clan—on the wedding day.
Stark, who has been a professional photographer for about two decades now, began shooting weddings professionally back in 2000. Since that time, she has snapped colorful and illuminating photographs of more than 400 couples near and far. A great deal of her work manages to capture the emotions found in any given moment—she does more than wedding photos, by the way. She went to digital about 10 years ago, after a successful run working with actual film. A few other plusses, surround the local, and those interested in her work may be intrigued with her website, rebeccastarkphotography.com. Within its many verticals, we found Stark’s informative blog, where she often offers some tips for the altar-bound. Our recent favorite noted that she loved photographing weddings on the beach. To that end, she offers some keen ideas for anybody interested. Stark is set to appear at the upcoming Bridal Expo (see insert). In the meantime, we caught up with her and asked her some essential questions. In between, peruse some of her photos that caught our interest.
Good Times: Tell us about how you were lured into photography?
Rebecca Stark: I’ve always been interested in photography. My dad was a photographer in the army and my mom was an art teacher. We always had workbooks and things like that—National Geographic magazine and more. When I was really young, I had a camera and I took pictures. But it wasn’t until my son was born and I lived on a farm in Central California that I really go into it.
How long ago was that?
Twenty years ago
What was it that inspired you at that point to keep you moving in that direction?
Well, I studied psychology. I’ve always been interested in emotions and the way people interact with each other and the world around them. And also, light—the combination of those things. I am always looking for different opportunities to photograph situations. And at weddings, it’s really all about light and emotion.
What is the trick, then, to creating a good package of wedding photos?
I have a standard list of collections I refer people to, but a lot of times, everybody’s needs are different. And over the last couple of years, I started offering an elopement package, which has become very popular. I get people who come from all over the world to get married in Santa Cruz. A lot of times, they have never even been here—they have just seen a photo. I had one couple come from Sweden. I try to sit down with the couples and go over their timeline and what their expectations are.
What are the trends right now?
The Instagram-type looks. Some couples are all into that, so the more information I can spend with the couples before the wedding day, the more I find out exactly what they want.
So, what do you love most about taking wedding photographs?
I love it when a bride cries. I’ve had this happen often, where the bride tells me that they never really felt pretty before until they see their wedding photos and that’s a nice thing to hear. I think everybody is photogenic in the right light and at the right angle.
What’s some advice you would give couples about photos?
Figuring out what’s realistic. If you’re racking up debt, then just to have realistic expectations of what you want—and sticking to a budget. And doing your research—there’s a great wedding out there for everyone. I did this one wedding last year. It was a Fourth of July wedding. The bridesmaids were in red and blue dresses, and bride was, of course, in white. The flowers were red and blue; and the bride’s flowers were white. It was their friend’s ranch and they used hay bails at the ceremony site and it was just the most magical and beautiful wedding. It was pretty low-budget, too.
HOW MANY CLICKS DOES IT TAKE?
Your wedding day is one of the most pivotal days in your life. Here, Rebecca Stark shares three tips to have before you walk down the aisle:
KNOW THE LIGHT Where will the sun be during your ceremony? “I photograph a lot of beach weddings and most of them are during mid-day,” Stark says. “Many couples don’t realize how bright it can be at 1 p.m. If it’s sunny there can be bright sunlight and light reflected off the sand. This causes people to squint, which can be an unflattering look.”
DRESSED TO THRILL Make sure your wedding dress looks good on your body type. “Sit down in your dress and make sure you are comfortable and can breathe while sitting down,” Stark points out. “Corset type dresses are very popular but can sometimes make sitting down a challenge. Always make sure you try your dress on after the last fitting.”
SHOES “If your feet hurt, your smile won’t be as bright,” Stark notes. “It’s a good idea to bring a second pair of shoes just in case your feet are uncomfortable or you get blisters.