Adam + Alexandra // Interview
Adam + Alexandra
Tell us a bit about yourself! (How would you describe your style, how many years have you been in the photography industry, what do you love to photograph, ect.)
We’re Adam and Alex – binge-watchers, snackers, road-trip singers, and professional photographers who are in their fourth wedding season in business. We’re an engaged couple and best buds who have a passion for going on double dates and photographing other couples in love. Our approach to photography is to document lives and connection authentically, with a love for film-inspired tones, natural light, and a bit of grit.
What is a practice that you wish you had laid out sooner?
Using a physical packing checklist before every shoot/wedding and scheduling our work effectively to make room for our personal lives. Oh, and bringing snacks to weddings. Always. Pack. Snacks.
Are there any lessons that you learned from your 2018 wedding season?
Saying no to weddings and sessions that aren’t right for us. It’s one of the toughest but most important lessons we’ve learned so far because it’s created space: space for the work that IS right for us and that we bring our absolute best selves to because we’re genuinely stoked on it; space for indulging in each other, our friends and family, our passions outside of photography, and self-care; and space for growing our business in the direction that feels best for us and our clients.
Tell us a bit about the gear you bring to a wedding day.
We tend to move, climb, and (obvs) dance around a lot on wedding days so we keep it minimal. Each of us carries a camera (D750s) and a backpack (Alex is obsessed with her Atlas Supply backpack) with our favourite gear. We use all prime lenses – Alex’s fave is the 35mm 1.8 and Adam’s is the 50mm 1.4 but we also always have an 85, 20, and additional 50. We carry an extra camera, speedlights, portable chargers, extra batteries, and memory cards. Alex also usually has a couple film cameras on hand (polaroid and 35mm) and Adam usually has some fun stuff hangin’ around (smoke bombs, confetti, etc.) In addition to camera gear, we also always have a snack (or several - Alex is hungry literally always), a water bottle, and a small Bluetooth speaker. Now that we write it all out, it kinda sounds like a lot to fit in two bags. Guess you can call our backpacks TARDIS. They’re bigger on the inside.
Are you an introvert, extrovert, or both? How do you use that to thrive as a photographer?
Both of us hover somewhere around the middle. We’re pretty extroverted when it comes to our work and find it fun and energizing, but we definitely need to recharge after long periods of time being social. During shoots, Alex is usually the more extroverted one. We think we’re able to thrive the way we are because there’s a good balance between the two of us – Alex tends to bring out the energy and action in our shoots because she’s doing most of the directing. But because Adam is a bit more introverted, he tends to shoot around the action, takes his time to get different angles, and captures all the in-between moments. Best of both worlds!
You both have openly discussed anxiety and mental-health in your social media. How does anxiety interact with your photography?
It makes us feel insecure, makes us doubt ourselves and our abilities, it makes us feel socially uncomfortable at times, it pushes us to the edge. In living through these experiences though, we’ve learned how much we’re capable of, how much we’re able to overcome in the name of our work and growth and each other. Anxiety has the tricky ability to talk you out of things you really want, making fear and doubt drown everything else out. Doing what we do has really forced us to explore the darkest and most difficult corners of our minds and seek out how best to shine light in there so we can keep pursuing this thing that matters so much to us. In a way, photography has introduced new ways for us to experience our illnesses but it’s also taught us so much about how to manage them and why it’s so important to find healthy ways to do so.
What practices do you put in place to process anxiety during a work day?
Preparation is our greatest ally with managing anxiety, especially on a wedding day. We start with prepping our gear, double-checking timelines and addresses, organizing family shot lists, etc. the night before so we’re not scrambling in the morning (neither of us are morning people). On the day of, we’ve learned that rushing causes additional anxiety that carries on throughout the day so we always plan to be super early and take time to get coffee and breakfast. This is extra important to us because rushing can either cause us to forget to take medication or end up in us skipping breakfast, which causes us to feel sick because of medication. When we’re going through something particularly difficult, we also find time to remove ourselves (taking turns, if necessary) from the wedding at appropriate times (i.e. during dinner) by going for a walk, taking CBD, doing a quick meditation in the car, doing breathing exercises, etc. In these times, and many others, we’ve learned the importance of leaning on each other and value our ability to do so more than ever. It’s really important to keep an open line of communication between the two of us regarding our mental wellbeing. When one of us knows the other is suffering, we offer to carry more of the weight for that day and try to find opportunities to alleviate stress and negativity for the other person.
How do you set boundaries when it comes to separating work life from home life?
Scheduling is so important! Our first year or two of business, we felt so isolated during the wedding season. We were constantly prioritizing photo shoots, staying home to edit, etc. over everything else in our lives. We felt distant from our friends and family, which exacerbated our mental health issues. And then we learned that this was all in our control. Finding “the right balance” is basically impossible, but we’ve gotten better at insisting on making time for life outside our business. We don’t book any meetings or shoots on Mondays in the summer because we’ve reserved that night to hang out with our friends at a weekly event. We try, as often as possible, to only take on a certain amount of shoots per week/month. We often celebrate finishing big projects with impromptu date nights. And basically, we just agreed between the two of us that we’d say yes to life more. We used to decline invites constantly, with the excuse that we were too tired or had too much work to finish. But we noticed that when we forced ourselves to put away our work and chug some coffee to energize and hang out with each other and friends, we were so much happier and fulfilled. Even if it means only going out for an hour because we have to get back to work later, losing out on some sleep, or feeling a tiiiiny bit guilty for having fun instead of knocking stuff off our to-do list – overall it’s all so worthwhile to feel happier, healthier, and more connected and dedicated to the people we love.
What are some pieces of advice you’d like to share for creatives struggling with their mental health?
Make time for life, fun, and the people you love. Especially when you’re at your busiest and have the most valid excuses not to. Especially when it feels most impossible. That’s when it’s the most important. And accept and ask for help. Whether it’s from your friends, family, partner, and/or medical professionals, you’re never alone and we all need support and guidance sometimes.