Livestock Interview with Photographer Diana Elizabeth

Diana Elizabeth is a former reporter for E! Online turned photographer, graphic designer and design blogger. Livestock sat down with the Phoenix-based photographer to ask about storytelling across mediums, how she approaches a shoot and the difference between wedding photography and editorial photography.

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You went from a red carpet reporter for E! Online to starting your own graphic design boutique. How did these experiences shape you as a photographer?

Throughout the different career changes, I’ve learned to have a strong work ethic. Meet deadlines (earlier is better), deliver a product that exceeds expectations, and treat others with kindness. Whether I was drawing, designing or taking a photo, each profession allowed me to be a unique story teller, just with different tools.

As someone who has specialized in wedding and engagement photography, how much of a shoot comes down to careful planning versus serendipity?

I’m a planner, I always think planning is crucial no matter what the task entails. When I photograph weddings I know what is necessary to live up to expectations – and that requires good lighting. My preparation includes giving a suggested ceremony timeline (given before or during a consultation). I also walk the ceremony grounds a few days before the wedding with my second shooter so I can observe the location and lighting. Preparation ensured I don’t waste any time, know where I can find everyone on the big day, and feel more in control.

Of course wedding days have their own agenda, so it’s also important to be flexible and spontaneous. I don’t think of poses beforehand, I see location and lighting first, then have my staple poses. Sometimes the best shots are unplanned.

How does the work you’re currently doing in editorial and corporate photography compare to wedding photography?

When I began to shoot editorial I had to remember I was still story telling – just a different subject. I had to learn to stop cropping my image in camera, and take a full step back – to allow bleed for the magazine and possible cover lines. I also switched from shooting horizontally to (primarily) vertically – and it has stuck. My battery grip is my best friend. I enjoy corporate shoots, though they are the polar opposite of shooting a glamorous wedding. There’s something to be said for simplicity!

And your most memorable moment on a shoot?

It was a fall wedding at a New York private estate with views of the Hudson River. Every corner of the grounds was breathtaking and belonged to the bride and groom’s close family friend. During our first look on the wedding day, it began to rain and instead of being unwelcome, or worried, we embraced it. The rain was brief, but the atmosphere and the positivity of the couple kept it fun. The wedding weekend itself was amazing and I think the rain added some magic!

Please click through to learn more about Diana’s photography and blog.

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