Ellen's passion for photography was ignited during her time as an environmental photojournalist - from the jungles of Brazil to the the peaks of the Himalaya in India. Throughout her travels, she was deeply intrigued by the art of storytelling, whether it be through the written word or imagery, and the intricate details that come with watching a story unfold piece by piece. Drawing on her background in photojournalism, Ellen's photography style is heavily influenced by her editorial perspective and documentary approach. The Light + Color artfully blends both film and digital mediums to capture the raw and unscripted moments of every wedding weekend.
What would you like couples to know about The Light + Color?
I've always loved stories. My uncle used to light candles and bring us all next to the wood stove to tell us ghost stories. I used to beg my parents to play me storybooks on tape every night as a kid. I recently told a story on the Moth. I love writing and painting a picture of words, but what I love more is the complexity that comes with telling a story through images.
Where are you based?
I split my year along the East Coast! In the summers I’m based in Vermont, bouncing around the north east from the Hudson Valley to Coastal Maine, and I spend winters in the Southeast between western North Carolina and South Florida.
Do you travel for weddings?
Definitely. I’ve been lucky enough to photograph weddings in 28 states, as well as abroad.
How would you describe your style?
I’ve always had the phrase simple, honest, storytelling at the core of my work. I want to feel like a friend you invited to your wedding, who also happens to have a camera. The more comfortable you are with your photographer, the more you’re able to sink into the day, and just let me capture you, together, authentically.
What is your most memorable career moment?
I’ve been photographing celebrations for over 10 years. I started when I was 21 and over the last decade, I’ve connected with so many wonderful couples who have become friends, which is just so special. I got married in 2022 and we had a party with everyone in September since we had such an intimate celebration, and there were couples whose weddings I photographed, celebrating with me, for my wedding!
What inspires you?
On a wedding day, I love seeing you interact with your people. Cocktail hour is one of my favorite moments in the day. The hugs, the tears, the excitement. Little kids hiding under tables, friends reuniting, glasses clinking. There are so many little vignettes happening and it keeps me on my toes.
When I’m off duty I’m inspired by films, by books, by narrative. I love telling the story.
What motivates you to do what you do?
I love human connection and interaction. The world is so vast and witnessing these little microcosms of joy keeps me going.
How would you describe your working style?
I’m very go with the flow, capturing the day as it unfolds. I don’t want to direct or curate your day. I will always jump in and help direct those moments that require a little more finesse, aka family portraits, but for the most part I’m there to capture all those in between moments that may get missed otherwise.
Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?
I use both digital and film mediums. On film, I’m using new film stock for those beautiful tones and grain, and also expired film stock that gives the unexpected - the light leaks, the gritty grain, the funky exposure. I’ve been known to whip out disposable cameras on the dance floor. We’re able to curate digital images into 'the perfect', and I love that with film it’s just as the moment was, no curation, just a snap shot in time!
Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?
Every wedding is different, whether it be a celebration with ten of your nearest and dearest, or a three day wedding weekend with 200 of your friends and family. We have coverage options for it all.
What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?
Can I have two? Or three? Or all of them? I love offering film as part of my packages. In a selfish way, I’m so glad to be back to where I started, which is with a film camera, working in the darkroom in high school. I love getting film scans back, it’s like opening the most anticipated present. For the client, I love offering those raw moments alongside the more 'perfect' digital images.
If I’m allowed to have two, it would be offering full wedding weekend coverage. We photographed a wedding in Bermuda this past June that was a Thursday evening sail with all their friends, the rehearsal dinner and welcome party on Friday, the wedding celebration on Saturday, and the afterparty disco that went into Sunday morning. Getting to photograph it all meant telling the full story and by Saturday evening I knew each and every guest and had such a connection with everyone there which adds a unique perspective.
Where would you love to travel to for work?
I’d love to photograph anything with that dreamy California golden light. A ranch in Idaho. Back to the mountains of Colorado where I spent some of my 20s. A colorful celebration in Mexico or Cartagena.
Who is your dream client?
Clients who let all the expectations go once it comes to the wedding day and just go with the flow. Clients who want everything to be beautiful and curated but who in the end are just excited to be married to their person. Clients who buck tradition and do their own thing. Clients who know that the cake is going to get eaten, the flowers are going to wilt, the dress is going to get put away, the guests are going to go home, but photographs are forever.
What is your advice to couples getting married?
Do your thing. your thing.
- Hire vendors that share your vision.
- Stress until the night before the wedding if you need to, and then let it go!
- Remember why and what you’re celebrating. That’s the most important thing.
- Speak up for yourself.
- Ask for help.
- Soak it all in. Take 15 minutes to step back from the party with your spouse and take a deep breath to say “Holy s*&^ we got married today"!