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PHOTOGRAPHY & FILM | Tess Gearhart



Based in Arizona, Tess Gearhart is a wedding photographer specialising in 35mm & 120mm film and digital photography, as well as Super 8 film. Her focus is on capturing life authentically, through the intentional eyes of an artist. Tess Gearhart is proud to be a lesbian business owner and offers photography and film services both across the US and internationally.

Tell us about your business!

I am a documentary style wedding photographer based out of Northern Arizona. I specialize in documenting candid moments without interrupting the story line unfolding on wedding days. I shoot weddings on film and digital, and also offer a super 8 add on with my fiancé, Kate. Tess Gearhart Photo & Film is a proudly lesbian owned business! My business is all about being inclusive and embracing the quirks and imperfections of real life through art.

What would you like couples to know about you?

I want couples to know that they are not only accepted in front of my camera, but 100% celebrated for who they authentically are. This means I strive to create a space that allows my clients to feel as if they can be their organic selves. This helps me create genuine art out of who they really and truly are.

Where are you based?

I am based in Prescott, Arizona, but travel to Phoenix often.

Do you travel for weddings?

I do travel for weddings! I travel to Southern California very often, but also love every chance I get to travel across the US and internationally for weddings.

How would you describe your style?

My style can be described as refined messiness and structured authenticity. By that I mean, I love to take things that may feel “normal” or “small” and turn them into art. I love to keep the original personality and quirks of the moment, while also adding my own artistic eye.

What is your most memorable career moment?

Booking my first international wedding. That moment made me feel like I could do anything with photography. As someone who has spent their life traveling, I remember it feeling like my career was finally lining up with who I really was at my core. I just felt proud of myself.

What inspires you?

I am inspired by things people tend to overlook, and this is why I love my job. This can look like shadows on the concrete in a parking lot, an old man walking his dog at 7:00 am by himself, someone's body language when their favorite person walks into the room, the way the maid of honor looks so concentrated everytime she fluffs out the dress. I just love seeing life in its most organic form, even if it's just the mundane.

What motivates you to do what you do?

I am motivated by the idea that I get to create physical memories for my couples in an artistic way. I like to think of myself as my couple's second set of eyes that gets to show them everything they didn’t see on their wedding day. 

How would you describe your working style?

I would say my working style is professionally casual. I understand that this is the most important day of my clients life, and it deserves to be taken very seriously when given the opportunity to preserve those precious moments; however, I do believe that in order to document my couples authentically, I have to break down the professional barrier at times. It’s only possible to photograph someone for who they actually are, if you give them the space to be who they actually are. So, I like to be professional with the little reminder that I am still just as human as they are.

Do you shoot digitally, on film or both?

I usually shoot 40/60 film and digital. I prioritize digital first, and then film second, unless clients tell me they want me to prioritize film beforehand.

Do you have custom packages according to individual needs?

Yes! I am always open to curating a custom package.

What is a favourite product or service that you offer and why?

My favorite package is my wedding weekend option. I think this gives me and my clients, as well as their guests, the best chance to get to really know each other. Especially on their wedding day. I always feel like I document weddings the best when I spend the evening beforehand with my couple and their guests. It just helps everyone feel more comfortable in front of the camera for the wedding day from the very moment I arrive.

Where would you love to travel to for work?

I would really love to travel to Japan or anywhere in South East Asia for work. The wedding culture there is so incredible. I would just love to be a part of that in the most authentic way. 

I also absolutely love traveling to Europe for weddings, and would love to do more! Currently, my dream destination for a wedding is Scotland and Switzerland.

Who is your dream client?

My dream client is someone who leans into the more non traditional side of weddings. I think it would be amazing to work with someone who wanted to wear a colored wedding dress or something out of the ordinary. I just want couples that aren’t afraid of being their weird, out of the box selves!

How do you select music to your films?

For super 8 films I try to keep the music on par with the vibe of the video. Usually I choose something more vintage to fit the film. If the wedding is more elegant, I might choose something that sounds more like an orchestra. If the wedding is more colorful and eclectic, I would choose something more upbeat and fun!

What is your advice to couples getting married?

My best advice for couples getting married is to be a little selfish! Only you and your partner know your relationship the best, and this day is 100% about the two of you, no one else. Every detail should cater to who you are as a couple. 

I’d also tell couples getting married to let their day flow naturally. Don’t feel restricted and rushed just because you have a timeline. Everything will happen just as it is supposed to and when it is supposed to. Your vendors are there to help guide you through your day so you can just roll with it.


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