A perusal of the photo gallery of Andy Calvert’s website will show any perspective bride and groom that he is a photographer who can catch the essence of their special day. The pictures evoke a range of moods: many are lighthearted, fun, and celebratory, while others are poignant, heartwarming, and thought-provoking. The varied combinations of subject, setting, posing, and lighting tell the viewers what they need to know, but leaves them curious, too, wanting to know more.
FINDING HIS FOCUS
Calvert is a man of diverse interests and talents. Before working as a photographer, he spent several years in the music industry, both in music production (studio recording) and playing in different bands, doing live performances in bars and at other venues. During that time, he toyed with photography, developing a growing interest in it.
“Even back in high school I liked playing around with photography,” Calvert says. “I’ve always liked gear, cameras, cell phones, and gadgets.” Three years ago, he decided to narrow his field of interests and focus on just one area, so he made the jump to photography full-time.
Since then, he has built up a clientele, taking pictures for weddings, sporting events, families, public relations, products, and real estate. Occasionally, he will even use a drone to get a dramatic bird’s-eye shot. First and foremost, however, his favorite subject is always people. He says, “I like spending time with people, getting to know them through taking their pictures. I like the relational aspect of it.”
MORE THAN JUST SKIN DEEP
The daily bombardment of internet images of the illusive “perfect life” gives many people unrealistic expectations about their own personal appearance. This is any wedding photographer’s ongoing challenge. “In this age of social media, everyone is so self-conscious,” Calvert says. “They want you to correct all their flaws in the photo. I try to help people feel at ease and embrace themselves as they are.”
One of Calvert’s strong suits is his appreciation for people as they are; this is clearly reflected in his wedding photography, as he works with couples to help them find those ideal poses that show them in their best light. He likes all kinds of people: the beautiful, the eccentric, and (especially) the ordinary.
He explains: “My favorite photos are not of people who are in perfect shape and have beautiful faces; it’s normal people, average people, who have genuine expressions on their faces, people who are happy to be where they are in their lives.”
Calvert has a quiet way about him, an easy-going amiable sociability that puts his customers at ease. He knows if they feel good about working with him, they will be better subjects for his lens. He says, “A lot of people are self-conscious, and I have to make them feel relaxed, especially on their wedding day.”
BEHIND THE CAMERA
When discussing what makes a good photograph (or photographer), Calvert emphasizes the importance of context and attitude. “It’s not about the equipment,” he says, “it’s about the person behind the camera, whether using a cell phone or a $5,000 camera.” Calvert believes that when it comes to weddings, optimism is everything.
A photographer who can diffuse a tense situation among the members of a wedding party can save the day. “In the photography industry,” Calvert says, “the biggest thing to your client or employer is your good personality, that you are fun to deal with and fun to be around.”
Dealing with a customer’s insecurities, especially during an emotionally charged event, is a challenge for photographers who are just launching their business. Calvert’s advice to new photographers is: “Don’t just think about the money aspect of it; think about being kind and loving to people. Be as fun and as positive as possible.”
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE STORY
Calvert’s work is narrative in nature. He always tries to capture his clients’ stories, the meaning behind the special events in their lives. “I want to catch the moment, the memory, the essence of the place and time,” he says. “If I can do that, especially on their wedding day, I’ve done my job. It’s about how you interact with people. Can you pose them? Can you capture the story? I think a lot of people don’t understand the storytelling aspect of taking pictures. Learning that is always an ongoing process.”
As for Andy Calvert, his story is that he is in this for the long haul. He says, “Most photographers will spend three-to-five years in the business and then get out. They’re just doing it for side cash.” Calvert sees photography differently. “I’ll always take photos,” he says. For him, this is a journey, an adventure. He just wants to see where it takes him next.
Murphy-Harpst is always open to community support, and there are several ways that you can get involved. Groups often sponsor drives to collect school supplies, recreation equipment, or “build a bedroom” items for a new resident, or they can volunteer to host a birthday party or assist with beautification projects on the campus.
When school is out, Murphy-Harpst welcomes community volunteers who want to assist with recreational activities. “We need the gifts and financial support, but we need the people. We need community on our campus,” Fuller says. “Ultimately, we need more people to be aware of the needs of this population of youth and more communities that are moved to serve them.”