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Meg Smith: Capturing the Spirit of the Moment
All photos by Meg Smith
Meg Smith’s wedding photography goes beyond the typically posed portraits—she has a gift for capturing special, intimate moments throughout the event, resulting in some very memorable images. Her attitude, which translates to her images is, “Weddings are fun—they’re celebrations!” During the eight years she’s done weddings, this Napa-based photographer has traveled the world, shooting weddings in locations such as Nantucket, the Hamptons, and even “the Bahamas a few times.” At the time of our interview, she was looking forward to photographing a wedding in the West Indies. Her images have been featured on Television’s VH-1 News and Entertainment Tonight. She’s photographed celebrity weddings for InStyle magazine, and her work appears regularly in Martha Stewart Weddings. Additionally, her seemingly effortless photographic style has graced the pages of The New York Times, Town & Country, and Vera Wang On Weddings.
Discovering Her Niche
As an art history major at UC Berkeley, she did a documentary series of photographs,
and concluded, “that’s how I wanted to approach weddings.”
Today, she jokes, “My background in wedding photography was shooting riots.”
After college, she began assisting a National Geographic photographer, Charles O’Rear, who had recently moved to Napa. Not long after moving to this region, she says, he shot the “largest collection of wine photography in the world.” She recalls that this lighting specialist used creative techniques such as flashlight, and flash with specular highlights to achieve his style. Although she learned much from him, she notes, “Ironically, now I use mostly natural light,” as it gives the viewer “more of a feeling of being there.” Occasionally, she says, she’ll use some very subtle flash.
Also, she says her unobtrusive style lends itself better to natural lighting.
Smith doesn’t like to be disruptive with “flash going off in people’s
face.” She also prefers “to capture events as they happen, instead
of stopping the action.” She says that she often wears tasteful, black
outfits to shoot weddings. “It’s another way that I can be more
invisible.” This low-key approach moved one grateful bride to write to
Smith after the wedding, “...We were afraid we would feel like we were
being pursued by paparazzi, but you were subtle enough so that we hardly noticed
you, and you still managed to to be everywhere!” According to Smith, another
way she achieves this is to “hide behind people’s shoulders. It’s
also a framing technique.”
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