Levi Stolove Photography
March 12, 2012
Recently, we shared Levi Stolove’s charming wedding photo booth pictures, but now we want to share even more of Levi’s wonderful work. His photographs have so much personality and heart, which is exactly what you want from your wedding photos. Not to mention Levi himself, who is kind and warm and has an uncanny ability to put everyone he meets at ease. In fact, we’re convinced stress is just not a part of Levi’s world view. Sounds pretty fantastic, right? Just wait ’til you “meet” him in our interview:
1. When did you first pick up a camera?
I first picked up a camera around 8 years old. My much older cousin was into photography, and he showed me his camera and taught me a few things. After that, I was hooked. My parents got me my own SLR at 13.
2. When did you start photographing weddings?
Some friends of friends asked me to take their wedding photos, and I had a blast. The love story and the family relationships really engaged me, and the photography I made for couples seamed to have a deeper and more significant meaning then the work I was previously doing for companies and magazines. So, after I shot a few weddings on my own, I started shooting freelance with a top wedding photojournalist company. I spent almost a year with them learning the wedding ropes and then launched my own business.
3. Almost every artist we know starts out with several odd jobs. What other kinds of work have you done over the years?
Oh yeah, I’ve done a bunch of jobs. I worked at an outdoor sporting goods store in high school. I also worked on an organic free range sheep farm during college. But every summer I taught photography at summer camps. I had a brief stint as a barista — just for a few months — but that was fun. I worked in youth non-profits for five years as an educator, program coordinator and community organizer, and I still have a passion for youth work. Of course, all this time I was making photos, just not for hire.
5. How would you describe your photography aesthetic?
Emotional, joyful, and ethereal are three words that quickly come to mind. I think there is an earnestness in my work with a bit of fashion thrown in. There is something transcendent in love, and I want to show that quality. And then there is also the party and that is where a lot of the fashion aesthetic comes in. I look for an image that makes you feel something.
6. Where are you located?
7. How would someone go about hiring you?
8. Are there any photographs you’re especially proud of?
It’s hard to pick just one. Every year there are a few weddings that end up being my favorites, and those are usually the ones with beautiful surroundings — typically outdoors with great light and a couple with whom I really connect.
9. Your work seems to capture candid moments especially well. How do you encourage such shots?
When I do couple portrait sessions, I encourage such moments, but otherwise I am purely a photo-journalistic. During portrait sessions I encourage the couple to interact with each other. I give them a few pointers and some suggestions of things to think about or discuss, and once they forget about me, I start snapping! But at the actual wedding and reception, I just constantly scan the room for connections and moments. Maybe I’ll notice two people talking whose body language looks interesting, so I’ll aim my camera at them and wait for a moment where an emotion is communicated.
10. What is your favorite part of your work?
Hooking into the emotional story of the couple and their families.
11. Which camera is your favorite to work with?
5D classic, Canon
12. Describe a typical photo shoot for you.
A typical wedding starts with getting ready. The bride and groom getting dressed, family and friends running about and some still life shots – the rings, dress, shoes, bouquets. Often we do portraits before the ceremony. Couple portraits first. I bring the couple to some cool spots, where the light is great. Then it is about letting them get comfortable and playing around, and while they are interacting, I run all around them snapping away. Family and bridal party portraits next, I ask the couple to make a list of all the configurations of family members they want. I set folks up and joke around a bit to loosen them up, make them smile naturally. During the ceremony and reception, I am all photo-journalistic. I don’t ask anyone to do anything — I just move around and find those moments. On the dance floor I do get in the mix to get the feeling of being on the dance floor. I usually scoot in and out, trying not to be in the way but also allowing the photography to be part of the event. I dance a little with my camera in hand to help disguise the fact that I’m there.
13. What’s one wedding trend you’re over and wish would go away?
One trend that has gotten very popular is images with vintage looking color, which I think can be great, and I tend to go that direction with my color, too. But I am wary as I don’t want someone’s wedding photos to go out of style. I try to go light on the color. But style and trends are all subjective, and I do believe that there are as many types of couples as there are photographers. There are many types of photography I don’t relate to, but I know someone else does.
14. What’s one wedding “trend” you’d like to see more of? Or done differently? How?
Photo booths. I think they are a great way to get fun energy-filled shots. It’s the modern day answer to table shots. The light is good, people are playing around. It’s fun to have the photos taken and it’s fun for guests and the couple alike to have them afterwards.