Catherine Guidry is a fine art wedding photographer based in Louisiana who is passionate about putting her creative spin on real, raw moments. Despite her incredible talent for capturing some of the most intimate and memorable times of her clients' lives, this line of business wasn't always part of her life plan. So, take some time to hear about Catherine's journey into film photography—and what she learned along the way—in Richard Photo Lab's Photog Spotlight!
Richard: What first sparked your passion for photography?
Catherine Guidry: My passion for photography started while I was studying architecture in Louisiana. I was interning with a photographer at the time, and I became interested in the technical aspects of the career. Although he was focused on school and event photography, while working for him I came across a Facebook photo album of a modern wedding photographer and fell in love... I couldn't believe that was wedding photography!!! I knew immediately that I would pursue it as a career.
It really wasn't until I finished graduate school, however, that I felt confident enough to take the plunge, foregoing a career in architecture to pursue wedding photography.
R: Making the leap from photography as a personal passion to a paying gig is a big one... how did you decide to pursue it as a career?
CG: In regards to photography, the idea of photographing weddings was what always interested me most. And because of the gravity and importance revolving around weddings, it didn't take long for me to realize that to do this required more commitment than a typical personal passion. Of course, I was super scared of surviving financially (especially after finishing six-and-a-half years of architecture school)... but with hard work and dedication, I'm now able to support myself as an entrepreneur and business owner.
R: When you aren't shooting for clients, what do you LOVE to photograph?
CG: In my free time, I love loovvee LOOOVVVEEE to travel. Love it (just in case I wasn't clear enough before, haha). So, when I'm not shooting for clients, I enjoy photographing new places and the aspects of that place that tell a story.
R: How do you find a balance between being creatively fulfilled and being able to pay the bills?
CG: When I'm shooting, whether it be a portrait session or a wedding, I always try to keep both my personal creativity and my clients needs in mind. I take the "Yes…and" approach (yes, I'll shoot that for you…and I'll shoot this for me). By constantly aiming for this balance, my photography feels less like work and more like a creative endeavor.
R: What is your favorite camera?
CG: My favorite camera is (duh!) my Contax 645 paired with the Zeiss 80mm lens. There's been a pretty steep learning curve with the camera, but when I get it right, it's INCREDIBLE (the bokeh at f/2 is so buttery). When I receive my scans from Richard Photo Lab, it's like Christmas…every time.
R: What's your first memory of shooting film, and why do you continue to shoot it as a pro photographer?
CG: Athough I began shooting film quite a bit before Jose Villa's Napa Workshop, my most vivid memories came from that experience. I saved my pennies to attend and it was worth every bit. I learned so much from Jose and his team, and the workshop really pushed me in the direction that I wanted to go. After coming home, I found the confidence to really move forward and continue shooting film.
R: Why is it important to have continuous communication with your lab(s)?
CG: Richard Photo Lab is such a big part of my business. Ya'll are like…an extension of my team! I feel so confident in your abilities and trust you whole-heartedly because we've established such a great relationship. And just like any relationship, trust is imperative. The first time I met a portion of the Richard team was at Imaging USA in Phoenix last year. If you have the opportunity--better yet, make the opportunity to either visit the lab or stop in at the Richard booth during a trade show in which they're participating. It makes a huge difference in your ability to connect with those you're interacting with from the lab!
R: Do you have any pre-shoot rituals?
CG: I'm pretty organized, so the typical organizing, cleaning, etc. always happens. I have a checklist that I use to pack, as well. I make sure my sweet, cuddly, adorable, cute (okay, okay you get it…) pup, Chaos, is with his favorite baby-sitter: my mom. My second shooter and I eat together before every wedding. It always helps us to reconnect with one another on a personal and professional level and that time has proved to be invaluable. I like to arrive early so we're not rushed (and I have a terrible sense of direction so we have a bit of a buffer in case we get lost). Other than that… I usually just love to sing and dance in my car on the ride! Music makes me happy… and gets my mind right for the shoot.
R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?
R: Chocolate or vanilla?
R: Dogs or cats?
R: Urban or rural?
R: Vintage or modern?
R: Biggie or Tupac?
R: Warm weather or cold weather?
CG: Cold weather.
R: Early bird or night owl?
CG: Night owl.
R: Crossword or Sudoku?
R: Breakfast or dinner?
R: Batman or Superman?
R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?
CG: Historical Non-fiction.
R: Comedy or drama?
R: Truth or dare?
R: What song do you listen to to get pumped up?
CG: Hmmm... let's see. One thing to note about me is that if I like a song, I listen to it on repeat. For dayyyyysssss. Currently, three favorites include 1) We Can Glow (Royal Teeth), 2) Octahate (Ryn Weaver), and 3) Firestone (Kygo).
R: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be when you grow up?
CG: I suppose if I wasn't a photographer, I would want to promote sustainable design for an architecture firm (I seriously obsess over things like recycling and healthy living). But honestly, at this point, I really can't imagine myself doing anything else.
R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?
CG: I would definitely want to read minds. I always love to know what people are thinking and dreaming. That would be insane!
R: What is your favorite word, and why?
CG: "Ice cream". Because it's amazing, haha.