Matt Shumate Photography
Vendor Profile: Matt Shumate Photography
Jessica and I had the pleasure of sitting down with Matt Shumate recently, and what a pleasure it was! I have known Matt for over a year and worked with him on quite a few events. One of my favorite things about him are his similar intentions to most coordinators; he wants the hosts to enjoy their event and day. Obviously, he cares about the quality of his pictures (the evidence is below and I dare you to disagree!), but he truly cares about letting a bride and groom have their day. He wants to tell your story, but how can he do so unless you live and enjoy it? This is a philosophy I can get behind!
Q and A with Matt Shumate
Q:How did you get started? How long have you been in the industry?
A: There is no short answer, have your editing skills ready! I DJ’d weddings and got burnt out DJing. Everything was the same, I showed up, played the same songs, and didn’t get to know any of the people. I quit doing that, fast forward a few years and going to school for graphic design, at our school we got an all around art education, including a photography class. I fell in love with photography, and started doing architecture photography. I really enjoyed that, at the end of the class, we had to turn in a portfolio of three images, and I ended up turning in a whole book.
Photography got put on a backburner when I moved to Spokane for a graphic design job. I got a camera for Christmas 2008, and started taking pictures here and there on my own. I was asked to take pictures of people for a salon and realized I didn’t know what I was doing!
One of the girls I took pictures of at that first shoot, called me out of the blue and said, “hey I’m getting married, what do you charge?” my answer was “No way, I don’t want the pressure of making mistakes!” She called back a few weeks later, and asked nicely and sweetly and was very persuasive and I agreed. I started by putting some ads in craigslist to get some practice. I didn’t want to learn on her! I did three weddings before her’s and instantly decided I loved it. Every wedding is different, and requires all styles of photography. I don’t want people to be happy with their photographs, I want people to be fans! There has not been a couple I have had that I have not loved!
Q: How would you describe your photography or style?
A: The photos are not a huge part of the focus for what I do, its all interaction, its all set up by things outside of the camera. In the camera, I love to story-tell. I like a very modern, clean look with a story telling emphasis. I tend to shoot a little bit wider angles, because I like to bring in other things outside the subject to tell the full story. I think my background in graphic design helps me combine those elements aesthetically.
Q: What is your favorite surrounding or backdrop? Do you have any specialties? Maybe describe a favorite photographic moment…
A: I always tell my clients that the photographs are photographs of them first and foremost. It doesn’t matter, but the elements and background come into play just like all of the other elements I don’t have a favorite. I want the light to be good, and I want it to be interesting. That being said: parks are easy, but I still try to find things I’ve never done before to push myself. On the other hand, urban scenes or the city at night don’t give me the same things to lean on.
For example, I just did an engagement shoot with a couple, we started in a park, and they decided they wanted to do some urban shots. We waited until the sun went down and went downtown, I used lighting and some interaction with some onlookers to orchestrate a unique shot.
Q: What are five adjectives that describe your personality?
A: Energetic, competitive, creative, social (by Ali’s suggestion), making people laugh (if that can be an adjective), the one other thing I would say is observant.
*Note from Soiree, one thing we love about Matt is his collaborative spirit. As he said: “I love seeing other people succeed, I love other businesses succeeding, I love the stories of success!”
Q: What challenges you in your job?
A: Things that are out of my control, because I work so hard to have things go well. Like when I am at a venue without a lot of open shade or if it is super hot outside and we only have limited time to take pictures, I try to work around that but, sometimes that’s just how it is. I’m not a control freak though, I tend to go with the flow. But its still a challenge.
Some of these frustrations are alleviated because I’m not an hourly photographer, I am there for the whole day, starting when the bride is getting ready all the way to the reception.
Q: What do you offer brides?
A: I don’t have any hour restrictions, everything I do in my package is to create a good experience for the couple. I don’t want to be part of the stress, I want to be the solution, and being there the whole day is a huge benefit. I offer the digital files typically between 400 and 600 shots and they’re all consistent, they are the same files that I put on website. I offer one package: All day coverage, engagement pictures, the digital files, and my packages vary by the album that you select.
Q: How quickly do you book?
A: One year is a good average. Right now my June and July Saturdays are booked.
Q: Favorite dessert? And where’s the best place to get it in Spokane?
A: Cookies by my daughter. My eleven year old wants to be a dessert chef! She has chocolate brownie cookies she makes that are amazing.
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