If you know Heather Hughes of Heather Hughes Photography, you’ve probably heard or seen her refer to Cesare Pavese, who famously said “we do not remember days, we remember moments.”
That idea guides Heather in how she photographs weddings, she told us.
With more than 15 years of experience as a photojournalist, Heather Hughes knows what it’s like to watch moments unfold naturally. To capture the split seconds that make up a memory. And she does it artfully.
We caught up with Heather to gain a more personal perspective of her style and why she loves working with brides at Warner Hall.
My style is mostly photojournalistic with a little traditional wedding photography mixed in. I capture the candid moments as they happen so we don’t have to take time to stage events, and when I use light I maintain a natural look and feel. I still pose portraits and set up detail photos, but try to capture as much “as is” as I can so that the unique personality of each wedding couple comes through in every photograph and adds to the overall story of the day.
I have always loved taking pictures. I was given a 110-mm camera as a child and used it to photograph my friends and family vacations, then studied photography in high school and earned a bachelor’s degree from Ohio University in Visual Communications.
I worked at a few different newspapers from Indiana to Florida for over 10 years and started photographing weddings in Virginia about 10 years ago. When I started it was very personal for me because my parents have only a couple photos from their own wedding after their friend used film that was ruined. I photographed a few family weddings for fun before I was ready for the responsibility of a wedding on my own and it turns out that my storytelling approach has been a perfect fit. People want someone they can trust to capture all the important moments (and not just smiling faces). I love being amidst all the excitement and structured chaos on a wedding day, photographing every aspect from the details to the big moments, and the flexibility of being my own boss so I can spend more time with my family.
There have been so many fun moments that I have had the chance to witness and photograph, I am not sure which one to choose! Everything from the newlyweds dancing on a table at their reception to a bride wiping tears away from her father’s eye during the father/ daughter dance, I have had the opportunity to witness a lot. I would say that my favorite memories coincide with my photojournalism background, I truly enjoy capturing the emotions and moments that make each day special so that those families can have those moments to cherish for years to come.
I like both color and B&W for different photos. Gorgeous sunsets, brightly colored bridesmaid dresses & flowers, or even a red door contrasting with a white wedding dress are beautiful photos in color. Color is part of the story. But B&W helps draw your attention to facial expressions and composition, without the distraction of color. A lot of portraits, ceremony moments, and even moments at the reception can really come to life in B&W.
I love Warner Halll! Again, I am not sure where to start. Warner Hall is a great intimate setting that has photographic potential indoors and out. The quiet, secluded location encourages a more relaxed and natural environment, which is a perfect fit for my style of photography. The house provides the perfect setting for a smaller wedding or cocktail hour and the tented area allows for the perfect space for a larger wedding. It is truly a location that has something for everyone.
I have always loved water views (I grew up in a land locked state) but for Warner Hall I would have to choose the beautiful long driveway or the life-size chess board. Around Hampton Roads there are a lot of pretty water settings but the charming front porch, little buildings, and chess board are unique to Warner Hall and a big part of its charming appeal for me. One of my favorite photos was of the groom & his groomsmen riding the bikes by one of the buildings because it was fun and different, just like Warner Hall.
My advice would be to pick a couple of your favorite features and have your photographer focus on those, and be sure to let them know if there are any others that you like as well. There are just too many great locations to be able to photograph all of them and every person likes a different aspect of Warner Hall so it is always a good idea to communicate your favorites to your photographer.
I always tell my couples to come prepared. Nobody wants rain, but even if it does it doesn’t mean you can’t have photos outside. If you have a few solid colored umbrellas, or fun parasols, you can still get gorgeous photos on the driveway or behind the house without straying too far or getting your dress too wet. And there are lots of beautiful indoor settings as well, even something as simple as a window or chair is a beautiful option at Warner Hall with their bright colors & antique decor and can easily create a gorgeous backdrop.
To view a gallery of Heather’s work or to learn more about her, visit www.heatherhughesphotography.com.