After getting to know Dale Benfield and Meredith McClary of Benfield Photography over the last year, I’ve been itching to spend a few minutes gushing over them. Actually, my very first post on Aisle with Style featured one of their engagement photos. They sure tell fantastic stories with their pictures. I know first-hand that they’re excellent photographers and a pleasure to work with, but don’t just take my word for it. Here’s what one former couple said about them.
Dear Dale and Meredith,
I just want to tell you how much we love our pictures, both the engagement and the wedding. You guys were so much fun to work with and you did such an amazing job. Everyone keeps talking about the slide show you did at the reception. I've been bragging about you guys ever since we did the engagement shoot, but I knew even before that we would have an awesome time together and have awesome pictures.
Both of you are both so creative and you let us be creative too. That was really important to me because I didn't want the run of the mill wedding pictures. To me those types of photos always looked so awkward and fake. Because of you guys Bradley and I will be able to look back at our wedding and remember what a beautiful day it was. You really captured the beauty, and feeling of our day.
These pictures are really something special they show something that no other photographers I met with could have produced. I had a certain vision in mind for the way I wanted my photos to look and you brought that vision to life. We not only met two great photographers, but we made two very special friends.
Bradley and Meridith Smith!
In my opinion, getting to know your vendors can either make or break the flow of your special day. In the same way I'm asking lots of questions so you can get to know Benfield Photography, think about asking questions of your vendors that shed light on who they are and how they'll handle your event. I could have asked a million questions, but trimmed it down to ten. Thank you Dale and Meredith for taking the time share with us! Mixed in with the questions are some of their great photography. To keep up with their work and lives, head on over to benfieldphotography.blogspot.com.
1. How did Benfield Photography get started? Dale started the business in 1998 in Joplin, MO. He grew up working in his father's photo lab and enjoyed taking pictures on the side. He worked his way through college photographing seniors and weddings on the side. I (Meredith) joined Dale in the business in 2006 when he moved the business to Fayetteville, AR. We've been shooting together since!
2. What influences and inspires you as photographers? There are a couple things that really inspire us. Seeing couples who truly love each other!! We often leave engagement sessions on a love-high! It's so magical to actually capture real love. Beautiful light. We love to shoot just before the sun goes down to get that creamy orange light, we've even been known to shoot at 6 in the morning just to get that glow!
3. What is your approach to shooting weddings? Our approach to shooting weddings can best be described as laid-back and fun. We love what we do and have fun doing it! Being super-posey is so fake and uncomfortable and not our style at all! Getting to know our brides and grooms is a big priority so by the time the wedding day rolls around we're like old friends! It makes for really easy portraits.
4. What are your must have items for a wedding day shoot? We both use a shootsac which is an over-the-shoulder lens bag. We also are both in LOVE with the Canon 50mm 1.2 L series lens. I can't shoot a wedding without it! Dale also likes his 85 1.2. Also, we never show up to a wedding without a previously arranged agenda. It's important for everyone to know what's going on and when!
5. What's your favorite location you've shot in the last year? Definitely the Cenote, a water-filled cave in Mexico! We shot a bride and groom underwater! It was UNreal! We can't wait to go back!
6. What will people find on your blog? Our blog is really the place to be! haha Dale has updated the blog every day this year. It serves as a great showcase of our most recent work, with the occasional personal pics and tidbits peppered in! Dale also has lessons for photographers! Helping other photographers is something he's very passionate about!
7. What are you reading, watching and listening to these days? We don't watch much tv but when we have a chance, we love The Office. We're constantly listening to Pandora while we edit. We also both love reading other blogs! A lot of our brides have adorable wedding blogs and we enjoy keeping up with them!
8. When you're not doing weddings, what are you photographing? There's a certain special 5 year old little girl in our life who loves to pose for our cameras! Ellie is a total ham and we can't get enough of her! We do best when Daddy works the camera and I stand in the background flashing sassy model poses for her to do! haha We also love to take pictures of feet! That sounded weird, but I'm so serious! Everywhere we travel we take a "feet picture"...a very random assortment of our shoes have been seen in pictures everywhere from Navy Pier, to Paris, to Mexico and everywhere in between! :)
9. What advise do you have to help a bride and groom be comfortable and relaxed for their pictures? The best way to be relaxed and comfortable for your pictures is to get to know your photographer! Who can be comfortable when some random guy with a camera shows up on your wedding day? Dale and I go for quality AND quantity when it comes to building a relationship with our couples! By the time we get to the wedding day we've probably eaten dinner with the couple, spent 2 to 3 hours goofing off together for their engagement shoot and possibly met up again for coffee. It's not rare for us to become very close friends of our couples and we wouldn't have it any other way! This relationship ensures a smooth and relaxed wedding day portrait session.
10. Do you still have 2010 dates available? When we announced 3 weeks ago that we were booked for 2010 we received a few tearful phone calls and e-mails. So we decided to take 10 more weddings. Two of those dates have already been taken, so we're down to 8! :) We're extremely proud of our super quick turnaround time, as well as the genuine experience we give our clients, because these things are important to us, and because we want to stay sane, we have to limit the amount of weddings we shoot!
Benfield Photography is located in Fayetteville, Arkansas. They offer fun and modern wedding and engagement portraits. They pride themselves in not only forming relationships with their brides and grooms, but offering gorgeous, unique wedding albums as well. To book Benfield Photography or for more information, please check out their Web site at http://www.benfieldphotography.net/.