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Life & Work with Emily Arwine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Arwine. 

Emily, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I was always interested in photography growing up but never took it seriously. I grew up in a home on a lot of land in the middle of nowhere and it really inspired me to connect with nature. I loved being outside, so naturally, when I pestered my parents into buying me a camera for Christmas in my early teens, I spent a lot of time outdoors taking photos. 

We took a family trip in 2016 to Yosemite and Redwoods National Parks and I fell in love even more with the idea of documenting the beauty of people and nature. Still, I never imagined becoming a wedding and elopement photographer! In fact, the possibility of traveling to these amazing places to document love stories wasn’t even on my radar until 2017/18! 

What really pushed me into shooting couples was a trip I took to Colorado in Late 2017! My boyfriend and I noticed a man holding a “will you marry me?” sign. I secretly really wanted to take photos but didn’t want to impose so we just sat and watched. a few minutes later the brother of the man holding my sign noticed my camera and the fact that I was watching and asked if I would take a few photos! Of course, I did! 

I got their email and sent the photos about a week or so later! They loved them and said thank you! About a month later they reached out and asked if they could pay for me to come back out and take their engagement photos inside the national park! I said YES of course! That was literally my first paid couples’ session ever. After the session, we went back to their home and they cooked for us while we talked about life. It was an incredible experience, and I knew that I would figure out a way to make that my job eventually. 

Flash to today, I shoot about half my weddings in state and half are destination weddings which I am very happy with! I love getting the opportunity to travel, make new friends, and have new experiences. When I get to shoot locally it’s pretty special though as well, I really feel like we have a great community in KC! What I have realized is really important to me is building great relationships/ friendships and trust with my couples. At the end of the day, I want to know I’m there as their photographer but also as a friend. Getting to meet such great people and incorporate my love for travel and nature along with that? That’s what makes this my dream job honestly! 

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
I’m a very optimistic person. So it’s hard for me to look back and see anything as too much of a struggle. That being said, I would say maybe just learning how to run a business at such a young age? This along with learning work/life balance has been interesting. Transitioning photography from a hobby to a full-blown business did not come with a handbook. There were SO SO many things I didn’t expect to take on when I started getting paid for taking some photos at 17. Luckily there are COUNTLESS mentors and resources available online and within KC! 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am a wedding and elopement photographer! I specialize in working with couples who want to take a more intentional and unique approach to their wedding days! While I love working with couples who have a more traditional vision for their day, I really feel drawn to help couples explore all of their options and make working together more of an experience than a service! 

Photos are of course a huge part of this! After spending years mastering and evolving my photography, I have found that it really is about more than that for me. What sets me apart from others in my industry is really who I am and how I interact with my couples. Like I mentioned before I don’t want to just show up on your wedding day, take a few photos and call it a day. I love helping my couples explore all their option for their wedding, whether that be intimate weddings, elopements, big weddings, or just something completely new! I am ALWAYS up for trying something new or traveling to a new place to document and tell a story. 

It’s really important to me that I get to connect and know my couples. I find that this is essential for me to be able to wholly document their story! Like I mentioned before, when I leave their special day, I want them to be able to call me friend. Through coffee dates, facetime chats, and taco nights I love to chat face to face about more than JUST their wedding day. This is just some of how I really get a feel for who they are and capture what’s important to them. 

A big thing I hear from couples inquiring with me is they can see my love for nature in my photography! This is something that is very special to me and so true! I take any chance I get to take my couples to my favorite places in nature, whether that be a local park or half was across the U.S. to incredible National Parks, beaches, mountains, and forests! 

Where do you see things going in the next 5-10 years?
I see a huge shift in couples being more mindful and intentional about what is important to THEM. Which I love and am SO here for! Sometimes I feel as though couples get caught up in what their mother-in-law, or sister, or uncle bob thinks or wants and forgets that this day is for them. It’s about their love and connections and celebrating that. So I am very happy to see this transition. 

Otherwise, I don’t know! But I will say I am very excited to see what the future holds! 🙂 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Henry Tieu

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