Daniel Valverde is a wedding photographer based in Charlotte, North Carolina. His wedding and fashion photos have been featured around the world. Here are his thoughts about posing, pancakes, and Costa Rica.
How did you get your start as a photographer?
I bought my first DSLR camera when I was in college and took it everywhere I went. During my senior year, I worked as a night life event photographer. I would shoot portraits and even my first wedding that same year.
What is your wedding photography style?
I call my photography style ‘The New Classic’ as it is a combination of traditional and lifestyle photography. So I will always do the classic bridal portrait pose that I know will look good now as well as in years to come, but I also incorporate lifestyle ‘in the moment’ shots that are more casual. For instance, I did a winter engagement session at a Christmas tree farm. The owner let us shoot there first thing in the morning so we set up a breakfast table among the trees and they had some pancakes and hot chocolate. It was relaxed and fun and I love pancakes! After the breakfast we walked to the back of the farm that had a very scenic pond and we took some classic pictures for the couple.
Where has your wedding work been featured?
I am honored to have my wedding photos featured in over 20 national wedding blogs and magazines including the Daily Wedding, Black Bride & Groom, and Bellissima Bride Magazine.
You have done fashion runway and editorial photography. How have you transferred that experience to wedding photography?
Yes, I have photographed the runways of New York Fashion Week, Miami Swim Week, and Charleston Fashion Week. I have also done many fashion editorials that have been featured in magazines across 4 continents. This experience has crossed into my wedding photography work in 2 areas: posing & retouching. I know the most flattering angles of brides and grooms and I can seamlessly retouch any photo. The result is a natural looking picture that shows the absolute best of a client.
Who is on your team?
My Creative Director Andrea is very valuable to me. We have worked together since I started my own photography business and she can anticipate what I am thinking. She is always making sure a bride looks lovely by fanning out the back of a wedding dress, fixing a veil, or taming a fly away hair. Clients are so grateful for her as she will do anything to help. I work with second photographers that also accompany me for weddings.
What do you like best about photographing weddings?
So many weddings today incorporate the things that are unique to a couple. When I meet brides and grooms, I want to hear all about their engagement, wedding, and what is important to them. On the wedding day, I look for those items to photograph because I know their significance. I consider it a privilege to photograph weddings since I am the one taking the photos they will look at for a lifetime.
In addition to traditional Southern American weddings, what other types of weddings have you photographed?
I have photographed multicultural weddings such as Indian, Palestinian, Romanian, and Tanzanian. Each has their own rituals but the love and family connections are universal.
What is the best advice you can give a bride and groom for their wedding day?
If I had to say only one piece of advice, it would be to make a wedding day timeline, but still be flexible and expect the unexpected. There will be certain things beyond your control like inclement weather, late arrivals, wrong setups, etc. You have to roll with it on the day and laugh about it later. Andrea and I are always thinking on our feet during a wedding when the plan changes. What can we do now? What can we move to a later time? How are we going to make this work? I’m the artist, but she is the practical one, so between the two of us we always come up with a solution.
Do you scout venues before the wedding?
Nearly every time. There are so many venues in the area and new ones opening each year. I show the bride and groom my venue test shoot photos so they have the visual of where they want to do their family formals and bride/groom photos. It is in my and my clients’ best interest to be familiar with the venue setup and arrive prepared on the wedding day.
What are the final products you give wedding clients?
Even though we are in the digital social media age, I always give my clients some tangible products that are included in all of my photography packages. Their digital images are presented on a flash drive with their picture on it (instead of my company logo) and a large framed print are always included. Custom Italian leather photo albums are included in my 2nd and 3rd package and clients are always wowed by them. These products are keepsakes, heirlooms, and great reminders of one of the best days of their lives.
If you could photograph any destination wedding, where would it be?
That would be Costa Rica. My father was born and raised there and I went to live with my extended family there for 6 months after I graduated from college. It is a beautiful country with so many unspoiled landscapes with backdrops that would make for spectacular wedding photos.