There is such a depth of talent in Las Vegas as far as wedding photography that even now – over a year into blogging about weddings in the city, I’m still able to feature new photographers on Little Vegas Wedding. And you know what? Every single time I get excited, giddy and a little bit tingly to show a new style, a new perspective.
Today is no exception, so please welcome Deacon Tyler of F-Sequence Studio to the blog. He has very kindly (and patiently) responded to the Q&A interview below, so please read on – you’ve GOT to read his crazy story about what got him started in the world of wedding photography and his advice for finding the best photographer for you.
Deacon has been a photographer since 1997, and moved to Las Vegas five years ago. I would categorize F-Sequence Studio as having a highly editorial style, very focused on portraiture, with a dash of photojournalism. Use of great lighting and posing are hallmarks of the F-Sequence style. It’s very fitting that Deacon also does a lot of commercial photography work and fashion shoots, as that style definitely translates to their wedding photography, in a very natural way.
So please, read on and get to know Deacon and F-Sequence Studio a little better, and be sure to come back tomorrow to check out a particularly steamy couple’s shoot by him on the blog…
Little Vegas Wedding: For those readers out there who may not know who you are, please introduce yourself and F-Sequence Photography!
Deacon Tyler: Hello and thank you for having me! I’m Deacon Tyler, owner of F-Sequence Studio.
LVW: Are you originally from Las Vegas?
DT: Actually I’m originally from Milwaukee, Wisconsin and prior to moving to Las Vegas at the end of 2008, we spent a few years living in the Twin Cities, Minnesota. While Las Vegas is a much smaller town than what I’m used to, we’ve gotten the hang of things nicely :)
LVW: How many years have you been in business and did you get into photography?
DT: I suppose I’m getting to the point where I try to leave things ambiguous and say something like “over a decade”, but in truth, it’s been 15 years! The story of how I became a photographer stretches back to my own wedding day. I met my wife in a bar in late 1997. She had a fake ID and I had a new pair of shoes and the friend I was waiting on was obscenely late. We got to talking and within a month, I had asked her to marry me.
Now, keep in mind we were pretty young at the time and she was just plain pretty. Maybe my mouth moved faster than my mind, but I felt pretty good about handing her a $13 silver ring in the parking lot of a TCBY while I sang along to the song “Glycerin” by Bush. Don’t judge me, it was the 90s, man.
The one problem is that we were broke. About a week after I proposed, a contest came on the radio to win a free wedding. The only stipulation was that applicants should write an essay on why they should win a free wedding. Honestly, I entered the contest to see if I could win. I wrote this long, sappy letter that I lost years ago and after clicking ‘send’ on my AOL email, I completely forgot about it…
…until we won. I was driving to work and the disc jockey (the midwest’s answer to the most polite ‘shock jock’ the world has ever known) calls me up. The officiant, in his own words, “paid 50 bucks to the same church in California that officiated John Wayne Bobbit” and was going to marry us live on the air!
The ceremony was like nothing I have seen in the hundreds of weddings I have shot over the years. The DJ wore a ‘frock’, told ‘yo momma’ jokes in the middle of the ceremony and quoted lines from ‘jungle fever’ (which was either hilarious, offensive or hilariously offensive).
Best of all, it was free! The venue was free, the limo with the dented quarter panel and sagging bumper was free, the lukewarm salmon and champagne (which my wife was still too young to legally drink) was free…
..and then there was the photography. Our free package did come with a photographer and the first five 4 x 6 prints were free, the rest would have to be purchased a la carte. Now here’s where it gets tragic – my father in law had a 35mm camera (bless his heart) and when it came time to purchase those additional prints, I proudly declared to the photographer that we would be getting all of the prints that my father in law took….from Walgreen’s! After all, it was a 35mm camera – aren’t they all the same?
You can imagine the next part. When we received the photos, I wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. We were yellow, out of focus and there was so much motion blur that in some shots it looks like I had a fourth arm (I mean third *hides antennae and tin foil hat*)
They were, beyond all doubts, the worst wedding photos I have ever seen in my life. When I mentioned this fact, I was told “let’s see YOU do better!”
…I had a camera within a week and shot my first wedding less than a month after that at the same venue where we were wed. By God and Bea Arthur, we DID do better and we’ve been doing better ever since.
LVW: What were you doing before you got into photography?
DT: I was drifting from one career to the next. I went from a computer technician to personal care assistant, to certified nurse aid, to job coach for individuals with traumatic brain injuries, to the world’s least qualified after school teacher. Somewhere in the middle, I wrote short stories and drew portraits as well.
LVW: What is your preferred way to work with clients – email, in person, telephone?
DT: Definitely in person if at all possible. Body language is important – I talk with my hands a lot and I believe that when a client sees us smiling and making excited hand gestures, it puts them at ease.
Telephone isn’t too bad either, but I see email as being one step above putting a message in a bottle and sending it out to sea. It’s a useful tool, but I think it’s important to really connect with a client to determine if we’re a good match for each other, so I try and stick with more personal communications whenever possible.
LVW: As far as out of town clients you may be meeting for the first time ever on their wedding day, do you have any special way of getting to know them and putting them at ease?
DT: I make sure that by the time their wedding comes around, it’s like meeting with an old friend. Because we limit the amount of clients we accept, it makes it that much easier for me to keep in touch with them all. We call, Facebook and even email to keep in touch, work out timeline kinks and generally just be there if they need us for advice or brainstorming.
But in general, I’m extremely gregarious and my clients love it when I join in the Cupid Shuffle while wearing 40 pounds of camera gear. We have a great time when we work and we usually crash down any barriers fairly quickly with a dash of humor and a couple of hugs. Yes, we do us some huggin’ round these parts.
LVW: What do you think the most important thing a couple looking for a wedding photographer should consider?
DT: Get to know your potential photographers’ work and hire based upon how each one makes you feel. Most importantly, avoid talking about price as long as you possibly can and instead talk about yourselves and talk about your wedding. Get photographers excited to work with you and you’ll be excited to work with them. Talking about price is conversation closer; when your first and only question is “how much”, it not only turns off many photographers, but there’s nowhere for the conversation to go afterwards.
Your photographer is the best resource you will have for your wedding and building up a communicative relationship is critical to the success of your wedding photographs. It’s important to us to have clients that feel like friends. That first conversation determines if we’re a good match for each other and sets the stage for every successive communication.
LVW: Do you have a favorite Vegas venue to photograph at?
DT: I’m extremely eclectic when it comes to locations and I’m a firm believer that with enough time and the right clients, I could take beautiful shots anywhere. A photographer friend of mine once said “It’s not where you shoot, it’s how you shoot”.
LVW: Where do you go these days to find your daily inspiration and help keep things fresh?
DT: I draw inspiration inwards. I have an extremely active imagination and I often turn to my spotify playlist for the right emotional kick. Songs like Portishead’s ‘Sour Times’ and almost anything by RJD2 or Zero 7 helps me visualize an entire scene – the mood, where I want my lights, what I want my subjects to do and exactly how I want to direct them.
LVW: Have you noticed a change in what couples are wanting in terms of photography for their weddings? Do you see any big trends popping up for 2014?
DT: Couples want to look *good* for their photos and are appreciating the benefits of a well composed portrait, which is the best change I have seen in years. Photojournalism is great, but taking the time to make sure a photo is well lit and there’s no spinach in the groom’s teeth is a good thing; don’t be afraid of portraits!
I’m also seeing a return to natural looking color and crisp black and white photography in other photographers’ portfolios. As digital photography has matured and the novelty of cross processed color filters and vintage tones have faded, 2014 is definitely going to be all about proper lighting and printable images.
LVW: What is the one thing you wish couples wedding in Vegas knew?
DT: Whatever you put into your wedding is exactly what you’re going to get out of it. At its core, Las Vegas is a city like any other mid sized town and while a few view a Las Vegas destination wedding as an easy mode party time, the wedding industry is filled with the most talented and caring people I have ever met.
Spend the time to plan your entire wedding day with the same passion and attention to detail that you would a wedding in your home town and this city will deliver the best wedding experience you have ever had.
LVW: Where is the best place to see more of your work?
DT: The worst kept secret is that F-Sequence Studio actually has three websites, each for a different genre of photography.
- Weddings and Portraits: http://www.fsequence-photo.com
- Commercial, Advertising, Editorials: http://www.fsequence-studio.com
- Fashion and beauty: http://www.f-sequence.com
While I don’t always talk about it, we shoot some pretty cool stuff! Each site has its own blog and viewpoint and it’s a neat feeling when a wedding client sees our name in a magazine and says “OMG, I never knew!”
LVW: Are there any vendors in the Vegas area you particularly like to work with, or would like to work with?
DT: Any and every wedding planner. The benefit of having a wedding planner and independent wedding day coordinator makes our jobs a dream – the timelines allow for more photography and there’s a better sense of organization to the entire day. Aside from that, we love practically everyone and it’s always exciting to find out who our clients’ other vendors are!
LVW: Favorite part of the wedding day?
DT: Hands down, the portraits. When couples see how beautiful and in love they really are, that makes my job worthwhile.
LVW Do you have a favorite memory from a wedding you worked?
DT: Here’s a story I’ve never shared. It was shortly after the worst wedding we had ever shot – the bride and mother of the groom were in the middle of the most unfortunate civil war I have ever seen and we were caught in the middle of it. A few months after the wedding, the two ‘sides’ found out that the other was using me as a sounding board and all heck broke loose. I spent almost a week sitting at home more depressed than I had ever been in my life, worried that my business and reputation would be ruined from the fallout.
I’m typically so chatty that the clients and other photographers on my Facebook almost immediately noticed my absence and I started getting flooded with messages. When I finally explained what had happened, I was literally flooded with words of support and positive reviews from dozens and dozens of clients, photographers and other vendors. It was absolutely unreal and the most uplifting moment I have ever had in my life.
I realized that we weren’t alone in the world; that our work and our friendship meant more to so many people than I had ever realized. I broke down and cried for hours from that realization. Afterwards, I picked myself back up and went on to expand F-Sequence Studio to what it is today. In hindsight, that show of love and support changed how we did business entirely and really grew us up as people and as a company. We also learned how to better select and communicate with our clients and was the biggest motivating force in our history as photographers.
LVW: On a typical Sunday I am usually…. but I’d rather be …
DT: On a typical Sunday I am usually wondering what I would be doing if I didn’t have so many photos to edit, but I’d rather be wondering how in the world I managed to make clones of myself that do nothing but edit photos and whether or not I could claim them as dependents on my tax returns.
LVW: If I wasn’t a …, I’d probably be a …
DT: If I wasn’t a photographer, I’d probably be a church deacon, so I could introduce myself to people as Deacon Deacon and watch the look of confusion on their face as they wonder whether or not I have a speech impediment. Or I might be a duck.
LVW: The last song I really cranked on the radio was…
DT: A3’s “Woke Up This Morning“, also known as the theme song to The Sopranos. I may or may not have been sitting all cool in my car with my arm hanging out of the window in 110 degree heat, trying to be cool like Tony Soprano (I’m hanging my head in shame right now).
LVW: My last most memorable meal was…
DT: VERY obscure reference here… “Bacon pancakes, makin’ bacon pancakes, Take some bacon and I’ll put it in a pancake, bacon pancakes, that’s what it’s gonna make, bacon pancaaaaaaake!”
Thank you so much Deacon – stay tuned for weddings and shoots from F-Sequence on LVW soon, including a couple’s shoot to be featured tomorrow! It’s hot and wet and … well, you’ll just have to come back and see it now, won’t you?
F-Sequence Studio | http://www.fsequence-photo.com
3125 West Ali Baba Lane, #705