December 01, 2010 — Garrett Nudd found his passion for photography long before it became his business. In fact, when he started shooting weddings he was living in two worlds. He was working a full-time job in the corporate world to earn a living, and spending every other moment shooting weddings because it was his passion. In 2006, when he had booked 40 weddings for the year as his ‘spare time’ job, his wife came to him, and with extreme understanding and support, told him that she knew he wanted to make a go of it as a full-time photographer. She had only one condition. “I remember one night, we had put the baby to sleep and I was working on the computer doing images, probably backed up about eight or 10 weddings,” he laughs, and his wife came in to see him. She told him, “I want you to know that I’ve thought about it, I’ve prayed about it, and I’m willing to support you 110% under one condition, and that condition is that we won’t be starving artists.”
But being a starving artist hasn’t been a problem for Nudd. In 2002 he shot his first wedding for a friend, but he was already a committed hobbyist and loved the craft. When he moved to Florida in 2003 he used his evenings and weekends to “pound the pavement” and get his name out as a new photographer in town looking to book weddings. “I went around and I talked to wedding coordinators and I talked to bridal salons. I was so new that most of them didn’t give me the time of day. But then I would find mid- to high-end shopping areas and I would talk to the people at the cash register or the store manager and I would say, ‘Hi, my name is Garrett, I’m a new photographer in town. This is my card, I wondered if you could either set some out on the counter for your customers, or if you’re not willing to do that, if you could put a few of them in the back for your employees to see, maybe on the bulletin board by the time clock.’ And we booked a couple of, at that point in our career, what we thought were pretty nice weddings just from walking around and doing that. That was certainly a springboard to bigger and better things.”
Those bigger and better things blossomed quickly, turning Nudd’s passion into his career in a matter of a few years. He worked to fine-tune his eye by looking at the other top-end photographers in his area to see how he was different and determined how he could carve out his own niche in the market, clearly marked ‘Garrett Nudd.’ His style evolved into a keen balance of color composition, design, unique perspectives and creatively utilizing the settings and surroundings available at the wedding locations. Whether his images are vibrant primaries, contrasting colors, soft monochromes or elegant black and whites, Nudd takes advantage of the design of the day and finds the best way to capture the look and feel of a lucky bride and groom’s wedding. He will literally run around the location to get establishing shots of the ceremony site or find the perfect sofa in the hotel to showcase the bouquet because he knows what will work, can see the balance, the interesting angle and the design that will make the images pop. There are also times when a black-and-white or a subtle sepia tonality makes the image and he can tell during postproduction what images will benefit from the conversion, resulting in some truly unique portraits or vantages on the wedding day.
Nudd’s experience, passion and knowledge have led him to refine his approach and arsenal for weddings. He always brings a second shooter whose job is to shoot non-stop, covering every component that they see so that no element is lost. He also has three or four camera bodies and has recently started taking a medium format film camera along to experiment with new techniques make images from a more nostalgic perspective.
Currently, Nudd travels for 90% of the weddings he photographs, all over the United States and the rest of the world. He has been published in numerous wedding magazines, and he has a consistent stream of referrals. “Word of mouth is everything,” he explains, “If you take care of your clients, they’re going to tell their friends.” When the brides are happy, the bridesmaids notice, and when they in turn walk down the aisle, Nudd is often their first choice photographer, turning one job into three more, into eight more and so on from wedding to wedding and location to location.
His notoriety is spreading to more than just his brides, however; he has been a requested speaker at conventions such as Imaging USA, PPA, various events for GraphiStudio, Burrell Colour Imaging and Pictage, and, of course, WPPI. He truly enjoys teaching and expects someday, years down the road, to retire and teach full-time. He appreciates how communicating, networking and sharing knowledge are a rewarding way to grow as a photographer. He lectures when asked, but he also loves going to WPPI—it’s the highlight of his year. “There’s nothing I’d rather do than sit in those classes and learn from photographers that I admire and take notes on what they’re saying. I go to WPPI every year to learn and to come back inspired.” When given the chance, aspiring photographers can sit in on Nudd’s classes as well and, given his keen photographic sense, hard-working attitude, and genuine passion, no doubt find their own classes full of knowledge and inspiration that only a true photographic master can supply.
Learn more about Garrett Nudd’s and his work at www.garrettnudd.com
He will be teaching a MasterClass, “Getting Published…It’s Easier than you Think” on Tuesday, Feb. 22 from 8:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m at the WPPI 2011.
Amanda Quintenz-Fiedler is a freelance writer and photographer living and working in Carlsbad, CA. She is earning a Master of Fine Arts in photography from Brooks Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.