By Leah Schwartz
Wedding photographers wear many hats, and photographer Angie Silvy wears them all with the confidence that only experience can provide. From editorial fashion to extreme sports photography, Silvy has done it all.
Silvy began her career right after high school as an assistant to Australian designer Stuart Membery and was introduced to the world of high fashion and editorial photography. After, she became a fashion editor and stylist at Mode Brides Magazine while furthering her studies in photography.
After leaving her job at the magazine, Silvy ventured to the Australian snowfields, where she fell in love with sports photography. “To me, I was like, ‘This is living,’ and I was so happy,” she says. Soon after, Silvy broke her leg in a snowboarding accident, prompting her to return to university to study photography. “I said, ‘If I can’t snowboard, I’m going to be the best goddamn snowboarder photographer there is,’” she says.
She was true to her word. Silvy moved to the United States and began working as an extreme sports photographer, traveling across the globe, shooting professional athletes like Shaun White and Jonny Moseley and working with brands like Burton, K2, Smith and Quicksilver.
When the snow melted in the summer, Silvy shifted to photographing weddings, which, like the rest of her career, soon took off. With over 500 weddings under her belt, her work has been featured in People Magazine, The Knot, C Magazine and SMP. Currently based in Marina del Rey, Silvy does it all — editorial fashion, portraits, interiors, and a select handful of weddings each year based on her availability.
For Silvy, wedding photography is an art that encapsulates all her prior knowledge and experience, from fashion to sports photography. “When I see something that I know that’s going to be a great shot, I know how to shoot it based on all the other things that have molded me become a photographer — the fashion, working on the editorial, shooting interiors, and sports, with a lot of movement,” she explains. “All of those things come together to make the personality of what my photography is.”
According to Silvy, a good wedding photographer must do it all. She emphasizes the importance of being organized, calm, observant and friendly, focusing on intimate moments — the face of the groom as the bride walks down the aisle or cherished portraits of grandparents. “I like the details and capturing moments,” she explains.
To ensure each moment is captured, Silvy always works with a second photographer equipped with an alternate lens, shooting off to the side. Her style is classic and timeless, avoiding transient trends and focusing on the raw, natural beauty of the moment. Her approach is meticulous, capturing everything from the venue’s grandeur to the subtlety of the emotions displayed and editorial-style shots of wedding ephemera and accessories.
Although editing, lighting and composition are crucial to a quality photograph, “how you communicate with the subject and how comfortable you can make them feel” is equally essential, Silvy explains. “Because you are typically invited into their family, it’s completely intimate.”
Building a rapport with clients not only adds to the ease of shooting but is reflected in the photographs, which more accurately capture clients’ personalities and the essence of the wedding. During destination weddings, Silvy spends considerable time with the wedding party, whole weekends. The longer she spends with them, the better the photos get, she explains.
Contrary to popular belief, wedding photography is not a one-day affair. It involves extensive preparation, from initial consultations and planning shoots to post-production work. One wedding shoot, from start to finish, could take 40 hours. “Shooting a wedding is really intense,” Silvy explains. “It’s like a lot of work. There are a lot of hours on the back end for wedding photography.”
While the job is gratifying, it’s not without its challenges. Weather conditions, lighting, and the unpredictability of events all play a role. However, her experience and quick thinking allow her to turn these challenges into opportunities for stunning photography. “You have to be quick on your feet and just keep it going and try to make the best situation out of something that could be terrible, but I don’t typically have a lot of those,” she says.
Since the advent of digital photography, everyone has become a wedding photographer, Silvy explains. When Silvy began her photography career, she used film and developed it with expensive equipment. “I respect people that have been in it as long as I have,” she says. “Weddings, for me, are part of what I do. I’m passionate, and I enjoy doing them.”