Welcome to our first ever ‘Virginian of the week’ profile. For the inaugural edition of this ongoing series, we interviewed Casey Crowe Taylor, a wedding photographer in Old Town Alexandria. Her work can be found on her website, Facebook and Instagram.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. You’re originally from New Jersey, right? What brought you to Virginia and what made you decide to stay?
I am a born and raised Jersey girl but not the “Jersey” you’re thinking. I grew up in a cluster of small beach towns that was the exact opposite of the MTV Show. I married an Australian (we actually got married in Purcellville!) and we’ve lived all over the world together. His job brought us to Old Town Alexandria in 2016, but honestly we were looking for a reason to move here for a long time. We love having the city and the country life so accessible in one place.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Old Town Alexandria?
We live in Old Town Alexandria and I could talk forever about how much we’ve loved living here. I love how many great parks there are to walk with my baby and dogs, the year-round Farmer’s Market, the great restaurants, the fact that it’s not too crowded, the Art League and the community. It will be hard to beat when we have to move out of Old Town for more space.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I took a summer photography course at The Art League here in Old Town Alexandria! They have affordable classes all year round and I had the best instructor (register for photo class with Pete Duvall and you won’t be disappointed). I learned how to use my camera in the summer of 2016 and shot a friend’s rehearsal dinner that Fall to see if I was interested in photographing people. I honestly didn’t think I’d like it, but it was pretty instantaneous. I took the leap and started my business pretty much the day after, and as they say, the rest is history.
What would surprise people about your job? What’s something people wouldn’t expect about being a wedding photographer?
That 90% of the work happens after the wedding or photo session. For every hour of shooting, I have about 3-4 hours of culling and editing – not to mention the time it takes to download, upload, deliver, blog, Pin and Instagram a session.
What’s most exciting to you about your work?
The people. I love connecting with other people and hearing their stories. And I don’t just mean the bride and groom’s story. On the day of the wedding, I talk to their parents, I listen to the bride talking to her sister. I want to get a real sense of the people that mean the most to my clients so that I can capture more than just the classic wedding highlights. I really want to capture what means most to them; their relationships with their loved ones in action.
What’s the hardest part of your job?
This is the most cheese ball answer ever, but honestly it’s when a wedding is over and it’s time to say goodbye. It’s not rare that I get teary-eyed while saying my last congratulations to a couple, because after getting to know them for a year, the party is over. Thank goodness for Instagram and being able to keep in touch so easily with clients. I’d be so sad without that!
How does where you live inform your work, if at all?
One of the things I love about shooting in Virginia is that there are just so many options; so many parks, cobblestone streets, cute cafes, cool breweries, etc. I love doing sessions in new places with clients. I recently did an engagement shoot at Gravelly Point where the planes fly into DCA and it was SUCH a fun spot I would have never thought of. I’m always so grateful for clients showing me new places in the area.
Do you have a favorite photo you’ve taken or one you’re most proud of?
I wouldn’t say it’s a thing I’m most proud of but I do have a wedding that made a great impact on me. Last year I had a bride whose mother had cancer and couldn’t make it to the wedding. As I do for every client, I sent her a sneak peek gallery the very next morning and she was able to share the photos with her mom just days before she passed. I don’t take for granted how important these moments are to my clients and that they’ve trusted me with these special moments. I always keep in mind how photos will live beyond their wedding day, how treasured they will be as time goes on.
What do you do when you’re not working?
During the week I’m entertaining my six month old baby when she’s awake and working while she sleeps. If I don’t have a wedding on the weekend, my husband, my baby and I go to the Farmer’s Market in Town Square on Saturday and find a brewery. Our favorites in Virginia are Belly Love and Barnhouse Brewery, and Lost Dog always has a good selection on tap.
What’s the best book you’ve read lately?
I just recently listened to the Big Magic on audiobook for the fourth time and I love listening to it in different seasons of life – I always pick up different things from it. My favorite book I’ve read in the last year though was The Woman in the Window – if you like twists and turns in a story, it’s a MUST. I was blown away.
This interview has been edited and condensed.