10 Questions with Jess and Kim Lawrence

WeddingRule Interviewed one of the most popular and highly sought-after wedding photographers in North Carolina, Jess and Kim Lawrence of Party of Two Photography. Charlotte based Jess and Kim are the founders and owners of Party of Two Photography.

Party of Two Photography

Photographer - Jess and Kim Lawrence

10 Questions with Jess and Kim Lawrence

1. Introduction: What's your story?

Hi there! We are Kim and Jess, a married couple and co-founders/photographers of Party of Two Photography. While we both had an interest in photography when we first met, we never would've imagined that we one day would start a wedding photography business together (let alone before we got married ourselves ?)!

Our story starts with us meeting in college "in a boat" as Jess likes to say. All reality: we both took a whitewater kayaking class just for the heck of it and that's where we met! We started dating not long after and some of our favorite things to do together were travelling, going on hikes, and trying new restaurants (all of these things are still true). I, Kim, had also taken an introductory photography class during my last semester and purchased my first DSLR camera. Jess was jealous of all the cool pics I would get on our adventures and eventually got himself a nice camera too!

For awhile, we were just what you might call "educated enthusiasts": we took the time to learn our gear and challenge ourselves, but we also just took photos for ourselves and not really of anyone else. Fast forward to 2015 when a good friend was getting married and a looming hurricane caused some last minute changes... including with the wedding photographer! The photographer's flight was cancelled at the last minute, so I, Kim, called up Jess and told him: "bring your camera, you're shooting this wedding!" Despite torrential downpour, venue changes, technical issues, and other inconveniences, we actually felt pretty good about the images we captured that day. We figured that's probably about as bad as it gets, so why not try this out and see if we like it? Turns out we love it and we've been shooting weddings ever since!

Photography serves as a creative outlet for both of us, but the real reason we do what we do is for the amazing people we get to work with. We sincerely care about each and every one of our couples and get to know them like friends. We only take on a limited number of weddings each year because we want to provide our clients the best possible experience and individual attention that they deserve during their wedding planning process and beyond.

We currently reside in Charlotte, NC and were married back in 2018. We've got two cats, Gwen and Arty, who keep us very entertained. Kim loves coffee, reading, cats, and sleeping. Jess loves tinkering, roller coasters, cooking, and music.

2. How long have you been shooting weddings? How many weddings have you photographed?

We've been shooting weddings technically since that very first one in 2015, but we really hit our rhythm in 2017 when we founded our business. We aim to shoot between 10 to 15 weddings per year, but the actual number has been growing steadily each year. Since the beginning, we've shot over 35 weddings (as of May 2022) and have very rarely shot at the same venue twice!

3. How would you describe your photography style?

Most photographers fall into two camps: light and airy or dark and moody. We are neither. We consider our work to be vibrant, fun, creative, genuine, and true-to-life in every sense of the phrase. We really value capturing the day as it truly looked, but in the best way possible with just a little bit of magic!

We shoot the majority of a wedding day in a documentary style, letting the day unfold naturally, not really intervening, but capturing the moments as they would organically occur. A very small part of the day may then be spent making something super creative and unique (these are the ones that you get to say "that's me!?").

When we capture portraits of our couples (both on the wedding day and during engagement sessions), we love to get our couples moving and interacting. That's how we get the real smiles, not the fake cheeses!

We both shoot, we both edit, and we do our best to have an absolute blast. We aren't fly-on-the-wall photographers and will get right in there with the action and all of your family and friends.

4. How well in advance should couples book their wedding photographer?

We recommend booking your wedding photographer as soon as you know your wedding date. Usually this means that you book your venue first to secure the date and then start looking for your primary vendors: catering, music, and photography.

Our busiest months in NC are definitely March/April and September/October. Summers and winters are generally slower (just because of the weather), but it's always better to get in touch with us as soon as you know you might like to work with us. Sometimes we book up dates 6 months in advance, sometimes 2 years, so it's better to get on our calendar as soon as you can.

Saturdays are definitely the most popular day of the week to get married and we try not to book ourselves for too many Saturdays in a row for our sanity. We also only take on a limited number of weekday weddings each year.

5. What are the different packages that you offer and which one is your most popular package?

We have a wide variety of wedding collections that can also be customized depending on the couple's preferences. Our collections start with 6 hours included because we feel that that is the bare minimum amount of time to capture a wedding ceremony and reception, but most people like to have us stay for 10 hours which allows us to cover everything from "getting ready" to an exit. Collections start at $3200, but every couple is different, so contact us to chat about how we can use our talents and expertise to plan the best day ever!

All of our collections include two photographers, high resolution digitals, private online gallery hosting for easy downloading and sharing, and print release. We also really believe in viewing your photos in a physical format, so most of our collections include albums as well!

6. Are you the wedding photographer who will be shooting on the wedding day? Who else is there in your team?

We are Party of TWO Photography because we really like shooting together! As a husband and wife team, we work really well together and are able to get two different perspectives on the day. Sometimes both of us will be in the same place at the same time and sometimes we split up... it all depends on what makes the most sense logistically and where all the action is!

7. Do you charge a travel fee? For what distance? What does that cover?

We LOVE traveling! What we charge for travel is all dependent on how far it is and how long we need to be there. If the location of the wedding and/or engagement session is greater than 25 miles outside our home zip code, we charge a minimal travel fee of $0.40 per mile (lower than IRS rate!). When wedding travel exceeds 2 hrs on the road, we also require overnight lodging to keep us safe from late nights on the road AND to make sure your photos get backed up that very night. We're also willing to fly anywhere in the world, but we would then draft custom travel packages, taking into consideration airfare, accommodations, and travel distance.

We can't wait to join you on your adventure! Pick somewhere cool ?

8. Are albums or prints included in your packages?

Yes! Most of our wedding collections include albums because we want you to have memories that will last a lifetime. No one is going to come over and ask to see your Facebook photos ?. Albums are completely customizable heirlooms. Our albums are made with high quality materials and are built to last. With durable leather or linen covers, a solid storage box, and thick, finger print resistant pages, your memories will be preserved for years to come. All of our albums are made with a binding that lays perfectly flat for a literally seamless viewing experience.

Clients (and anyone they share their gallery with) can buy prints and canvases directly through the online gallery. We partner with a professional printing company that uses only the best quality papers and inks and actually print your images true to the colors we intend.

9. How long after the wedding will the couple receive the images? How will they be delivered?

The best part about our wedding workflow is that our couples will actually know the EXACT DATE they will receive their wedding photos prior to the wedding itself!

About a month out from the wedding, we reconnect with our couples to review the timeline and expectations, but we also schedule their Reveal Session. During Reveal Sessions, we show our clients their wedding images for the very first time in print and on the big screen. We then work with them to perfect their album, which we order that very night.

Reveal Sessions will generally occur 6-8 weeks after the wedding. This gives us enough time to cull down the thousands of images we take into a selection of only the very best. We cull and edit every single image that we deliver; usually it’s for simple things to make color be vivid and pop. Both of us will review every image individually before delivery and then we also pre-design your wedding album before the Reveal!

10. What is your cancellation and/or refund policy?

We really try to be as understanding as possible, especially after 2020 happened. Generally speaking, we have a non-refundable retainer of $1000 to reserve the wedding date. In the case of an emergency or global pandemic, we will do our very best to work with our couples to reschedule to a mutually agreed upon date. Depending on the situation or timing, this may require another non-refundable retainer.

Gallery

Awards

WeddingRule Editor’s Choice 2021