WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY REVIEWS: CRAIG CARPENTER OF LUSTER STUDIOS
I had the unique experience of learning about Luster Studios even before I was engaged. From the first time I viewed Craig’s photography, I was hooked! Once my boyfriend became my fiancé, I showed him and we both became “stalkers” of his website. We were engaged for over 2 years before we tied the knot so we had plenty of time to make sure we liked Craig’s style before booking him. Every time new photos were added, we found ourselves dropping everything to view them. We continued this behavior after we chose Craig as our photographer – for more than a year, and viewed his spectacular work in anticipation of when it would be our turn!
With Craig, it became quite evident that he was not your average photographer. His ability to capture both traditional “posed” formals as well as unique candid shots (which we both preferred) is unmatched. More than that, though, we could tell that he really enjoys learning each couple’s story and catching their personalities (both individually and as a couple) in his engagement/wedding photography. He truly is a “Wedding Photo Renaissance Man” for many reasons.
In an effort to keep this review to a reasonable length I’ll focus mainly on the wedding but did want to share that we also booked Craig for our engagement session and rehearsal dinner. If you get a chance to see our engagement photos, they will speak for themselves as to their quality and creativity. We displayed many of the photos in a slideshow during our wedding weekend and overheard many “oohs” and “ahhs!” At the rehearsal dinner Craig’s attention to detail also exceeded our expectations. For instance, I had given my bridesmaids and two mothers brooches to wear on the day of the wedding. To my surprise, he had taken detailed photos of each brooch either with someone holding/wearing them or artfully arranged and lit by candles.
On the day of the wedding, Craig was prompt and professionally dressed – what you should expect. We learned first hand that his mind’s eye is turned on from the moment he arrives. He had already scoped out the best backdrops, and you could almost see the ideas swirling around in his head. As I had my one moment of stress before the ceremony, he gave me a little pep talk to lighten the mood. That effort was appreciated.
Throughout the wedding day, his role changed as needed. We sometimes wondered how he would be able to capture all the special moments we desired, but he somehow seemed to always be there when we needed him. While taking formal or group shots, he is part photographer/part comedian as he lightens the mood and gets the best reaction out of everyone. During the ceremony and reception he becomes what my sister referred to as a “photography ninja.” We were amazed at the moments he caught because we didn’t even realize he was in front of us most of the time. We’ve attended weddings where the photographer’s presence was definitely known – to the point of being annoying. So, this skill is a definite bonus for Craig.
When all was said and done we were blown away by the range of shots that he provided and WE LOVE all of our photographs! Everyone keeps telling us how beautiful/handsome we looked. There are many stand-out photos that simply take your breath away… or make you laugh… or tear up. Those are above and beyond our expectations and are beautiful and special in their own way. The mix of photos is interesting as well. While we prefer the photojournalistic style of photos, we also have several posed, kind of traditional group shots. Those are important to our family. So, everyone was pleased.
Craig even caught several photos of my husband smiling. He doesn’t like to “fake” smile for photos, so the fact that Craig caught his real smile – twinkle in eyes, dimples showing – made me VERY happy and I feel that this was a direct result of Craig’s warm and outgoing personality. He also made me feel like a celebrity. I look beautiful in the photos, and well… I feel like I look like a movie star. There is one shot where my long veil is blowing in the wind. It is just stunning. I also really love two close-ups – one of my mother’s reading glasses atop her “toast note cards” on the tabletop and another of my sister’s maid of honor toast shot over her shoulder as she read it. He even accommodated a couple of last-minute requests from my mom for family group shots after the reception. He really puts in that extra effort to make sure that the client has all of the shots they want before he leaves.
One final thing that we really appreciated was when Craig posted “teaser” photos for everyone to view while we were on our honeymoon. Luckily, we had Internet access and I looked at them at least once a day for two weeks. My mother admitted to doing the same thing. And, each time we received an alert that additional photos had been posted, we became so excited to view them! With so many excellent shots, we simply couldn’t decide which one’s were our favorites.
As most couples probably do, we did want to mention that we had considered a few other less expensive photographers, but honestly, looking back Craig’s raw creativity, true expertise, his ability to capture moments and the attention to detail, it was well worth the investment! We felt that he captured the true essence of our wedding day, which was important to us. Many of our friends enjoyed his photographic style so much that a couple are hoping to book Craig in the future. We cannot stress enough just how pleased we are with everything.
Years from now, we will look back on our photos and remember the day perfectly. We’ll laugh at my grandfather’s approach to our dance together. We’ll laugh again at the best man’s toast. We’ll smile at the fact that my mom and sister made it through their toasts without crying – though we can tell their eyes were misty in the photos. I could go on and on because I really fell as if we have every moment documented in a beautiful and creative way.
We can’t thank you enough!
Lia and Steve