02
May
12

guest star: award-winning photos by Andre LaCour

Today we look at the amazing work of Chicago photographer, Andre LaCour. His ability to bring quality and class to each bride’s big day is demonstrated through the moments and stories he captures in each photo. In fact, Stitely‘s favorite photo that we use in our marketing materials (just to the right of this post) was taken by Andre LaCour! We sat down with Andre to learn what sets him apart from other photographers and his big tips for any future photogs. Enjoy!

Stitely Entertainment (SE): Can you please explain your business and what kind of services you offer?

Andre LaCour (AL): I provide photography services for clients looking for something special. Images that are artistic, and capture emotion with a fashion flair. Although weddings are the bulk of my business, many brides do boudoir sessions as a gift to their grooms. Additionally, I do corporate and family photos.

SE: How did this type of work interest you and how did you get started?

AL: A terrific high school teacher fostered my interest in photography. While I was in college, this teacher had begun doing wedding photography and with his encouragement, I trained to become one also. At the time, it was a great way to earn money by working one day a week, which didn’t interfere with my grades. Everything just blossomed from that one decision.

SE: Can you describe a “typical” day at your job?

AL: A typical day involves meeting with potential clients, processing and editing images, designing albums, overseeing production, networking and all the business activities generally related to running any type of business. The fun begins on the weekend when the photography starts. A typical wedding involves 8-10 hours and about 2000 images! We try to document every laugh, every tear -from the bride getting ready to the vows to the toasts and dancing. My favorite part of the day is usually the outdoor session when we get to create some artistic images of the bridal party and the bride and groom.

SE: What sets you apart from other photographers?

AL: My style has evolved into a unique blend of classic, photojournalistic and fashion inspired images. My team and I (I always work with an assistant) carry a lot of lighting gear that enable us to take more sophisticated images. In today’s culture where everyone has a camera phone and we are inundated with images, the professional photographer must surprise the viewer and capture not only what is there, but also what can be imagined. In addition to photography skills, the modern photographer must be skilled in post-production techniques to enhance the images.  My experience and training also set me apart from most photographers. Having photographed over 1000 weddings and having trained with top photographers from around the world helped me to earn my Master’s and Craftsman’s degrees from PPA.

SE: What part of your job do you find the most rewarding? Most challenging?

AL: The photography is the most rewarding. The challenge is reaching the right couples to make them aware of what I offer. Today, anyone can put up a website and call themselves a photographer. In a very crowded market, it can be difficult to reach the brides and grooms who want a premium product.

SE: Do you belong to any professional associations?

AL: Yes, I belong to the Professional Photographers of America (PPA), and Wedding and Portrait Photographers International (WPPI), the 2 main organizations for professional photographers.

SE: If you had to recommend a venue for a wedding, which would you choose?

AL: That’s impossible! There are so many beautiful spaces in Chicago. It really depends on what style you like, how many guests and, of course, your budget. For me, I enjoy any space that has a unique style, whether modern like the Intercontinental O’Hare or Museum of Contemporary Art, classic like the Palmer House or Hilton Towers or in a category all their own, like the University Club.

SE: What is the craziest event story you can share?

AL: Years ago, I was photographing a couple who had been living together for years. The power went off in the church just prior to the bride coming down the aisle. While everyone panicked and talking about omens, I had the singer perform a cappella, had the priest light candles and got her down the aisle and married!

SE: What kind of changes have you seen in this industry over the past few years?

AL: The industry has changed completely in nearly every way. Events are more customized, bigger, more expensive and more detailed.

SE: If you could have any superhero power to help you with your job, what would it be?

AL: Hmm…great question. I guess Superman’s ability to fly is hard to beat…we could get from one location to another really quickly and without any pollution.

SE: Any tips for aspiring photogs?

AL: Study and really practice your craft before you take the responsibility of someone’s memories. So many new photographers are “self-taught” and learn on the job. A bride’s special day that she’s planned for a year is no place to practice. Learn your craft and look, act and present yourself as a professional. Learn both the principles of photography as well as art. It takes years to develop your skills and aesthetic style. Too often, everyone wants “instant” success. As another photographer once said, “everyone wants to be a rock star, but nobody wants to learn the chords”. It’s a fun but challenging profession, perhaps never more difficult than it is right now. Over time however, old world values like quality, integrity and creativity will serve you well.

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Delivering a mind-blowing musical performance at an event is an art and planning it is a science. Stitely Entertainment has mastered both by planning and executing thousands of events.

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