For Brooklynite Amber Marlow, life and work revolve around wedding bells. This Park Slope-based photographer is getting married and while details on her own nuptials are under wraps—Amber does spill about her work capturing special days all over the five boroughs. And trust me, she’s done it all from officiating the wedding to even assisting in coordinating the main event. Read on to see how the wedding season has Amber running all over New York City as she shares in couples’ celebrations.
Hi Amber! How long have you been photographing weddings?
I photographed my first big wedding on 25 July 2011 in Manhattan. I remember the date, because it was one day after marriage equality became a reality for New York state, and the couple was two men who were so excited to finally be allowed to be a family. Since then, I’ve photographed over a hundred weddings and New York City elopements (plus one in Puerto Rico).
What does it mean that you are an elopement photographer? How did this become your thing?
Although most of my work right now is focused on larger weddings, I love elopements. Couples from all over the world come here to tie the knot in the best city on earth. Not only is the destination stellar, it is also very easy to elope in NYC. As long as you’re both over 18, have one piece of government issued ID (most of my clients use passports), and can get a witness (often, this is me), you can elope in New York City 24 hours after you obtain a marriage license.
Elopements tend to be last-minute. How do you plan for this?
Elopements have traditionally been last minute, and I do get the emails that say, “I’m eloping next Tuesday, are you free?” Usually I am. If not, I’m friends with a lot of other wonderful photographers that I can send them to. Sometimes eloping couples plan a year in advance to come here, because they’re flying in from halfway around the world to Manhattan. Usually, though, it’s a few months for elopements and about nine months to a year for larger weddings.
The majority of your work is in NYC. What are your favorite locations?
Most out of town clients don’t know where specifically to have their photos taken, so I’ll pick the location for them. Sometimes it’s the classic brownstones of the West Village, and sometimes it’s the gritty Lower East Side. It all depends, but I like to mix it up based on the time of day and the couples personalities. If all else fails, there is always Central Park! It looks gorgeous any time of day, no matter what the weather.
What do you enjoy most about documenting these significant moments?
The best part of my job is that it is a tremendous privilege. I’m taking photos that someone’s grandchildren will trace their fingers over and memorize like I’ve done with my grandmother’s wedding album. I’m freezing moments in time, which is about as close to making magic as I’ve gotten. I’m capturing emotion and an entire new family being formed. It’s a huge honour, and I feel so lucky and blessed by the amazing brides and grooms who have trusted me with their most important day.