Take A Look: Paul Retherford Wedding Photography

Our list of Petoskey, Michigan photographers is growing, as SnapKnot welcomes Paul Retherford Wedding Photography to the list!  Get to know Paul a little closer and see some of his candid wedding photos:

1) Tell us a bit about yourself.

I am a relaxed, down-to-earth guy with a wife, a daughter, a son, a weimaraner, and a vizsla.  Not sure which one requires the most attention.  I love Wedding Photography but I also love lots of hobbies and activities.  When I am not shooting and/or editing, I am traveling, hiking, biking, kayaking, flying kites, fishing, reading, and always have my camera strapped to me.  I graduated in Environmental Science but always found Photography my passion.

After College I applied for the Peace Corps.  I was accepted and had a date set to be placed in Namibia.  I had to decline since my best friend’s Wedding was on the leaving date.

I immediately applied for AmeriCorps and was accepted to a program in Northern California surveying and planning salmon and steelhead habitat.  Every day I went to the field with my camera strapped to my chest.  I walked through pristine stands of redwoods and was lucky to have a ton of wonderful experiences.

Each one of the fifty United States has seen my tracks over the years.  I have traveled Internationally a lot and love exploring.

Starting out as a Nature Photographer really fine tuned my attention to detail and composition.  After more than 400 Weddings, my Brides and Grooms tell me that they love my style, personality, demeanor, and most of all, my images.  I will work harder and smarter than anyone at your Wedding.  My turn around time is unmatched in the industry, and I offer a 100% guarantee on everything.

2) Why did you choose to become a photographer?

My career pretty much chose me.  I grew up being the Yearbook Photographer.  In College I doubled as both the editor-and-chief and the Lead Photographer.  I started as a Nature Photographer just out of College, and sold lots of images online and through galleries.  I love the peace I found when out in nature capturing scenes.  I was asked to shoot a Wedding for a friends brother’s Wedding in Seville, Spain.   After my first Wedding, which I loved, my career as a Wedding Photographer started slow and, when I really went for it, expanded quickly.   I am happy to be a part of this wonderful career!

3) How long have you been a photographer?

I shot my first Wedding almost 20 years ago.  I went full time about 11 years ago.  I only shoot 20-30 Wedding commissions now.  I have captured over 400 Weddings.

4) How would you classify your style of photography?

My style is a mix of traditional, candid, and creative with an emphasis on the candid and creative.  My goal is to allow my Brides and Grooms as much time with their family and friends, and show personality and emotions in each image.  I tell the story of your day so you can enjoy it for the rest of your lives.

My use of off camera lighting creates images that jump of the pages of your album.  I love to backlight images and make dramatic silhouettes.

All of my brides feel like the most beautiful lady in the World.

5) Who or what are some of your influences on either a personal or professional level?

My influences are all people I have met in my lifetime.  These people include my mother & father, wife, children, deceased family, past bosses, teachers, and friends.  I don’t find people influential until I have shaken their hands and been able to know who, and what, drives these individuals.

6) Do you have any good wedding stories?

Where should I start?  Just had a Wedding where the Bride and Groom refused to have a first kiss.  On top of this, the Groom says, “Do I have to sign my real name on the Marriage license?”  How about a Wedding where the Bride’s mother told me she didn’t want a single image with the Bride.  I still got some though.:-)  How about the bride that had black ink on her hands.  Come to find out her underwear was new and faded on her hands!  What about the couple who didn’t sign a marriage license because the Bride found out the Groom was cheating on her.  Only two weeks later the Bride got married!  What?  Great stories like shooting spots that would blow your mind.
Grooms bawling as the bride walks down the aisle and my arm hair standing up during this time.  It always does.  Cool people that will be friends for life.  I like to say that I have seen it all, but I know that everyday something is new.  I would love to share past stories with you I find that this is a good way to calm my brides too.  This is why I love Wedding Photography!

7) What’s your preferred type of camera equipment?

My Canon digital gear has been my tool for capturing images since I was 10 years old.  I have all Professional gear with multiple backups for everything.  I am a Diamond member of Canon Professional Services.  My equipment is purchased and utilized only to mold the vision that I have and the images that you want me to make.  You can be assured that I have the best Professional gear to capture your Wedding images.

8) What would you recommend for a couple just starting their search for a wedding photographer?

Look at what past brides say about their Photographer.  Ask for a list of ten past brides that you can email and call.  See multiple full Wedding shoots.  Search the Photographer online and check the BBB to see if anything has ever been filed against your Photographer.  Make sure the Photographer has captured a large amount of Weddings.  Lastly, make sure the Photographer is in it for all the right reasons.  You want a Photographer that is working for you, not one that thinks you are working for them.

9) Any fun personal facts we should know about you?

I have lived in Alpena, Michigan; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Arcata, California; Washington DC; Florida Keys; Chicago; Grand Rapids; Upper Michigan, and now I find myself in the most beautiful town of Petoskey, Michigan.

When I shoot Weddings on Mackinac Island in Northern Michigan I ride my bike to each Wedding.  I also ride around the island capture images while the Bride and Groom take their Wedding Carriage rides.  One arm on the handle bar and the other on my camera. :-)

I am a 100-ton charter boat captain.  My entire childhood was spent on the Great Lakes fishing with father and other charterboats.  I was a PADI Divemaster but once the kids came had to sell my gear.  Becoming a Pilot is on my bucket list, if my wife lets me. :-)

I just remodeled our entire house, including lifting the house up and replacing the basement!  Pretty crazy, but awesome!

Kind of embarrassed about this, but the money went to a good cause, in college I was in the calendar “Big Men on Campus.”  I was Mr. October.  I was clothed. :-)

Anything else to add about yourself, the wedding industry, photography, brides, grooms, etc?

Know that I travel anywhere in the World.  I love the challenge of new locations.  I am honored every time a Bride and Groom hires me to be a part of their day.


To show you that I go the extra mile, I will offer a complimentary fash the dress/trash the dress session the day after the Wedding, if you wish.

To check out more candid wedding photos from Paul Retherford, visit his website!

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