The Lens & Light Honor is awarded to twelve photographers each year who are true leaders in the world of wedding photography. We look for photographers who produce stunning, modern, artistic imagery at the frontier of the field and for photographers who have achieved a rare level of success and recognition among brides, fellow photographers, and others in the wedding industry. We are proud to recognize Alisha and Brook Todd with our first-ever Lens & Light Honor.
One of the Top 10 Photographers in the World
– American Photo
Fabulous photographers capturing every moment, Brook and Alisha Todd
– Oprah Winfrey
Happily married for more than 10 years, Alisha and Brook share a passion for people and art which is readily evident in their blend of documentary and fine art photography. Alisha and Brook live in sunny California with their beautiful daughter (whom they adore), Giada Bella.
This dynamic duo travels worldwide to photograph destination weddings ~ from the warm, sandy beaches of Mexico and Hawaii to the breathtaking hills of romantic Tuscany, Italy. Locally, it might seem that Alisha and Brook have left their hearts in San Francisco, since many of the California weddings they photograph are in this lovely city by the bay. Yet, you’ll also frequently find them shooting weddings in the vineyards of Napa Valley and in charming Carmel.
No strangers to Hollywood, Alisha and Brook have photographed A-list celebrities such as Oprah Winfrey, Shania Twain, jazz artists Diana Krall and Chris Botti, Adam Sandler, and Rob Schneider. Alisha and Brook also photographed the wedding of Major League Baseball player Pat Burrell (of the Phillies). In 2004, Alisha and Brook photographed the nationally-televised Fantasy Wedding Dreams Come True (designed by celebrity event planner Colin Cowie) which was featured on the Oprah Show. As their images appeared at the conclusion of the show, Oprah acknowledged them as “Fabulous photographers capturing every moment, Brook and Alisha Todd.”
In 2007, Alisha and Brook were named by American PHOTO magazine as one of the 10 Best Wedding Photographers in the World.
Not surprisingly, their images have have graced the pages of many top magazines including Destination Weddings, Grace Ormonde Wedding Style, Weddingbells, The Knot, Elegant Bride and Get Married. Alisha and Brook have also appeared in books including Signature Sasha: Magnificent Weddings by Design, The Best of Wedding Photography, and The Portrait Photographers. In addition, they have also been interviewed in articles of the following publications: Studio Photography, American PHOTO, Kodak’s ProPass, and Rangefinder.
Awards granted to Alisha and Brook include the Grand Award for Photojournalism and First Place for Wedding Photojournalism from WPPI, and they have both received the Accolade of Photographic Mastery for their award-winning images. Sponsored by Kodak, Alisha and Brook continue to speak at WPPI’s international conventions as platform speakers. And as two of the founding members of “The Shortlist,” a select group of elite wedding professionals in San Francisco, Alisha and Brook are also members of PPA.
How did you get into wedding photography?
I knew from the very beginning when I took my first photography class in high school, that this was what I wanted to do. I started with portrait work while I was in college and then when a close friend was going to get married and asked me to photograph her wedding. I realized that I enjoyed it and that this was going to be my direction.
Brook had taken photography in high school also, but started at first with carpentry, which he did for several years. He assisted me during my first couple of years in doing wedding photography, and we discovered that he had the ‘eye’ for this. He’d found his niche, too.
How would you describe your style?
We’ve said for years that our style was ‘fine art meets photojournalism’. The truth is that since we’ve left film a couple of years ago, I would say that our work took on a different look: a more cinematic look. Our vision is fashion, with romance.
What cameras do you shoot with, what’s your favorite lens, and what’s your favorite accessory other than your cameras/lenses?
We use Canon 5D’s. Brook’s favorite lens is the 35-350 because it’s so versatile. Of course, it’s not a good lens indoors, but we shoot a lot of Napa weddings, which are predominantly outdoors. My fave is the 70-200 2.8 IS, which is fabulous indoors and outdoors. It’s a great lens to shoot photojournalistically and not be in anyone’s face. I love a big telephoto lens for the portraits of the bride and also the bride and groom. We both adore our 85 mm 1.2 lens!
As far as an accessory is concerned, I like to use a tripod to get scene setters that show off the reception. It’s not that I couldn’t skip it and just shoot high speed, but I always used it with film and I like to get the best quality scene setters.
How important is post processing in your final images?
While post processing can be very creative, the most important part is that the image has to be there first. It shouldn’t be about shooting a massive amount of images and hoping that some of them work, nor telling yourself that you can just make it work later. We do enhance the images, but feel that the impact of the initial image is primary and the enhancement is secondary. The enhancement, to me, should be like spice: it’s needed but should improve what’s already there.
Who or what inspires you to create great imagery?
We’ve been inspired by a number of great photographers during our career. However, a lot of other things have inspired us, too, such as film noire from the forties, the cinematography of some current movies and a lot of music videos, which are usually pretty cutting edge.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
When other things run late before you, the photography time is reduced by the length of time that the previous vendor was over. Then the photographer has to produce the expected body of work with a reduced time, catch the timeline up to speed and get the bride and groom to the reception on time. There can be other things occasionally, such as guests who think that they are the official photographer and try to shoot every shot over your shoulder.
What do you think are the most important trends in wedding photography today?
This is probably not the answer you might expect, but the biggest trend in wedding photography is that brides think that is that every photographer is negotiable. We realize that people are affected by the recession, but quality should still be viewed as quality. To quote something from Grace Ormonde: ‘The bitterness of poor quality remains long after low pricing is forgotten’. We know how important the photographs are. These become the client’s memories when day rushes by like a blur. We need to remind people people how meaningful these images are when this is all that remains of such a momentous day in their life.
If not a photographer, what would you want to be?
Brook says that he would do something in sales. I would either be a makeup artist or a Disney princess!