RF Photography Annual Winner Jordan Voth

Submitted by Benjamin Arntz on Wed, 02/10/2016 - 10:57
Annual Winner Jordan Voth

Getting married is one of life’s major milestones. It is only natural to want a true professional to capture all the excitement, emotion and beauty of the big day. This is why great wedding photographers are in extremely high demand. WhiteWall had a chance to interview Jordan Voth, an accountant-turned-pro-photographer and one of the winners of the RF Photography Annual for Wedding & Portrait Photography in 2015. He told us all about his path to a career in photography and gave us the scoop on his prize winning shot!

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India and Jay/ © Jordan Voth

Hi Jordan! How did you first get interested in photography? I first got interested in photography just as I was graduating high school. I was enrolled in yearbook my senior year and that was my first chance to use a dSLR and Photoshop. After I graduated, I got a little Nikon D40x and just started shooting a whole lot of everything. What made you want to pursue photography as a career? Never really meant to pursue it as a career. I studied Accounting & Finance in college and worked as an accountant for two years before diving into photography full-time in 2015. Photography was something I picked up purely as a hobby because I had a lot of fun with it and I love getting to meet new people through it. Each year I would continue to get busier and busier until it just made sense to pursue it full-time. It’s an awesome feeling to have it now be a career for me.

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India and Jay/ © Jordan Voth

Have you always specialized in wedding/portrait photography? What attracts you to this line of work?  I’ve photographed portraits for quite a while now. That was something I’ve pretty much done since 2008. I love getting to capture people and their emotions in photographs. That was the main draw to portraiture in the beginning. I was a lot more skeptical about getting into weddings due to the nature of it being somewhat stressful (though now it’s not very stressful at all). It’s a very important and special day for these people, and the last thing you want to do is mess up. Took me awhile to get over that fear but now it’s primarily what I shoot, and I love it. Even after the wedding has come and gone, the bride and groom are faced with another major decision: What’s the best way to preserve their favorite memories from the big day? Acrylic prints or canvas prints? Will the married couple’s first kiss look best printed on aluminum or premium photo paper? The options are endless! For our stand at the WPPI expo, we put Jordan’s winning photo in a custom wood frame and photo mat board. Definitely a classic look! Andrea Scholtyssek-Kohlhase was in charge of having the prints made for the Expo and gave us some more insight into why she selected this presentation for this particular photo. “We printed this fantastic shot on classic Ilford Black & White paper. We layered two photo mats to give it a particularly eye-catching look and to emphasize how special that particular moment was. The light gray and white mats go perfectly with the photo and the frame’s warm wood tones.” Curious how Jordan got the shot? We were too!

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India and Jay/ © Jordan Voth

Jordan, what can you tell us about your winning entry? How did you take it? What kind of camera/equipment did you shoot with? How much post-processing is involved in a great shot like this?  India + Jay chose to elope at the edge of Horseshoe Bend with their close family & friends. It was the first elopement I had been asked to photograph and it was one of the weddings I was most excited for all year. I had been to Horseshoe Bend twice before this so I knew what the area was like, how busy it can get with tourists, what lens to shoot with it, etc. I think this really helped because it can be somewhat overwhelming trying to think “How am I going to photograph these guys without getting all of these people in the photo?” It ended up being easier than I thought because we were pushing our luck with the amount of daylight we had left. It was an extremely stormy time there and we somehow dodged the rain in that window of time. I had about 15-20 minutes to photograph them and one of the main shots I had in my mind was the shot of them at the edge of the cliff with the bend in the background. I was hoping to have a ladder out there but that ended up not happening. Thankfully, in the particular spot I took them to, there is a bit of high spot where I was able to stand up on and shoot down at them. Now, it was also super windy so it was really tough to hear me shouting at them while they’re standing there. I was doing my best just to not get knocked over. I used a Canon 5d Mark II and a Canon 11-24mm f/4L lens. Because I had been here a couple times before, I knew how massive this place was and that you truly need something in the 11-20mm range to really make sure you get all of the bend in the frame. This shot was shot at 11mm but then I cropped in a little bit in post. There’s not a whole lot of post processing done. Mainly just color correction and adding in some contrast to make it pop. The main challenge with this place is how red the image is SOOC because a) Canon’s tend to shoot more red in the first place & b) the red rock of the canyon just adds to it.

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India and Jay/ © Jordan Voth

When you’re sorting through photos after a shoot, how do you recognize the ones that will look amazing or more impressive in black & white? I really like black & white for intimate portraits, I think it works really well for that. As far as recognizing the ones that will look best, I guess that takes some practice. Sometimes it’s just because it’s a bad lighting situation but other times it’s because you really want the viewer to focus on the content and subjects and not be distracted by the colors of the scene.  Any tips for photographers who want to achieve a similar look? I tend to shoot backlit and a bit underexposed. I try to get as much right in camera as possible. 35mm tends to be my lens of choice so that particular focal length definitely adds to the look. This makes post fairly simple.

Jordan Voth is a 26-year-old portrait and wedding photographer based in Seattle, WA.