The Short Version: All right, engaged couples, what’s left on your to-do list? If I had to guess, finding the perfect photographer might be at the top. As someone who didn’t book her photographer until mere weeks before the Big Day, I know finding someone with the right style and expertise is no easy task. But with nearly two decades of experience, Susan Shek understands the importance of proper lighting, authentic poses, and building rapport to ensure comfort on her clients’ big days.

Photographers are the third-most hired wedding vendors, according to a study by The Knot. In fact, on average, couples spend more on photography services than they do on their wedding dress. So it goes without saying that photography is one of the most important aspects of a wedding. 

Susan Shek Headshot
Susan Shek is a premium wedding photographer in the NYC metro area who puts personalization and connection first.

But let’s be honest: Cousin B and her sunset snapshots with a point-and-shoot camera won’t cut it for the big day. You need someone with the appropriate expertise, from mastering lighting techniques to establishing a connection with the couple.

New York City-based wedding photographer Susan Shek has been behind the lens for more than 20 years, so she understands the importance of capturing just the right moments. 

“Authenticity is a big part of the wedding world. Some people take pictures of the wedding, but for me, it’s about connecting with the couple throughout the whole year, telling their story, still being a part of their lives after their wedding, and celebrating many more milestones,” notes Susan.

From College Nightlife Shots to Wedding Bliss

Sometimes life takes us on unexpected paths. A hobby can evolve into a passion project, or a lifelong career may have begun in an entirely different field. 

Susan has a similar story. Although she has been a wedding photographer for nearly two decades, her experience behind the camera started in nightlife and event photography. 

After years of capturing the electrifying energy of live bands and DJs late into the night, Susan mastered the art of lighting in even the most challenging conditions.

Susan’s experience in low-light photography gave her the expertise needed for other types of photography — such as weddings, where lighting can be unpredictable, spanning indoor or outdoor venues and daytime or nighttime events.

Susan Shek photograph depicting a nighttime action shot of a married couple dancing
Susan loves posed shots but also has a particular adoration for action, documentary-style shots that capture the moment.

“One of my college friends needed a wedding photographer and approached me because she admired my nightclub photography,” Susan recounts. “That experience led me to explore a new avenue beyond just nightclub photography.”

Susan combines her documentary style with each couple’s preferences. Some couples, for example, prefer a timeless style, while others may be more intrigued by trends, such as blurred action shots. 

“Many couples I work with haven’t experienced professional photography before,” Susan says. “So it’s always great to see their excitement when they see themselves dressed up and captured in these once-in-a-lifetime photos.”

With each wedding, Susan and her team offer:

  • Engagement session at no extra cost
  • Coverage for the entire day
  • Two or more main photographers
  • Photo timeline
  • Custom editing and composition
  • Preview of select photos within 1-2 days
  • Complete gallery edited and ready within one month
  • Private gallery available for up to a year without watermarks
  • Personalized photo albums crafted
  • Additional options include cinematography and photo booths

But most importantly, Susan prioritizes forming a personal connection with every couple.

Going Beyond a Traditional Booking

Booking a vendor for your wedding usually goes like this: Find one you like, talk a little about what you’re looking for, and exchange pleasantries about meeting them on your wedding day. 

But Susan prefers to approach each couple with a bit more personalization. 

“I really love to connect with my couples. I don’t like to just show up on their wedding day, so we will definitely have a few conversations before then,” Susan says. “We also offer mini-engagement sessions to help us connect and make couples more comfortable being photographed before their big day. It’s a chance for them to get a feel for what to expect and to get to know us better.”

Susan Shek photograph of a couple's engagement shot in the back of a NYC cab
Susan prefers to connect with couples during engagement shots first so that they can get comfortable behind the camera for the Big Day.

That’s one of Susan’s unique services: She isn’t just your wedding photographer but your support system and lifelong friend.

Susan highlights that the engagement session is an ideal opportunity to meet the couple and help them feel at ease in front of the camera. She emphasizes the importance of a natural approach instead of overly posed shots, aiming to capture genuine moments as they happen.

“I’ll guide and direct, but I like to keep it natural so there’s a genuine connection between them, their family, and friends,” Susan explains. “Then, on their wedding day, I’ll be there to capture every moment without any pressure.”

Photographers Should Always Embrace Authenticity

It’s no wonder they say wedding planning is one of life’s most stressful events — every decision, no matter how small, can make or break the memories of the entire day.

While Susan’s top advice for anyone seeking a photographer is to prioritize connection, finding a photographer who has experience meeting different lighting needs is also important.

For instance, when I was scouting for my wedding photographer, I knew my event would start in the tree-canopied daylight and carry on into the evening under the lighting of a tent. I made sure to choose a photographer whose nighttime shots were sharp and not overly washed out.

“It’s important to see different samples of their work to ensure they’re well-versed with using the right lighting. If your wedding is indoors, their experience could be completely different from somebody who is more used to taking pictures outside and depends on natural light,” Susan says. “You want somebody who knows how to work with different lighting scenarios and has worked at similar venues with similar lighting.”

Susan Shek photograph of a couple kissing on a beach during sunset
With her background in nightlife photography, Susan knows how to make any shot look incredible, no matter the lighting.

Susan’s also happy to do some fun, trendy photos — right now, blurred action shots and moody photos are really popular. But she also emphasizes the importance of having moments that last and will still stand the test of time a decade from now. 

“I feel like photography is one of the most important vendors that you will have to hire for your wedding because that’s what will capture all of the details in the moments, and everything that you’ve spent your money on is going to be reflected in those photos,” Susan notes. “If you don’t have the right exposure, it ends up being so dark that you can’t even make out their faces. So, it’s imperative to research whether a photographer has the right lighting experience. This way, you feel you got your money’s worth from all aspects of your wedding journey.”

If you’re in New York City or the tri-state area, Susan Shek and her team’s expertise can seamlessly capture those special moments — posed or not — so all you have to do is focus on what’s most important: enjoying your day. Get a custom proposal from Susan.