Our featured member this week is Birds of a Feather Photography from Emmaus, Pa. Meet John and Tassia!
How did you get started in this business?
My high school crush (now my husband) bought me my first camera in 10th grade… the love story with both has been a constant in my life ever since. After getting married and taking photos for ourselves around the world, we settled back in the Lehigh Valley and had our first baby. The year was 2008 and our love of him through photos quickly and organically grew into us shooting family photos for hundreds of families a year. After a few years of people asking us to photograph their weddings, we took the plunge (with much thought and reservation because weddings are a really big deal). Now that we’ve been shooting weddings for 8 years, we are so in love with this craft and kind of amazed at how a 10th grade crush on a boy and an art has grown so deep over the years.
What is one of your hobbies?
Well, we bought this dilapidated old farmhouse by a creek- she’s been our hobby for the last year. I also love to write and illustrate children’s books. We LOVE nature and hiking, and playing in the creek with our kids.
What brought you to the Lehigh Valley?
I was born here on a farm, 2 miles from where we now live. Between John and I, we have traveled 18 nations and 5 continents, seen some of the most beautiful places in the world… but as we raise our children now, we couldn’t think of a richer place to be than the Lehigh Valley with our families. In my book our family farm 2 miles up the road compares to any wonder of the world we have seen. We are grateful to come from such a peaceful place.
What is your best advice for a couple planning their wedding?
I guess 3 things-…
1) Do “you”! There is no right or wrong in wedding planning now. A lot of people are going to want to give their two cents and ideas, but this is you and your finance’s day, so give yourself the freedom to be as creative or simple as you want to be.
2) Hire vendors that love people and love their work, and then DELEGATE and trust us to make it all as amazing as you planned. I was a complete DIY bride and if I could change one thing about our wedding it would have been to delegate the details so that I was more present as the BRIDE. As you give yourself to planning such an amazing party, remember to fully embrace your role as bride that day and keep your eyes focused on the one who is about to commit their whole life to you and all of the amazing people who surround you to celebrate that commitment…We will handle the rest for you!
3) If your mom is nice, be nice to your mom. I know, I am overstepping boundaries- but nerves sometimes run high for a bride on a wedding day and I have seen so many mothers get the brunt end of it. I freaked out on my own mom the night before our wedding and still regret it to this day. We are always hardest on those we feel safest with. If you feel like you are going to freak out on her, try a great big bear hug instead… I’m a mama now and willing to bet she would give her life to make it all perfect for you. She’s probably going to screw up on your wedding day, be kind anyway. Sorry, shutting my mouth now- I would never say that to any one individual but when it’s the collective, why not put it out there.
What is your favorite movie and/or book genre?
Children’s books? I studied illustration, and we have 3 kids, so John and I are both pretty obsessed with picture books. As for movies, I love historic period drama- the imagery is always so beautiful. John loves comedy, so we are sort of polar opposites in the movie department, but our go to after weddings is usually The Office, Parks & Rec, or SNL.
What is your fondest wedding memory-either from your wedding, if you are married, or from a wedding you attended?
My favorite memory from our wedding day was running through a corn field with John for photos. It was late August, humid and had been raining- running through corn was by all accounts crazy, but we threw caution to the wind and it just is one of the moments I remember the most now. Aside from that of course, walking down the aisle with my grandfather by my side and seeing John waiting there at the end of the aisle with tears in his eyes. It’s pretty amazing to love and be loved, ya know?
What is your favorite restaurant to eat at in the Lehigh Valley? Your favorite dish to order?
I love House & Barn in Emmaus, it’s the best of both worlds. My great grandparents used to live in the house and farm in the barn, so it draws on the dreamer in me as well. In our busy lives we also love Swadee Thai in Emmaus-Panang Curry is my favorite.
What is a common mistake you see couples make while planning a wedding?
I am all about a budget, thrift store shopper since the age of 13- but I am also a creative and have come to see over the years where it’s worth giving yourself room to splurge. Make a list of what is most important to you at your wedding, and cut back where you need to, to get vendors you are in love with in those areas. Photography, both in my personal and professional opinion is one of those things that is worth it. A great photographer is going to capture every detail and moment so that once the whirlwind of your wedding day is past, you will have amazing photos to relive it for decades.
What is your favorite season and why?
I don’t have a favorite, I love them all. Fall might be the most beautiful but we are always so busy. Summer is amazing because you can swim in the ocean and waterfalls, and watch your garden grow. Spring is magical to watch everything come to life again. But, winter, maybe that’s my favorite actually- I am an introvert at heart and its when I recharge. Life slows down, coffee while watching the snow fall outside and a fire in the fireplace. That’s pretty magical.
What do you wish couples knew about your part of the wedding industry?
It’s not as easy as it looks, it’s our job to make it look easy. We put so much thought into your day, leading up to it, during it, and after while editing your wedding. I feel like there is a bandwagon of “new photographers” now, but having shot as many weddings as we have I feel like there is this wealth of knowledge that feeds into every aspect of shooting a wedding that can’t be gained or shared through any other way than experience. I think this holds true to a lot of wedding professions- we’ve seen mediocre DJs and DJs/MCs that make your party their art. We’ve seen a lot of beautiful florals (because who can’t love a flower) and then we have seen florists who make your flowers a masterpiece that somehow speaks volumes about you. There are vendors and artists, if you can find the artists with a heart to serve- its pretty golden.
What does the perfect day look like to you?
Waking up to watch the sunrise, being handed coffee from my hubby (which he does every morning), making waffles with our 4 year old chef of the house, heading out on a road trip with good music, a hike to a waterfall with the family, and then movie cuddled on the couch with wine and cheese. Yes, please.
What are some of your favorite aspects of your business?
I am SO grateful to do what we do. I am thankful to be able to use our creativity and craft to provide what I truly believe is such an important service to people. Life can be really hard, we are no stranger to that- and to be invited into people’s best moments in life and be able to capture and preserve them not only for our clients, but their families and even future generations; that’s pretty rich!
What song/music is in heavy rotation for you right now?
Honestly, we are resting a 1850’s farmhouse, in the height of wedding season, and raising 3 amazing kids- things are crazy busy. My rotation of music is mostly worship music, and folk rock through the decades. My song of this season is “Only From You” by Jason Upton. It’s a worship song that talks about how we can give our all to life and work, but we are called to look deeper- that some things come only from that level of living, from God. We have to keep centered in this whirlwind of life.
What is the best way for a couple to prepare to meet with you?
We are so easy going. I don’t offer a sales pitch, my purpose in meeting you is to get to know you and what you want, and talk about who we are and what we offer in that context. I always like when you bring a list of questions to help guide our conversation, but if not we can talk while looking at photos and hopefully I can help you gain a clearer picture of your wedding day needs and how we can help. Just relax and come have coffee!