Gather Portraits brings something new with a timeless impact to wedding receptions across middle Tennessee. Instead of an automated iPad photo booth with goofy props, photographer Austin Lord offers a posed experience similar to a magazine cover shoot. The reaction from guests is always the same, “I want that on my wall.”
Lord became interested in photography in high school after picking up his Dad’s film camera. He remembers the excitement of taking the roll of film to be developed at Walmart. In 2012, Lord moved from Dothan, AL, to study guitar performance at Trevecca Nazarene University. Within a few weeks of being on campus, he had a job photographing basketball games. Lord soon began to pursue photography as a career, realizing that guitar performances were filled with nervousness and tension, yet he never felt that way behind the camera.
During 2014, Lord covered more than 20 weddings as a lead or backup photographer. At the start of his junior year, he decided to leave his college program to pursue photography full time. His parents, recognizing his talent and passion, were supportive. A year later, Lord was invited to NYC to work with the iconic Annie Leibovitz, best known for her Rolling Stone cover of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. His responsibilities included lighting setup for magazine shoots with publications like Vanity Fair and Vogue.
While his time in New York helped Austin perfect his technical skills, he also dialed in how he wanted the experience to feel working with him. He immediately recognized that everyone in NYC was trying to climb to the top and often saw this at the expense of human connection and kindness. Lord wanted to ensure that everyone working with him was treated the same, from the intern to the talent.
Once Austin developed his style, he began creatively considering the business side and identifying a need in the wedding experience. After working with many brands and celebrities, he wondered why this same luxury experience couldn’t happen on a larger scale at weddings where guests are already looking their best.
What gets Lord most excited about the Gather Mobile Studio is knowing he’s capturing the special people in a couple’s life with a stunning portrait they will cherish for years to come. He remembers visiting his grandparents as a child and seeing family photos all around the home. Today he strives to leave the couple with elegant art of their family and friends they are proud to display as they start their life together. They can also receive a printed album of the portraits along with personal messages left by the guests, a more polished option for the traditional guest book.
As for the experience itself, Austin offers wedding guests different pose options and guides them on showcasing their best features. After a decade of studio work, he can help anyone feel comfortable quickly, even if they are intimidated. Immediately following their photoshoot, guests can view a digital image. The best part? “Seeing their face light up at what I’ve captured.” The Gather Portrait experience only takes a couple of minutes, and everyone leaves with a magazine-worthy cover image and a smile.
Austin has his most ambitious wedding to date later this month, with 600+ guests attending. He’s not sure if all of them will sit for a portrait, but he hopes they will. To learn more about this unique wedding offering, visit gatherportraits.com.