Some little kids dream of being a model or an actor. But photographer Kate Palker always knew that she wanted to be behind the camera, not in front of it. An independent photographer — that was the life Kate dreamed of! 

The first step to making that dream come true was training. It was during her apprenticeship that she assisted on her first wedding and fell in love! Kate began helping and second shooting for other photographers to gain as much wedding experience as she could. 

Finally, in 2014, with the encouragement of her husband Ben, she opened her own studio in downtown Frederick, MD. Pearly Kate was born! Within the first year of owning her own business, she began booking and shooting her own weddings.

Photo by Pearly Kate Photography

Most wedding photographers don’t have their own physical studio these days. After all,  wedding photography takes place on-site, and editing can be done from home. But by having a studio space, Kate and her team have a professionally lit location for portraits and headshots — two additional services they provide. 

An important part of the photographer/client relationship is getting to know each other. So before any contracts are signed, Kate has an initial phone call with the clients, and then an in-person (or virtual) “Coffee with Kate” session. 

In this initial meeting, Kate helps couples to work through their wedding day timeline, and shows samples of her work. By setting this foundation, she ensures that she and her couples are on the same page when it comes to the engagement and wedding photos. 

After the big day, Kate can send clients framed art and heirloom-quality photo albums, so they’ll have ready-made keepsakes. 

Pearly Kate Photography has a team of three — including a dedicated studio manager to wrangle emails and finances. That leaves the two photographers free to focus their attention on making couples and families feel and look their best. 

We chatted with Kate about why she loves weddings, the most unusual thing she’s seen at a wedding, and the one request she always says “no” to. 

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

What’s your favorite venue and why?

Antrim 1844 is such a beautiful and versatile venue. They have beautiful gardens and grounds and the rooms and building are all so unique and full of a historic charm. Their wedding coordinators and staff are great and if you haven't visited The Smokehouse Restaurant, you absolutely need to!

Photo by Pearly Kate Photography

PS: Check out our Venue Spotlight of Antrim 1844!

What’s your favorite thing about weddings?

I love building relationships and investing time to get to know my clients. I am such a people person! I love learning about each couple's unique love story and being able to capture this exciting season in their lives.

Photo by Pearly Kate Photography

What’s the wildest thing a couple has ever asked for?

I love capturing surprising moments at weddings and seeing either the couple’s or guest’s reactions! One couple went above and beyond and hired Andrew Ripp, the artist who wrote their song and had him perform at their wedding! 

What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever seen a member of the wedding party do?

People ask to use my camera often. I say no, but with a smile!

What’s the best “little kid moment” you’ve seen at a wedding?

There are so many! Kids are adorable at weddings in their tiny formal wear, especially when they are dancing!

Photo by Pearly Kate Photography

What’s one thing you wish people knew about working at weddings?

I love planning for the wedding in advance! I work with the couple from day one to prepare the wedding timeline and family lists. This ensures that by the time the wedding day comes, everything is set up. 

Even if there are small hiccups on the big day, I am able to remain calm and be flexible to ensure the photography experience is the best for the couple!

What’s your favorite wedding movie and why?

Bridesmaids! Does it need an explanation? This movie never fails to make me laugh.

What’s your best marriage advice?

Remember that each day is a new day! Marriage takes the ability to focus on the good in yourself and your spouse, every day.

Photo by Pearly Kate Photography

If you’d like Kate and her team to shoot your wedding, reach out to her on her website. And if you’re looking for a DJ for your big day, let us know!  

Published on:

Friday, July 10, 2020