After choosing a DJ...wink wink...choosing a photographer is one of the most important decisions a couple can make for their wedding day. You’re trusting this person to memorialize moments that can never be recaptured, so you’re putting a huge amount of faith in their skill and know-how. 

And one of the best in the business is Valerie Astlin of Valerie Michelle Photography.

Based just outside of Baltimore where she lives with her husband and little daughter, Valerie shoots in Maryland, Washington DC, Virginia, Pennsylvania, and is even available for destinations. 

What makes Valerie so special is the relationship she establishes with her clients. Each couple is much more than just “another wedding.” Just check out her blog posts — detailed stories about who the couples are, where they met, how they got can tell that Valerie takes the time to get to know each and every client she works with. 

Part of the way she gets to know her couples is with an engagement shoot, included in each of her three wedding photography packages. This lets everyone get to know each other and get comfortable in front of the camera before the main event.

Photo by Valerie Michelle Photography

That’s how she’s able to capture so many lovely, intimate moments. From the sweet and touching to the wild and silly, she is front and center for every part of the wedding day. 

Photo by Valerie Michelle Photography

We feel especially close to Valerie because we were honored to DJ her gorgeous wedding last June at Murray Hill Farm! It was so special to us, being able to participate in Valerie and Richie’s big day. The local wedding industry is a tight-knit group, and we all love the opportunity to share our gifts with each other. After working together for so long, we loved the opportunity to bring big wedding energy to the dance floor for a friend and colleague! 

Valerie’s clients have nothing but the best things to say about her. Common feedback? Valerie makes couples so comfortable that they can’t help looking great in their wedding photos. Valerie catches it all, and makes brides look as gorgeous in photos as they do in person.

In addition to wedding photos, Valerie does engagement, newborn, maternity, family, and other lifestyle photos. She’s a featured vendor at Borrowed & Blue and The Wed Clique. She’s also been selected as a Couples’ Choice vendor by WeddingWire

We asked Valerie to share some of her wedding experiences with us to find out what she loves about this crazy business!

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

How did you get started in the wedding industry?

I studied photography and graphic design at Stevenson University, and then interned with the lovely Brea Shaw. Through that internship I knew wedding photography is what I was meant for.

Note — check out our vendor spotlight of Brea Shaw here!

What’s your favorite venue and why?

I have way too many favorites. But I'd have to go with Glen Ellen Farm. The grounds are so beautiful and have so many options for photos.

Photo by Valerie Michelle Photography, Glen Ellen Farm

What’s your favorite thing about weddings?

It sounds cheesy, but my favorite thing is to capture the raw emotion and pure love that radiates during the day.

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

I don't think my couples per se have asked for anything wild, but I have definitely been witness to/captured a few crazy groomsmen bloopers.

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

This has to be the time a groomsman whipped out his 'junk' during a celebratory bridal party photo…

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

Is it cheating if I use my own wedding for this one? Our daughter (2.5 at the time) peed herself just moments before we walked down the aisle. Our awesome DJ (Maryland's DJ, of course) had to stall during the middle of the procession until she was cleaned up. Fast forward (my husband had no idea she now had no underwear on), after recessing my husband picked her up and lifted her into the air and she mooned all of the guests. Whoops!

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

Photography isn't just about operating the camera. Photographers, as well as other vendors, tend to wear many hats. It is SO rewarding — but each wedding day is bound to exhaust the vendors mentally and sometimes emotionally just as much as it does physically.

What’s the best speech you’ve ever heard?

I love any speech that has the whole room (and myself) laughing. It is always fun to learn new and funny things about my couples (:

What’s your favorite wedding movie and why?

I'm not a huge movie person. (I know, I know — crazy.) But Bridesmaids is for sure a classic.

What’s your best marriage advice?

Focus on your love for each other. Life is going to throw curve balls and you’ll be tempted to let everyday stress clutter your mind. But don't forget to show your significant other the affection you have for them before the end of the day....the smallest notion of your love can make a huge difference.

Want more Valerie? Follow Valerie Michelle Photography on Facebook or Instagram. Or send her a message on her website about working with her for your wedding, engagement, or family shoot!

Published on:

Thursday, May 14, 2020