Maryland wedding photographer Winnie Dora Nham’s path to the industry was a bit different than most! 

She wasn’t a photographer’s assistant, a coordinator, or a designer. She was a musician! 

As a long-time violinist, Winnie spent seven years as a member of a string quartet that played at weddings across Maryland, Virginia, and D.C. As a wedding musician, she and her group played ceremony and cocktail hour music, so she got a behind-the-scenes look at how weddings were run. 

Outside of her quartet, she was (and still is) also an avid traveler, which led to her capturing her trips through photography.

Now, she’s the mastermind behind Winnie Dora Photography where she combines her love of weddings with her passion for photography. Winnie and her team shoot engagements, elopements, portraits, and wedding days. Her photo philosophy centers around a lifestyle approach, capturing candid and genuine scenes from life’s big moments.

Another wonderful thing about Winnie—she’s always willing to help. Whether that’s stepping in when another photographer becomes unavailable, or helping a bride-to-be decide what to wear for an engagement shoot, she takes her dedication to service to the next level. And that’s something that makes her stand out. 

We asked this talented Maryland wedding photographer to share her thoughts on weddings and the local venue scene. Here’s what she had to say! 

Responses have been lightly edited for clarity.

What’s your favorite venue and why?

I gravitate towards venues with a lot of historic and architectural interest. There are so many gorgeous venues to choose from in the DMV, but DAR Constitution Hall and Meridian House are among my favorites.

Meridian House. Photo by Winnie Dora Photography.

What’s your favorite thing about weddings?

Wedding days are one of the most joyous, emotional days of a person's life. That happiness manifests itself in different ways at different little moments for every couple, and it is so touching to see my couples realize how surrounded with love they are as their visions come to life on a wedding day. Being there to witness that joy and capture it is an honor I don't take lightly.

Photo by Winnie Dora Photography

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

I once had a bride whose mother asked me to follow her EVERYWHERE. Everywhere, including...*drumroll* the bathroom. That was an interesting day!

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

Well, there may or may not have been a pool at the resort of a wedding I was at. The entire wedding party decided to jump in at the end of the night (including the bride and groom in full attire!). Does it count if I was part of said wedding party!? Haha.

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

Literally, the little kids. I love when they run onto the dance floor and start dancing like nobody's watching (usually, everyone is). It cracks me up because sometimes they're dancing on their own before the festivities start, sometimes it's during an important moment like speeches or first dances...but it is always adorable.

Photo by Winnie Dora Photography

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

The amount of time and energy that goes into shooting a wedding—both the lead into, the day of, and post processing after the wedding day. I think there's a common misconception that we simply show up, press a few buttons, and call it a day, but there's an incredible amount of planning that goes into a timeline, thinking about lighting and locations, and capturing couples in a way that is authentic to them as individuals. 

It can also be backbreaking work since you're running around on your feet with heavy gear, contorting your body to get “the perfect shot.” I spend at least an hour before and after each wedding stretching, foam rolling, and doing yoga to help counteract the physical toll it takes on my body! At the end of the day, it's all worth it for the couples we serve.

Photo by Winnie Dora Photography

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

I've heard so many speeches at this point that it's hard to remember specifics, but usually when someone starts crying I'm a total sucker and tear up as well. I also love speeches that don't go on forever, especially before dinner is served because everyone is hungry. 

(Can you tell I'm a wedding vendor? Haha!)

What’s your favorite wedding movie and why?

Bridesmaids! Such a solid laugh, every time.

What’s your best marriage advice?

After the wedding is over, it can be so easy to get caught up in the day to day practicalities (and annoyances) of existing together and life in general. Use your vows as a compass to steer you back to who you want to be as a couple when things go amiss.

Photo by Winnie Dora Photography

That is some world-class advice from a world-class wedding pro! 

To work with Winnie or see more of her beautiful photos, visit her website. And to reserve your wedding date with Maryland’s DJ, reach out today! We’re booking for 2021 and 2022, and we’d love to save the date for you!

Published on:

Monday, May 17, 2021