Member Profile: Erin Tetterton

I met photographer Erin Tetterton nearly two years ago when she visited my jewelry shop to ask about our antique engagement ring collection. When she mentioned that she is a photographer I honestly didn’t appreciate what she meant. With camera technology being what it is, it’s easy to call oneself a “photographer,” but the term means nothing unless you have the artistic training to actually execute professional-quality photographs. Well, when I looked up Erin’s photos and saw the incredible caliber of work that she produces, I quickly realized she’s the real deal.

I have subsequently worked with Erin many times over the last few years to shoot my own fine jewelry collection and I am never disappointed by her creative vision and technical expertise. She can do a wide breadth of style - light and airy for Seedling, dark and luxurious for Alx&Co. - but her photos always contain that extra “something” that distinguish a professional image from my sad camera phone attempts. I decided to highlight Erin in this week’s Member Profile because she’s lovely, so talented, and a perfect example of a true artistic professional…

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Erin: I’m Erin & the artist behind Erin Tetterton Photography. My husband & I moved to the west end of Alexandria in 2013 and have absolutely fallen in love with our community. We now also have little girl (5yo.) who serves as my top model & favorite photography muse.

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You have such a creative eye for high-end photography and have really established yourself in the wedding field. What brought you into this specific niche?

Erin: I started Erin Tetterton Photography shortly after graduating from art school & moving to Alexandria. In art school I studied a mix of painting, photography, & ceramics, but always came back to photography. My own wedding photos have played a huge role in reminding me and my husband of our own love story and I love working with couples to save their wedding memories in a tangible way for a time when they need it most. For many of my wedding couples, I continue to work with them for newborn photography & family photography for years to come.

What did you do before deciding to become a full-time photographer?

Erin: Before meeting my husband and attending art school I did a host of different things, including a stint as a commercial pilot.

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How would you describe your aesthetic as a photographer and how do you achieve it?

Erin: My photography style is Clean, Classic, & Authentic. As professional wedding photographer, most of the photography I do is for a specific client. It’s incredibly important to me that when my clients look at their images it tells them more about how their day felt and looked and draws attention to every detail and the interactions between them and with their guests. However in order for these moments to become quality photographs, they need good lighting. Over the years I’ve become a huge lighting nerd, and although every photographer loves incredible natural light, it isn’t always available, being able to light any space in a way that feels natural whether it’s in a dark church or mansion or in an open field is something that really sets me apart. Because of this, I absolutely love shooting indoor wedding ceremonies in a host of wedding venues, but have a special spot in my heart for photographing church weddings.

As admirers of the trade, what is something that would surprise us about being a professional photographer?

Erin: I think a lot of things would surprise the lay person about professional photography! Probably the most surprising is that the best photographers in the world tend to look at photography through the lens of science as much as they do art. Today’s digital cameras are incredible and pretty much anyone can get a few good images; however, a master photographer is able to look at the images they love and figure out why they are incredible and how and where to create the situations that will get those results consistently. I spend as much time understanding what’s going on in front of my camera as I do what’s going on inside of it. A solid understanding of the quantity, quality, and angle of light is a HUGE part of keeping people in images looking really natural and creating clean & classic wedding portraits – and I’m fairly certain I’m making my high school physics teacher proud. This focus on the science behind photography comes in so handy when setting up the lighting for indoor wedding ceremonies and church weddings.

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Any tips for those with wedding dates approaching?

I really love being with couples on their wedding day and the wedding day itself rarely feels like work. I try to provide a lot of resources to my couples ahead of their wedding to help their day run smoothly, including help with timelines and other wedding day tips. The greatest compliment I get from clients after their wedding day is being called “friend.” My clients expect incredible wedding photography, after all that’s why they hired me, but what I do on a wedding day goes far beyond using a camera. I work with many of my couples for almost a year before their wedding day and love getting to know them and their families. I’m always happy to lend a helping hand with boutonnieres, bustling, and sometimes just calming nerves. The number one thing I always recommend to couples is to put a little extra time here and there in their wedding day timeline. Getting behind on the timeline not only adds stress to the couple & guests, but can also take away from time planned to be used for portraits and other special moments in their day.

You have shot so many amazing venues. Any dream locations on your list?

Most of my favorite wedding venues are based on architecture and the greater Washington DC area has some of the most incredible spaces in the US. At the moment I’m pretty obsessed with the Larz Anderson House, DAR Constitution Hall, and National Cathedral for weddings. I also do many sessions in Old Town Alexandria and love the convenience for my clients and myself.

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Erin’s Five Favorites

  1. Favorite neighborhood?

    My favorite neighborhood in Alexandria is: My own! We really have the best neighbors here in the West End and that’s what makes it special.

  2. Favorite part about living in Alexandria?

    I love living & working in Alexandria, because it still feels like a smaller city with a great community, yet it’s still so close to DC.

  3. Favorite thing to do in Alexandria on a free day?

    I could always go for a walk around Torpedo Factory. I love the history of the space and supporting local artists. It’s almost always the first place I take people when they come to visit. Random Fact: One of my great uncles spent time at the torpedo factory while in the Navy during WWII.

  4. Favorite place to grab a drink?

    Oooh, favorite place to grab a drink….. That’s a hard one! I tend to waffle back and forth between Hank’s Oyster Bar (the hibiscus mojito is delish!) and our local neighborhood favorite, London Curry House – service is stellar and because it’s walking distance we’re there a lot.

  5. Favorite day trip outside of Alexandria?

    My favorite day trip outside of Alexandria is DC – if that counts. I love hitting up the art museums and try to get to the Hirshhorn, Freer, and Renwick regularly.

All featured photos are by Erin Tetterton. To ask about her services, email erin.tetterton@gmail.com.

Meaghan Foran