Walters & Walters ~ Raleigh, NC

James and Meridith Walters actually met in the sixth grade and have been friends ever since. They're the incredibly talented husband and wife team behind Walters & Walters photography and have also been long-time friends of Weddings Unveiled. From our very first issue in the Summer of 2005, their work has appeared in the pages of Weddings Unveiled numerous times in both real wedding features and fashion editorials. We love their images, their style, their kind, generous spirits and really... everything about Walters & Walters. With that, we couldn't think of a better way to begin our professional interviews, a new chapter for Completely Unveiled. Look for new interviews each Friday as we share the amazing work of photographers, event planners, florists, designers and more. Read on to learn more about Walters & Walters and enjoy the inspiring images they've shared with us.

Walters & Walters is based in Raleigh, NC. They work all over North Carolina and the Southeast. To contact Walters & Walters, visit their website by clicking here. You can also reach them by phone at 800.344.4914.


Weddings Unveiled: Tell us how you became photographers.
Meridith Walters: James has been a photographer since High School. He won his first national photography award his Senior Year. He had already decided he was going to photo school to study commercial photography. I started a little later. After 10 years in brand marketing and advertising, I began shooting when James brought me along to a wedding to basically keep up with the equipment. He gave me a camera with one roll of film to photograph whatever I wanted. I received great feedback from the clients on my images and was hooked from then on.

WU: How did you become wedding photographers?
James Walters: I used to assist a wedding photographer on the weekends when I was in photo school. I really had no interest in weddings then. I was studying commercial photography and already had a job lined up at a commercial studio after school. A few years after school I got a call from the person I had assisted and he needed some help with a few weddings. I did a few weddings with him and realized I loved the creative freedom it provided me, and the clients loved the images they were receiving. That was almost ten years ago.

WU: Tell us what it's like to work as a husband and wife team photographing weddings.
MW: It’s fluid and easy for us. We have a healthy sense of competition with each other that keeps us on our toes. We can also read each other’s minds a bit so we can be sure that we are always giving the clients images from our own point of view without duplicating. We also have very specific duties when covering a wedding and they don’t really overlap.

WU: Digital or film or both? Why?
JW: I’m not old school or new school. I guess I’m from the middle school? That is to say, I began using both mediums at the beginning of my career. I remember a lot of photographers who had a painful transition from film to learning digital, and today I know many photographers who have never shot a frame of film professionally. I used both film and digital since 1993 when digital was considered the photo equivalent of voodoo. I also shot a fair amount of weddings on film until 2000 when we switched to 100% digital. I still shoot film for some personal projects, but it’s all digital for the way we photograph weddings.

WU: Describe your wedding photography style.
JW: I refer to it as Enhanced Reality. It’s hard to throw a one word description on our work because we are two people with two very different styles bringing our imagery together to tell our client’s story. My work has been described as having a fashion or editorial look. Meridith uses a documentary technique that emphasizes the beautiful. So what do you call that? I'm not sure, but we use the words “Modern, Classic, Beautiful, and Real” to describe our artistic intent.

WU: Show us your favorite wedding image and tell us why it represents who you are as wedding photographers.

MW: This is currently my favorite image and it really shows what we mean by enhanced reality. The image is more dramatic than what you saw if you were a guest standing there, but it embodies the feelings and emotions of the moment. This is an image that could not have happened without both of us working together. James is standing on the other side of the couple and I am using his light to produce the dramatic effect of the couple walking toward their future.

JW: For my part, I really enjoy making the women look amazing and the guys look cool. The feedback I get from clients suggests that they really appreciate it. This is another take on Enhanced Reality in the sense that it was photographed with an infra-red camera. You don’t get those tones with a regular camera or photoshop filter, so it’s worth the extra effort.

WU: What inspires you? What inspires your photography?
JW: The process of conveying a thought, feeling or emotion into a visual image that creates that same feeling in the viewer is our inspiration for everything we do. Whether that feeling is hot-sexy, warm & fuzzy or pure & tender, we want the person viewing the image to have a sense of the story from that one image.

Meridith is inspired by people, and loves photographing them. I am inspired by technical challenges and love to show people a version of the world, or side of themselves they have not seen before.

WU: How do you keep your wedding photography fresh?
JW: Zip-loc bags or Tupperware. Sometimes both to prevent freezer burn.

WU: Do you do non-wedding photography work? If so, how does it influence your wedding photography?
MW: When we are not photographing weddings, we photograph other assignments. So much of our past is rooted in other areas of photography – fashion, commercial, and portraits. James enjoys working on editorial assignments that allow him to travel far outside the creative confines of wedding photography.

WU: What makes you different from other wedding photographers?
JW: in today’s market, if you’ve been doing this longer than two years you’re pretty different. Our experience in other areas of photography besides weddings gives us a perspective and skill set that also help to set us apart. Not that it’s better, it’s just different. Also, we are a husband wife team. A lot of photographers can bring an assistant to be a 2nd photographer, but that won’t get you the same result as having someone who you spend most of your waking moments with working right there beside you.

WU: What would be your ideal wedding assignment?
MW: When clients tell us the three things we like to hear most: “Photographs are extremely important, we trust you, do your thing.” When we hear that, we know it’s going to be a great experience all around.

WU: Tell us three things you can't live without.
JW: Sweet tea, something to do, good light (in that order)
MW: My personal photographs, books, sunscreen

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?
Don’t be normal; cause normal is broke and boring.

WU: What is the best advice you can give to an engaged couple?
Despite what your parents and friends tell you, despite what you read on the web sites, or what your coworker did at their wedding, remember that it is YOUR wedding. So be sure to bring YOUR style and personality to it. The very best weddings we do are reflections of the couple’s interests, passion and energy.

WU: Tell us about your work with Flashes of Hope and what it means to you.
JW: Its just a good feeling to give your time and talent to something that is personally meaningful to people. FOH is a national organization with the Triangle chapter operating out of the UNC Hospital cancer center. We provide photography for families of kids who have life threatening illnesses. Most of the kids are in treatment and are going through some hard stuff, but to see them light up, and their little kid spirits shine through in a photograph is totally worth it. Delivering the photographs to the families and hearing how much the parents appreciate them and even the kids themselves love to look at “those cool pictures.” It’s so awesome, and personally meaningful to them. For me, it’s the kind of hands on giving that I would rather do than walk for a cure, or write a check to a charity, but that's just me.

For more information about Flashes of Hope, please visit the Flashes of Hope website by clicking here.


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