Lucky Photography ~ Prattville, AL

Tiffany Hughes of Lucky Photography describes her photography as Southern, real and soulful. She embraces her Southern roots, taking inspiration from the Southern way of life. She likes to take things a little bit slower, allowing her the opportunity to illustrate the life, love and laughter of her clients. As a result, her images have a captivating charm... a bright, pretty happiness that we can't get enough of. Read on to learn more about Tiffany and what inspires the talented lady behind the lens of Lucky Photography.

Lucky Photography is based in Prattville, AL, working mostly in Birmingham, Montgomery, Mobile and Auburn, but available for assignments worldwide. To contact Lucky Photography, visit the Lucky Photography website or call 334.312.2832.

Weddings Unveiled: Tell us a little bit about Lucky Photography.

Tiffany Hughes: Lucky Photography is a natural-light studio based in Prattville, AL. There are two of us girls that make up what we like to call our family away from family- Tiffany (that's me) and Dana (oh sweet Dana, love that girl). We're coming up on our 2nd birthday in wedding photography and what a ride it's been! I decided a long time ago that I would only produce a product that I would be willing to buy. I want you to have a story. I want someone who wasn't at your wedding to look at your photos from beginning to end and feel like they were there. I've always said that photography is 10% talent and 90% psychology. Learn what makes your clients tick and you'll have good shots. We really emphasize that in our business - it's so very important. We want you to feel that you can call us up just to shoot the breeze and that's not a ploy to make more moolah either. We want close relationships with our clients. We enjoy it. We really, really enjoy it.

WU: How did you become a wedding photographer?

TH: Well, here's the thing- I never wanted to be a wedding photographer. I hear all of you gasping. I began photography with children as my main subjects and seniors here and there. I had a booth at the Montgomery Junior League Holiday Market in October of 2007. This sweet lady stopped by my booth and asked if I did weddings. I quickly said, "Oh, Lord, no." She replied, "Well you have to meet my niece. You have to do her wedding." She told me how her niece was a producer for Nashville Star (this is the show that discovered Miranda Lambert) and she lived in LA (that's not Lower Alabama...we're talking California) but would be down in July to meet me and talk to me. Me, being the realist that I am only 10% of the days of my life, thought, "Oh...OK. You're telling me that you're gonna meet me on July 8th, 2008, nine months from now? Surrreee....marking it on my calendar right now." In actuality, I said, "Oh..that would be great. See you then. But I don't do weddings." The months passed and when July approached, the date had been on my mind and I'll be danged if she didn't call me. She called me. Do you hear me? This crazy woman called me. Well, I met Brooke the following day and knew at once that I was in love. I was in love with her family, her wedding, everything. I did the wedding. Thank you Robyn and Brooke. You changed my life.

WU: Digital or film or both? Why?

TH: Except for the occasional Kodak in a box that I pick up in the grocery store for the kids to play with. And here's why- Film is fabulous. Don't get me wrong. I love it. It has a look of its own that is hard to mimic. I certainly respect those photogs who use film. It is very romantic and has this element of surprise that digital doesn't. Let me stop talking about the benefits, because I'm going to type myself into changing my mind on this one.

Here's why I use digital: digital is so operator friendly. You see what you did or didn't do immediately and that's a good thing. How in the world could that be bad? PLEASE READ THIS DISCLAIMER: just because photography has gone "hi-tech" with digital doesn't mean that digital photography isn't any less of a talent. Say it with isn't any less of a talent. Never let anybody tell you that. If you take good digital photos, you'll take good film photos and vice versa. You still have to know your camera like it's your third hand or your best friend. That is never going to change. Good photographers are good regardless of what they use. That's what I say, anyway.

WU: Describe your wedding photography style.

TH: Style. It's part of your being and it's what sets you apart from the rest of the world. There are so many photographers out there who would use the same three words to describe themselves as we do: southern, real and soulful. But it's how you "own" those words that makes you different and determines your style.

Southern- Please don't confuse this with "red-neckish". Not the same at all! "Southern" encompasses so much. That word alone conjures up thoughts of comfort, warmth, family, storytelling, pride and love. We adore the natural, everyday world that God has given us down here. Heck, do you know what a good backdrop that kudzu makes? So, that's what we mean. We're southern, we love southern, it's in our blood and it ain't going anywhere. I would like to take this time to quote Miss Barbara Mandrell (country music singer) "I was country, when country wasn't cool."

Real- Oh, this is a biggy. Real life is a fabulous thing. Nobody is perfect. Nothing ever goes 100% by plan. And to me, that's so great. It's when we stray from the norm, that we find out what and who we are. If I can capture that on camera, we're gonna make you pretty happy.

And finally soulful. Call it soul, emotion, whatever you like. Your soul is what makes you who you are. Take a deep breath and live in it. I spoke with one of our bride's moms on the phone today and she choked up just talking about the schedule of the day. She apologized and I told her to stop apologizing. There is nothing unemotional about your little girl giving her heart to the man that you prayed for her to find since the day she was born. Emotion and soulfulness are the things that marry you. Without it, all you have is a piece of paper and a signature. That's what we look for and that's what will make your photos different.

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

TH: Oh gosh. It changes daily. But today...drumroll is the image. I love it. Southern. Real. Soulful. The story behind it: On Katie's wedding day it absolutely poured down rain right before the ceremony. Naturally, emotions were running high, so she sat down in this small child's chair and watched out the window for the rain to stop. I remember her saying, "People are still driving up in all of the rain." And her mom, didn't have to say a word to calm her fears. She walked over and touched her and at that moment that's all that Katie needed. This image is just so symbolic to me. I see Katie, who's become this beautiful bride, who's all grown up and ready to marry the man of her dreams, but I see Katie the little girl who can be calmed instantly by her mama's touch. Very fitting for the transition that she's about to make from someone's little girl to someone's wife. I'm such a sucker for parent pics.

WU: What inspires you?

TH: Life inspires me. My children inspire me. My crazy husband inspires me. People who tell me "you can't do that" inspire me. People who are fore-runners inspire me because they dared to dream. Knowing that God specifically set this job aside for me to do for Him, inspires me most of all.

WU: What inspires your photography?

TH: I think that the sole inspiration for my photography is very simply, my crazy ideas. Photography is a tough business in that you always see someone better, someone newer, or someone who has neater ideas. I fell into that trap for a while and I didn't grow a bit. Not photography wise or personally. When I put my big girl panties on, I thought, " know what? I don't want people to like me for what I'm not. Do your own thing sista." Now don't get me wrong, I love folks that love me because it makes my life easier, but the fact is, that isn't going to happen all the time. I am who I am and some of you will like it, some of you won't. Some of you will like our style, some won't. I used to cry about who might not like me on a daily basis, now I only cry about it when I have PMS. That's a huge improvement.

WU: How do you keep your wedding photography fresh?

TH: The only way to keep photography fresh is to change with change, but at the same time, stay true to your own style baseline. I don't completely evolve into what the latest, greatest photog says is fresh for the moment. At that point, you lose your own style and then you just get flushed down the drain like a wad of toilet paper. Seriously. I can even tell you what the drain looks like. I went there once.

WU: Do you do non-wedding photography work? If so, how does it influence your wedding photography?

TH: Yes. I do child photography, senior photography and family photography. As far as influence, I guess it does so in a round-about-way because it gives me an even bigger chance to study emotion and the human mind. If I can put my finger on what makes you who you are, then I get the image that will bring tears to your eyes. It's that easy.

WU: What makes you different from other wedding photographers?

TH: I'll tell you what other folks tell me and this just makes my heart melt when I hear it- Y'all are easy to talk to and we love your personalities. Swoon. I hear that 99% of the time. The other 1% hired us because we're beautiful. ha! We're not different because we know when to decrease the fstop, increase the ISO or have a killer bokeh in our shots. If you're a photographer, and you know what you're doing, then that's gonna happen for everybody. Also, we're not afraid to ask the bride and groom their vision of the day. Just because you ask for their vision and what they want or need in photography doesn't mean that you're giving up control. FYI brides and grooms- if you meet with the greatest photog in the world and they don't ask your vision, run like your pants are on fire. They're not working for you or for your best interest.

WU: What would be your ideal wedding assignment?

TH: The bride would have to be a mixture of traditional and quirky, and very open to making her wedding her own style and not the style of her best friend who was married last year. I don't care about traveling to some exotic location. I want flavor and I think that us folks here in the south have that, plus some. So, give me some southern charm, mason jars, fun groomsmen who don't think they're too cool to act like a fool, a bunch of bridesmaids who care more about the bride's hair than their own and a bride and groom who are getting married because the other is their best friend. This shindig would take place in New Orleans- where I was married as a matter of fact! Savannah or Charleston would work pretty well, too! And please, leave all family members at home who think that they take photos better than I can. Aunt Ethel with a camera and me, with Aunt Ethel's pop-up flash in my way, do not get along.

WU: Tell us three things you can't live without.

TH: I would love to think of something philosophical as my answer, but it's very simple. My soul, my family, my Dyson vacuum cleaner.

WU: What is the best advice anyone has ever given you?

TH: My life has been influenced by so many. Mama and Daddy were no doubt instrumental in developing who I have become. And I know for sure that they have given me more wise words than I will ever remember. But, the older you get, the more you realize that when everyone else is gone, all you will have is you. Then you become a little more important to yourself and start taking yourself a little bit more serious. One fine day when I had an epiphany, I listened to myself and gave me my own chunk of advice. Here it is (and let me say that as far as I know, I have never read this anywhere else, so this is an original "Tiffany-ism") "The only reason that the grass is greener on the other side is because it's fertilized with more crap." Stop laughing and think about it.

WU: What is the best advice you can give to an engaged couple?

TH: From a marriage standpoint: Please breathe. In and out. Whether you're engaged for 2 months or 2 years, the final outcome is marrying your best friend. There's no amount of money that is going to make your marriage work. Just because you have a bigger flower arrangement than your sorority sister had doesn't mean that you're going to be together forever. Instead of planning for a wedding that others will celebrate as the biggest and best, plan a wedding that will celebrate y'all. I bet that there are things that you still don't know about your groom. Ask him what his favorite toy was when he was 5. Ask him who his 1st grade teacher was and what she taught him. Ask him how old he was when he first rode a bike. I say these things because you owe it to him, to you, to your future family and to marriage. I almost lost my husband on Christmas Day last year to a brain hemorrhage. In 5 minutes time, our lives changed forever. You never think the little things matter until they do. Trust me.

From a photographer standpoint: Please breathe. You will bond with a photographer if you know what you're looking for. And please, look for it. Don't choose someone because you've heard good things about them. If the personal dynamics aren't there, it's a very uncomfortable situation for all involved.


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