Oakwood Photo & Video is composed of Alexa + Wes. Alexa and Wes are a husband and wife photo/video team from Western Pennsylvania. We asked Alexa a few questions about their work and how they incorporate the Terrain presets & creative profiles in their editing.
Tribe Collective: Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and how did you get into photography?
Alexa Marquis: I'm Alexa Marquis, a 25-year-old photographer from Western Pennsylvania. I am married to a wedding videographer and have been in business for about 7 years now. My grandfather, great-grandfather, & great-great-grandfather were all photographers, so I've always felt that photography is in my blood. I picked up my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel XTi when I was in 9th grade. I swore I wouldn't photograph a human and only wanted to shoot landscapes and flowers. I frequently took my camera to school with me and eventually started photographing friends for fun but never thought it would turn into any sort of career.
About a year after graduating high school, I began getting a little more serious about the possibility of turning photography into something more than a hobby and started photographing seniors in addition to working a 9-5 job. After building up my senior portrait business and becoming more confident in my camera skills, I was asked to shoot a wedding. I was honestly terrified of the idea of photographing such an important event, but jumped in and gave it a try… and I fell in love with weddings.
TC: Please provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis:
AM: I have always been a fan of Canon and currently shoot with a 5D Mark IV. The main lenses I use are my Canon 35L II, Sigma 50 Art, Canon 45 TS-E, & 85L. I use my Canon 35L II for probably 90% of my photos… it’s just an incredible lens and works well with my style!
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
AM: I usually try to keep my edit looking timeless, but still styled. I love editing with LXC presets and more recently, I'm 100% obsessed with Terrain paired with LXC 03! I love how the LXC and Terrain presets look, but learning I can also mix and match using the profiles, I was able to create an edit that I absolutely loved!
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
AM: My style has always had a very earthy & whimsical feel to it. I like to draw inspiration from the area I live in; dense forests, rolling hills, and creeks/rivers. I think a big aspect of my style's evolution has been with how I pose couples & seniors. I love to capture movement and emotion in my images and it translates well with the organic style I aim to achieve.
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
AM: Take time to learn your camera inside & out and practice every chance you get. Don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from photographers with more experience. Figure out how to create art that makes you happy. On the less fun side… look into what you need to start a business and also take time to learn that part.
TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?
AM: While I absolutely love working with seniors, I have to say that photographing couples/weddings is my favorite. I love seeing how people interact with one another and creating beautiful art that showcases their love.
TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?
AM: Something that constantly holds me back is the big comparison game - yeah, you know the one… when you see other photographers out there killin’ it and it feels like you’re just not getting to where you want to be? I definitely have days where I doubt myself and skills. When that happens, I look back at old photos and see the growth I’ve achieved since I was a dweeb in high school that just wanted to photograph trees.
On the flip side, finding an awesome group of like-minded photographers that raises each other up is so encouraging. There’s also nothing better than knowing that I’m using the gifts I was given to create art for people and show them how beautiful they are.
TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?
AM: About two months before my own wedding in 2015, I decided it was time to take the plunge into being a full-time photographer. I was doubtful I would be successful or be able to make an income, but I also wanted to follow my dreams of being full-time. I quit the 9-5 and made it happen. 3 years later, I’m still in disbelief that I have been able to do what I love every single day. I think having perseverance through the slow seasons and enough coffee to make it through the busy ones, I’ve been able to make it work.
TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?
AM: Success to me is being able to create art that my clients absolutely love, make an income that allows me to be full-time, and lastly… taking photos that make me feel excited and inspired to be a photographer. I have to remind myself that success isn’t in the number of likes I get on Facebook or how many followers I have on Instagram.