Artist Interview with Annie Bang
Annie Bang is known for her honest, emotional work that speaks for itself, but we can’t help singing her praises anyway. Based in Los Angeles, born in Chicago, and raised in Seoul, South Korea, Annie studied journalism in college and has worked as an international journalist, shooting for The Associated Press. Read on to find out more about her.
Welcome to World’s Best, Annie! We’re excited to get to know you better.
As you mentioned, my last job was at The Associated Press. I never thought about becoming a photographer until I did, but I’ve always appreciated photos that tell a good story. I started photographing weddings in 2015, with a commitment to wedding photojournalism. When I realized how many touching stories you can document at a wedding and that no two weddings are the same EVER, that was when I fell in love with wedding photography.
What are your favorite parts of the wedding day? Getting ready, the first look, the party, etc...
I love people and life in general, and weddings are the best place to get my fix. I cannot believe how lucky I am to have these opportunities. It’s a crazy, beautiful life, and I'm caught by the moments, so whenever I witness individual and unique stories at weddings, my heart just has to capture them. I don't consider myself to be a flashy or tech-savvy photographer, because I do my best work when I am connected with my heart to the moment.
If your next destination wedding could be anywhere of your choosing, where would you go and why?
I love to go with couples to the place their families come from, and to tell their personal stories while honoring their cultural traditions over several days.
What's your advice to couples planning their wedding when it comes to choosing their wedding photographer?
Get to know the photographer! Not only are you making an investment in photography, you are also inviting your photographer to be with you for a long time on your wedding day. Sure, you like their work, but how is he/she with you on a personal level so you're NOT miserable all day? Do we have the right chemistry going on to feel comfortable?
How can brides and grooms prepare themselves to be as relaxed as possible when being photographed?
This refers to the previous question; get to know the photographer. Once you have a rapport with the photographer, it'll be easy and breezy all day because he/she will feel like just another friend/family member who happens to have a camera.
Do you have a good wedding story to tell us? Go for it!
I have so many! Off the top of my head, at a wedding in Los Angeles about four years ago. (Editor’s note: This has a positive ending, so wait for it.)
The grandfather of the bride was giving a speech during her wedding reception. He stood in front of everyone and started talking at the mic stand; then shortly after, he collapsed to the floor and passed out. Everyone panicked and screamed because he wasn't breathing. Someone called 911, and he was rushed to the hospital by the paramedics. I didn't stop photographing the scenes although this was a sensitive time and most photographers would have backed off and stopped photographing. We didn't know if he was going to make it that night or that we should continue with the reception, party, etc. The bride and many family members cried a lot, and everyone was terrified.
I have all of those moments documented, and later, the couple really appreciated my sympathy, work ethic, manners, and the photos! I think one of the photos from those chaotic moments made it to their wedding album too. The grandfather was released from the hospital that night and he's been fine.
It's always great to be welcomed by a couple and their loved ones on one of the most special days of their lives. They appreciate what I do and they are excited before/during/after the wedding day. I've developed some amazing friendships that I will have for life with some of my (former) clients; now they're my friends, not clients any more.
What advice would you give to wedding photographers starting out?
1) Know what you're good at, believe in it, and stick to it.
2) Don't think about what other wedding photographers do, stay true to your own voice.
3) Start slow and be persistent and patient while you learn and build your business.
Thank you, Annie! We can’t wait to see what you’ll send us to show off this year.
Stay tuned for more from Annie Bang.