Who is Kari, the human behind Kari Paine Photography?
I’m a queer photographer and graphic designer based in the city of Detroit. I am an Enneagram type 1 (wing 2) and Leo sun/Virgo moon. I care deeply about justice and equity in everything. I love reading, biking, and collecting old film cameras. I don’t own any pets, so I will become obsessed with yours. I love cooking and cook cover-to-cover through cookbooks with my partner Kate (we are on our 7th cookbook together). Oh, and I love sweet treats. Sometimes I wonder if I love photographing weddings so much because there is always a dessert at the end.
Why wedding photography? And why is capturing LGBTQ+ couples so important to you?
There aren’t many places we can go and feel 1000% comfortable and open as queer folks. Queer weddings are magical because they are a space created by the marriers, for the marriers, with everything that will make the marriers feel at home. A space that is safe, affirming, and loving. It is so special and so rare. I drink it in every. Single. Time.
How do you make lovers feel comfortable in front of the camera?
We all carry different experiences of our bodies and gender, and it is impossible to know what another person struggles with. As a photographer, I believe it is important to understand these things about my subjects so I can respect their experience of their body. I do this by having a small practice shoot with the marriers in their home and then doing a gallery review via video call. Together, we talk through the photos that felt like the best representation of themselves (and why), as well as the photos that didn’t resonate with them (and why). We talk through anything body- and gender-wise that the marriers are self-conscious about. This gives me helpful knowledge going into the wedding day and helps the marriers feel 100% comfortable that I’ve got their back.
What are some of your favorite wedding venues or spaces in nature to shoot at?
I’ve realized that I couldn’t care less about the venue. If the space is meaningful to the marriers and makes them feel comfortable, then I love it! We can take good pictures anywhere.
Why do you think it’s an excellent idea for couples to print some of their favorite photos from the day?
Photos are memories, and when photos get buried in your camera roll, your memories are also getting buried. Print them out, and suddenly, you have a physical object in your life, a sort of altar at which you can honor and cherish your memories. Photos hit differently when you can touch and hold them. I print out photos as part of my culling and editing process because I find that I can see an image better when printed. It speaks to you in different ways.
Anything you’d like to add?
My photography is photojournalistic and focused on capturing moments as they unfold rather than posing and directing the day. I work with my couples to construct a photography plan that is focused on the experience of the day rather than the photo of the day; without the experience, you don’t have a photo! This means throwing away a traditional shot list and replacing it with a list of values that can help me document your day in an authentic, artistic way.
Photography by Kari Paine Photography