Ben Elass Photography
I love when I meet vendors who just “get it.” Ben is a Cincinnati based photographer who specializes in weddings. From my experiences working with Ben, I believe that some of the characteristics that set him apart are the connections he creates with the couples he works with as well as his experiences abroad. To see examples of his work, check out his blog here and more photos here.
Learn more about Ben!
Headshot photos by Magic Memory Works Photography
When did you establish BE Photography?
I began ‘Ben Elsass Photography’ in 2008.
Tell me a little bit about your background – where you’ve lived, where did you go to school .. etc?
I grew up in Springboro, OH (in between Dayton and Cincinnati) and after graduating from Miami University I moved to Los Angeles to become a Page at NBC’s ‘The Tonight Show’ – like Kenneth on ‘30 Rock’! After five years of working in television, my wife Christina and I found ourselves in Chicago, which is where I began my photography business. After five years in Chicago, we moved back home to the Cincinnati area in 2013.
What made you want to become a photographer?
Prior to photography, I was working in TV and film in Los Angeles. My primary work was in documentaries, where I really learned how to tell a story, which is exactly what I do as a wedding photographer. When I decided to transition out of television, I found myself exploring photography more. Over time, I found that combining a passion (taking pictures) with what I had learned from my time in Los Angeles in TV was something that was a natural transition.
What was your photography training?
My training literally began with a book and a camera. I always loved taking pictures with a point and shoot (this is before cell phones had cameras) and got to the point where I was trying to get the camera to do things that it couldn’t. That’s when I upgraded my camera and something that was a hobby began to turn into a business. From the first day I had my camera, I’ve always shot on manual, because it’s hands down the best way to learn. Going out and shooting and taking a lot of bad pictures is essential to becoming a polished professional.
Ben Elsass Photography
What is the main difference between a Chicago wedding and a Cincinnati wedding?
At the root of it, from my perspective, I’m trying to capture every single wedding the same way – regardless of couple, venue or city – through natural and real documentation of their day. And they are all different from one another. I think though, you do begin to see differences in weddings as you begin to shoot more and more, in particular cities. I actually see Cincinnati going the way of Chicago in a lot of ways. Open lofts, renovated warehouses, long forgotten spaces that are given a new life as a wedding venue – all are extremely popular in Chicago. As Cincinnati has seen a fresh revitalization as a city in recent years, so have couple’s wedding venue options. You can see this in especially in spaces such as ‘The Transept’ and ‘Rhinegeist’; as well as so many others.
Who is your ideal couple to work with?
For me, a couple who thinks that their wedding pictures are one of the most important things (if not the most) about their wedding day. This is the first thing I try and gauge when I meet with a couple, because when couples care about their pictures, they give you the time and respect necessary to create some amazing images on their wedding day.
What is the one piece of advice you give to bride and grooms on their wedding day?
Someone told me a long time ago, “no one else knows the script.”. If a groomsman is running late and holding things up, the shade of purple flowers is slightly off, rain is in the forecast or there’s a typo in the program, take a deep breath and relax. More then likely, no else knows something hasn’t gone according to your plan. Just consider it something unique to YOUR day.
Ben Elsass Photography
What makes you stand out from the other photographers in the area?
From the time a couple signs a contract with me to the time we complete their album, the relationship between us can be over two years long. Over that time, we form a relationship and really get to know each other. Being in front of someone’s camera who you KNOW and maybe even consider a friend, is far different then being in front of a stranger’s camera. Because lets be real – it’s awkward having any camera pointed at you. So I think the fact that I limit myself to a specific number of weddings a year, really gives me the opportunity to mold a relationship with all my couples individually.
Is there any trick that you do to make bride’s and groom’s feel comfortable in front of the camera?
I of course can’t give away all my little tricks, but as mentioned above, I truly feel getting to know my couples a bit, makes them significantly more comfortable when it comes time to actually take pictures – this is one of my biggest strengths as a photographer. I also think engagement sessions are very important to feeling comfortable during your wedding day pictures. It’s just like a trial run with your hairstylist or makeup artist –‘ they’re figuring out how I work, and I’m figuring out how they work and what they’re comfortable with. So come your wedding day, we’re well beyond those first few awkward moments.
Tell me a little bit about your personal life (doggie, wifey … etc).
My lovely wife Christina is originally from Los Angeles, which is where we met, and after Chicago, I convinced her to move with me to Cincinnati (still not sure how I pulled that off. ) She works in brand marketing for Luxottica. Once we were settled in Cincinnati, we adopted our crazy and quirky German Shorthaired Pointer, Millie, who’s made it her daily job to keep birds, squirrels and all other wildlife out of our backyard.
Do you only shoot weddings in Cincinnati or will you travel?
While Cincinnati is home base, I’ve had the good fortune of traveling all over the country and beyond to document couple’s wedding days. I still of course travel to Chicago several times a year, but have also shot weddings in 10 other states as well as five different trips to the Caribbean. Also looking forward to shooting my first European wedding very soon!
Here are some photos of destination weddings that Ben has shot:
Do you only shoot weddings or do you do any other type of photography?
I shoot all types of photography: engagement, family, boudoir (you can see my boudoir work at homebodyphoto.com), but the bulk of my business is weddings, which I especially love traveling to unique destinations and venues for.
and a few engagement photos …
and some Homebody boudoir photos …
Stay tuned for some fun packages with myself and Ben!