Elizabeth Lloyd, owner of Elizabeth Lloyd Wedding Photography, has spent the last nine years living half of the year in Mexico, and the other half in Brooklyn. She currently is in Sayulita, basking in the vibe of this special town. Daily walks on the beach with her dog, Pancho, enjoying green juice in the mornings at Orangy Smoothies, and taking street photography of local life are all part of her current routine.
So, first off, when and how did your interest in photography develop?
I come from a long line of photography enthusiasts. My brother, father, grandfather, and great grandfather were all into photography. It definitely helped to have their influence around me. I took my first photography class in high school and loved it. I was also interested in film after being involved with a public access television show, and after helping PBS work on a documentary about my school, Berkeley High, in California. I have always been interested in people and their stories, so film and photography became a natural extension of that interest while also satisfying my creative side. Eventually I focused solely on photography and got a BFA in photography at California Institute of the Arts.
How would you describe your style of photography?
Firstly, I consider myself a photojournalist. Integrity of the moment and the desire to tell a story are the most important things for me. As it pertains to wedding photography, I aim to capture what the day, the couple, and the moment feels like in a beautiful way that won't ever feel outdated. Light, moment, and composition make a good photo and I am constantly working to make these three elements come together to make powerful imagery.
What is it you like about wedding photography?
Weddings are joyous days with so much action. I love documenting such an important time for people and being able to surprise them with images that will help them relive all of the moments and feel what it was like to be there for years to come. It's a constant creative challenge to work fast to make the most impactful images that I can for each couple.
Where all do you shoot weddings?
I have traveled quite a bit for weddings around Mexico, but for the most part I shoot in all of the nooks and crannies north and south of Puerto Vallarta. I also shoot in New York and all over the US.
How long have you photographed weddings in Sayulita and the surrounding area?
Nine years ago I was suffering through a New York winter working as an editorial, documentary, and music photographer. My parents and my only brother had moved to Bucerias and I was extremely jealous. I had photographed weddings for friends and through word of mouth, so when my wheels got turning about how I might make a living as a photographer in Mexico, weddings became the obvious answer to me. At the time the area was in need of a good locally based photographer so things happened quickly for me. I got to know all of the planners, started blogging, and lucked out with a lot of work. Sayulita has always been one of my favorite towns to photograph weddings in because of the local flavor and style, which I like to incorporate into my photography. I've also always thought that Sayulita attracts a special breed of traveler; cool, laid-back, and smart - my kind of clients!
What do you think sets you apart from other wedding photographers?
Two things in particular - My background in other genres of photography and my desire to constantly grow and improve. I spent 10 years working in the New York art and photography world and currently work as a photojournalist as well so I am constantly referencing what I consider to be the best photography from several genres in order to make powerful photos. I've found that taking and giving workshops, entering photography contests, and being part of a larger community of international photographers has helped to keep me on my toes and to constantly improve.
Can you describe a favorite moment you've captured as a wedding photographer in Sayulita?
There are so many it's hard to choose one! A few that stand out... A ceremony where all of the guests stood in a circle holding hands around the couple as they were married, a groom that took turns djing and dancing at his own wedding, a bride that sung a song for her husband, a donkey that ate the groom's boutonniere when he stopped to give the donkey a hug, a couple dancing within a circle of serenading mariachis, a first dance to 'Footloose', and just about all of the vows I've ever heard!
Trash the dress shoots are becoming more popular. Have you done any of these shoots in Sayulita?
There are some people that literally want to trash the dress, and I do have a great photo of a couple jumping off of a pier into the ocean, but I think the idea of a relaxed shoot on a day after the wedding is what has really grown in popularity. I love having the opportunity to photograph couples using different locations around Sayulita and what better time than when they don’t have to worry about getting back to their guests or getting their dress a little dusty. People love Mexico for it's colors and charm and they want to include that in their images. I have a lot of fun using painted walls, interesting doorways, and incorporating street life into photos with couples. There is a short window of about two hours when the light is not too bright nor too hot. This window usually falls during the ceremony and cocktail hours on a wedding day. Having a shoot on another day means we can take advantage of more great light, and more locations.
Your work has been featured in a number of places? Will you tell me more about this?
I regularly submit weddings for publication in blogs and magazines, which is fun for the couple to share and is a nice way for me, the planner, the venue, the caterer and everyone involved to get more exposure. I also belong to several photography associations, teach workshops, and submit photos into contests. All of this exposure has led to some nice awards and accolades such as appearing on a list of the best wedding photographers in New York two years in a row. I'm happy to just have received a photo in Junebug's Best of the Best (their 50 favorite wedding photos of the year worldwide) for the 2nd time. They chose a photo of a groom stopping to play soccer with a bunch of kids in the street in Puerto Vallarta.
What can clients expect when they hire you?
A good combination of someone who directs you when needed and someone who you will hardly even notice much of the time. A set of images that will include beautiful portraits, as well as moments big and small, captured in a creative, artistic way.
Anything else you would like to add?
Thanks so much for the interview, Stacey and Sayulita Life! If you see me around town with my rat terrier, Pancho, please say hi!