Feature Friday: Mary Otanez Photography

Mary Otanez

Mary Otanez

At Belles & Whistles we are always keeping an eye out for stand out industry professionals so we can share them here with you.  We recently had the pleasure of getting to know passionate wedding and lifestyle photographer, Mary Otanez and are excited to feature her today on the Belles Blog!

A little bit about Mary

Mary’s passion for photography is driven by her natural desire for self-expression, documentation, and making something beautiful.  Ever since she can remember, Mary has been listening to classical music, playing the piano, painting, and writing poetry - all roots of her creative, artistic soul.  She clearly has always been drawn towards the arts, but it wasn’t until she picked up her first camera that she felt she had found the perfect medium for sharing her view of the world around her.  

Mary mastered her craft with a BFA from the Photography and Film Department at VCU.  She worked as an Art Producer at a leading advertising agency for over seven years after college. Mary loved the job and gained irreplaceable experience working with some of the top photographers in the world, however, she couldn’t deny the feeling that something was missing.     In 2014 she decided to take the leap and brand her own company, following her passion. 

“I want to document loving embraces, laughter and joy... and show these through my artistic style."

This makes her the perfect photographer for a wedding, engagement, maternity shoot, or any other joyous occasion.  You can really see the heart she puts into each photograph.  

We asked Mary to dish on some wedding photography favorites, insight and more tips for couples on their big day! Read on to hear more from the pro herself. 

Mary's Ideal Venue

A place that actually means something special to the bride and groom is her ideal setting. 

“If I know they feel strong about a particular place, it makes me feel that way as well. I will love it just as much as they do.”

Aside from that, she is a huge fan of outdoor and destination weddings.  Whether it's mountains, the beach, or the woods, Mother Nature is beautiful and inspiring! 

Mary’s Top Five 

Make sure you get these shots on your wedding day!

1.     Pre-Ceremony Details

Brides: this can showcase your shoes, jewelry, something blue or something new! They can be photographed in an artful way with beautiful lighting, and are perfect to start the album off with later.

2.    Bride Preparation

Capture these beautiful moments when you’re applying makeup or slipping on your dress or shoes in preparation for walking down the aisle.  

3.     Father and Daughter walking down the aisle

 What a precious moment, certainly a tearjerker! 

4.     Bride and Groom special moments

 Any sweet exchange between the couple whether it’s laughing, crying, or kissing makes for a beautiful photograph. 

5.     Portraits of the couple post-ceremony

Mary loves capturing the first few intimate moments they spend alone as a married couple. 

“The smiles and hugs are so tender and sweet.”

Mary’s Wedding Day Tips - Look & feel your best!

1.    Eat your Wheaties!

A good breakfast will help give you energy for the long day ahead. The hours will go by quickly and it will be easy to forget to eat. Plan to eat a well, balanced, filling meal. 

2.    Makeup that lasts

Test your makeup prior to the wedding day to ensure you like the look and take a few photos to see how it photographs. On the day of, wear your makeup slightly heavier for more definition in your photos.

If you do not wear makeup, a powder or tinted moisturizer will even the skin tone and a clear of brown mascara will highlight those eyes. I love Bobbi Brown makeup so check out her tips & tricks!

3.    Don't go overboard with trends

Classic is timeless. What's trending is fun, and OK - but simply remember that you will want to love those pictures 20 years from now. 

4.    Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!

At your reception, take a minute alone with your husband to look around & take it all in together. Look at your family and friends all gathered around to celebrate the two of you! It is an incredible feeling and you will always remember that moment. It truly is magical. 

Mary services weddings throughout the local area, including Richmond, Charlottesville, and D.C.   To check out more of her work visit her website here.