Photographer Interview with Adelyn Boling

I’m really excited to continue this local wedding vendor series with you! These are creative partners (and friends!) that I both know and love, wholeheartedly recommend, and know just how much heart, time, wisdom, and love they pour into their business and their clients/couples. Most of these are quite well known already, but I’m excited to get to know them even better, interview them, and share more about these wonderful ladies (and a few gents!) with you all.

The third installment of this series features the amazing Adelyn Boling Photography! Where do I even begin with Adelyn?! Adelyn is a dear friend of mine and such a marvelous fine art film photographer. Her work is simply breathtaking and filled with so much artistry, romanticism, and pure emotion. I think her work has such an ethereal quality to it while capturing life, emotions, and weddings so perfectly – it’s simply stunning, filled with light, and causes me to pause and take in every little detail. Working with her on weddings is pure joy, too, and she has such an appreciation and finesse for styling, for storytelling, and for capturing a wedding day for what it is about. Whenever we work together, I know that not only will the day be flawless and beautiful in every way, but I’ll have a treasured wedding gallery that captures the couple, their wedding, the feel of the day, and the design so exquisitely. On a personal level, I adore this friend! Adelyn and I are in both book club and articles club together, and I love any time I get to spend talking with her. Books, life, hobbies, design/fashion, our dreams, pursuits outside of work, faith, family… we have a whole lot in common and I’ll take any afternoon at a coffee shop or at a picnic chatting with this friend! She’s one of those wonderful people that you’re instantly drawn to and can spend hours upon hours chatting away about anything and everything under the sun. Adelyn is thoughtful, warm, genuine, wise, encouraging, and just plain fun, and her friendship is so valued. I am grateful our paths finally crossed in 2019 because she is such a gem in a million ways!

Tell us more about your background and how you got started as a wedding photographer. What made you want to become a photographer?

I’ve been experiencing the world through my camera for over half my life now, which is a little wild. In middle school, I was poking around our attic and found an old film camera that belonged to Dad. There were a couple of rolls of expired black and white film in the camera bag and he showed me how to load it and read the internal meter. And I ran with it. I still use that camera model today, actually. It is very dear to me.

And then I just never stopped shooting. It’s always been an escape, a pastime, a way to interact with the world, and also a way to explore beauty and stories. Early on I was very drawn to photojournalism – especially in the Middle East. Steve McCurry has been a huge influence on me since early high school. The way he creates images and photographs people and locations is astonishing. I’ll never forget reading about his approach which is very simple and can be summed up in a single word: wait. Wait for the photograph. Wait for them to become comfortable and show themselves to you. Wait and you will see them. And that truly has informed a lot of my work to this day.

I’m a very curious person and have always been interested in people. From a young age, I would spend an afternoon on the downtown mall in Charlottesville, VA -where I grew up. And I would ask strangers about themselves, their days; and then I would photograph them on black and white film. It’s always been about stories for me. And I like the challenge of seeing what is revealed in a photograph.

Weddings allow me to explore that over and over again. They’re exciting and overwhelming. Emotions run high. People tend to be very honest and open with their feelings. And it is really thrilling to photograph. I love seeing what dynamics I can capture, and a wedding day is truly never boring. If anything, the greatest challenge is in the fact that there truly is so much I could focus on and photograph. I also really appreciate the trust that I build with my clients. It is a really special thing to show someone how you see them. And it is a very vulnerable thing to be photographed. So, I wait, and I do my best to create an atmosphere that they feel comfortable showing themselves to me. And I try to capture that weekend after weekend. And it is always thrilling.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

Fashion and architecture inform a lot of my work, but it is my subjects themselves that inspire me. Is there anything more interesting than two people with years of experiences behind them and so much hope for the years to come as husband and wife? My brides and grooms are so interesting. They’re brilliant and kind and generous. And trying to capture that in a series of images truly is the most inspiring thing to me as an artist.

But also, as I mentioned above, fashion and architecture play a large role in informing how I see a shoot location and approach directing. I like to see how I can work a space into the feeling of a photograph. What lines can I utilize? Are there architectural features, colors, textures, landscape, etc. that can help create this emotional mood we’re working to embody in a set of photographs? And of course, there is the styling. I’ve been interested in the fashion world even longer than I’ve had a camera in my hand. It’s always been the most natural thing to have them tied together and I always approach the styling itself almost as an additional character. It is so fun and so interesting to me.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

I want you to feel like you have fallen into a Jane Austen novel. It’s romantic, interesting and maybe a bit outside of what everyone else is doing. There is a poetic subtlety and an air of fine elegance. But at its core, there is kindness and gentleness and appreciation for an afternoon picnic in the sun, a stroll through the gardens, and the joy of being among those who you hold dear.

And in a more traditional answer, my aesthetic is elevated honesty. I want the colors and light to be true to what a scene held, but in a way that it feels like you could fall right into an image. I appreciate emotive photographs that embody the feeling of a particular moment. I want my clients to look like the best version of themselves. And I strive to create imagery that stands the test of time, never falls out of style, and continues to hold the power of transporting the viewer back to the scene captured and story told.

What is something you’re most proud of with your business?  

I think my answer would have to be how I make people feel. Being photographed is a very vulnerable thing. Almost every single one of my clients share with me that they’re a bit nervous and aren’t sure what to do in front of the camera. And as a photographer, I get the joy of moving them from that place of nervous discomfort to being relaxed, focused on the one they love, and present in the moment we are experiencing together. It gives me chills a bit even just writing that out here. It really is such a special thing. And then to know that I am photographing my clients in a way they’ve probably never seen themselves is really incredible. It never gets old.  And you can always tell when you wrap a session or the portrait time how much that means to my couples and really how special it is that they were able to relax and be present; and also how excited they are to have beautiful photographs that feel like them. I’m very proud of my ability to do that and thankful for this job that allows me to experience that time and time again.

What’s your best advice for a couple planning their wedding?

Choose vendors that you feel exceptionally comfortable with, and then trust them. Allow us to take the burden of planning and executing an event off of your shoulders. We love what we do, and we are very good at it. We want you to feel like a guest at your own wedding. And it is such a joy for us to help you experience that.

And also, communicate how you want your wedding day to feel. If we are working together, this is always one of the very first questions I ask. Once we have a clear vision for how you would like your day to feel, I can do all of the planning and preparing with the goal of honoring this. It informs how my team and I approach every aspect of the day. And also helps you have a day that beautifully reflects you and your partner.

What’s something most people don’t know about you and/or your business?

This is such a good question and I had to think about this a bit, but I would say most people don’t realize that I am a bit more on the introverted and quiet side. I love people and can be bubbly, especially when we first meet. But on a wedding day, I may be a bit quieter as I’m in my element and enjoying every moment. This really gives me the freedom to be curious, observe, and capture things in a more honest and artistic way. And this calm also allows my clients to relax and feel at ease in the moment. It’s a really special thing and something I’m getting more comfortable with because it truly does let me enter more into that sacred artist space in my brain and create my best work. But it can also be a bit surprising to some people because I am so chatty and open on social media and during consultations.

this or that with Adelyn:

tented reception or ballroom reception
ceremony exit or reception exit
colorful design or neutral design
large wedding or intimate wedding
film or digital
color photo or black & white photo
coffee or tea
spring or fall
summer or winter


You can find Adelyn on Instagram here for loads of inspiration, book recommendations, honest commentary, fashion and style, thoughtful musings, and a myriad of romantic, ethereal, simply stunning film images. Adelyn is such a gem in a million ways, photography included! Thank you, sweet Adelyn, for being a part of this series and sharing so much. You are such a phenomenal friend and photographer, and I am so grateful for you!

stunning photos by Adelyn Boling Photography from weddings planned & designed by Stephanie Shaul Events!

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