Emilia “Meely” Dunn is not only on The Palace’s preferred vendor list, she was a former bride at The Palace. We are pleased to have her on board and want to introduce her to our community. We had the pleasure of interviewing her about her story, style and motivation.
How did you get started in photography?
My love for capturing laughter, love and memorable life moments dates back to when I was a child. I am of Polish decent and am a first generation Polish-American from a large family. My parents met in New York City and decided to build their American dream and family in the states and as a child, every summer, we would visit our family in Poland and I relished the moments I spent with my Aunts, Uncles, Cousins and Grandparents.
Each summer, I started capturing our family memories, to hold with us through the year as our visits only took place during the summer months. I would tinker with my Dad’s Exakta VX 1000 film SLR camera when our family and friends would get together and to capture the special moments and the fun that we were all having with one another.
Technological advancements allowed my love of photography to grow even more. Instead of shooting 24 ‘film’ pictures and switching to a new roll of film, I was able to fill up memory cards with digital photos with hundreds of images and allowed me to print only what I wanted and save the rest to enjoy for later.
It wasn’t until I traveled to Rome, Paris and London did I awaken my eye to artistic photography. The historical details of Old World buildings, cobble stone roads and significant works of art became more than just something to look at. It became something that I wanted to capture as my own piece of art.
Tell us about how your own wedding experience shaped your career path.
It wasn’t until my wedding that the light bulb went on and I realized that wedding photography was exactly the path I wanted to take for my career. Most young girls and women dream of their wedding day and that was no exception for me. My husband and I were married at The Palace and being in that moment and seeing all of the love that surrounded us on our day made me realize that shooting weddings would soon become my passion.
Having the wedding at The Palace was amazing, as not only was the venue absolutely perfect, but the wedding photos taken there were absolutely gorgeous. Upon returning from our Honeymoon, I immediately reached out to our wedding photographer to shadow her and learn anything I could from her about capturing weddings. Soon after, I became a second photographer for her, going to weddings and taking photos of other peoples special days.
I knew then and there that this is what I want to do. Between then and now, I have partnered with other photographers as an additional shooter, I have formed my business Meely Photography, and have shot many weddings, engagements and family sessions over the past few years.
Things have come full circle for me. No longer a bride, now a wedding photographer, I am looking forward to returning to The Palace as a preferred vendor.
What is your favorite aspect of the wedding business?
There are so many aspects of the wedding business as a photographer, but I would have to say that my most favorite aspect is getting to know the bride and groom on a personal level.
I encourage all of the brides and grooms to schedule an engagement session with me in advance of their wedding, so I can get to know them on a personal level, find out the kind of people they are, see what their likes and dislikes are and see how they interact with one another. This not only allows me to walk in knowing who I’m photographing on their wedding day, but allows me to add personal touches to their photos or know special details about their families that otherwise, I would be unaware of.
Also, knowing the couples personalities allows me to identify the types of photos they are looking for, such as if they prefer set and formal photos or casual and candid photos. Having this interaction not only allows us to have some fun and to get to know one another before their big day, but also allows us to build a relationship for years to come.
How do you describe your style?
From a style perspective, I enjoy taking photos of people in their casual and relaxed state, when they aren’t expecting a photograph to be taken. I’ve found that with photography, some of the best pictures taken are the ones that you capture when people aren’t staged at my camera.
It’s primarily because of the fact they are more relaxed and not worrying about how they will look in the photo. Let’s face it, on your wedding day there is a lot going on and stress levels can be a bit high, so posing for a picture at this point can often make you tense up. Understanding that some photos, such as family shots have to be posed to a certain degree, my goal is to take photographs of people when they aren’t expecting it and are relaxed and in the moment.
Another style aspect that I utilize as much as possible is natural light and how it can illuminate a picture and bring out all of the vibrant and beautiful colors. On their wedding day, brides are in white and grooms are generally in black, meaning that natural light can take the colors of their flowers and surroundings and really make them pop to create a beautiful memory. I am a romantic behind the camera and each frame has a warm whimsically classic feel with some hints of vintage inspiration.
For more information and to see more of Meely’s work, visit her website at meelyphotography.com.