American Photo Editors select the pros producing the best wedding work of the
Brett Butterstein started his career as a photojournalist, but says he was "looking for more professional and creative freedom" when he founded his wedding-photo business in 2005. "I believe most wedding photographers are actually documentary photographers," he says. "Our work ends up serving as personal, historical documents for families for many generations."
With a focus on destination weddings, Butterstein serves clients on both U.S. coasts, in the Rockies, and in such travel spots as Hawaii and Mexico. He creates atmospheric, sometimes humorous imagery. "I don't have a sales pitch or try to force myself on people," he says. "Many times I won't even get to meet clients before they hire me, since they're from all over the country, sometimes abroad. All I need to know are the logistics. From there it's just being there and working hard."
Butterstein's main advice is to master the mechanics. "I learned photography first and business second," he says. "I can't imagine doing it in reverse order. People should master shooting manually in challenging lighting situations and working very quickly so that you can get beyond the obvious photographs."