Max Wanger: Best Wedding Photographers 2012

Working with farm animals, “you never know if it’s going to work out,” says Wanger. “But the payoff is huge when it does.”© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
Useppa Island, off the coast of Florida. The couple’s umbrellas were used during the wedding.© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger
© Max Wanger

Max Wanger Los Angeles, CA maxwanger.com

When Los Angeles–based photographer Max Wanger was first starting out, he was so motivated to showcase his unique style, he staged a wedding and shot it. “My sister played the bride, and her boyfriend’s best friend was the groom. We bought a wedding dress at a vintage store and a $5 ring from the mall. They made a really cute couple.” Wanger’s girlfriend Margaux posted the resulting images to a few wedding and design blogs. “Within a couple weeks, we were booked for a year,” he says. “It took us completely off guard.”

Wanger’s style is as unorthodox as his break-in strategy was, reflecting his love for minimalism and negative space, as well as the aesthetic sensibilities he absorbed during childhood summers in Japan. As he puts it, “I wanted to photograph people who wanted something completely different, who wanted images that are treated more as art.” Still, jumping into the deep end of wedding photography was a bit of a jolt. “When I shot a real wedding for the first time, it was terrifying,” he says. A key event helped him wrap his mind around the wedding experience, though: he got married. “Until our wedding, I didn’t really understand the natural high you’re on as the couple. You really are in a different mind frame.”

He and Margaux shoot weddings together now. And though he retains his distinctive style, pushing elements of distance and detail to extremes, he also knows how to hit the traditional beats. “We do family portraits and reception shots too,” he says. “We make sure your parents are happy.”