Working together, living together, and, well, doing all daily activities together can stress out some couples. But not Chenin and Doug Boutwell. At Boutwell Studio, in Orange County, California, the husband-and-wife photography pair is the ultimate union. The high school sweethearts are committed to providing the absolute best to their clients and to each other, while capturing the love and emotion of others.
"We custom design each wedding album to reflect the personality and style of each event because we are committed to providing a unique interpretation of our art," Chenin says. "Each image gets special attention to bring out its full richness of light and color."
They pride themselves on being edgy and different, taking a hybrid approach to shooting weddings and making kick-ass photos that just happen to be taken at a wedding. The Boutwells, both of whom are "first shooters" at weddings, mix both documentary and fashion styles to give clients poignant photojournalistic moments and fabulous portraits.
"Wedding photography tends to focus on 'pretty' whereas we are happy to focus on interesting, sexy, ironic, funny and, sometimes, just plain strange," Doug says. "This has produced a niche market of clients who love to look at complex images, who have a wonderful sense of humor, who are comfortable in their own skin, and who appreciate the beauty of everyday things."
Chenin and Doug's commitment extends beyond their marriage and their art to others: their clients. They value getting to know them personally and keep in touch through phone and email.
"Shooting an engagement session helps break the ice," Doug says. "We can relax with them and they can relax with us," Chenin agrees. "Lots of times, the session ends up being like a double date. Just two couples out together having an awesome time. We are so affectionate with each other that we make others feel closer and they can be sexy that way. When the couple feels free to express themselves it definitely shows in the images."
The duo also maintains a blog (http://www.boutwellstudio.com/blog), where clients can see what they are up to personally and professionally—from hanging out with their dog or going to a friend's 40th birthday party to shooting an engagement session or a full-day wedding.
"It's a great tool because out-of- towners can see what we're up to without spending money to come see us," Doug says.
The website is another way for clients to see who they are and what they do. In fact it's their strongest marketing tool.
"When prospective clients visit the website, they often say we are exactly what they expected when we actually meet. We have pictures on there where we're being silly. They can see that we are high-energy, fun-loving photographers."
The website also helps to weed out couples who may not be suited to their style of photography. Those who see the edgy, different images and call Boutwell Studio already knowing they like what they saw.
Take Daniel Chin, for instance. Chin, of Pasadena, and his fiancée Jeannie Jun are getting married later this year. After searching through hundreds of websites on TheKnot.com, he knew as soon as he hit the Boutwell site, www.boutwellstudio.com, that was the studio for him.
"Their style was really a breath of fresh air after going through all the typical wedding photographers," Chin explains.
Their knowledge of their craft and aesthetic sensibility was what attracted me. I hadn't seen anybody else do what they were doing with digital photography and it blew me away.