Text By Erin Harrington-Plonski • Images By Damon Tucci
More and more brides and grooms are accepting Damon Tucci's proposals these days. Business proposals, that is. This unconventional wedding photographer makes brides and grooms even happier by selecting him to capture their special day.
Orlando-based Tucci has a distinctive style that's part funky, part traditional. "Everyone wants the avant-garde, but, in the end, Moms and Dads want family shots to remember, too," he notes.
"I like to start off with the bride getting ready. One of my favorite shots is just the dress hanging up, and giving the flavor of what's going on in that room. Then, we do some stuff with the guys. We document the ceremony and do the 'posed stuff' afterward. So, out of a six-hour event, an hour is posed and the rest is documentary-style."
Tucci essentially "treats prospective clients the way I'd like someone to treat my Mom," he says. "If they come in and say, 'Hey, I want traditional', I say, 'Try this photographer.' I want clients who are happy because that's the best advertising there is. I tell them to shop around, and, if this is what they like, come on back."
Tucci credits his tenure at Disney Photographic Services with teaching him how to make everybody happy and for shaping his rigorous work ethic.
For close to 10 years, he shot upwards of 300 weddings a year for Disney, 90 percent for out-of-towners. The training was intensive. "Sometimes in 15 minutes, we were expected to do family shots, bridal party, and the formals for the bride and groom. It was an excellent training ground."
While he was "cutting his teeth," he was also, admittedly, ruffling a few feathers. "I was doing angled, MTV shots, which weren't really in vogue then like they are today. Eventually, they ended up saying, 'You can do those avant-garde shots, but you need to get the bread-and-butter family shots, as well.'"
While everyone at the wedding is eating, he's out capturing the room, the cake, the details, details, details. "I'm a big believer in exceeding your clients' expectations every time. That's your best marketing right there."
Since striking out on his own about two and a half years ago, he's scaled back to about 80-90 weddings a year, freeing him to take a more personal, hands-on approach with his clients.
"Coming off 300 weddings a year, this is great. We almost always do an engagement portrait beforehand, so we're like old friends by the wedding. It makes everybody a lot happier."
On the big day, Tucci usually arrives with an assistant, two Hasselblad 501CMs with a variety of lenses, and a Nikon D1X.
"I love the Hasselblad," he says. "It's the most reliable camera ever made. I'm really looking forward to getting the new Hasselblad H1. The color output will be amazing." A long-time Hasselblad shooter, Tucci also holds the company's service team in high regard.
"They really take care of the professional photographeralways there when you need them!"
Damon's been using his Nikon D1x for about a year and loves it. "I'm addicted to the immediate feedback and control." Whether shooting film or digital, Tucci favors available light as much as possible. When flash is a must, he favors the Quantum Q-Flash system. "It's simple to use and extremely reliable."
Tucci has a small studio, attached to his home, where he and two associates, James Bourhill and Chris Gillyard, work their magic. The production process is fast and clean. A scant six hours after scanning and proofing some 600 images, they deliver proofs to the client. They meet again, editing down to 80 images, for a 30-page album. Then Tucci customizes the layout in Photoshop, prints the pages, and assembles the album or sends it out, depending on the client's album preference. All images are archived on an external hard drive and CD.