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Meet Amanda Hartwell of Will You Marry Me Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Hartwell.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Amanda. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
My love of photography started at the age of 15. I was living in Overland Park, KS, where I grew up with my parents and two sisters. Understanding how to work a camera and how to develop photographs in a darkroom came easy to me, and I enjoyed weddings since I was a kid. This is how I decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer. When I moved out to San Diego in 2006 I decided to make my passion a career. It has taken a lot of love, passion, and dedication to grow my business where it is today. I feel a strong business starts with excellent communication with your clients, and the ability to make them have a fun and memorable experience. While building my career, I have also built my family with a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and a baby on the way.

Has it been a smooth road?
There are many amazing photographers in the wedding photography field who have very unique techniques for creating their photographs. There have been times when I have questioned my own style and wondered if I should be doing something different for my clients. I remind myself to be true to my style. This is why my clients are working with me. While keeping true to my style it is also important to keep up with current technology, to always be learning on how to improve my photography and business skills, and to have a great understanding of photoshop so that I can always be creating.

So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Will You Marry Me Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
Will You Marry Me Photography is a company that specializes in the wedding experience? The proposal, the moment you ask your partner to spend the rest of their life with you, and they say yes! The engagement session. This is the time for the couple to have fun, share a romantic experience, and find their best look on camera. The day of the wedding, the moment you say “I do”, share that first kiss, the first dance, and the first night together having the time of your life with family and friends, as a married couple. I am most proud of having a company that documents the precious moments for my clients.

What sets me apart or makes me stand out is my client experience. It is important that they enjoy the time we work together. The goal for my couples is to make sure they are comfortable in front of the camera and with me. I want them to feel that the experience was fun and enjoyable, and to get excited every time they look at their photographs for years to come.

Where do you see your industry going over the next 5-10 years?  Any big shifts, changes, trends, etc?
It will be very interesting to see how the industry will change over the next 5-10 years.

According to the Knot 2016, weddings have reached an all-time high of $32,329 as the average wedding cost. This is due to a growing economy and lower unemployment rates. With that said over the past five years, we have already seen a change in the wedding industry.

More couples are doing DIY weddings, or they are having longer engagement times and choosing to live with each other first before officially getting married. With the digital era, couples are asking their friends to photograph their wedding to save money, or they are looking for the lowest cost possible when choosing their photographers, making it a competitive market.

In the past one of the best ways for a couple to find a vendor would be through the internet and bridal shows. I have noticed over the past few years that bridal shows have become smaller because couples are using and will be using the internet and wedding based apps more often to plan their wedding. I think that as long as the economy keeps growing, and unemployment rates stay low, we will see more couples spending more to have the wedding of the dreams.

Couples will spend more and more time over the next 5-10 years spending more time searching the internet and wedding based apps to plan their wedding. As a photographer or any wedding vendor, it is going to be important to have a strong internet presence on sites such as the Knot and Wedding Wire, Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook.

However, with the ever-changing algorithms, vendors cannot rely on social media alone. They will need to invest in advertising on wedding websites to reach their ideal clients.


  • The average cost for a professional wedding photographer in the US is $2814
  • The average cost for a professional wedding photographer in San Diego is $3200

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1 Comment

  1. Jackie R

    July 13, 2018 at 12:21 am

    Great article. I remember being a subject of yours at JoCo years ago as you were so good with making me feel comfortable in front of the camera while you were perfecting your skills. It’s so great to see you years later doing what you love.

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