Tom Daly Photography

Photographer
Charlottesville, VA

Candid Documentary-Style Wedding Photography

There’s a lot of crossover when it comes to shooting weddings and shooting live music. Subjects are in motion, there are dynamic lighting conditions. It’s really a game of compose and wait — a photographer trick where you anticipate where the shot will happen, you set it up, center the dream backdrop and wait for the subject to come to you.
 
“If you wait for the lead singer or the couple to come to you, you’re going to get the shot,” says pro photographer Tom Daly.
 
Tom graduated from the University of Virginia in 2004 and has photographed over 250 weddings since 2008. His genuine love of Virginia and all of its beautiful backdrops is prevalent is his distinct and playful documentary style.
 
Photography is in Tom’s genes — his dad was a freelance photographer and his grandfather was a photojournalist for the Washington Post. Over the years, Tom has shot Virginia weddings from vineyards to farms to small backyards and intimate elopements. He has also served as tour photographer for the Grammy-Award-winning bluegrass band The Infamous Stringdusters and was the official photographer for the Virginia Film Festival.
 
His wedding style is friendly, spirited and candid, showcasing his documentary and photojournalism background and attracting laid-back couples who don’t want every photo to be posed or every moment orchestrated.
 
“My couples want to have an actual true real moment-based day,” Tom says. “We do have a timeline, but there’s often improv. This is not a Hollywood-style shoot.”
 
After shooting thousands of wedding-day photos in his relaxed, calming behind-the-scenes style, Tom hand-picks the best moments, culling genuine facial expressions and the most joyous flashes in time. His editing is clean and real, without using a ton of filters.
 
His trick of the trade? Being open to the wedding day flow. “I’m not running the show,” Tom says. “That’s not the vibe I’m going for. I let couples dictate the timeline and do whatever they want to do whenever they want to do it. My job is to keep them happy and psyched and in that party mode.”
 
Real Talk with Photographer Tom Daly
 
The best weddings are…fun, relaxed and real occasions.
 
My biggest piece of advice is…If you don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, there are ways to pretend I’m not there. Practice laughing with each other and try not to think about me being there. Zone in on each other. Sink into your own little orbit when I’m shooting the couple shots.
 
I’m there to…document a fun day. Not direct a big photo shoot. I’ll get out there and dance with everyone, become one with the flow of the dance floor. I think being a pseudo guest at that time at night makes for some really great shots.
 
Pulled quote: **“The people who are booking me are the jazz couples versus the more classical music folks.” —Wedding Photographer Tom Daly
 
**Details & Digits

Years in the Biz: 14 (started in 2008)
Weddings Per Year: 20
Favorite Camera: My Canon 5D Mark IVs
Favorite Special Wedding Moments: The in-between moments when the bride and groom have quick, smiling eye contact that displays their inner private language to each other.

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Tom Daly
Wedding Photographer

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