The candy hearts are out, the pink balloons are up and the countdown to Valentine’s Day has officially begun. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a hugs-and-kisses-holiday for Marissa Cribbs (above) to find herself surrounded by love. When you’re a Kansas City wedding photographer like she is, love is in the air year-round. In fact, Cribbs is going into 2015 with 17 weddings on her calendar with room for more.
“I’m most passionate about shooting weddings,” Cribbs says. “I’m huge on capturing emotion—I want to capture couples in love.”
Cribbs has always been one to document life as it unfolds. However, now it’s her full-time mission. A couple years ago, she traded her cubicle for a camera and has never been happier. It all started about a year after Scott Strevell sold her and her husband, Nick, their home in Olathe. As a one-year anniversary present, Cribbs received a Canon Rebel starter camera and it was love at first sight—err snap.
“After I took my first photo something clicked in me,” Cribbs said. “I wanted to keep doing this. I was obsessed.”
After a lot of practice and a few camera upgrades, now Cribbs is a full-blown lifestyle and wedding photographer. Some of her shoots have even graced the pages—and web pages—of local bridal publications! However, Cribbs sees her job as more of a privilege than a profession.
“There’s something about being in on those intimate moments,” Cribbs said. “I’m more than a guest. I get to experience all of these emotions with the couple from the ‘first look’ until the end of the night.”
As she’s capturing the bride and groom’s emotions, she often finds herself getting a bit choked up behind the lens. This is because Cribbs’ clients are never strangers by the time their wedding rolls around. She bonds with them over coffee and planning sessions—and even photo shoots.
“I include an engagement session in all of my packages so I get to know couples before the wedding and make sure they’re comfortable with me,” Cribbs says.
What is Cribbs’ secret to a successful shoot? A little bit of guidance. Don’t stress about coming up with your own poses—Cribbs will help you every step of the way.
“I’ll say things like, ‘Now give each other a big hug as if you haven’t seen each other in a weeks,’” Cribbs says.
One of her favorite locations for engagement shoots is the West Bottoms because of the textures of the buildings. Loose Park is another one of her top spots—she loves the variety of backdrops, from the wooded areas to the ponds to the rose gardens.
Cribbs says that her couples don’t need as much coaching on the actual wedding day. Emotions are so high, she has no trouble capturing that love on film. And you’d think after seeing so many weddings, they’d start to loose there magic after awhile. However, Cribbs says that’s far from the case.
“It takes me back to my wedding day every time. It’s so sentimental,” Cribbs says. “Watching the father walk his daughter down the aisle will never get old.”
At any given wedding, Cribbs will snap more than a thousand photos over an eight to 10 hour period. Then when the day is done, she’ll go into her editing cave and get to work. She retouches every photo, but goes easy on the filters.
“I like to keep the photos timeless,” Cribbs says.
Cribbs’ advice to all the women who might get engaged over Valentine’s Day? Don’t wait to book your photographer! As soon as you set the date, she says it’s time find out who’s available to capture your day.
“And don’t forget to enjoy the process,” Cribbs says. “It will go by so fast.”