In the summer of 2000, Robert Evans had no idea he’d be photographing the wedding of a lifetime. All he knew was the date (July 29), the location (Malibu), and a sparse description for what he thought was a party for Shell Oil Company. Evans had never done a corporate event, so he found it odd that he was asked to “audition” for the job. But he submitted his portfolio of engagement and wedding shots anyway and was selected.
It wasn’t until two weeks before the date that Evans discovered—through a radio announcement—the actual job he was hired to do: photograph the rehearsal, ceremony, and reception of Hollywood’s golden couple, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston.
“I literally choked, laughed, cried—all these emotions,” Evans says. But on the day of the wedding, he was nothing but professional. “When people ask me how celebrity weddings are different from other weddings, my answer is, ‘They’re not.’ I have one picture that I shot of Brad—he was steaming his tuxedo shirt and I was sitting in a windowsill, shooting at the light and watching him do it. In that moment, I was like, ‘I bet most people wouldn’t believe Brad Pitt steams his own shirts.’ But they’re just people.”
So why did a photographer with a glowing reputation and thriving business of 25 years in L.A. pack his bags for Minneapolis?
Simple: Just like with a beautiful photo, Evans liked what he saw.
“I’ve always had this passion and this yearning to live on a lake and be close to the water,” he says. “I came here for the first time in February, and I just sort of fell in love with it. I thought it would be a great environment for my family. But I also recognized a business opportunity.”
Returning a handful of times throughout the summer, Evans, his wife, Amy, and their three children permanently relocated to a house in Eden Prairie in November. He’s already securing new business and is adamant that—although his client roster includes Blake Shelton and Miranda Lambert, Shania Twain and Frederic Thiebaud, and Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes—he is committed to competitive pricing and looking forward to making personal connections with Twin Cities brides.
“I’ve been treated so well by every single person I’ve ever shot,” he says. “But the thing I miss, and the reason why I enjoy shooting everyday people’s weddings, is the connection. After [a celebrity] wedding, you basically get cut off. You don’t get to talk to them afterwards or hear about their kids. I really like having a more personal connection to my couples.”
First Look. Do the bride and groom shots before the ceremony. “It’s a very personal thing, but I suggest it. When you kiss and walk down the aisle, are you going to want to party with your family? Or spend an hour taking photos?”
Shock Value. Let your photographer guide you into poses that are different and unique. “I would say 90 percent of what I do on the wedding day is for me. I please myself creatively.”
Be Yourself. It may sound cliché, but if you want those classic, iconic photos (à la Brad and Jen), embrace what you’re feeling. “Don’t hold back. If you want to cry, cry. If the personality between the two of you is to be silly, then do that. That’s real.”