We confess to having a collective geeked-out gushing fan moment when the amazing, award-winning Elizabeth Messina let us use one of her photos on the front of our Southern California Here Comes The Guide, 13th edition. We’ve always swooned over her lush images, which have graced the covers and lavish editorial spreads of just about every wedding publication out there. Now it’s our turn!
With all the admiration she receives, Elizabeth is surprisingly humble—no diva attitude here! Her personal story has no doubt shaped her down-to-earth temperament. Elizabeth’s love affair with photography was sparked at age 12, with her mother’s gift of a Nikon FE2. Raised in California, she attended the San Francisco Art Institute where she began to develop her photographic signature.
After graduating with honors, she took her camera on an eye-opening cross-country bicycle trek. She then worked as a photographer for an East Coast newspaper until an apartment fire destroyed everything she owned. The only possession she still had was her camera. That rock-bottom moment profoundly influenced Elizabeth’s artistry and deepened her commitment to photography. It also crystallized her strength and tenacious spirit. “The secret is to never give up, no matter what comes your way.”
Today, she’s at the top of her field. Elizabeth prefers to create images with film, because it has such latitude and gracefully captures light and tone variations. Her eye is instinctively drawn to the luminous quality inherent in shapes, textures and composition: Through her lens, the drape of a gown…the gentle play of sunshine through lace…the soft pastels of a bouquet…are like elements in an impressionist painting.
Yet perhaps Elizabeth’s most consistent inspiration is relationships. “As a woman and an artist, I’m intrigued by the nuances of love.” Her own emotional receptivity has also been enhanced by her craft. “The language of photography opened my heart,” she acknowledges. And while her heart is open, so is her mind—she has long been a supporter of marriage equality and ethnic and religious diversity: “Love is love is love is love is beautiful?…”
A happily married mother of three, Elizabeth excels at capturing the unspoken interplay between lovers. Her intimate compositions evoke Romance with a capital “R”—not only as a sentiment, but also as an appreciation of nature, authenticity and individuality. “Every couple is unique and special, so at each and every wedding I’m able to witness touching and poignant moments.”
Often, those moments have a sweet playfulness about them, as in our cover image. The newlyweds’ mirrored expressions and “we’ve got a secret” smiles can’t help but charm the viewer. To us, their entwined bodies leaning into each other suggested a heart as the perfect emblem.
While there are no certainties on your wedding day, there’s one thing we know for sure: Elizabeth Messina Photography = Guaranteed Gorgeous.
You can learn more about Elizabeth Messina in her book, The Luminous Portrait: Capture the Beauty of Natural Light for Glowing, Flattering Photographs; on ElizabethMessina.com; on her blog, http://www.kissthegroom.com, on Instagram @elizabethmessina; and on twitter @kissthegroom.