In today’s Chancey Charm Atlanta Wedding Vendor Highlight, Wedding Planner Brie Owens is chatting with Holly Von Lanken of Holly Von Lanken Photography! The Chancey Charm ladies are huge fans of Holly Von Lanken’s. We love her sweet spirit and classic photography style! We’re so excited to share more about Holly below, including her top tips for brides, the best moment of her career + more. Cheers!
– The Chancey Charm Team
Photo: Shelby Rae Photographs
Holly Von Lanken of Holly Von Lanken Photography
What’s your area of expertise?
First job you ever landed
Does “Holly’s Mop Flop Workshop” in middle school count? I guess I’ve always had an entrepreneurial spirit because as a preteen, I hosted my very first craft workshop for teachers’ kids during post planning time. If we’re talking about the first time I ever got a paycheck – Henry County Board of Education working as an intern in the social work office for the summer right after high school. First paid photography gig? Second Shooting with Chloe Giancola many moons ago.
What brought you to the wedding industry?
In a way, I sort of seeped into it. When I first became interested in photography, I was fresh out of college with several friends getting engaged and I’d offer to take engagement photos for them for practice. I was researching a ton and stalking some of my favorites’ websites daily. Engagement sessions to weddings seemed like a natural next step and I reached out to some wedding photographers who graciously let me shadow and second shoot. I fell in love with the excitement of a wedding day and how it incorporates all different aspects (product, portrait, landscape, etc) of photography on a single day that happens to be the happiest of days!
A lesson you’ve learned the hard way in the wedding industry
I learned early on that I can’t do a wedding completely alone. When I was about six months into my business, I booked a wedding that was going to be in only a couple months and they wanted the least amount of coverage with no second shooter. I took on the job and while the couple was great and enjoyed the photos they received, it was one of the hardest days for me. Having an assistant or second shooter on a wedding day is a game changer for me. Yes, I appreciate having help to carry all the things, having someone to run and grab the bouquet, or simply be there to be helpful during the day, but I also learned that I am a social creature who craves companionship. Sometimes you just need someone to talk to – having a buddy makes wedding days so much more fun.
Favorite way to spend a Sunday afternoon
Basically doing anything outside with friends – going on a hike, playing spikeball at the park, or just going on a walk.
Best piece of advice to someone new to the industry
Practice! Reach out to people to shadow, invest in workshops, resources, and a professional website. Hone your craft by researching and practicing. Once you have people reaching out to you to hire you, have clear contracts in place so that expectations are clear on both sides. It take a lot of hustle, but it’s worth it.
Best piece of planning advice to a new bride/groom
Apart from hiring a planner for help, plan out a clear budget first so that as you are hiring vendors and making purchases for your wedding, you can have a more realistic expectation of what your day will look like as well as knowing what is most important for your big day.
Some words you live by
“If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” – C.S. Lewis | It’s a reminder for me that I belong to Christ and that my true home is in heaven.
Best tip for balancing work + home life
Setting boundaries is key. Understandably, there are exceptions that sometimes have to happen, but those should be few and far between. For example, I let my clients know that engagement sessions take place during the week around sunrise or sunset as I am typically at weddings on the weekends and when I’m not, I’m taking those rare weekends to spend with family and friends.
Best moment of your career
Walking out of the City of Atlanta government building in the pouring rain with my new business license in hand. That moment when it officially sank in that this was real is something I won’t forget. Over the past few years there have been many other wonderful moments – especially kind words from clients or their families that wind up in my inbox and encourage me to keep doing what I’m doing – but that small moment from the beginning might still be the best.
I actually really like putting Ikea furniture together… there’s something calming and satisfying about building a giant puzzle of Swedish furniture with The Office playing on my TV in the background.
Favorite Instagram account
@johnbcrist – because sometimes you just need to laugh
@theeverygirl_ – for all the pretty
What’s your favorite aesthetic?
Clean, Classic, and Romantic.
Intimate or Par-tay? What size wedding do you recommend and why?
Oh wow. This is a tough one because it completely depends on the couple’s personality and budget as to what size wedding to have. I’ve photographed every size wedding from small planned elopements with only the couple and immediate families to wedding of 500+ guests and I’ve loved each and every one.
What’s the first thing a newly engaged couple should do?
After lots of cheers and celebrating, hire a wedding planner! Planners are so wonderful for many reasons even if simply to provide sanity for the couples and their families on the wedding day.