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Meet Hannah Arista of Hannah Arista Photography in Los Angeles

Today we’d like to introduce you to Hannah Arista.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Hannah. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
As far back as I can remember, I have enjoyed creating. I knew I was going to be an artist; it was just a question of which artistic medium I would focus on. In addition to being a visual artist, I am also a musician, and in high school, I began taking photographs of my friends performing in bands. I fell in love with the magic of the darkroom when the first image I exposed hit the developer solution. I remember the moment and the image–it was a bass player in the midst of his solo, his long hair hanging down over his eyes. I was hooked.

During my gap year, I interned for a local photographer (in my hometown of Boston) whose images of dancers and musicians I saw at a gallery and liked. Her main gig turned out to be documentary style wedding photography. I was hired to assist her on shoots, and during our second shoot together, she handed me a camera, just for fun. When she saw my images she was so impressed that she asked me to be her second shooter.

I received my BFA in photography at CalArts. While still in school, my projects were always documentary based. I connected with a New York Times photojournalist in Manhattan and worked alongside him for a while. My photos were published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today. Once I graduated, I worked as an associate and lead shooter for various wedding photographers. After a while, I felt ready to open my own studio. It was important for me to be able to express my own voice, to shoot in my own unique style. And I also wanted to be able to develop more of a personal connection with the couples I was shooting. It’s fantastic to be doing both those things!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I value the time I worked for other studios, because of all that I learned. But it was not always easy or satisfying to have to execute someone else’s vision instead of my own. And some of these studios took advantage. I was a talented photographer, but because I was an artist looking for work, I was often asked to overwork while being underpaid. I’m so grateful to be in the position I am now where I’m able to hire other artists and to treat them well, as I would want to be treated! I love helping other artists hone their craft and teaching them what I’ve learned. It’s extremely rewarding and satisfying and I’ve developed some wonderful relationships with my second shooters.

Hannah Arista Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I’m a luxury destination wedding and event photographer with a documentary approach. I specialize in warm, authentic images, captured unobtrusively. Although I arrange a few formal group portraits of the far-flung family and friends who have gathered, my goal is to meld into the flow of your day. Enjoy your wedding! Skip the posing: I will capture the intimate moments along the way.

I’ve shot news and features for such outlets as USA Today, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and But weddings are my joy—the laughter, the tears, and all the messy, amazing love on display. I’m a featured wedding photographer for the Caribbean luxury island destination Jumby Bay, for instance. You can spot my images in such magazines and blogs as Condé Nast Brides, Modern Luxury, C California Style, Style Me Pretty, The Knot, and Equally Wed.

Although I’m based in Los Angeles (and New York), I travel nationally and worldwide—wherever my clients summon me! I have shot weddings from Hawaii to Maine, Costa Rica to Southern Spain. I always arrive a day early so I can scout the area and come up with all the best spots and lighting to utilize!

Many couples have called me ninja-like: I’m everywhere, but inconspicuous. It is my goal to help them have the most beautiful wedding day imaginable so I will step in as a support if needed. I’m able to anticipate what the bridal party needs, noticing if the groom is thirsty or the bride is cold. Couples tell me I have a gift for putting everyone at ease in front of my lens, and that helps them relax and have fun.

Aside from my distinctive aesthetic, my service is unique because of the personal attention given to each job, from composition to final presentation. For every hour of shooting, I deliver 75-100 images, each one edited by hand. I’m a perfectionist through and through. All my packages include delivery of high-resolution files ready for posting or printing—wherever, whenever, and however many times that you want.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I am fortunate to enjoy many moments I would call my “proudest,” because I receive such an outpouring of joy and gratitude from my clients. There is nothing more rewarding than to hear that their wedding photos bring them to tears, allow them to relive their special day, and tell their love story more beautifully than they had even dreamed. Some of my clients have insisted my presence added a grace and ease to their wedding day and others have said no one else has ever wrangled their crazy families so successfully! Relationships are a big part of being a wedding photographer and why I love what I do. Many of my couples have hired me to photograph their new babies and invite me back year after year for family shoots. I get to watch their children grow. What could be sweeter?

Contact Info:

A same-sex wedding at Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills, California with celebrity guest artist Taylor Dayne. This wedding was published in Equally Wed.

A same-sex wedding at Mr. C Hotel in Beverly Hills, California with celebrity guest artist Taylor Dayne. This wedding was published in Equally Wed.

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Image Credit:
photos by Hannah Arista Photography

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