Richmond Wedding Vendor Spotlight: DuVal Family Photography
Meet Joy and Thomas, the husband and wife team behind DuVal Family Photography!
Tell us a little about your company!
We started this company with the mission #dontmissyourmoments. We believe every family deserves their memories etched in clear, professional quality photos. You are about to embark on a new journey in your life. You can expect family style service and fast turn around times for your photos. Being a husband and wife team, we have a versatile repertoire. We use a photojournalism approach and add our artistic style in the editing room. This is your moment and we want to capture it.
How did you get started in this business?
Joy: My family has always cherished photographs and would thumb through old prints together. My dad would do slideshows with real slides! What made me believe I could become a photographer was one day I was sitting on my couch and I realized how much I regretted not getting maternity portraits. I had my precious new daughter and wished I had those to pass down to her. That’s why I joined my husband on our mission of #dontmissyourmoments.
Thomas: I’ve always been creative, ever since I was little. I remember spending hours in my room with a sketch pad and just filling the pages up. I love art and everything that comes with it and eventually received my college degree in 2D studio art. While in college, I also discovered my love for photography, and I’ve been shooting photos ever since. During our wedding, we had an awesome photographer, but some key moments were missed that we’ll never get back. That experience, along with our passion for photography, is how we came up with the idea to start DuVal Family Photography. We wanted to help families capture those once in a lifetime moments.
What’s your favorite wedding story?
Joy: The story that comes to mind is a couple we recently worked with. They were renewing their vows, and I was in the dressing room with the bride. She started to tell me the story of why they were getting married again when they had just legally been married a year ago. The emotion in her voice and on her face overwhelmed the words she spoke. I never actually got the story, but the tears she cried were so personal. We instantly connected, and we were bonded for life. I love getting to know the couples we get to work for.
Thomas: One of my favorite weddings stories was from our most recent wedding. The groom had purchased a ring for his daughter to give to her at the reception, and she had no idea. We were in the know, though, and were able to capture the special daddy/daughter dance where he pulled out the box and gave her the ring. The look of joy and surprise mixed with love on her face was indescribable, and we caught it all in photos. As a new dad of an 8 month old little girl, I’ll remember that moment for long time.
Why do you like working with weddings?
We love weddings because it’s an entire love story in one day. We see the process from beginning to end and get to feel and see every single emotion imaginable. It’s a visceral experience. Putting on the tux, slipping on the ring, the first look, the first dance. Everything about the day is special, and we love helping families capture those memories to keep for years to come. You also become so close with the bride and groom you are almost family. Allowing someone into your most special day requires an enormous amount of trust.
What is the most difficult situation you have faced with a bride and how did you resolve it?
A difficult situation we have faced was during a threat of a government shutdown. Both the bride and groom worked for the government in different capacities. The bride would be completely out of a paycheck and the groom would only have a fraction. With three teenagers, this was a very scary situation for our couple. We agreed to work with them and would not give up their date until they found out whether they’d have income or not. It was the least we could do for members of our military. Thankfully, the government did not shut down and they had a beautiful, intimate wedding.
How far in advance should couples book your services?
As soon as possible. We would recommend at least 8-12 months in advance. As photographers, we have to book weddings sometimes a year and a half in advance, so the earlier you can book our services, the better.
What inspires you the most / where do you find inspiration?
Joy: Nature. I would shoot outdoors a thousand times over rather than in a studio. I’m setting up my shot while looking at plants and trees even when I don’t have a shoot. I love scoping out new locations to add to my arsenal. There’s always something outdoors waiting to be captured.
Thomas: I pull inspiration from multiple places. I love current and not-so current artists like N.C. Wyeth, Andrew Wyeth, and Edgar Degas and also photographers like Ansel Adams and Joe Buissink. I’m a sucker for a good composition and I love contrast. I also find a lot of inspiration in nature. Because of my education in studio art, I find I’m able to appreciate the intricacies of nature and how nature, itself, is a piece of art which changes into a completely different composition with just a tiny step in any direction.
What do you like to do when you are away from work?
Joy: I’m a stay at home mom. I love spending time with our daughter, Lily. It’s my true calling, and I’ve never felt so right. I feel with photography and being a mother, I’m doing what I’ve been created to do. I also love critiquing restaurants.
Thomas: I love spending time with my family: my awesome wife, Joy and our beautiful little baby girl, Lily. I also love going to the movies, listening to live music and just being outside and enjoying nature. I’m a huge nerd, and a big fan of “The Office” and anything comic-book related. I also enjoy sitting down and doing watercolor paintings.
What would we be surprised to learn about you?
Joy: I’m adopted from South Korea. I was 9 months old when my parents picked me up from the airport with my sister, who was also adopted from Korea.
Thomas: My ancestors we some of the first French Huguenots to land in the US (Gloucester) from France to escape religious persecution in the 1700’s. Pretty cool.
Thank you, Joy and Thomas, for chatting with us! If you would like to learn more about DuVal Family Photography, please visit www.duvalfamilyphotography.com.