We first met Bethany Zadai (then Bethany Richards aka “Aria Renholder”), when she was planning her own wedding to her husband (and second shooter) Dustin Zadai in 2010, and we were soon enamored not just with our bride but with her entire family, as well. At that time, Dustin was in active service for the Air Force, so we did most of our planning with Bethany and Her mom, Lisa (who shares a special bond with AJ9 because of their shared passion for the English language).
It was an elegant fall affair with touches of vintage glamour — Bethany and Dustin celebrated their fourth anniversary in late September 2014.
Even then, Bethany’s photography was gorgeous — artistically timeless but with this hint of a modern fashion aesthetic and often vibrant color — but, like all true artists, we’ve seen Bethany’s style evolve and grow over the past few years into something quite remarkable. The short version is: WOW — we thought she was great, BEFORE, but you should see her stuff, NOW!
…and — the really good news? You get to do just that, in this article!
Read on for a telling interview with this local talent as well as a glimpse into her stunning portfolio.
Something New Entertainment’s Anna-Jeannine “DJ AJ9” Herman: What first interested you in photography?
Bethany Zadai of Bethany Zadai Photography: My father introduced me to photography when I was a little girl.
We always had a camera around while my brother and I were growing up. I used to watch him as he photographed birthdays, pets, celebrations, plays, and family moments. I learned that these memories were valuable and treasured. The images of life are the dreams of the future and the loves of our past. When I picked up a camera, I was immediately taken with the compositions, stories, and perceptions one could convey through the lens.
DJ AJ9: How long have you been photographing weddings?
BZ: I have been a photographer since 2003, but photographing weddings since 2009
DJ AJ9: How would you describe your photographic (or cinematographic) style?
BZ: My style is fine art with a fashion photo journalistic edge. I love natural lighting and my forte is post-processing.
DJ AJ9: What do you enjoy most about being a wedding photographer?
BZ: I love getting to know the couples I work with on a personal level. I love seeing their love grow and conveying their personalities and story in the medium of photography. From their engagement session to their wedding it is always an honor to share in these meaningful times in their lives.
“Creating stunning photography is an art form and I have a personal attachment to my work and the people I meet through this amazing process of expression. To follow a couple through their engagement, wedding, and maternity shoots is an incredible honor and one of the most fulfilling experiences as a photographer. The same may be said for the aspiring models and bands I have worked with. Everyone’s story has left a lasting impression with me and vice versa. I hope to have the opportunity to work with you and give you an exciting and unique shoot experience, as well as inspiring photographic works that you will love and cherish forever!”
– Bethany Zadai
DJ AJ9: What is the most important consideration couples should make when hiring a photographer for their wedding?
BZ: The most paramount aspect when hiring a photographer is compatibility. The photographer couples select should understand their style and personality and be able to relate on a deeper level. Trust is key. Your photographer is going to solidify one of the most important and special days of your lives and so the rapport built is one of the most important aspects. Also finding a photographer that understands your style as a couple is important because they are going to be able to visually tell your story of your day in the best way. I provide a questionnaire that couples can answer together to first get a better idea of who they are and what they are looking for even before we meet. When I meet for the engagement session, it is imperative that the couple feels comfortable. I then get to know them on a more personal level because on the day of the wedding the bride should feel confident.
DJ AJ9: What are some ways that couples can prepare for their wedding day to help ensure better photos?
BZ: The best way to prepare is to communicate with your photographer what photographs are of priority to you, preparing a timeline of events is a great way to do this. Each wedding is unique and I tailor a specific contract to a couple’s specific wants and needs. Sometimes a timeline may change or issues may occur that are unexpected and I like to assure couples that I excel at going with the flow and making things work out.
DJ AJ9: What’s your favorite “must capture” moment during the day?
BZ: I would have to say the First Kiss or the First Look! Seeing the chemistry and spark on that day in the couple’s expressions is magic. Other must capture shots in my opinion include small details that couple’s can reminisce later on while reviewing their photographs, and family members’ reactions throughout the course of the day.
DJ AJ9: What’s the question I’m not asking you but you wish I would, or What’s the question that clients usually don’t ask you but you wish they would?
BZ: “Why should I choose you to shoot my wedding?”
I will shoot your wedding in such a way that when you look back at your photographs you are right back in that moment experiencing every minute. I love what I do so much that the entire process is an event to me. I will take time with you and become your friend; this is not just a business for me; it is art form that no other medium can capture, and I go out of my way to get the desired shots, as well as anything else the Bride or Groom may need. When there is passion in one’s work, it is reflected in the product.
DJ AJ9: What do you look for in a great DJ and what are your DJ pet peeves?
BZ: What makes a DJ great is when they understand exactly what their client wants as well as truly making a reception a party! I had the pleasure of having Anna and Justin as my DJ’s for my wedding and they were a blast. They are truly great entertainers and they really understood what I wanted and were able to bring it to life.
About Bethany Zadai: Bethany Zadai a professional photographer who specializes in fine art portraiture, weddings, engagements, and events, with a fashion / photo journalistic edge. Currently located in the North East Ohio area, she attended school for Marketing and Graphic Design, but quickly fell in love as soon as she picked up a camera. From there she went on to study Commercial Photography, Photo Journalism, as well as Fine Art Photography. She has worked in California and New York City, utilizing Canon L Series professional lenses and equipment alongside Lightroom and Photoshop on Apple workstations for post processing.
About Bethany Zadai Photography: Serving North East Ohio’s six metropolitan areas with professional photography services that include: Wedding, Engagement, Portrait, Lifestyle and Event Photography.