Lawrence-based wedding photographer Hallie Sigwing was born and raised in a tiny farm town outside of Wichita. As she tells it, when she began her career with her mother’s old film camera at the age of 15, she had no idea what she was doing. “I would literally just tell people to buy some Kodak 400 at Walgreens and meet me in random wheat fields around my hometown,” she says. “I was shooting film when it wasn’t cool!” Only a year after that, a family friend insisted that she shoot their wedding. “I was totally hesitant, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.” So began Hallie’s career in wedding photography.

WHAT MAKES PHOTOGRAPHING KANSAS WEDDINGS UNIQUE?  Kansas weddings are wonderful because there is so much room for versatility. If you’re shooting in a big city, you’re very limited with the sort of settings you can place your couples in. You’re dealing with a lot of people, and shadows, and cars. It’s very hard to get a broad range of images when you’re working with such a limited environment. In Kansas, even in the heart of the cities, you’re never farther than twenty minutes from some beautiful scenery.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LIGHT TO SHOOT IN?  Sunrise! Hands down. If only I could get more of my couples to wake up that early for me. I’ve thought about doing a discount for sunrise engagement sessions because I love them so much.

WHAT’S YOUR SECRET FOR GETTING A COUPLE TO RELAX?  It always astonishes me how little time people get to spend alone on their wedding day. Like, you’re surrounded by people all day long, from the moment you wake up. I always want my couples to feel like our portrait time is a time for them to take a deep breath, soak in the day’s events, and remind each other of why they are there. I ask a lot of questions and have them talk to each other. I also make it a point to meet with my couples several times for drinks or dinner before their wedding day. The secret is getting the guys to feel comfortable around you—and make them feel confident that you aren’t going to make them look silly or cheesy. Once you get the grooms to feel comfortable around your camera, everything else is a breeze.

WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR COUPLES SEEKING A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER?  Find someone that you feel like you could be friends with. You’re going to spend so many hours with this person. My brides are around me more than anyone else on their wedding day, usually. I think for most of my couples, I really am a big part of how they experience their day. I think not connecting emotionally with your photographer translates into the images.

WHAT IS YOUR DREAM DESTINATION, IN KANSAS, TO SHOOT NEWLYWEDS?  I’ve been seeing a lot of people shooting at the Monument Rocks in western Kansas, lately. I would love to shoot there. I think my dream scenario will always be on a farm, at sunrise. I always feel so inspired by family farms and I never tire of photographing them.

See more of Hallie’s work here:

–from Lawrence Magazine, summer 2017