HFM recently caught up Britain Paulk of Willow & Pine Photography to discuss her love of “love,” photography and family. With a primary focus on wedding and engagement photography, she still loves to capture those other special family moments. A home-grown Texas beauty with a heart of gold, Britain is also a mom of 2 and manages to balance work and family life pretty well.
Tell us a little about yourself? Where you grew up.
I am from a small town in Central Texas called Lampasas and it is a quiet place full of gorgeous trees, pastures, and good people. I was born and raised there and left when I was 18 to head into the big world! Sitting on the porch and sipping coffee with my family is one of my favorite things in the world when we go back. That and watching my babies get spoiled by their grandparents. My husband and I love laughing together, giving foot rubs, having a night on the porch together, and trying new foods! We’re seekers of new things… It’s my favorite thing about us! I have a pretty green, all-inclusive, peaceful soul. I love my yoga, I thoroughly enjoy laughing until it hurts, I adore the people and diversity in my city of Houston, traveling (for leisure and work), promoting self-care and love, fighting for justice and equality among sexes and races, and raising strong girls. (and if I had a boy, I’d say raising strong men too!)
Anything you want to share about “being a mom?” Challenges? Funny stories? Running a business while running between work and school activities?
“I’m not a normal mom. I’m a cool mom.” haha! All kidding aside, I am a mom to two little ladies. They are 3 & 5, they are absolutely hilarious and are the cutest things I’ve ever seen. Working and being a stay at home mom is hard during the summer. My girls somehow manage to need snacks every 5 minutes, so editing definitely takes a lot longer than usual! But I do love seeing all of the book towers they build, pictures they color, and wildlife discoveries they find in our backyard. The wonder and excitement in their eyes are one of my favorite things in this world and those little giggles, oh those giggles! Being a mom is awesome but don’t let anyone tell you it’s easy. It’s also dirty and loud. Just always have coffee available and you’ll be alright…most days.
What kind of photography do you do?
I am primarily a wedding photographer, but between wedding weekends and couple’s sessions I still photograph a lot of families. I am a huge fan of thinking outside of the box and really photographing people in their element, creating a session that captures who they are, and delivering images that make jaws hit the floor. We have a lot of fun at Willow & Pine and we laugh a ton. I like feeling like a friend of my clients so that when we get to work together everything is organic and feels really natural, and that’s pretty easy for me since I’m a complete extrovert and can make friends with a fly on the wall.
What was your favorite photoshoot ever? Or one you are most proud of?
Why would you ask this? I don’t think I can pick! If I HAD to choose one that I adored it was a wedding in Fredericksburg near Enchanted Rock. The bride wore an emerald green gown with gold embellishments and the ceremony was held on top of a huge rock on her grandparent’s land where everyone stood with the bride and groom as they said their vows. They danced under huge trees on an ornate rug and the groom’s dad serenaded them with a song he wrote for them instead of giving a traditional toast. They sipped sweet tea and the dessert table was full of pies and cakes prepared by family members and the bride wore hair pieces created by her big brother. It was just the most meaningful and beautiful wedding in the world. Every detail had a piece of love in it, it was given though, and purpose. It still makes me giddy to think about!
If you could choose a destination to photograph, where would that be?
Iceland. I’ve seen the most amazing photos from Iceland, and I love to travel, so why not?! Or that beach with the pigs. Is there a more funny and beautiful place?
Whose work has influenced you most?
Ben Kochanowski is pure magic. His images are deep, and odd, and stunning. They sort of make you sink back in your chair and make you take a minute to really feel all of the emotions in the image. There are a ton of photographers I follow and love, but something about his work really speaks to me.
What inspires you?
Sheesh….The corniest answer I could give- love. I just really adore a session where the love is palpable. Where it’s organic and easy and the couple (or family) laughs together. Where silly is acceptable and wrinkled noses are the norm. People who want to dance and run and tangle up together in an embrace. Where hair is messy and faces are touched. I just love “love.”
How would you describe your photography style?
Fun and romantic.
If you could photograph any one person or subject matter, who/what would it be?
Racial/sexual/societal inclusivity. I would find a place where people came together as a loving race based on humanity and not country of origin, skin color, sexual orientation, or social standing. I would capture them supporting equality of all people. I’d photograph their hugs, their support, their tears, their love for one another, their hurt being transformed into joy. Nothing could bring me more happiness than that.
What is your favorite aspect of your career?
Knowing that I am creating a piece of history for a family that will live on forever. We create memories at our shoots, but we also provide tangible photos that children, grandchildren, great grandchildren will hold and see. They’ll learn about their history and about moments that shaped people’s lives. By photographing in the style we do, which is very candid, we love being able to show people’s emotions so they aren’t statues posing for a photo, but they are people with hearts and joy and we capture that. We freeze it… That moment never dies. There is something really powerful and beautiful to that.