East, West&Everything in Between

This is a long one, but we have a lot to say, so stick around till the end OK?

Last November, while we were in Antigua, Guatemala, celebrating our anniversary a few days before a wedding shoot, Ben presented me with an idea that totally caught me off guard. He thought we should move to Charleston, South Carolina.

We had been living in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past seven years. But the South was not new territory for either of us. I grew up in Charleston, and Ben was born in Tennessee, and grew up in Kentucky and Florida before his family moved to New Mexico. So we have always considered ourselves Southerners. I thought we’d end up in Charleston when we were ready to retire, perhaps. But Ben was saying “why not now?” Charleston is a fun, sophisticated city with unique character. It has a superb, ever-evolving restaurant scene. And it has a palpable energy that is absolutely infectious.

Charleston is also now at the center of our country’s self-examination of race relations, after the shooting that happened at one of the country’s oldest African-American churches, right here in downtown Charleston. Nine people died, and the city continues to mourn while simultaneously trying to heal. The shootings had not yet happened when we made our decision to move to Charleston and signed the deed to our first home. But we would make the same decision today. We love this city and the people in it, and every day here has been an inspiration, a dose of excitement, and a resolute feeling of having found the place where we’re supposed to be.

At the end of June, Ben and I set out on a cross-country road trip, driving a Penske truck containing all of our belongings. Along the way we stopped for a night at The Ace Hotel in Palm Springs (where Ben photographed complete strangers in the pool of course); stayed three nights with Ben’s sister and her kids in Las Cruces, New Mexico; visited with Ben’s college photography professor, the great Sterling Trantham; survived the long haul across Texas; stayed with the Followells in Mississippi (you’ll remember them from the adoption story we shot in India last December); and spent our last night on the road with Brynn and David – wedding guests from a 2013 wedding we shot who we’ve become friends with. We pulled into our driveway in downtown Charleston on July 2.

So what does this mean for the future of Chrisman Studios? We now have photographers on the West Coast, the East Coast, and our videographer Vlad in New Mexico. Mauricio will remain in the Bay Area, and Joseph is in Florida. Weddings in our hometowns will not incur travel charges. But Ben and I will still happily travel anywhere for a wedding, and the same goes for Mauricio, Joseph and Vlad. That is something that will never change!

And actually, we will now have one more photographer in California! We are proud to announce that we have added a new photographer to the Chrisman Studios family – Ryan Zhang. We have known Ryan for several years, meeting for the first time at WPPI (the big annual photo conference in Vegas), and then at a San Francisco wedding industry event. Then we really got to know him well when he took our first Casa de Chrisman workshop in December 2013. After that workshop, we posted that we were looking for an intern. Ryan applied, and he was the perfect person for the job. He has now been with our studio for a year working as an additional photographer for Ben and me; a second photographer for Mauricio; handling some of our post-production; and being a loving babysitter to our two cats Méla and Margot when Ben and I are traveling.

We have been so impressed with Ryan’s work ethic, his boundless energy, his enthusiasm, and the kindness and compassion he shows to our brides and grooms and their families. He is also just a lot of fun, and a joy to have around.

So the next bit of news should be no surprise. We’re looking for an intern! The tasks assigned to our interns through the years has varied depending on their talents, and our own needs at any particular time. At this particular time in our life, we need an intern who can:

  1. Assist us (Ben and Erin) at weddings, working as a lighting assistant and additional photographer. Weddings will generally be local Charleston weddings, although occasional travel weddings are possible.

  2. Work in our home in Charleston two days a week, doing errands, making post office runs, packaging albums, and general office work.

  3. Work as an assistant at our upcoming ChrisMAX workshop in Charleston, Sept. 29-Oct. 1.

  4. Stay at our house when we are traveling, taking care of the cats and staying on top of office work.

  5. Manage our Chrisman Studios social media accounts.

Ideally, applicants should be local to Charleston. We are looking for someone who is not married and who does not have children, since we will need the person to stay overnight at our home frequently. If interested, please email me (Erin) at info @ chrismanstudios.com. Provide a link to your photography work (website, Facebook, Flickr, etc.), a paragraph or two about who you are and why you want to work with us, and let me know where you are located.

Thanks for reading till the end! We have a lot of big changes on the horizon, and we are so grateful for the support our friends and clients have shown us through the years. Be on the lookout tomorrow for Ryan’s first blog post with Chrisman Studios! He blew us away with this wedding, and we can’t wait to show you!


Authored by: Category:  Our Life