In June of 2020, we published an initial list of 70+ Black-owned wedding businesses. As part of our ongoing efforts to highlight and promote Black-owned businesses, we’ve started this series featuring individual vendors.
David Gass is a wedding videographer and photographer based in Colorado. Born and raised in Nebraska, his journey as a photographer began in college: feeling stuck with the same eat, sleep, work routine, he bought a camera and pitched an internship to a local music venue. This opportunity proved life-altering - through backstage interviews and concert photography, David built a following on social media, where he was able to find other photography gigs.
Eventually, after doing several types of photography, he found that weddings and engagements were “the one time that I had a camera in my hand and didn’t feel like I was working. A lot of times I would forget that I was getting paid.” With that, wedding photography quickly turned from a passion to a career.
Once he relocated to Colorado, David decided that it would be beneficial for his couples if he offered both photography and videography for their weddings, explaining that “photos can bring back a memory, but a video can help you relive a moment.” David became so fond of the medium that he now tends to do the videography himself, while another person on his team handles photography.
While initially worried that COVID-19 would shut down his business indefinitely, David soon realized that videographers were actually in hotter demand than ever. Because friends and families couldn’t attend weddings in person, it was that much more important to capture the emotions of the day on film - so the microwedding or elopement could be shared with those who weren’t there to see it live.
This ability to pivot and provide is one of David’s favorite parts about working as a wedding professional, saying, “I like to be the calm during the storm - you name it, I’ve seen it at a wedding, and I’m that person who couples are able to lean on and let them know that it’s going to be okay.” David actually has a Facebook group where he gives couples advice and recommends venues (he’s seen them all). His number one piece of advice? Budget wisely!
When asked if there was anything in particular that couples should look for when choosing a wedding photographer, David had one word: consistency. In order to determine that, he suggested asking for an entire gallery from a previous wedding. In seeing every single photo the photographer took from that day, you’ll be able to see more than just the handful of photos they chose to feature on their website.
As for picking a videographer - check the audio. Without good audio “it’s simply a music video...there are films that look amazing, but they sound like they were recorded from the back of an auditorium. And that's distracting when you're trying to watch a film that is going to evoke emotion.” At the end of the day, the video should be about the story. To ensure that the audio will be good? “Backups upon backups” - in addition to typically putting a lavalier microphone on one partner, he’ll attach a mic to the officiant and one to the DJ’s sound board.
When asked about his favorite moment from a wedding, David chose first looks - whether it’s between two partners, one partner and their wedding party, or when a parent sees their child in their wedding outfit for the first time. He loves it both as a photographer and as a videographer, explaining from a film perspective that “there’s generally great audio, whether it's the lack of words, the words that they’re stuttering, or the words that first come to their mind when they see their partner.” Since first looks are a relatively new phenomenon, I asked David what, in his eyes, was the benefit of having them. It turns out, he’s written a blog post about the pros and cons of first looks!
I spoke to David about his experiences as a Black business owner in the wedding industry. David said he’s noticed and been grateful for an uptick recently in couples looking to work with BIPOC-owned businesses at their wedding. He also mentioned that searching for these businesses has helped point out the lack of diversity in the industry, since it can be difficult to find vendors of color in certain parts of the country.
David said he was recently looking at statistics about how long a dollar stays in a specific community, and the Black community was at the bottom of the list - a dollar typically remains there for less than a day. He says he really appreciates “folks doing their best to move that statistic in the opposite direction...people are waking up and understanding that there’s a variety of changes that need to be made in the world and within our communities, and how you spend your money is a very powerful play.” He’s grateful for couples who made a conscious choice to work with Black-owned businesses.
As part of our series highlighting Black-owned wedding businesses, we’ve chosen to donate to a different charity with each post. David recommended The Crowley Foundation, with a mission of “Connecting & Building Young Men (Young Kings) by providing educational opportunities through academic instruction, life skills, social/emotional learning, relationship building & career exploration.”
Check out David's website: Dgass Photography and Videography
For more helpful tips and advice: David's blog
Follow him on Instagram: @DgassPhotography
Want to read more? Check out some other recent blog posts:
Questions? Shoot us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or give us a ring at 917.719.3634.