Specializing in luxury wedding photography, Gillian Claire
creates more than lasting memories. With an eye for detail, art, and the human
experience, she weaves a story of the moment that can be viewed for a lifetime.
A 12-year veteran of professional wedding and family
photography, she has had her share of the ups and downs of trying to capture blushing
brides, bouncing babies, and playful pets. Early on, she developed a
photojournalism approach that allows her to follow the subject around and grab
the shot when it happens. In so doing, she often gets those intimate, funny,
and all so human reactions that turns a photograph into an heirloom.
Gillian Claire Reinhardt began her photography career when
she was given a Kodak 110 camera for Christmas at the tender age of eight. “It
was one of those cartridge film cameras with a wide body that you looked
through the view finder on one side and the lens was on the other,” she
explains. “I lopped off a lot of heads and arms in those days.”
She took pictures of friends, vacation trips, and the family
dog. By her senior year in high school, she had progressed to a SLR (single
lens reflex) camera and was assigned to cover sports for the yearbook. This
included football, often in low light conditions, basketball, with its fast
pace, and golf, where as a player herself, she helped take the girls’ team to
the state championships two years in a row.
She even tried being a model. “I thought that was what I
wanted to do, but I found out that I really preferred being on the other side
of the camera lens,” she says. “I think having had that experience helps me understand
how nervous people are sometimes when they get in front of a camera. You can’t
just tell them to relax, it doesn’t work. That’s why, especially with children,
and adults too sometimes, I try distractions, talking about all sorts of things
until they feel more comfortable.”
After spending a few years in the hospitality industry working in hotel management, Gillian came back to her first love, photography. She enrolled in a basic digital photography course and started working with other Myrtle Beach photographers taking beach wedding photos and learning the wedding photography business.
“I love my brides,” she
says. “Each one is so excited and it’s so much fun to relive those wonderful
moments again through their eyes. The other great thing is that a year or two
later, I get to photograph the new babies. I love those babies,” she laughs
After working as an assistant photographer in Myrtle Beach
and Charleston, Gillian decided to launch her own business in 2006, Carolina
Photo Studios. “At that time, I was all digital, but I felt like I was missing
something,” she says. Then she rediscovered film. She connected with Jonathan
Canalas, author of “Film is Not Dead” and discovered the art she had been
“Photography is all about light and how you use that light to put the image on film,” says Gillian. “Whether you’re on location at a Low Country plantation or in the studio, whether you’re backlighting your subject or using natural light, it’s how you use the light that makes the picture.”
Having created a following under her Carolina brand, Gillian
knew she needed a complete break, so she decided to use her name as her brand. She worked with several film cameras before finding her
perfect match – the legendary Rolleiflex used by some of the top photographic
artists of the 20th Century. She shoots Kodak Portra 400 film for
both weddings and family portraits.
“I know that not everyone sees the value of film,” she says. “I hope, through my photography, that I can not only show the difference, I can also create beautiful works of art for people to treasure for years to come.”
Claire is a member of the prestigious ISPWP (International Society of
Professional Wedding Photographers) and is an award-winning photographer
through the WPJA (Wedding Photojournalist Association). She has also been
published in A Lowcountry Wedding Magazine, Grand Strand Bride Magazine,
Carolina Bride, The Wedding Row, The Knot, Wedding Wire, and Borrowed and Blue among
Myrtle Beach, SC 29588
See more of Gillian's work at Gillian Claire Photography.
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