In the Spotlight : Heather Forsythe

Heather Forsythe is one of my favorite local photogs- and also one of the kindest, most genuine gals I know. The kind that makes you feel almost guilty- like she’s so sunny, you walk away going- ‘how nice is she? am i the meanest person ever?’ but not in a nauseating way . . . she’s the real deal. AND- she has precious children you want to squeeze/kidnap and humongous artistic talent to boot.

A passionate and dynamic professional, Heather creates images that are elegant and timeless.  Born in Tennessee, she has been proud to call Charleston her home for the past eight years.  “I love the traditions that surround weddings. I love the ephemeral quality of the day, and that is where my photography comes in. I love being able to capture the moments, the emotions, and the atmosphere of a day that passes so quickly, yet is remembered for so long.” Heather’s unobtrusive, documentary approach to photography lends itself to creating naturally candid and unique photos. For more scoop, read on!

If you could shoot a wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be?

HF: India! I love love LOVE Hindu wedding ceremonies. I love everything from the rich colors to the amazingly detailed wedding ceremony to the celebrations that proceed and follow. A true Hindu wedding is celebrated over several days of amazing food, drink and merriment! I would love the experience of traveling to India to witness and capture all of this in this rich an amazing country.  A week in an ashram to follow would be much appreciated as well.

What’s the one thing you wish you could say outright to every bride, but you feel like you can’t, out of decorum + propriety?

HF: Be on time!  It sounds so simple but it’s exhaustingly not. My normal request is something along the lines of “Now, we want to really try to stick to a schedule because if you’re 40 minutes late slipping into your dress then we’re going to have a hard time getting the images you want without feeling stressed about time.” Translated, without the ‘decorum + propriety’ this would be: “LISTEN: If you’re 40 minutes late slipping in your dress, you’re forfeiting far more than whatever you did in those original 40 minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve seen a bride stressing out over the fact that she’s running behind.  You’ve just spent over a year planning this day. There’s a whole team of professionals that are poised and ready for you on this day. Every family member and guest knows where and when to be there for you. Do yourself the honor of being there on time too! All that planning was done so that the day would be seamless and stress-free – so that you could soak up every ephemeral moment of it. So tell every mother, mother in law, every bridesmaid and groomsman that you, and they, will be ready at the church on time and that is final! A set of images taken in 5 minutes of what was originally planned to be 30 minutes of shooting just won’t be as good as the set of images could have been. That’s not to say I haven’t created some of my favorite images in stolen moments in a rushed day, but I always wonder how much better the images could have been had we had that whole 30 minutes after the ceremony we planned for.

What’s your take on the controversial “First Peek”, where the bride and groom
see each other before the ceremony?

HF: I’m pretty traditional through and through. I truly love all the traditions that surround a wedding and I love the idea of church doors swinging open with a groom standing at the alter looking down the aisle at his fiance’-transformed-to-bride standing in the doorway on the arm of her father. I love it… That being said, I must admit doing a “first peak” always makes my day a bit easier and I’m always so excited about the possibilities the ‘first peak’ offers. But, I never suggest it to brides and grooms when meeting. If it is something they bring up, I’m game, especially in the case of an evening wedding where there would be no opportunity to shoot the bride and groom in natural light.

Three words (or a phrase) that epitomize your style: fill in the blanks.

HF: Sincere, unscripted and cheerful.

One of your top favorite images from 2010?

HF: This was a fun year and I had the pleasure of working with some incredible people so choosing one is hard! But, I’d have to say my bridal portrait session with bride, Perry, was one of my favorites. There is one particular shot of her from early on in the shoot where she’s just glowing and blissfully looking outside the frame of the photograph.  It’s a naturally candid moment in a preposterously perfect setting! Gotta love Charleston!

Best store (online or not) for great reception finds?

HF: Confetti Effects

I’m crazy for confetti!  Granted, it has to be late enough in the evening and the party has to have a certain amount of liveliness, but when set off at the right time, not only are the photos just so animated, but I love seeing the kid come out in everyone on the dance floor. It’s irristable not to throw your hands in the air and jump up and down – so fun!

No wedding is complete without . . .

HF: A little bit of drama. Know that and prepare yourself for it. So that when Aunt May sprains her ankle on the dance floor or when the best man passes out at the altar, you’re ready to take it all in stride. Or, perhaps, when you arrive at your reception, to find the fire department frantically extinguishing  your candlabras and tealights because of a major gasoline spill from the station next door, be ready to pose with the guys.


  1. Perry Ann Adams

    Great post! Heather is such a lovely person, as a former bride of hers I can’t speak highly enough of that sunny disposition she has – it makes all the difference! The images she captures are treasures we’ll share with our grandkids!