We had the good fortune of connecting with Angelina Yannuzzi and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Angelina, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I never dreamed that this would be my life one day! In college, the idea of even photographing a wedding – let alone photographing them for a living – was nowhere on my radar. At the time, I had a beginner camera, two kit lenses, zero understanding on how to operate a camera, and no one to take pictures for. While I was nearing the end of my college career, the two certain things I knew would happen included getting married and moving to Houston. As a Christian, I naturally turned to the One who would guide me best. I prayed fervently for an idea or an answer. I had no concrete revelations at the time. As my senior year started, a few leaders in my college ministry, Chi Alpha, asked me to photograph events for newsletters, which I was so happy to do! At an autumn retreat, while my little camera stayed around my neck, I kept praying about what my life would look like, and the unexpected dream that kept being sown into my heart was wedding photography. To be perfectly honest, I did not believe this in the slightest. In the same instant that the dream of being a photographer was put into my heart – so was the specific commandment: stay faithful to what is in front of me. The very thing in front of me was LITERALLY my camera. As the semester progressed, several different couples got engaged within our ministry. They saw the work I was doing for Chi Alpha, and many asked me to photograph… YES. Their WEDDINGS. I was shocked. I went from not believing wedding photography would be a reality for me – to being full time while still a student in the span of two months! Before I knew it, even strangers were inquiring for me to shoot their weddings. In January 2022, with not a single wedding on my portfolio (AKA – a few instagram squares), a website, reviews, or any of the things a good photography business should have, I had 8 weddings booked! Talk about an answered prayer. Soon, I became legally legit. As of April 2022, Angelina Loreta, LLC was born!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
In the realm of photography, wedding photography especially, it seems expected that we would seek out anyone and everyone who would want to get married for the business and for the portfolio. This philosophy, I believe, deprives so many creatives from discovering what makes their soul come alive in their craft. I keep things transparent with my brand, and communicate up front that I’m not the photographer for everyone. I thrive in settings where MOMENTS happen. I’m not the photographer who wants the “picture-perfect”, posed setups to check boxes off an agenda shot list. I get to know each of my couples, their stories, their favorite Starbucks drinks, and more. By the time the wedding rolls around, my couples are genuinely FRIENDS. This is so important to me, because when I know them as friends, I’m able to capture their love that much better (plus, who would want a stranger at your wedding?). I live to capture the quirks, the tears, and the moments they forget there’s a camera nearby and just soak everything in. I don’t ask my people to tilt their head 45° to the left and hold a stiff model face, nor am I the photographer that meets them on their wedding day. Because the raw, real weddings happening deserve investing in on every vendor’s part. So, if a couple is looking for a friend to cry during their first look, pin a veil on, AND take documentary style photos, we’re a match made in heaven!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
As an active homebody, new-to-Houston gal, I’m afraid to say that this is a tough question. In a city known for traffic, I would make an adventure out of driving to the beach to watch the sun rise, extra points for leaving at 3 am. Seeing such an active city so quiet, and no traffic in sight, has been one of my favorite things about living here for less than a year! I would definitely also take my friends around the city to see aesthetic coffee shops, just for me to get matcha – per usual. Lastly, I would spend a quiet day at the Lanier Theological Library in Tomball to take a look at a Dead Sea Scroll!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Without a doubt, I owe so much of my success to Chi Alpha College Station. This ministry is not only where I learned to walk with God, but the place where this business began. I remember so fondly the earliest of days, sneaking around the room during worship to capture hundreds of college students getting lost in Jesus. The Lord used this ministry to impact my life in remarkable ways, and deserves to be recognized!