Meet Sean Money and Elizabeth Fay!
These two rad photographers are the “cool kids” you wish you were friends with… Their style and edginess are something to be inspired by. I am so excited to finally share all of Carri’s bridal portraits with you!!! Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay took Carri and her cute pup, Sophie, to the Thomas Bennett House downtown to capture all of her fabulously stunning portraits. I had the pleasure of interviewing these two awesome photographers – and it was an absolute blast! They have such a quirky sense of humor and their answers will bring you tears of laughter! Please enjoy and get to know the dynamic duo behind the lenses.
Tell us a little about yourselves.
“Sean and I (Elizabeth) are just two silly people with an abundance of curly hair and the two cutest kitties you ever did see. We love going to the theatre and watching back to back movies. Nachos are a definite weakness. We are music junkies. We have to travel often, or we get antsy. I am a native Charlestonion, and Sean is an Appalachian guy hailing from Tennessee”.
How did “Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay” start? How did the two of you end up running a business together?
“Sean and I met 7 years ago through a mutual friend who he was in a band with at the time. I’ve always been a sucker for musicians, especially when the musician has long, curly red hair that you just can’t deny 🙂 We started dating about a month or two later. We immediately bonded over our mutual love for photography. I studied film photography in school, and Sean, being the autodidact that he is, taught himself digital photography due to the desire for higher quality photography in his graphic design work. Neither of us had pursued photography professionally until we met and started working together. We started shooting fashion and portraits and music. We did a couple small weddings here and there for people we knew. We had our first two big weddings in 2011 and got published on Style Me Pretty. That’s when weddings took off for us. Here we are 7 years later and not only are we spoiled to always shoot in Charleston, but weddings have also taken us to the Dominican Republic, California, North Carolina and Georgia. This year we are headed to Wisconsin, Colorado, and back to California. It’s been a wild ride, and we continue to get excited about what may come”.
What do you two enjoy most about living and working in Charleston, SC?
“I (Elizabeth) am from Charleston, so I love it first and foremost because it is home. My parents and brother are here as well, which is great to have them nearby. I love living in such a beautiful place. The energy of Charleston is magnetic. There is always something to do whether go see some awesome live music, have fantastic cocktails at the best bar in town (The Belmont!), eat way too much good food, bike the scenic streets of downtown, or go surf/relax on the beach. Sean would be the one surfing, and I’d be the one laying in the sand doing a whole lot of glorious nothing”.
Are there any venues in town that you’ve never shot at before that you are wanting to?
“Fenwick Hall and Riveroaks are both venues that offer very limited booking, and we have not shot at either yet. Would love to do so”.
Favorite alcoholic drink?
“I am a whiskey or Tequila girl. Sean is a whiskey or IPA kinda guy”.
If you weren’t photographers – what would you be doing for a living right now?
“I would love to work in film. I could go to the movies and never leave. I love disconnecting from the world and getting enveloped by another one. If I could be a part of making films, that would be amazing. Sean dreams of being a TV weatherman or an astronaut”.
How many weddings and sessions do you typically shoot each year?
“We cap our weddings at about 25 right now. We like to be involved with our clients during the process as much as possible helping with whatever from vendor recommendations to timeline advising. When clients come to town, we want to take them out for drinks just to hang out before putting our cameras in the faces. The relationships we want with our clients are more manageable when we don’t overbook ourselves. We also shoot a lot for the music community in Charleston whether it be live band performances or portraits for their album art or marketing”.
What is your favorite part of the wedding to capture?
“We really love the time we get with our couples to take portraits with just the two of them whether a first look or after the ceremony. We are such people photographers, so we love capturing these moments and interactions between two people so connected”.
What is the most challenging part about being a wedding photographer?
“Probably the most challenging thing is that we aren’t just taking pretty pictures and calling it a day. We are small business owners so we have to do all the not-fun business stuff behind the scenes. Somedays I just EMAIL ALL DAY without even seeing a photo. There is bookkeeping and taxes and marketing and client relations. There’s a lot to do, but we love the work we do, and both of us thrive on being busy people. We are not good at being bored”.
Have you ever encountered any bizarre request?
“We aren’t easily phased by stuff, so our threshold for bizarre is pretty high. I would say the coolest/bizarre request we had recently was that a bride wanted to get in a pool in her dress and float on this inflatable pegasus the day after the wedding. We of course immediately said yes because we love funky stuff like that. It felt very fashion-oriented, which we love. And it turned out fantastic”.
How do you handle clients who are shy in front of the camera?
“Sean and I understand it can feel awkward being in front of the camera, because we ourselves are not great models by any means. We keep the mood light and goof off, because these photos are supposed to feel fun, not like a chore. We also try to keep couples engaged with each other versus the camera, so they don’t feel so posey. And if our client wants to have a drink before we take photos, have a drink! A lot of people enjoy a little liquid courage 🙂 We have even started engagement shoots at a bar to loosen up a little, and it can make for a cool little scene for photos as well”.
Do you ever get emotional while shooting a wedding?
“Yes and yes. Sometimes it’s a ceremony, sometimes a toast. Some people just really exude true love and you can feel it through and through. This may be a dad toasting his son or daughter or when the groom cries when he sees his bride down the aisle even though he has already seen her for a first look. Sean and I are both softies even though we try to keep our game faces on”.
How long do you spend editing the average wedding?
“This is a hard question because we don’t often get to sit down and just edit straight through a job. We get interrupted by other things often that need attention in the moment like a couple needing to get their timeline straightened out ASAP or an image request from a vendor that is due in 3 hours. Our average turnaround currently is about 8 weeks. That doesn’t mean we are editing for 8 weeks of course, but we usually have a lot in our editing queue, and we work in temporal order, so it is rare that we get to start editing something right after we shot it”.
Best Thank You that you have ever received?
“Oh my gosh. What comes to mind immediately is one of our clients wrote us 2 years after the wedding to let us know that his mother passed away and that this one particular photo we took of him and his mother dancing was giving him and his father great comfort seeing the happiness in her face. It was a struggle even then for her to get up and dance, so this photo and this happiness captured meant so much to them. He told us that as much as a photo can capture the essence of a person’s life, our photo did that. It gives me chills thinking about it. It just made me tear up again re-reading the email. It is the most real and tender thing anyone has said to us about a moment we captured. And the fact that he took the time to tell us this – best. thank you. ever”.
Any tips for a newly engaged couple looking for their perfect wedding photographer?
“If you find someone and hands down that photographer is your choice, great! Often though, people will be looking through a few different photographers. In Charleston especially, we have so many talented photographers. We are lucky to consider many of them friends! But get on the phone, or better yet, sit down over coffee or cocktails and make sure your personalities mesh. You are spending all day or weekend with your photographer, so you want to feel comfortable around them. That’s why we like to hang out with clients before hand whenever possible, so we can start to build a relationship and not feel like strangers with cameras”.
Which photo was your absolute favorite from Carri’s Bridal Portrait Session?
“We were so honored for Carri to ask us to shoot her bridal portraits and very lucky to have such a bombshell in front of the camera! We have to share a few faves because picking just one is not possible! And shout out to Christine who lent her support to all of us on this shoot”. (See below for Sean Money + Elizabeth Fay’s top 5 choices -, the rest of the photos are my absolute favorite – EC)
Why is this photo on your Top 5: “Who doesn’t love a wonderfully candid moment like this?! The wind randomly picked up and took her veil with it. We were all laughing, and it was glorious.”
Why is this photo on your Top 5: “Because we love to experiment and challenge ourselves whenever we can, and Carri totally let us play around. The crazy light and shadow and the statuesque look on Carri’s face is gorgeous”.
Why is this photo on your Top 5: Carri has the most wonderful smile, and her dress from Southern Protocol was perfect on her. We love this little nook where the trees overhang too.
Why is this photo on your Top 5: When Carri mentioned she wanted to bring her furry companion along, we were like hell yea! We love incorporating pets in photos. And Sophie’s floral collar from Tiger Lily is too cool!
Why is this photo on your Top 5: I don’t know. Just something serene about this moment.