Lydia and Chaille Brindley take in an autumn sunset from a perch above Old Town on Buffalo Pass. Courtesy of Walker & Son Photography. 

Nine Questions for a Father/Son Photo Team

Get to know Steamboat Springs based photo team, Carl and Brandon Walker, of Walker & Son Photography. From the 2023 issue of Steamboat Wedding Day.

Steamboat Springs, CO - Walker and Son Photography is a Steamboat Springs-based photography team comprised of father/son duo Carl and Brandon Walker, who specialize in weddings and engagements as well as portrait, wildlife, landscape and commercial photography. This pair has been creating memories for clients since 2017. Carl and Brandon discuss their journey into the world of photography, what sets them apart from other wedding photographers and what ultimately drives them to continue picking up a camera each day. 

Carl and Brandon Walker of Walker and Son Photography

Steamboat Wedding Day: Can you tell me a little about yourself and how you both got started in photography?
Carl: I got started in photography when I was in seventh grade. The idea of capturing pictures always amazed and challenged me. Growing up on National Geographic magazines always kept that wonder alive for me.
Brandon: After my dad got his first full-frame camera, I picked up his old one and started to take photos with that. I was in sixth grade. My dad taught me how to use the camera and told me to only use manual mode which really accelerated my photography skills.

SWD: What is your earliest memory of taking photos?
Carl: When I was on a Washington D.C. trip with my middle school, I took rolls and rolls of pictures at the National Air and Space Museum. I still have them in an album in my house to this day.
Brandon: My earliest memory was the first time I ever held a camera. It was an old Sony digital camera about the size of a deck of cards. My parents sent me on a one-week camping trip in sixth grade and I asked if I could take the camera, so my dad taught me the basics of it and let me take it. I remember being out in the woods getting photos of the aspen trees.

SWD: What inspired you two to combine as a team and get into wedding photography
Carl: For my 20th anniversary, my wife bought me a full-frame professional camera and said, “You are really good at this, you should sell your pictures.” A few years later, after some photo work for friends, Brandon had become quite a budding photographer just by picking up my old cameras. He wanted to earn money for college and for flight training. I told him we could start a photo business together and use half the money for his flight training and half we would put back into the business. We’ve been doing this together for five years now.

The natural light silhouttes the bride’s golden hair and dress at a private venue on Circle Bar 8 Ranch, as Erin Darby married Jared Kennedy. Courtesy of Walker & Son Photography. 

SWD: How would you describe your photography style?
Carl & Brandon: We aim to give our couples stylistic, modern or ultra-classy photos — ones that they will actually want to go back to and look at year after year. Generally, we spend a day with the bride and groom apart from the wedding day, solely focused on the two of them in locations with interesting settings and poses. We usually coordinate this with the “test day” of hair and makeup prior to the wedding. Many couples have never been part of a professional photo shoot, so guiding them through the process and making them feel not just comfortable, but bold, is part of what we deliver. When there is no pressure of guests, ceremony and relatives, it becomes much more than a photo session; it’s more of a memorable outing for the couple. We give the couple a few of these pictures prior to the wedding. It really helps boost their confidence about just how good they look. It also helps them relax on the wedding day as they know they have already captured amazing images, giving them one less thing to worry about.

SWD: How would you describe your working style? Do you prefer to blend into the background to capture candid moments or do you like to be more visible and take charge to choreograph images?
Carl: For the pre-wedding photo shoot with just the couple, we are solely focused on a beautiful, choreographed image, which we confidently guide them through. Then during the wedding, we set one of us on getting more typical pictures of the wedding party while the other one of us works in the background looking for candid and unexpected moments we can capture. Some couples want us out and about and some want us to blend into the background – we can do both.

SWD: How do you help people feel comfortable in front of the camera?
Carl: I grew up with three brothers and sisters in a home that my mom ran a daycare out of. So, at any given time, there were about 10-15 kids running around my house. I got used to being open with kids, making them laugh and making new ones comfortable in our home. It took a careful blend of giving them enough space while also watching for opportunities to build trust and interact with them. Amazingly, this technique works just as well with adults as kids. A good mix of laughter and professionalism helps bring out the genuine smiles we all look for as photographers. 

Erin Darby and Jared Kennedy have a solitary moment seated on a bench beside a private lake on Circle Bar 8 Ranch.

SWD: What are some things brides, grooms and family members can do to help ensure the smoothest working relationship with their wedding photographer?
Carl & Brandon: The best advice we give to our couples is to have the wedding they want, not the one that others expect them to have. This is super important if you don’t have a wedding planner. Know what you want, and be kind but bold in telling your family and friends how they can help you achieve that dream. This includes telling your photographer what you want. Some photographers have a very set way of working, which is great if that way matches what you want. Others, like us, adapt to your needs, but knowing those needs and desires is key and must be communicated very clearly so we can get the images you want.

SWD: What motivates you to continue taking pictures?
Carl & Brandon: Creativity. Photography is first and foremost a passion of ours that brings us joy. We take pictures because we want to, not because we have to. We took tens of thousands of pictures for three decades without ever charging for it. Once we turned it into a business, we wanted to make sure that we held onto that same passion. To keep the creativity flowing, we carefully monitor how many clients we accept through each season, leaving plenty of time for exploring the parts of photography that we still want to learn more about or experiment with.

SWD: Do you have any words of wisdom for potential newlyweds thinking of planning a wedding in Steamboat?
Carl & Brandon: Don’t let the wedding define you. If you catch yourself spending more time wedding planning than enjoying each other’s company, going on dates, holding hands on long walks, then take a step back from the wedding preparations and remember why you are getting married in the first place. An average wedding with a great relationship will last ages, while a grand wedding with a poor relationship will likely not. If you can manage both, excellent. If you only have time to make one great, make it your relationship.

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