"Mile Marker Images is above all a passionate Knoxville wedding photographer!
Mile Marker Images is more than just photography. “We think of ourselves as storytellers capturing unique moments on your wedding day. We chase great love and great light. And we do it with passion and enthusiasm. We work with you every step of the way to produce better images and lasting memories. Each image contains more memories than just what is in the photo. Your mind will remember smells & sounds too. Your memory will even remember things happening just outside the edges of the photo. Photos are the mile markers of your memory.” says owner, Al Harris. “We'll go above & beyond. Our work starts and stops with breath-taking, one-of-a-kind photos. A wedding shouldn’t be a cliché & neither should the photos."
We always ask our members why they go into the wedding business, and Mile Marker Images was no different. “I practiced architecture and design for 18 years. In early 2009 I was laid off because of the mortgage meltdown and the "great recession." I purchased my first DSLR camera and began to document my architectural projects. I was hoping to be gainfully employed again by the end of 2009. That did not happen. I shot my first solo wedding in 2010. I've been hooked ever since. Oh, I also got married, can’t forget that! Being on that side of the camera on my wedding day opened my eyes. I took notes. I made a decision later that year to focus on weddings. I knew I would have to be an amazing communicator and bring flawless service to stand out. What also sets me apart is how I approach and capture a wedding. I work like a fiend on the front end to know my couple's priorities, understand their body language and have a solid understanding of their quirks too. I am constantly training myself to anticipate better. Now add that to my classical training in design. Architecture is defined by light and space - so is photography. My style is directly connected to my roots in architecture with a layer of emotion added. Oh, and I have the highest levels of standards as it relates to how I talk to others, how I interact with couples and their loved ones, how thorough I am with editing their photos, all the way to my 48-72 hour turn around for sneak peek photos and 30 days turn around for the full set of images. These are self-imposed, and I live by them.”
The rest is history, since then Mile Marke Images has been apart of 130+ weddings. In that time they’ve seen a lot and worked with many different kinds of couples. They’ve come to realize their favorite part of the wedding/wedding industry is “Watching the emotions ebb and flow throughout the day. Wedding photographers need to know their subjects just like a wildlife photographer needs to know the specific type of wildlife they shoot. Being a wedding photographer means I must anticipate movements and emotions. If I can wrap a moment in great light, then I have made magic. Chasing love and light is my favorite part! Also, the people. Brides, grooms, parents, friends, and all the wedding professionals. I love meeting new people and hearing all the backstories. I love watching the interactions of all the people. So, yeah, people - amazing people are the best part of the wedding industry.”
The Bride Link never passes up the chance to gain valuable advice so we can share it with our couples! Al was happy to dig in, “Numero uno piece of advice is know your budget. If you don't have a budget, then get one. Don't do anything else. Then prioritize what is most important. Spend accordingly. Stop pretending money doesn't matter. Money isn't the only thing, just the main thing, so get a budget before anything else. I wish every couple knew that photos take lots of sorting, culling, comparing, organizing, and editing and then finally delivery. All this takes place behind the scenes after the wedding is finished. It’s actually the hardest part of the process for me. Aiming electronics at people is the fun part. All the post-production is what couples are paying for. I work hard on the front end planning process to learn what is most important to my couples. Right after that, is delivery time. We live in an era of immediate gratification. I deliver 35-50 sneak peek images within 72 hours and the full set within four weeks. No exceptions.”
When asked what one of their favorite weddings were, Al stated “It is not easy to look back and choose a favorite. Each wedding has real people with real emotions and real circumstances that make them all special. To single one out would be like asking a parent to choose a favorite child. I can tell you authenticity is my favorite characteristic to run across. Let me not back away from the question. I have shot in all four seasons, in torrential downpours, with 450+ guests and the couple with a minister and me as the witness. I've waded waist-deep in a river to get the shot. I've used a huge fire truck as a backdrop. I've shot under thousands of twinkling lights. I've shot weddings with pets - dogs with fur dyed to match wedding colors, cats in outfits, birds and even a snake. I have shot in a helicopter over the Smokies as the couple exchanged vows through headsets. I shot the first full mass Catholic wedding at the new Sacred Heart Cathedral. I could go on and on. But my favorite will always be my next wedding. It has all the possibilities, and all the creative options are still available.”
Mile Marker Images offers a wide range of wedding photo packages and wedding photo pricing. Also, they offer hourly wedding photo rates, wedding elopement rates, engagement photo rates, and associate level pricing too! Each wedding is specific so packages can be tailored based on specific needs. They shoot digitally with styles that include classic, artistic, documentary and timeless. They are available in most locations, which include Chattanooga, Crossville, Knoxville, Maryville, Nashville, Smoky Mountains, and Tri-Cities.
Al wanted any prospective couples to know that “I’m not perfect for every couple. I am happy to steer a couple to a better fit for their photography if I realize this. I am around a bride more than any other person on a wedding day. If she doesn't really, really like me the photos will show. I don't want this on my conscience. I look for a connection very early. If I don't find it, I will excuse myself and help the couple find a better fit. Couples can expect a very knowledgeable photographer; I try my best to discover issues that may hamper what I call photographic success. If you get married in mid-November and you want sunset photos, but your ceremony is scheduled for 5 pm, then there's a conflict. It'll be mostly dark by then in East Tennessee. Or if a bride wants to do a dress reveal with her father but his flight arrives just in time for him to change and walk her down the aisle. Photographic success is my primary goal! I take my craft very serious but never take myself too seriously.
Photo Credit: Mile Marker Images
Al Harris Primary Shooter & Savannah Bellione Second Shooter