This month, we’re profiling a diverse set of wedding photographers across the ONA community. Today: Lynchburg, VA-based photographer Sam Stroud (@samstroud), who we first met years ago when he carried one of our original ONA for Leica “Berlin” bags. Read our full Q&A and see selections from his portfolio below.
Sam carries the Union Street messenger in Walnut.
Name: Sam Stroud
Hometown: Lynchburg, Virginia.
Go-to gear: Made the switch to Fuji last year and am never looking back. Fuij X-T2 and the 56mm 1.2 is the sickest combo ever.
ONA you use: The Union Street in Walnut.
Describe your aesthetic in five words or less: Clean. Honest. Simple. Emotive.
Biggest creative influence: I often look to other sources outside of photography for inspiration. Things like music, the outdoors, relationships. I think more directly, one of the biggest influencers on my work personally is my friend Jeremy. He’s constantly doing something artistic and trying new things. He’s very objective and motivating to watch when he decides to create.
What motivates you: However naive it is to say: I want to create one image that will forever connect my clients to their wedding day. Something that overcomes them. It seems cliche to say my clients and the experience motivates me, but it’s true. I love what I do and I want to give them that.
Biggest challenge: Slowing down. I am constantly traveling and working. I love it so it’s hard to not invest everything into it.
Mistake you’ve learned from: Taking on too much. It affected my work. Never saying no isn’t a noble thing. It’s a terrible mistake to think you can cater to everyone.
One piece of advice that stuck with you: “Work smarter not harder.” My Dad.
Time of day are you most creative: Late at night! I am at my best in the evenings.
One thing most people wouldn’t expect about you? I am deeply critical of my work. I struggle with where I am at in my journey on a daily basis.
Thing you can’t live without: My wife and two boys!
One piece of work you are most proud of: One singular piece of work would be really difficult to identify. I am always most proud when I photograph genuine emotion.
Most recent “a-ha” moment: A few weeks ago, I was driving to go get coffee, and I passed my old place of employment and thought “I have built my life the way I want to live it.” That’s pretty rewarding.
Dream project: I am currently working on a project to shoot local residents with my Speed Graphic on 4×5 Portra film. I am really really excited about that.
Goal for this year: I want to put all of my film work together in a hard copy form.
Cats or dogs: Dogs! I have two.
Sweet or savory: Sweet… I’ll destroy a box of Mike and Ikes in a second
Childhood celebrity crush: Penelope Cruz
Favorite album: Wilco A Ghost is Born
Most used phrase: DOPE!
Favorite book: The Road.
Biggest fear: Flying. I do it. But it takes an incredible emotional and mental toll.
Earliest memory: My mother was a single mother for a time and I remember at a really early age she was always with us, or it seemed that way. She worked full time but I have almost no memories from then without her in them. I love that.
Hidden talent: I invested an entire winter in studying the science behind what makes a chocolate chip cookie great and I can emphatically say that I make the world’s best chocolate chip cookie.
Sam carries the leather Union Street in Walnut.