I'm Sophie Van Slyke, an experienced photographer blending refined portraiture and candid moments. I believe photographs should reflect the beauty around and within us, and am grateful for the opportunity to document your most meaningful milestones, big or small, and witness all the different kinds of love life has to offer.
What's important to me is creating real relationships and earning the place to closely witness. My approach is to carefully tread between thoughtfully directing and making you feel comfortable, and also giving space to candidly capture the authentic you.
I am based in Arizona, but can travel wherever you'd like to go. The most important things in my life are my people and my faith. I believe my job is a gift from God, that I can show others just how wonderful and beautiful we were created to be.
I am honored to get to know each one of you
and tell your story.
A note to the Bride + Groom:
There was one wedding that changed how I saw them.
(actual photos below)
It was an outdoor Kansas City wedding in August. If you're from the Midwest, you're already sweating as you read this. The humidity was outrageous. I remember I wore a long silk skirt - after peeling it off my legs all day, I learned that silk isn't breathable. Her train on her dress got muddied in the morning, and I remember the bride sitting on a dining chair - smiling - as her mom's friend sat on the floor with a Tide detergent carton and a sponge, working away at the dirt stain. She walked down the aisle without a care in the world.
She included all of her little nieces and nephews as flower girls and ring bearers, and broke the no-kids rule by inviting them into every part of the celebration. With the sun setting, I saw silhouettes of uncles tossing the little toddlers up in the air, over and over. Their white button downs now translucent from sweat. I walked over to the bride's little nephew - maybe 4 or 5 - picking weeds in his hand, and told me he wanted to give the bride "flowers". When the dance floor got sweatier and livelier, all the kids ended up on groomsmens' shoulders like little party mascots. There were many impromptu dance circles, many repurposed boutonnières to serenade the bride with roses, many Modelos drank.
In Pinterest standards, it wasn't a wedding that was going to be featured somewhere. The decor was forgettable, nobody cared if they had signature cocktails, wedding hair turned to careless ponytails. The day was far from perfect. Yet it was one of my favorite weddings ever to witness. The themes of love and joy were so palpable - a family affair from start to finish.
Everyone felt lucky to be there.
The photos were a pure reflection of the feelings - meaningful, joyful, unprompted. My piece of advice: chase down the right feelings and forget the rest. Be completely present, and let me be your eyes to catch the emotions you feel.
Open up your mind to the possibility of mishaps being memories. Soak in the moment of having your people together in one room. And let go of what "has to happen" and embrace the day for what it is. Exchanging a real celebration, with some inevitable hiccups but the right perspective, for a "perfect" one would be such a loss. This is your wedding, your commitment you're making, your people coming together - and my version of an ideal wedding is a day so uniquely yours, that we feel honored to capture it with no pretenses, just an eye to see the beauty of you two being you.
If it's enough for you that you are marrying the one you love, with people who pulled out their fancy clothes from the back of the closet and booked flights to celebrate you - if that's enough, it's the best day ever before it even starts.
You're doing this once - trust me, you won't regret directing your focus on the things unseen.