MindCastle Studios is a small studio based out of Seattle, Washington. Danielle and Casey started the very successful studio based upon the mutual passion they share for photography and film which started early in life. Both of them grew up with photo enthusiast dads. (Danielle’s dad even had a make-shift dark room in their laundry room.) Their love for photography grew when they were in high school together in Yakima, Washington. Neither knew at the time just how far this love would take them.
Their passion for photography turned into a business one summer when they entered an auction for charity, offering a family photo session to the highest bidder. “We had a huge response,” remembers Casey, “and that’s when we decided to ditch our summer jobs and start up a business together.” In the beginning, the pair focused mainly on family photography and senior portraits.
But in the winter of 2005, they moved to Seattle and started focusing primarily on wedding photography. “We like weddings because we get to meet incredible unique and diverse people,” says Danielle. “It’s all about the people,” adds Casey, “Not the image, not the editing, nor the new software or Photoshop tools. It all comes down to capturing the emotion and passion that two people have for each other.”
Danielle and Casey define their style as classic and elegant mixed with edgy sophistication. “We try to capture the true feelings of our clients in an artistic way,” shares Danielle. They like to use unique angles and compositions to add interest to their photos. They also use post processing to highlight certain aspects of the photograph and incorporate a bit of vintage flavor. “We love to play around with different lighting techniques as well to create a dramatic feel in our images,” adds Danielle.
As a team, they recognize that music is a valuable source of inspiration for them. “Music,” says Casey, “provides us with a visual landscape that plays out while we work.” Not only do they draw inspiration from music, but from other photographers and cinematographers. “There are a lot of people pushing the limits with new concepts and ideas,” knows Danielle, “They inspire us to work even harder to make our own images stand out.”
The couple admires the work of many photographers, including (but not limited to) Kathy Carlisle and Shannon Sewell. “Kathy shot the photo of us,” says Danielle, “She is great at capturing people’s emotions and making her clients feel comfortable.” Another of Danielle and Casey’s favorites is Still Motion, a photography and cinematography company out of Canada.
For Danielle and Casey, the best cameras are the Vintage Polaroids. “It’s a shame that Polaroid stopped making the instant film that we love,” says Casey, “We appreciate the importance that a photo holds when it is truly a ‘one and only’.” The couple loves to shoot with their Polaroids. They own a Polaroid 195 Land Camera and the SX-70 Alpha 1, which have been electronically modified to use 600 and 779 film.
Their business name, MindCastle Studios, comes from the combination of two powerful words. The first word, ‘Mind,’ references the place where all ideas and creativity stem from. ‘Castle’ embodies a strong and beautiful relic that outlasts time. Together, they become a metaphor for a place where bold, beautiful, and timeless ideas are created.
MindCastle Studios is based in Washington State, which is where Danielle and Casey shoot most of their weddings. But the couple loves to travel, and is available for weddings anywhere in the U.S. as well as worldwide. “Traveling is very inspiring for us,” says Casey, “It offers an new in-depth perspective on how beautiful the world really is.”
Danielle and Casey have won awards for their photography, as well as their video projects. A few years ago, they won a $2500 prize from AVID for a 60 second film competition. This year they won an Award of Excellence in the WPPI album competition. “It was our first year entering, so we are both proud of the accomplishment,” says Danielle, “Next year, we’ll be entering more designs for sure!”
“We are looking forward to what the future has in store,” Casey says. As for the wedding industry as a whole, Danielle and Casey are excited about the growing networking potential, including the use of blogs. “Blogs are such an awesome way to learn about and be inspired by fellow photographers and videographers,” believes Danielle.
As for their own business, Danielle and Casey have a surplus of ideas. “We have stacks of notebooks with ideas and concepts for anything and everything,” shares Casey, “Its hard enough just getting them all out of our heads and onto paper, not to mention actually turning them into reality.”
One particular idea that is likely to come to fruition in the next couple months is a 1960s style photo shoot. “It involves a vintage theme park and retro style photos of couples,” explains Danielle. This is just one of their many plans for the future. To keep an eye on what MindCastle Studios is up to, you can visit their blog to see their latest initiatives.