I’m Carl Petersen, an award-winning photographer and filmmaker in the Tacoma-Seattle area. I specialize in weddings and a variety of other things.
How Did you Get Into Photography?
After graduating from Pacific Lutheran University in 2004, I moved down to Los Angeles to pursue a glamorous career in acting. I landed some small roles on television and independent film, but nothing to brag about. Honestly, I did a lot more waiting on famous people than I did sharing the big screen with them. I was getting frustrated with only getting a couple of good auditions a year, so I bought myself a camera, got more serious about writing, and started making short films. My last short film, “All the Marbles” did quite well. It screened in 9 countries including Cannes Film Festival twice, won 8 major awards, and qualified for an Oscar at the 2018 Academy Awards.
Shortly after I bought my first camera, actor friends started asking me for headshots. I started getting better and discovered I really liked working behind the camera. I photographed events, families, and then one day a friend asked if I could shoot his wedding. I said yes, and discovered I was actually really good at it. I then started reaching out to the top photographers in Los Angeles, the big shots, to see if I could work for them. I was lucky enough to get in with two of them that brought me a lot of work and I learned a ton. I covered high-profile weddings, private events on Rodeo Drive, and New Year’s Eve parties at MGM Grant and Mandalay Bay in Las Vegas.
My experience directing and producing has greatly shaped the way I shoot and work with clients. I like to give direction and show couples what I’m looking for and then let them make it their own. That’s where the magic happens.
Me. Me. Me.
I like movement, and incorporating movement in my images. I think good pictures have movement, and great pictures have the ability to move you. They should make you feel something. Photos should make you happy. They should be natural, spontaneous… and even though I pose people, they shouldn’t look posed. They shouldn’t be static. They should have life.
One of the most important things to me is that my clients and their friends and family are enjoying themselves, and that the photography is a highlight experience in and of itself. I want you to feel at ease, and know that you are in capable hands. I think that great wedding photography shows authentic, creative, and technically masterful coverage of the day that feels involved and engaged rather than from the perspective of an onlooker.
All of this ties into the way that I work and why I want to meet with every single couple before they book with me and making sure they feel that I’m the right fit for them, and why doing an engagement session is so important to me and is so much more than just putting a couple in front of a pretty backdrop. Everything I do is to build trust, comfort, rapport, and ultimately a relationship that with many of my couples means I have documented everything from their surprise proposal down to family photos with their third child.
When I’m not shooting for clients, I’m shooting out on the trail. Hiking and backcountry camping experiences make up many of my favorite moments. Every year I try to carve out at least a week or two during my busiest summer months to get out on the trail and explore our incredible landscape since I love the summertime so much. I don’t have a ton of natural insulation so I can’t get enough of the summer
Thanks for taking the time to read, I would love the opportunity to meet with you and find out more about you as a couple.