Miranda Lambert and Blake Shelton. Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes. Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. No, this isn’t a list of Oscar invitees, but it is a few of Robert Evans’ past clients. The celebrity wedding photographer whose client list includes more A-listers than the cover of Vogue recently moved from Los Angeles to Minnesota in search of a more laid-back lifestyle and room for his family to grow. Luckily, he brought his camera—and years of photography experience—with him to launch Robert Evans Imagery (REI), a one-stop wedding shop and studio in Wayzata with local Watermark Stationery and Kismet Event Group.
Evans started taking pictures around age 14 when a junior high teacher “set the hook” for his love of the camera. He later got a position in a color lab, but that wasn’t for him. “I learned I didn’t want to process and print other people’s work,” he recalls. “I wanted to shoot my own.” He had three studio jobs before shooting his first wedding in 1989 and opening his first studio in 1994.
“Photography was boring,” says Evans about the contemporary scene. “But around that time, wedding photography was becoming more like art.” He was—and is—on the cutting edge of imaginative and creative wedding photography.
It’s his artful approach that got Evans noticed in the photography world—he’s one of just eight official Sony Artisans of Imagery—and the celebrity world, too. “I didn’t choose the celebrity wedding thing; it chose me,” says Evans. “I like having a personal connection with my clients, and it’s hard to maintain that after a celebrity wedding.”
Evans says that one of his favorite parts of shooting weddings is simply getting to “hang out in the back with the bride and her dad. The last 20 minutes before she walks down the aisle—that’s where the moments happen. It’s part of the story, the emotion.”
While he’s launching the new arm of his business, Evans lives in Chanhassen—“not on the lake, yet,” he says—and is loving the seasons and life in Minnesota. He and his wife and three kids chose to relocate here because of the relaxed vibe, relatively affordable living and—yes—ample lakes. His grandparents had a lake home in Indiana growing up, and it sparked an obsession with the water. “If I could shoot just lake weddings every day, I’d be happy,” he says.
The Concept Store
To help local couples streamline the wedding-planning process, Evans has teamed up with Wayzata’s Nate and Beth Anderson. Nate Anderson is a wedding photographer and videographer, and a photojournalist for KARE-11. Beth is a wedding planner. They’ve merged their passions and experience to bring a new flavor and artistic edge to the Twin Cities wedding scene.
Nate Anderson, who stockpiled Time and National Geographic magazines as a kid, began his career at 18, pitching himself to news studios and getting a weekend position as a photographer. “My whole photography career has been because of the people at KARE. They took me in as a teenage kid and let me work with some of the best photographers in the country. I had great on-the-job training,” he says.
Anderson’s ability to make quick decisions and capture fleeting moments, carried over from his photojournalism experience, is what makes him a logical local resource to partner with Evans. While Anderson knows that weddings are nothing like what he usually covers, he says, “What’s great is that [couples] are excited to have you tell their story, and they’re pumped up about it.”
When Evans initially reached out to Anderson about a partnership, Anderson admits that a quick Google search was in order. When big-name celebs starting popping up, he made some assumptions about the kind of guy he’d be meeting with. Says Anderson, “I was expecting tight leather pants and shades, but he couldn’t be farther from that! He’s really laid-back and accessible.”
So how did the two photographers decide to go into business together? “It sort of just happened,” says Anderson. “The timing felt right. We just looked at each other and said ‘Let’s do this!’” Evans’ fresh eye and Anderson’s knowledge of the Twin Cities and expertise with video have given REI a unique edge in the Minnesota market, able to capture weddings through both stills and video.
To provide that one-stop wedding shop and employ Beth Anderson’s talents, REI shares space on Lake Street with Kismet Event Group and Watermark Stationery, which Nate and Beth purchased in 2014. Beth, who’s entering her fifth wedding season for Kismet, says, “We’re really able to give clients a holistic meeting.” The new concept is part pretty—with wall-to-wall flowers and invites and lace—and part practical. Vendors rent “docks” where they can showcase trends, up-and-coming products and the latest in wedding looks.
“Wedding planning is stressful. We really want to make it easy,” says Beth. “We want people to feel like they can ask their questions and leave feeling knowledgeable.”
+ Pro Tip for Brides
You could spend one day in the studio and leave with your wedding well on its way to reality. It’s like a real-life Pinterest board, with experts in the wings to help you make your wedding dreams come to life. “People leave a little bit overwhelmed—but hopefully inspired, too,” says Beth Anderson of Kismet and Watermark. She consults with couples on the overall feel and aesthetic, and then brings in Robert Evans and her husband Nate to help pull it off.
Watermark Stationery sets up design “docks” featuring the latest trends to help inspire couples planning their special day.
+ Know a high school senior?
Robert Evans Imagery gives 10 percent of every senior portrait sitting fee to the student’s program of choice at the school. Your student will get beautiful photos and support a favorite sports team or club. Package info and pricing can be found on the website.