Many words have been used to describe Lake Tahoe Photographer Emma Paul. An amazing person to be around, warm, professional, and born to photograph couples are some words that come to mind. And we can totally see why she’s so loved by everyone who crosses her path! She perfectly captures each couple’s love story with a firm belief in genuine connections and life’s little moments. Think stolen kisses on the cheek, booty grabs, and silly inside jokes. “These are the little moments that matter the most – the real, raw, messy, and beautiful. My couples are more like family than clients, and connecting on a deeper level is what allows me to tell their story wholeheartedly,” she explains. In this post, we get a behind-the-scenes look at the talent behind the lens and why Lake Tahoe will always have her heart!
What brings you the greatest joy in your life?
My family (pups + cat included) and my friends. Just the really amazing solid good humans I have in my life and how we all support and build each other up. I love to build others up, but I also enjoy words of encouragement, so having a nice balance with my core humans is amazing.
What brought you to Tahoe?
My parents actually grew up in South Lake Tahoe, so it has always been a special place for my family. We would spend every weekend up there, whether on the beach or hiking in the summer, skiing or sledding in the winter. Holidays at my grandparents’ house up there. I have so many fond childhood memories. We live in Reno, about an hour away, but Tahoe always has and will have my heart.
What is a must-see hidden gem in Lake Tahoe?
This one is a little tough because I like to keep my hidden gems a secret so they don’t become too overrun.
Describe Lake Tahoe to someone that has never been here.
Dreamy, magical, rugged, natural, fresh, invigorating. One of the greatest feelings in the world is driving over the summit and seeing the lake for the first time. Every time I drive up to Tahoe, it feels like a new experience. With the weather and seasons constantly changing, the beauty is always evolving and is rarely the same from one month to the next.
Tahoe lifestyle: winter or summer?
Both! I prefer warm weather over cold always, but I looooove Tahoe in the summer, and I ski in the winter. So definitely both.
What inspires your work?
Film, acoustic music, people watching, deep, meaningful connections, spontaneity.
What is a fun fact about your company?
All I can think of at the moment is that I inspired my husband to start his own wedding videography business. So we run separate businesses, but we often work together now. It is the best thing in the whole world working together and serving our couples.
What is the career highlight you are most proud of?
Teaching a photography workshop with my best friend in October 2020 and watching each person who attended flourish and grow into amazing photographers/business owners. Also, as cheesy as it sounds, I am just so honored every time a couple hires me that booking every wedding is a huge highlight.
What is your go-to conversation starter with a potential client?
I am trying to avoid typical small talk. Of course, dogs are always the best/easiest conversation starter since they are my favorite thing about this world. But truly, I just try to avoid the typical obvious small talk questions about work and weather.
How would you describe the perfect day in Lake Tahoe?
Early morning, just after the sun comes up, a sky full of color and the lake peaceful/still/glassy. There is a slight chill outside, but the sun is starting to warm the air.
What are you most proud of?
The life I currently have. I always dreamed of being a business owner, doing something creative with my life, and doing it all with amazing people around me. I can truly say that is exactly where I am in life, and I feel very proud of it. I have never been a person who obsesses over material objects or fancy things. My most important thing has always been how experiences FEEL, and I build my life around that.
Who inspires you the most?
Love. Truly, I always say that I love love. Whether it’s the love between my couples, the love we have for our pets, the love a parent has for their child. Just experiencing and observing unconditional love in any form is my absolute inspiration.
What is your life motto?
Take each day, stay positive, be kind, and know that your track record for making it through hard times is 100%.
What was the most recent thing that made you laugh?
My animals! Patsy running around crazy in the yard and looking like a gazelle while she jumps for her ball.
What’s the most useless talent you have?
Honestly, playing the flute. It is an amazing talent to play an instrument and was actually my major in college with photography as my minor. But since I don’t play in an orchestra anymore and it isn’t what I do for work, it feels somewhat useless other than just being a pretty relaxing sound when I play every so often.
What is the closest thing to real magic?
Self-confidence. Truly, the type of confidence and love for yourself that makes every possibility endless.
What was your go-to activity during quarantine?
Home projects! We just bought a home in Reno in February of 2020, right before the pandemic, and redid the entire inside during the shutdown.
What kind of wedding guest are you?
The kind that drinks champagne eats two pieces of cake and dances to every rap or hip-hop song.
Any song you can add to our brides’ and grooms’ budding wedding playlist?
Anything rap or Hip Hop from the early 2000s!
Working in the wedding industry is not for the faint of heart. So how do you rest and rejuvenate?
Agreed! It can definitely be exhausting and overwhelming. However, my favorite way to rest is just at home with my husband and dogs. I also love going for hikes/walks and always feel very refreshed after a nice day out in nature.
What is something people might not know about you?
I’m a pretty honest, open book! But people usually see me and see that I am an outgoing, positive, happy person, and they think that is me 100% of the time. But it actually takes me a bit to warm up and feel comfortable and 100% myself around people. So when I am photographing my couples, it takes me a little bit at the beginning to open up just like it takes them to. Which honestly is kind of a nice balance because it helps me not come on too strong at first and just let my shoots flow very naturally and comfortably.
Any four-legged friends in your home?
YES!!! A tiny 6-pound pomeranian papillon named Willie Nelson, a wild, crazy Brittney Spaniel puppy named Patsy, and a sassy kitty named Zooey.
If you love Emma Paul’s work as much as we do, we suggest checking out our listing on our Vendor Guide!
Emma Paul Photography / Valhalla Tahoe / Ali Boundy / Wild Rose Floral / Mountain Vibes Rentals / Wild Rose Floral / Wild Rose Floral / Dare to Dream Events / Hyatt Regency Lake Tahoe / Twine Floral Co / Taylor Kern / Wild Rose Floral / Box of Love Reno / The Garden of Reno / Tannenbaum