Richard Photo Lab

5 Career-Defining Photos: Tamara Gruner

In every photographer's career, there are defining moments. The moments that inspire an evolution in their art. The moments that open new opportunities for their business. The moments that remind them of where they have been and where they are going.

In this blog series, Richard Photo Lab asks film photographers to share the stories behind five frames throughout their career that most embody these instances. Today, photographer Tamara Grüner talks fashion, features, and friendships during her eight years as a pro photog.

Lake Zurich Wedding, 2014

I started my photography career in 2013 and got extremely delighted when Sylvia and Dan approached me to document their wedding a year later. Sylvia is a photographer herself, and being hired by another photographer meant the world to me.

Sylvia and Dan got married at Lake Zurich in the Chicagoland area in 2014. Sylvia simply looked stunning in her gorgeous lace Berta wedding gown on her special day, a perfect combination of elegant and sexy. It was a dream come true to photograph such a beautiful bride with a love for fashion. On top of that, Sylvia and Dan’s wedding got published in the Knot Chicago print magazine. This was truly unbelievable for me since I was in business for only a short time then.

Her Berta wedding dress had the most views of any wedding dress photo from The Knot Real Weddings. I picked this image of Sylvia, where she had just gotten out of the church after saying ‘I do’ with her shining in her dress. It’s a very happy moment, indeed my favorite moment of a wedding day. And I was so excited to capture her just smiling at me out of happiness. These moments are the candid moments, which brings the wedding to life.

Provencal Wedding Table, 2015

This image shows a peek of a Provencal wedding table from above in the gardens of a very typical Provencal venue called Blanche Fleur in France. This image connects so many stories to each other.

First of all, how did this image evolve? This gorgeous table set up was created byStephanie Fayolle from WEP in Provence, a premier Provence planner in France, together with her talented florist Celine Bucchini from Flowers by Celine. I actually got to know Stephanie over Instagram thanks to Jose Villa. After visiting Jose Villa’s workshop in Mexico in November 2014 and posting the images I took there on Instagram, Stephanie started liking my images. Since she is based in France and I am originally from Germany, I thought it would be fun to work with Stephanie in Provence. I had never been in Provence and always loved going to France.

The following year in 2015, I finally went to Provence and together with Stephanie we created a styled shoot where I photographed this gorgeous table. Our shoot got picked up by Style Me Pretty and from there was re-posted in several more blogs. The highlight came for us when Vogue picked this particular image up! It was VOGUE!!!

Thanks to this image, I got hired by Addie Gundry for her wedding, who is a Food Network star. Her wedding took place in Scottsdale, Arizona and since she loves everything about food and tables she hired me seeing this particular shoot. On top of that, Addie’s wedding got picked up by Martha Stewart Weddings online. My first ever Martha wedding! WEP in Provence, Vogue, Food Network star, Martha Stewart Weddings—what more can you wish for thanks to one particular image?

Luxury Engagement Ring by Brian Gavin, 2016

This is one of my favorite ring detail shots to date. It was shot in 2015 during the boudoir session of Allan, owner from Belle Soul Weddings. Allan’s natural boudoir session in the wilderness of Marfa, Texas got picked up by Style Me Pretty. A funny side note, she was already pregnant then without any of us knowing.

It was an after-wedding boudoir session. Allan had prepared a lot of little beautiful details to make her boudoir session very special. And one of my favorite shots from this session was the luxury rose gold engagement ring from Brian Gavin on a pastel colored geode. It was posted by Style Me Pretty on Instagram and got 15K Likes. It was incredible that a simple ring image could have such a big impact on social media!

But this image also really shows my love for the little details. It’s all in the details in the end. My couples spend so much time and thought putting all their details for their special day together, which I so enjoy capturing for them. Shooting a wedding in an editorial way fulfills me, knowing that my couples will look back years later to relive their special day and enjoy their happy moments in a highly curated way.

David Bradley Lim Post-Wedding Shoot, 2019

David Bradley Lim, a main actor in the CBS series ‘S.W.A.T’, and his beautiful bride and model, Marketa, got to know each other during a modeling session for Macy’s years ago while David was still modeling. They got married in Prague in Czech Republic in May 2019.

They got their pictures taken everywhere except in Los Angeles, where both reside. So as an ‘after wedding’ session, a little yacht session in Santa Monica, California, was arranged for them by their California wedding planner, Isabelle Kline Design. Marketa was wearing a stunning designer dress from Naeem Khan, a beaded top with a playful tulle skirt. It was the perfect dress for Marketa & David’s after-wedding session on the beach.

Ziad Nakad Haute Couture Gown, 2019

From the Berta wedding gown to this, I am wrapping up my five images with my love for fashion. I was able to photograph this stunner of an haute couture gown of the Lebanese designer Ziad Nakad last year in France. Thanks to the hard work of our dream team consisting of Type A Society, WEP in Provence, Flowers by Celine, and Chateau Martinay we put this incredible shoot together. And it is really an illustration of how important relationships are.

I got to know Stephanie from WEP in Provence five and a half years ago—it all started with a beautiful Provencal table in a very simple backyard of a simple Provencal venue. And here we are years later at a stunning Provencal chateau with an incredible Provencal wedding planner and a very talented stylist, Carrie Moe from Type A Society, and THE most stunning haute couture gown I have seen for a while. It’s truly a dream come true shooting a gown from an incredible artist creating breathtaking pieces of art with his gowns.

Years of hard work, friendships, relationships, devotion, and passion are all paying out. And I am curious to see which door this image will open and where this new journey will take me.

Thank you for having me, Richard Photo Lab, and for all your hard work supporting me through my eight years in business.