We are a husband and wife team (Hannah & Joel) who started North State Photography shortly after we got married. We were both photographers prior to North State, and our first date was dinner and taking nighttime photos of Uptown Charlotte. We love adventure and having fun! In 2020 we also added videography services to our brand, and we are excited to see that grow in 2022.
Serving All of North Carolina
I’ve always loved photography! When I was 4 I received my first camera – it was a pink barbie film camera (hello 90’s babies). When I graduated from High School all of my graduation money went into buying an entry-level DSLR camera and one decent-ish lens – I spent many years volunteering photography services for non-profits before starting a small portrait business which I toyed with for a few years. When Joel and I reconnected, our first ‘date’ was nighttime street photography in Charlotte! Joel had stumbled into photography which combined his love for tech (his full-time job is in IT) and his passion for creativity. North State Photography was formed shortly after we got married and this year marks 5 years of marriage and North State! Our brand had evolved from the sappy ‘soul mates capturing soul mates’ to more fun and slightly more rebellious brand for the playful and madly in love!
Continuing to grow into a more inclusive brand is super important to us! I (Hannah) Volunteer with The Trevor Project and both Joel + I volunteer with local LGBTQIA+ youth in CLT.
Stewardship is important to us, not only when it comes to Leave No Trace but also for providing education and resources on Ancestral Lands and their People. I (Hannah) come from Native ancestry and a true love for nature is important to me! I believe in having a true love for the land, and that it isn’t just a resource & commodity for our business and elopements. We are looking to incorporate giving into our business by supporting Native Women’s Wilderness in 2022-2023.
Now, let’s chat about fun! We love trying new things – our belated Christmas gift this year (we’ve been waiting on warmer weather) is a helicopter ride/tour of Charlotte. We also keep season passes at Carowinds, so you can find us there on late summer nights! Joel enjoys Tennis and I am more of a beach volleyball person, we also enjoy being on the water or at the pool any chance that we get.
Our favorite thing about being a vendor is celebrating with our couples! I love how unique each wedding/elopement is, and seeing a creative vision come to life is the best! Joel & I have also made some incredible vendor friends, so getting to spend the weekend with people we enjoy is always a great time.
A: Hannah Watanabe, Owner + Primary Photographer
Q: What’s a fun fact about yourself?
A: I’ve lived in NC, SC, GA, and FL!
Q: What is your favorite thing about elopements?
A: The fun! And how customizable they are. We love to adventure and a unique celebration!
Q: Tell us about your favorite elopement!
A: We had an a rooftop / mountain side elopement that took place in two States (we drove through 3) in one day. It was a cold January day, but an absolute blast!
Q: Is there a wedding detail on your bucket list?
A: 1) Photographing an elopement at Perry Lane Hotel in Savannah, Ga. is at the top of the list! 2) Instead of a garter/bouquet toss I want a couple to throw a stuffed animal and the person who catches it is the next to adopt a pet! (it’s gender neutral, and a whole lot of fun)
“North State did everything I asked for and SO MUCH MORE!!! They were adventurous and willing to make my photo dreams come true!!! I am sooo thankful I picked them for our moving pictures!!!”