Natural, aesthetic, candid, emotional, authentic.
These are the words Anne-Catrin Wahl uses to describe her unique style of photography.
After moving from her hometown of Black Forest in Germany to the United States at the end of May, Wahl plans to now bring her passion for capturing life’s most precious moments to her new home in Windermere.
Although Wahl only started to capture pictures for friends as a hobby about eight years ago, she said photography now has become one of the most important aspects of her life.
“From the very first moment I took a photo, I thought about how it is such an honor to capture special moments in history for people for eternity,” she said. “That’s still the feeling I have — and I always will.”
Wahl has photographed about 15 weddings a year in the past few years, and many more family, baby and business photo sessions across Germany.
Although Wahl said she does not consider herself a technical expert, her passion is for the visually beautiful things in life, which she believes makes the difference.
Wahl enjoys being with her clients and bringing their love and emotions out in pictures.
“The moments where they didn’t expect that there’s a picture,” she said. “When the grandma is sitting during the ceremony and trying to wipe her tears away or something like that. The little moments that not everyone sees.”
Wahl’s photography is naturally styled and boho, currently a hot trend in Europe. She loves the traveling photography provides and enjoys learning about the people, culture, fashion, food and style in different parts of the world.
Her favorite adventures have included Marrakesh in Morocco and Dubai, where one of her kindergarten friends used to live and she first visited when she was 15 years old.
Her favorite sessions included a trip to Paris at the top of the stairs in front of Jardins du Trocadero, in front of the Eiffel tower and the other in the desert of Abu Dhabi with a herd of camels.
“When I send them the pictures, to see the emotion on their face, I realized I was able to create something that they will show their children and their children’s children for many years to come,” Wahl said. “That’s just an honor. Nothing in my other jobs compares to this feeling. To realize that I helped to capture this memory for them — I just feel so blessed to do that.”
Wahl’s earliest memory with a camera and photography was when she was only a child.
She always had a passion for design and images, finding the beauty in imperfections.
Wahl had her first opportunity to exemplify her skills after she attended university and earned a six-month internship in New York City where she worked for the German ELLE magazine.
Wahl moved on to becoming a TV show producer in Germany, where she led award shows. But after having her first daughter, Frieda, Wahl was unable to continue in her job, because of the amount of traveling it required. Wahl then pursued a career in one of Germany’s leading publishing houses where she was responsible for cooperation to other companies.
After becoming a mother to another beautiful baby girl, Lotti, Wahl unexpectedly discovered her newest passion — photography.
“I feel so lucky to have had the opportunities I did, and I loved doing the publishing company, but I just felt like something was missing,” she said.
When a friend asked her to take some photos, she couldn’t say no. She shot the wedding session pro bono as an experiment but then used the pictures to build her brand online.
Another family asked, and then another, and the photographer said she decided to reduce her hours at the publishing house from 80%, to 50% the next year, 30%, and then finally making the decision to quit and embark on a new journey.
She said the decision was not easy. She was established and successful at the publishing house, but her love for photography was undeniable.
Wahl shot different shoots for restaurants and hotels, and enjoyed it, but realized her heart was with families and weddings.
Then in November 2021, the Wahl family was hit with a dramatic surprise.
Jakob, Wahl’s husband, who works for the International Association of Amusement Park and Attractions, received an unexpected promotion.
Jakob served as the vice president and executive director of IAAPA for Europe, Middle East and Africa, but was promoted as executive vice president and chief operating officer, with the headquarters being in Orlando.
The Wahls quickly traveled to the U.S. with their daughters in the last week of December 2021. They looked for houses, schools, got a feel of the area and fell in love with their Windermere house immediately.
The Wahl family currently is getting situated in the town of Windermere.
So far, Wahl said the two biggest things she misses from Germany are the bread and fresh water.
Although Wahl said she thought the transition would be more difficult, the family loves their new community.
“Everyone is so welcoming and friendly, and we are so happy to have landed in Windermere,” Wahl said. “The girls started at summer camp this summer to learn English and get acclimated, and they both came home with the biggest smiles after their first day of school at Windermere Preparatory School and Thornebrooke Elementary.”
Now that the family is settled, Wahl is excited to restart her business — even if it is from scratch.
She said her husband has been amazing in supporting her photography dreams and always has believed in her. Although she worried about the publishing-to-photography transition, Jakob encouraged her, bought her her first real camera and told her to reach for her dreams.
In addition to spending time with her family, Wahl loves interior design and cooking international foods.
As far as her future hopes and goals, Wahl hopes to build a small business in Windermere and contribute her unique skills to the community.
The photographer recently finished translating her entire website from German to English and is now starting with a small Instagram and Facebook campaign.
“I can’t help but feel a bit worried my style of photography will not be accepted here and I don’t want to change it too much because it’s a part of me, but my hope is it will work out in a way where people can understand it,” Wahl said. “I’m so looking forward to capturing these special moments for families here.”