Over her seven years as a professional photographer, Morgan Olsen of In Frames Photography has curated a brand she describes as “gritty elegance.” Both authentic and artistic, her work with couples and families showcase every aspect of human connection. Whether she’s jet setting across the globe to shoot her dream wedding in Africa or navigating the robust wedding season in the states, Olsen brings a sense of warmth and inspiration to every project.
To celebrate her place in the wedding industry, we chatted with Morgan about her affinity for unorthodox ceremonies, future projects, and thoughts on the rapidly changing wedding industry.
UBG: Tell us about how you got started in photography. What sparked your passion?
Photography has been a part of my life forever. My grandfather lived in Alaska, where he was a truck driver for the longest time, and he would practice film photography. I was always just so intrigued with the process and as I grew up it became a hobby of mine.
Although I was always interested in photography, I never saw it as my potential career—it was always just something I liked to do. When I went to college at the University of Utah I was on a full-ride scholarship studying molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in pre-med. I learned pretty quickly that was not what I wanted to do at all, and I started to become disillusioned with the concept of school in general.
Once I left school I started taking photos of family members and friends, just anything to build my portfolio. I found the Utah community of photographers pretty early on and became close with one girl that I really looked up to professionally. She offered me her mentorship and from there my career took off. That was seven years ago, and I’m still going strong.
UBG: You work in many different fields: weddings, portraits, maternity, fashion and editorial. What is the full range of projects you work on?
I really do anything that fills my cup creatively. I started a lot in fashion doing portrait work of models and the like. But over the years I really started to love capturing human connection. I love shooting families so much and it’s become a really big part of my business. I also do elopements, weddings and micro-weddings all over the world. I’ve also shot live births in the past, which is the most raw and real emotional experience.
UBG: A lot of your styled shoots are more playful and intentionally themed. Is that what you lean towards in terms of creativity?
I definitely lean toward really untraditional, unorthodox things. I like concepts that feel different and look different. I think of my work as electric and I love gritty elegance—which is how I describe my brand.
I think there are so many couples who feel like they want to do something different but are scared because the industry has defined weddings as one thing for so long. I want to be that person who’s like, “Do it. Be crazy and celebrate every type of relationship!”
UBG: Is there one ceremony, couple or project that stands out to you in terms of shooting something untraditional?
This one couple that got married in California had such a beautiful ceremony and they involved everyone that attended. They had a crystal table at the entrance to their wedding, and they asked everyone to take one that called them. During the ceremony, everyone put love and wishes into them and then brought them up to the bride and groom. It was really beautiful and I love ceremonies that involve other people.
UBG: This year is just the beginning of what’s sure to be a wedding boom. What has been your experience navigating the 2021 wedding season?
Navigating or putting duct tape on a sinking ship? [Laughs]. This year has definitely been different, and it’s going to be different from here on out. Coming out of a year where everything was stagnant into a season that is double what we expected has been a challenge. But when things get hard I just repeat to myself my main goal: to serve my clients to the best of my ability. Thank goodness all of my couples have been so patient, understanding and empathetic with the fact that we are all trying to figure out an entirely new system.
UBG: Do you have a dream venue to shoot for a wedding?
My dream location is to shoot in Kenya, Africa. I’ve been manifesting it for years and I think it’s finally happening next year. I love going anywhere new and being able to immerse myself in the culture. I try to let everything happen how it’s supposed to and not overthink anything.
UBG: Do you have any upcoming projects or shoots that you can share with us?
I am launching the next step in my brand which is family workshops. I’ve also got a lot of conceptional family shoots and Halloween concepts coming. Of course there are still so many weddings left in the year, and I have a big beautiful New Year’s Eve wedding that will be quite glamorous.
UBG: You recently got engaged as well. Any plans for your big day?
It’s been kind of crazy and we’ve had to reschedule twice, but I think everything is working out the way it’s supposed to. I have an amazing vendors team and Belle Bodas are my incredible planners. It’s all happening next October so we’ve got some time to make everything perfect.
UBG: What is one piece of advice you would offer an engaged couple?
The biggest piece of advice I could give any couple is this: it’s your wedding day. Do exactly what you want, whether that’s a nontraditional ceremony or a short wedding gown. What matters at the end of the day is the two of you making a promise to one another, so make sure it is everything you want.
Find more photographers in our Behind the Lens series here.