Maine Wedding Photographer | Kate Crabtree Photography »

  • Kate Crabtree is an award winning Maine documentary wedding photographer who creates exuberant wedding photography for couples who wear their hearts on their sleeves. Although she is located in Bangor, Maine (central Maine), she happily travels to coastal and southern Maine, and throughout New England to capture unique wedding photos and engagement portraits. She has been featured on Style Me Pretty, recently named as one of the top 50 wedding photographers in the United States by Weddzilla, and published in Maine Magazine, Seacoast Weddings, and Real Maine Weddings.

In the photography industry, the focus always seems to be focused on more–  More makeup, more complicated poses, more details, and complicated editing processes.  While all of these things have their place in my business, I always find myself going back toward timeless, clean, and evocative photography that is beautiful.  And, by focusing on less and on simplifying the portraiture process, I really believe I’m creating stronger, more personal work that is true to who I am.

Kim, a lovely muse of mine, was open to shooting in the snow, so we trudged out to a nearby field to take some simple portraits.  Although it’s not the easiest conditions to model or pose in, lightly falling snow really enhances the mood of a photo and now I’m crossing my fingers for falling snow for all of my upcoming winter portraits!  I love pops of color against snow, and Kim’s red and mint blazers did not disappoint.

Here are a few of my favorite images from our time together.


(Photo of Tony and me by Steven Fairfield Photography)

Back in 2009, when I was engaged to my now husband, Tony, and planning our wedding, I knew, without a doubt, that I would keep my last name and remain a Wardwell.  Having been a women’s studies minor during my undergraduate and graduate years, it seemed obvious that I would follow my feminist leanings and not succumb to the patriarchal tradition of becoming my husband’s property.  All the proper feminists didn’t change their names, and as I was someone planning to continue in academia or higher education, I felt like I had to represent the feminist tradition.

At one point (or, let’s face it– several points) during the wedding planning process, I suggested to Tony that we should totally buck tradition (+1 feminist move!) and that he should change his last name to Wardwell.  “Tony,” I’d say, “it’s such a hardy name!  And it’s mine!  Don’t you want to share my last name?”

He’d look at me and say, “I want my last name.  I’m giving you the option to keep your last name, and I’d like to have the ability to choose.  I choose to keep my last name.”

I’d sigh, because he was right.  And it went on like this for most of the time prior to the wedding.

When friends and family would mention the fact that I would soon become Mrs. Crabtree, I’d correct them and tell them that I planned to keep my last name.  Surprisingly, I was met with a variety of different reactions.  Some gave me high fives, nodded, and others didn’t really react.  What thoroughly confused me were the people who seemed affected by the fact that I didn’t want to take Tony’s last name.  One person even suggested that my desire to keep my last name implied that I was looking for an easy way to divorce him in the future.

I wish I was kidding.

Even though my convictions were firm and my decisions theoretically sound, there was still a little nagging voice in my head that really, really, really wanted me to become a Crabtree.  It kept whispering that I’d be missing out on the female tradition if I didn’t adopt my husband’s name.  It would obnoxiously repeat the comments made by many of my friends and acquaintances– that Kate Crabtree was a sharp sounding name that sounded like the name of a handbag designer or a character in a classic British novel.  “C’mon, Kate,” the voice would trill into my ear, “why not?  Won’t it be kind of fun to see what life is like with a different name?”  The voice had a point.

I eventually realized I could have it both ways; I could keep my last name and adopt his as well, and by doing so I could make the independent side of me and the side of me that loved Tony happy.  I changed my middle name to Wardwell, and my last name to Crabtree.  Both families play a fundamental part of who I am, and so it seemed important that both be represented in my name.  I haven’t looked back since, and I’m glad I made the best choice for me.

For those of you who are married, or are engaged, or already know what you plan to do when you get married, tell me what your plans are in regards to your name and why you’ve made that specific choice!   Leave a comment and tell me your story!

  • heather - I didn’t change my name for until a year after we were married, and I wasn’t sure I was going to. I was certain I would remain with my maiden name despite being married. I liked my maiden name, it reflected my heritage but also my successes. Going to my husband name, I would entirely lose any French in my name and I wasn’t sold on it. So finally, after about a year of “not having time” to go to the social security office and all that jazz, I finally went during a lunch break and made the change. HOWEVER I kept my maiden name as part of it. I added it in as a middle name. I now have two middle names, and my husbands last name. I liked that all really important documents had to be signed with my full name. It’s long now – but it’s all me. Someday my kids will have my husbands last name, and I wanted to be part of that. I wanted to move out of the “I” society into the “us” society and this was my way of doing it without feeling like I was losing part of myself. :)ReplyCancel

  • Rachael - I can’t say that my motives for wanting to keep my maiden name were the same as yours, but the result was about the same. I actually now have 4 names, legally. Kept my first, middle, last and tacked on my husband’s name to-boot. I’m happy with it that way, I wanted to keep a part of who I was before him and accept who I am with him as well and I think keeping both names is very symbolic of that…ReplyCancel

  • josh - my brain sort of considers kate crabtree and kate wardwell to be two “different” people – pre and post tony. not that i really knew you well then or now, but if i think of college hijinks my brain remembers “wardwell”, and when i think of more picture orientated stuff, i think of “crabtree”.
    reading this makes me feel better that if i call or refer to you as “kate wardwell” youre not going to get all upset (in the way of those who were when you told them thinking of not changing to/exclusively changing to crabtree).ReplyCancel