Craig Spiering learned his craft during a four-year stint in
the Navy. He studied photography and photojournalism at the
Defense Information School at Fort Meade, Md., and spent his
military career photographing Navy operations around the
world - much of it on aircraft carriers. For his work, he
earned the Joint Services Achievement Medal in 2005 for
documenting the effects of Hurricane Katrina along the Gulf
He married his wife, Jamie, in 2005, and after he left the
Navy in 2006, the couple moved to Front Royal to what he said
is "an amazing Catholic community." He went to work in the IT
department at Christendom College.
With his strong photography background, friends would ask him
to shoot their weddings, and he would do it for free. Word of
mouth made him a popular photographer.
"They were very persistent, and I was going to the wedding
anyway," he said. "I thought I probably should start
For the past eight years, Spiering has been photographing
weddings, doing from 25 to 30 ceremonies a year. The weekend
wedding schedule allows him to continue his day job while
keeping his evenings free to spend with his wife and their
Spiering specializes in Catholic weddings. He said that since
he knows the mechanics of the Mass, it's easier for him to
position himself to get a great shot without disrupting the
Of the more than 185 weddings he has photographed, at least
30 have been of the extraordinary form of the Roman Rite.
Spiering said the challenges of photographing a wedding in
the extraordinary form are similar to the challenges in the
ordinary rite, but there is less freedom in the sanctuary.
For one thing, in the extraordinary form, all the readings
are done by the priest, so there's no opportunity to get a
picture of a friend or family member at the lectern.
Spiering is a one-man shop, only contracting out for an extra
photographer if the wedding couple insists on having multiple
shots taken from different angles.
"I prefer to work alone. It leaves a smaller footprint," he
Although primarily a wedding photographer, he occasionally
branches out. In 2014, he photographed
an ordination of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter at St.
John the Apostle Church in Leesburg. He also has
photographed the first Mass of newly ordained diocesan
priests, including Father Noah Morey at St. John the Apostle.
But weddings are still dear to his heart.
"I love photographing Catholic weddings, because, as a
Catholic, I know that I am witnessing a beautiful sacrament
in the house of Our Lord," he said.
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