People often ask me why I wanted to be a photographer, and more importantly, why did I choose weddings? While it’s true that I love being a photographer in general, it’s first and foremost an art form, and I’m a firm believer that artists create what makes their come alive. Just as writers should write what they know, artists create what they feel.
Growing up, I was an artist with a pencil and a paintbrush, so being creative was definitely something I wanted to do for a career. The older I got, the more and more interested in photography I became. In high school, it wasn’t a Friday or Saturday night (or random Tuesday) if we didn’t have a few disposable cameras in tow to whatever adventure awaited us (and now I’m showing my age 🙂 ). It was such a thrill running to the local Walmart the next day to see what was on our cameras and relive the fun from the weekend (or again, random Tuesday). While it’s not the traditional “I learned to develop film way back when and spent my days taking creative photographs on film and developing them in my lab at home” type of story, it’s still my story, and I loved taking photographs just the same. I still keep that box of old photographs, memories frozen in time with my very best friends to look at every now and then.
Did I ever plan on making a career out of it? The answer is a very simply honest “no”. It was a complete surprise. I have a degree in Graphic Design and have always loved designing and playing around in Photoshop, but I got married to my best friend, Jason, 7 years ago and that same year decided photography was the career for me. I’ll never forget sitting in the cabin on our cruise ship on our honeymoon and looking through our sneak peak on our photographer’s blog and just falling in love with my husband all over again. Yes, we had a fantastic photographer and our photos were gorgeous, but the emotional aspect of it gave me so much more than just pretty photos. It brought me back to that same feeling I got as a kid…the anticipation of waiting for my photos to develop and reliving memories. It gave me something no one else could: my wedding day in the prettiest, tangible form. If you think about it, photographs are the only thing that exists that are your memories come to life. I loved my wedding photos so much that I wanted to make other people feel that way too.
When I do something, I’m an all-or-nothing kind of girl…I wanted to go full force at a million miles per hour. Probably not the best policy for everyone, but it’s always been the way I’m wired. I sat down with my husband and discussed whether it was even possible financially to quit the job I was at and start a business from scratch that I basically knew nothing about. That man has always been my biggest cheerleader and supporter and I don’t know if my business would be quite the same without him. It was going to be tough, but we decided to go for it. I quit my job that week, had a yard sale, and bought my first “pro” camera with the money I made. Let me tell you right now, I. Was. Terrified. What if I didn’t do well? What if no one ever wanted me to take their pictures? What if I completely failed and let my family down? What if the creativity I felt was just all in my head and didn’t actually come out in photos? My only option was to hit the ground running and just completely immerse myself in all things photography. I read and reread my camera manual, carried that little camera around with me everywhere, shooting everything, watched tutorials, read books, and even constantly picked the brain of my own wedding photographer (Bless her sweet heart…she’s one of my closest friends now, but was probably incredibly annoyed with me back then 🙂 )
I tried a little bit of every genre of photography back then, but kept coming back to weddings. I have a family and love kids, but I identified with weddings so much more in an artistic, soul fulfilling kind of way. I love watching couples on their first day as husband and wife. It’s the happiest day of their life so far and I get to be there to witness it. I’m creating their very first family heirloom. Some little girl in the not-so-distant future will be flipping through her grandparent’s wedding album, full of photos that I took, dreaming about her own wedding. What’s not to love about that?! I’m a hopeless romantic and more often than not cry at least one time on any given wedding day. A few years into my business, I made the very easy decision to narrow my speciality to weddings and never looked back. Seven years later, I’m slowly branching out into boutique newborn photography, but that’s a work in progress.
To all the creatives out there, take the time to do what makes your soul happy. It’s always worth it. “Practice any art … to experience becoming, to find out what’s inside you, to make your soul grow” -Kurt Vonnegut