This post is all about my journey on how I became a wedding photographer. Growing up, I was always the family member carrying around one of those tiny digital cameras. You know the first ones that were released after Kodak disposable cameras? That one! I just loved taking pictures! I loved looking at them, looking through old photo albums, watching home videos, etc. I think I’m just a very nostalgic person. There is something special to me about reminiscing about the past. I love looking back through the memories that shaped our childhood and our parents childhood.
After graduating high school, I received my first DSLR camera. At this point, I think I only took pictures of flowers, sunsets, landscapes and my dog. Ha! You know, typical beginner status photography. It wasn’t until I graduated college, married my best friend and moved halfway across the country to Texas with Vic until things became more serious. All of those things happened within one year and I felt like my life was turned upside down. I was in a state that felt so foreign to me and I didn’t know a single person other than my husband and in-laws. Vic would ask me, “ So what do you want to do? Where are you going to apply for jobs? “ And I didn’t know! I graduated from UCONN with a Business Degree and had no idea what I wanted to do with it. Again, Vic would ask me, “ Well, what are you passionate about? What brings you joy?” My answer was photography!
At that point, I had never even photographed a person before! So I made it my mission to just start taking portraits of everyone! I asked a friend at our new church if I could set up a session with her and I’ll never forget it. Her name was Janna! She was the first person I ever took photos of and I had so much to learn! During the session, I was wondering why some of my photos looked SO BRIGHT. I quickly learned that meant overexposure! The word spread and I started photographing more sessions. Everything from maternity, family sessions, and senior portraits.
But my heart and gut kept leaning towards wedding photography. I couldn’t get our own wedding experience out of my head. Our wedding was a complete disaster (logistically speaking.) We personally had the best time because it was still our day! I knew nothing about weddings and was trying to plan my own. We didn’t have a wedding planner and we hired a “budget friendly photographer.” Big mistake! I hired someone who’s photos online looked decent. After booking, I found out that someone else was contracted to photograph our wedding. I looked him up and immediately started crying. The photos looked like something my Mom could have taken on her point and shoot camera. So we went into our wedding day already knowing we would be disappointed with our pictures. How awful is that!? Other things that topped off our day included: RAIN, moving our ceremony from outdoors to indoors, no wedding planner, the whole day running 30 minutes late, which then caused photos to be delayed, no timeline or rain plan in place, taking family portraits while the sun was setting, which later caused our bride and groom portraits to be taken in the complete dark with flash! I think we had a total of 5 photos taken of us that day. Oh what I would have done differently if I were that photographer! Below are a few photos from our actual wedding day.
I decided I wanted to become a wedding photographer based on my own personal experience. I never wanted a bride to go through something similar to what I experienced. So I took class after class online learning everything I could about wedding photography. I will never forget discovering Jasmine Star. I wish I could get the chance to thank her one day in person. At that time, she was solely a wedding photographer and had a free 30 Day Wedding Bootcamp course that I registered for. After taking that course, I felt so confident and ready to photograph a wedding of my own!
After living in Texas for about a year, we were in the middle of another move. This time, it was to Raleigh, North Carolina. My husband accepted a new job in September of 2015, which brought us to where we are today. Again, I knew absolutely no one other than my husband and our new handful of friends from our church. But I was desperate to get into weddings! I asked everyone and anyone if they had friends getting married. I had an idea to offer free bridal portrait sessions. I eventually found someone to take bridal portraits for and it quickly became my most favorite session I had done. Something about photographing a bride in a wedding dress sparked so much joy for me.
It was Halloween day of 2015 and I remember praying over my business that morning. I asked God to show up and point me in the right direction. (Whatever that looks like!)
Later that afternoon, I received a phone call that changed everything! Remember that free bridal portrait session I offered? Well it happened to be that particular bride’s wedding and her wedding photographer was no longer able to photograph her wedding! So guess who stepped in? My husband and I packed up all of my gear and drove an hour away to shoot this wedding! I was the lead and he was my second shooter. Up until this point, I had never photographed or assisted in a wedding shoot. Oddly enough, I had this confidence that I knew exactly what to do. I wasn’t even the slightest bit nervous. ( Thank you Jasmine Star!) I was SO incredibly grateful for this opportunity! I couldn’t imagine being on the opposite end and having my photographer bail on my wedding day! I know the bride was super appreciative that I was able to step in and “save the day.” I was so giddy and full of excitement that whole day. During the reception, I remember going over to Vic and telling him with a big smile on my face that this is what I was MEANT to do! I just knew it in my soul! From there , the rest was kind of history!
That ONE wedding led to so many more! I started second shooting more, took more classes and educational courses. I never stopped learning and growing. I literally turned nothing into something and I couldn’t be more proud of this business of mine. What started as a prayer and passion has now turned into the business it is today.
I’m thankful for my own wedding experience and husband who encouraged me to take that leap of faith. Granted, I didn’t have the best experience, but I’m thankful for a faithful God who can turn anything around into something good. I’m thankful that I was able to be a bride before becoming a photographer. I now look at weddings through the eyes of a bride first. I literally cannot be more passionate about what I do. I believe I have one of the best jobs in the world and I hope that shows through my work!
And if you’re concerned how our wedding photos turned out, don’t worry! We actually re-did our photos a year later in our wedding attire. Because I couldn’t fathom being a wedding photographer who hates her own wedding photos! (Thanks to Amber from Six Foot Photography)
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for reading! And thank you for coming along side my business and supporting me along the way! Here’s to many more years of creating beautiful and timeless images.