Everyone who knows this journey and myself knows that I was very against weddings in the beginning. Now that I am half booked with weddings, I want to answer some questions I get from people about why I made the switch. Spoiler alert, its not because I had been a victim of body snatching, this is really still me and I really do love weddings now. Today I talk about why I didn’t want to do weddings and why I changed my mind. Like every good story, the journey is the most important and mine starts about a year and a half ago.
Taking on my first client really wasn’t up to me. My dad sort of ambushed me with someone who wanted me to photograph a senior and out of panic I agreed and said yes. That first client made me just over 20$. No that isn’t a typo, my beginnings really were THAT humble. I wasn’t going to keep taking photos, really I wasn’t. I wanted to continue with school, and at the time go to law school, like I had planned since I was very little. I thought this is a one-time thing, I will post the photos (hopefully avoid public humiliation) and go about my life hoping that I can afford text books and how many cats I can collect before it becomes sad. I didn’t even have a way to share them with the client, no galleries, no website, nothing, but I knew other people had Facebook accounts for their work. So sitting on a twin dorm bed, I hurriedly set up a Facebook profile late one evening while I was visiting my boyfriend at college. I’m not even sure if it had a profile picture to be honest, I just thought “Okay no one likes this page so it will be pretty private and a way that this client can access the photos without prying eyes and judgment.” I actually cried I think, because when I loaded them they weren’t super clear (because I didn’t give them time to actually load) and Trevor spent the next ten minutes petting my hair while I hyperventilated and cried in his lap. Once the page had finally loaded the pictures looked they way I had intended them too (which at the time as super over exposed with a lot of blues and pinks). I gave it a day or two and then I decided that the work wasn’t a complete garbage fire and decided to share it. To my very pleasant surprise I got nothing but positive feedback and slowly, very slowly, the new requests came trickling in.
Early on I always said that I would NEVER do weddings. Never ever (as I shake my head like Shirley Temple). I had the BEST excuses too, “I don’t have the right equipment, I never took a class, I don’t know what I am doing, and if someone gets mad at me for missing an important wedding shot I am not above moving out of state and changing my name.” I even turned down some amazing weddings, one in Colorado (I KNOW IT WAS DUMB OKAY). I guess it really boils down to that fact that I didn’t trust myself enough to handle such a big event. I partially think that was a good call. I needed that extra time to develop my skills and my comfort level so that I could serve my wedding clients as best as I could when the time came. So for all the young photographers reading this, don’t be afraid to say no everyone once and a while. It will make saying yes to the right person at the right time, oh so sweet.
I finally accepted a wedding because I felt that I had the right equipment that was capable of handling the demands of a wedding, I was comfortable in manual mode, and I had upgraded my lenses. So I pulled my spanks up a bit higher, put on a black dress and headed to my first wedding, equipped with a lot of post-tea-jitters and even more hope. I was so surprised to get there and feel oddly comfortable. I felt like I was slipping back into a good pair of jeans (ones that you wore to a dinner so stretch em out but then folded them back nicely and find one day during a cold front and pair with fuzzy socks. Anyone? No? Just me?). To be honest, I am WAY more nervous during surprise proposals, where half of the couple has no idea what is about to happen. Its not like at the wedding, a bride shows up and there’s a gown and a groom waiting and everyone yells “SURPRISE, now hustle up to that alter.” Everyone KNOWS that’s going on and that takes a lot of the stress out of it for me personally.
In general, I loved the energy and the excitement. I know they are very stressful for the people involved and there can be mishaps, but the atmosphere is unlike anything else I have experienced. When you come to a wedding, you get to be happy (its like an unwritten rule that weddings are just joyous occasions even if it rains or the venue blows a fuse, you keep a smile on that face, damn it. Just kidding but only partially). You usually (at least) like the people that are getting married, and most of all; you get to believe in true love in the most pure form even if its just for an evening. I know I don’t have to tell you that there are tons of bad things that go on in the world. Case and point, my T.V. will be on all day tuned to CNN so I can keep up to date on the Las Vegas shooting. My heart hurts, and I am in good company judging by all of my social media feeds. One of my escapes for today is going to be editing some of my engagement sessions that I have on deck, because I get to relive being in the presence of their love and participating in it, which makes a lot of the bad stuff seem less terrible.
Also I love being lost in the whirl of a good gathering. Everyone who knows my family knows that we gather often and in large numbers. Our farm is known as the party farm and if there isn’t a bon fire at the ready one can be prepared within minutes. I love the laughter, the food, the drinks, the lights, and the details. If I had to choose a movie to be lost in it would probably be a bystander at Gatsby’s house sitting on the grand piano in a dress watching everyone celebrate. I get to do just that when I am at a wedding, I don’t have to be a loved one that’s known the bride and groom for X amount of years, but I get to be invited in and love the couple all the same. For 2018, weddings are going to make up HALF of my schedule, which is insane to me. I get to love and celebrate the season of life with 15 couples as of right now, and my heart has never been so full. Keeping in mind this is only my first year of weddings and I am already attracting my ideal couples and booking my ideal weddings. I never would have dreamed, sitting on Trevor’s dorm bed, neurotically clicking refresh on my new business page and sniffling (but in a dignified new small business owner way), that I would be where I am today. I love you all and I have some big news coming up about giveaways, minisessions, and some HUGE life changes so keep your eyes peeled for some updates.