Monday, April 27, 2015

Why I Became A Wedding Photographer

I took my very first photography class in high school. I attended an arts high school that encouraged students to be well-rounded in the arts and explore creativity through various outlets. It was still the film era at the time and although I was absolutely no good at it, I fell in love with the craft. I began to photograph fellow models and actors for fun and extra cash. When I met my husband, who is also a photographer/designer, we explored photography together through travel and random adventures. It continued to be a strong hobby up until we began to plan our own wedding in 2009. So what made me decide to become a wedding photographer? That can be explained in two parts:

 I: The Inspiration.

About a year before our wedding, I began scouring the internet looking for the perfect wedding photographer that met my vision creatively and my pocket financially. I remember coming across a certain photographer's website and absolutely falling in love with his work. Something about it tugged at my heart and made me feel warm and fuzzy inside. The evenly lit images, so crisp and bright and smooth. I was completely enamored. Classically posed with a contemporary feel and the added touch of genuine sentiment. I began to look through his work image by image. Then I read his blog and literally fell in love with everything about this person's vibe, personality, outlook and work. I decided to contact him for pricing only to find out the packages were quite a bit out of my reach. His wedding coverage began at $9,000. I remember needing a minute. I hadn't attended very many weddings in my life, zero as an adult, so I had no idea what any of it would cost. I thought to myself "Okay, okay... I can't afford you, Mr. Fabulous Photographer, but I want to do what you do."

 II: Our Wedding.

You know those fairytale weddings you see in the magazines and movies? The ones with all the love and tears of joy and rice flying everywhere. Where the bride and groom are surrounded by people who adore them and want the best for them and share their love and no one seems to be able to wipe the smile of their faces. Yeah, that was not our wedding. Our wedding was a disaster. Anything and everything that could go wrong, did. No exaggeration.  It just became this overwhelming mess of mixed emotions on different levels that ended up in a huge family blowup. I won't get into details but I will say that the things I felt that day, that very moment where it all went to hell, is something that I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy. Maximum humiliation, confusion, sorrow, anger, betrayal, nausea, brokenness, asphyxiation, did I mention humiliation? I wanted to crawl under a rock and die. Literally. I was embarrassed, especially for my husband who had clearly just married into the most dysfunctional family he could possibly find. We had spent weeks, months and endless hours planning this thing. I spent all my savings, all my modeling money on this ONE day, and for what?

The day that our professional images arrived, I felt sick. I didn't want to see them. We had found our perfect photographer in San Diego and he had come to Orange County to cover our event. I knew that technically and creatively he must have done a great job, but I didn't want to see what he had captured. I didn't want to re-live that day. I was scared. What would I feel? I panicked. I remember pacing back and fourth in our unfurnished apartment, debating whether to dump them. I decided to open the package and view them without my husband. I would spare him the waterworks and vomit. I opened the beautiful, boutique-style package carefully removing the soft satin bow that adorned it. :::::::: One by one, I went through the images with my face half covered. To my surprise, what I feared I'd see wasn't there. The drama wasn't there. The poop faces weren't there. The painful moments weren't there. What we had were highlights of good things. The people who did love on us were there. Our true friends were there. My father-in-law who stepped in and gave me my father-daughter dance was there. The few and far-between smiles and glances between my new husband and I, those were there. Our photographer had done such a great job of curating our gallery, that he told us a story of the things that we had missed. Because we weren't able to enjoy a lot of the good moments, he had been there to capture them for us. My memory of that day is so much different than the story that our images tell, and for that, I am forever grateful. I knew at that very moment that I needed to be a wedding photographer. If I could provide couples with the one tangible thing they take away, and do it beautifully, it would all be worth it.

I truly believe that this had to happen in order for me to gain clarity. To help me see what I needed to let go of and what I needed to invest in. Perhaps to teach me a little humility. It was a blessing in disguise which lead me to a fulfilling craft where I get to meet so many amazing souls. I think I do okay with the technical aspects of the camera and having a modeling background does help, but it is my personal longing for those special moments that drives me to find them. My clients give me strength, whether they know it or not. They inspire me. I owe it to them to let them see what I see. I want to draw out that zen beauty that is not always so evident in brides. It is of utmost importance that my couples feel that they can trust me and that I am on their side. I need them to know that if all else fails, I will be there for them until the bitter end. Sure I may get a little choked up during a father-daughter dance or during a beautiful speech, but I always have my business partner/second shooter/husband right there next to me, reminding me to keep it together. Because at the end of the day, we have a job to do.

As for Mr. Fabulous Photographer? Well, I bugged the heck out of him until he ended up inviting me to take one of his famous workshops. After a few of those, I was invited to apprentice with him and he eventually hired me as his assistant.  He turned out to be every bit the genius I imagined. I continue to be inspired by him and learn from him. In a time of loss and confusion, perhaps emotional rock bottom, his guidance helped me get to the starting line. I may not be where I want to be as an artist, but thank goodness I took the plunge. Look at what I would be missing!

1 comment :

  1. I definitely enjoy every little bit of it. It is a great website and has a nice share. I want to thank you. Good job! You guys do a great blog, and have some great contents about wedding photography. Keep up the good work. Ecommerce Photographer In Manchester