When I started falling in love with photography, it had zero to do with the technology of the hobby (because y’all, I struggled with it). I fell in love with the way photography made me feel. Or more importantly, the way I could make others feel through photography.
My First Experience Behind the Camera
In high school, I believed that I was going to be an actress. Yes, you can laugh! It makes no sense looking back now, but it’s the humble truth. I jumped into drama class and auditioned for all of the school plays, even musicals. I was decent enough to make the chorus, but never a cast member with any lines (red flag that this shouldn’t be my career?) During our season of preparation for Damn Yankees, we had a half day at school. My drama director decided we could use the other half of the day for musical rehearsal, but it was such a beautiful afternoon that my friends and I decided to skip to have a picnic instead (red flag #2?).
The day before, my dad gave me his Canon point-and-shoot camera, so I brought it along! During our picnic I took it out of my bag and started capturing my friends. This began a full-scale photoshoot (and my first Facebook photo album!)
I loved getting to play in a creative way with my friends! Directing them in different (and incredibly goofy) poses sparked a fire inside of me that gave me so much clarity. I loved it.
As soon as I got home, I edited the images in my Microsoft photo editor on my Dell laptop and posted them to Facebook. The photos were all we could talk about at school! I watched as my friends smiled and laughed as we lived that perfect afternoon again and again.
I loved bringing joy to others in this way! It wasn’t until college that I felt my calling move deeper. My heart gravitated towards service, and I soon found myself abroad in Southeast Asia documenting missionaries in the world’s most densely populated cities. My camera was my constant companion as I captured all of the amazing people we got to meet. Photography brought them the same joy that it gave me and my friends on that first afternoon. And I loved seeing their smiles light up their faces because someone wanted to remember them.
The Day I Captured My First Wedding
Shortly after that trip, I was asked to capture my first wedding. My sweet friends knew of my love for photography and took a chance on me. This wedding is where everything my journey with photography came to a crescendo.
Thinking back on that first wedding day, I remember the hard work, the heat and the long hours. I remember how my feet hurt and how my cheeks burned from smiling behind the camera. And I absolutely remember calling my mom on the drive home so that she could help me stay awake because I was so exhausted. But what I remember most was the feeling of fulfillment. The connection and peace that I’d found I was exactly where I needed to be.
At my first wedding, I discovered that wedding photography was more than capturing pretty images at an event. At its core, being a wedding photographer was about serving others.
As a wedding photographer, we often go above and beyond for the people we serve. This doesn’t just refer to my couples but to their families, wedding parties and best friends. My job is to honor these moments and make sure that their wedding day is unforgettable, not just because I capture every moment with my camera, but because I intentionally serve them so they can take in everything around them.
It is not in the job description, but at its foundation, wedding photography is about loving others. I love being a wedding photographer because it allows me to love others the best way that I know how: through service.
At the end of each wedding day, as I drive home with all of the days moments fresh in my mind, I am beyond grateful and thankful that my life revolves around making others feel valued. I’m thankful to all of my couples who choose me to be by their side at the very beginning of their marriage and that my relationships with them continue well past the wedding day. The stories I get to tell are truly beautiful ones.