If you had told me when I was 21 that in 7 years I would have designed a life that involved me getting to travel the world, photograph kick ass couples on one of the happiest days of their lives, and that I would be teaching other photographers to do the same – I would have asked you how many shots of tequila you had that day.
My Highlights of 2018 include:
– Photographing over 40 weddings
– Being on Safari in South Africa
– Surviving the few days I hiked the Impenetrable Forest in Uganda searching for Mountain Gorillas
– Taking my Dad to New Zealand, a place he never dreamed he would have the opportunity to go
– Speaking at Inspire Photo Retreats (I’m there again in 2019!)
– Hosting my first photography workshop
– Hiring Kayleigh to be my client experience coordinator and just make sure I am organized and on top of everything – seriously guys, this girl deserves all the applause
– Free diving with Sharks in Hawaii with One Ocean Diving
– Being able to spend a few days in Finland celebrating my friend’s birthday
– My friends throwing me a “surprise” birthday in Portsmouth
– A new taco restaurant opening near where I live
– Connecting with a bunch of new wedding industry people who I am now lucky enough to call friends <3
– Volunteering in South Africa for a few weeks which taught me to appreciate a lot things we take for granted at home – such as power that isn’t randomly shut off by your government and internet speeds here in the USA.
The past few days, I have had a lot of people tell me how lucky I am – lucky to have a job I like, lucky to have clients, and lucky to be able to travel. While I appreciate their kind intentions, I make sure to tell them it has nothing to do with being lucky. I’ve bought scratch tickets, I have played the slot machines, I’ve attempted to learn black jack, I’ve entered contests for free vacations and have never won. Being “lucky” to me means, taking a chance on something that has very low odds of having a successful outcome and being on the latter side of the statistic.
This year I photographed over 45 weddings but none of that was by luck. With each of the weddings I photograph, I usually show up early and stay later than contracted. I am dedicated and devoted to showing up for my couples on their day and ensuring it is captured to the best of my ability. I strive to give them the photographs they have always dreamed they wanted and then surprising them by going above and beyond to give them the photo’s they did not even know they needed.
I am genuinely inspired by every part of the wedding day – always looking to find a different, more unique angle to capture the day. I couldn’t care less if your wedding is in your backyard or at the Ritz Carlton – I approach both the same by constantly looking around and pushing myself to document your day in more creative way, constantly asking myself – Is there a better angle? What if I get lower, closer, further away from my subject? Are there any mirrors or reflective surfaces? What happens if I put this piece of wrapping paper in front of my lens? Is there any symmetry around? How about triangles? Who is laughing the loudest in the room during speeches? How can I make better art? A lot of wedding days, I am answering these questions all in the span of a few seconds and then picking a spot to execute my vision for a shot. To me, there is no down time on wedding days. If you look around there is always something interesting happening – and you might not noticed it because hey it’s your wedding day and there are a million thoughts going through your head. The constant problem solving and pushing myself creatively with each wedding is what feeds my soul and keeps me coming back for more.
Complacency (in my opinion) is the death of creativity. If we keep doing the same thing over and over and over again, no matter what field we are in, we are bound to get bored or complacent. And after being a photographer for the past 4 years and over photographing over 200 weddings, it’s easy to get complacent and take the same shot you know has worked in the past – especially if you are working at the same venue. But the challenge to go to that same venue I have been at 5 times before and to see it in a new light and to give my couple unique images that fit their style and personality is what ignites such a passion while capturing a wedding day. I enjoy taking the negativity out of a rainy wedding day and still creating kick ass images for my couples by thinking outside the box. Instead of getting flustered that the timeline is off and we only have 5 minutes to get photos of you and your new partner, I look at it as a way I can test my own posing skills and use the environment around me to my advantage to make it look like we had all the time in the world to create these images.
So here I am saying in blatant English – fuck being lucky. Push yourself, with everything you do in your life and every time you say yes. Because every time I say yes to a wedding, I am saying no to spending time with my friends, saying no to hearing my Dad make really terrible jokes in public, to the things I love doing like traveling, and saying no to simple tasks like having time to organize my room or clean out my closet. So you better believe, I am not giving up my time to rely on luck. Nothing I have done in my life has happened on accident, I’ve worked hard to create this life and I don’t plan on giving it up.
In closing, I want to say I am grateful for not luck but rather trust. Without my clients trusting me, I would not even be writing this blog post. Thank you for trusting me to capture your day, thank you for your thoughtful cards that literally get me through days where I wonder if I should quit and sell ice cream on an island, thank you for just enjoying your day and letting me do my thing, thank you for getting the bottoms of your dress dirty, thank you for waking up early to catch the sunrise, thank you for climbing up on that huge tree in 4 inch heels, thank you for going out in the rain or the bitter cold, and thank you, THANK YOU for choosing me.
Here’s to making more magic in 2019 <3