Why I Became a Wedding Photographer
This is a blog post I’ve wanted to write for a long time. I’ve also dreaded it to some extent, because words just seem inadequate to describe how deeply I love photography. Does anyone else struggle with putting words to a feeling?
However, I’ve decided to push through and attempt to explain the “why” that led me to become a wedding photographer (fair warning, this blog post is pretty darn flowery at times!). It’s the cliché of clichés, but my journey to become a full-time, freelance artist has been one of self-discovery. It’s a journey that’s been led by God, and shaped by my passion for art + my deep love for people.
LONGTIME LOVE FOR ART
I’ve loved art since I was little, but I didn’t feel like I could express myself until I found photography (just ask my mom what a pissed off 5 year old looks like when she can’t accurately draw what she sees). I picked up a dinky point and shoot camera at some point in middle school and I couldn’t put it down. In high school I saved all my earnings from my job at Chick-fil-A to purchase a DSLR, and immediately started shooting anyone and everyone I could (just ask my younger sisters how annoying I was about this!).
MORE THAN JUST A PASSION
This passion for photography influenced my college decision, and I ended up attending a university in rural Indiana (shoutout to Taylor University!) with a killer photography program. Something I remember vividly about those four years is that none of my photography classes ever felt like homework. In fact, my photography classes were essentially me EATING UP everything I could learn– from camera mechanics to lighting techniques. I’m so grateful for those courses because they encouraged me to take risks rather than play it safe when it came to how I used lighting and composition in my images. Some of my all-time favorite images were created during those classes (check them out below!):
Not surprisingly, I realized by the end of my freshman year that I wanted to pursue portrait photography as a career. Because of this, I chose to major in marketing so that I would have a solid business foundation. I then minored in photography so that I could grow my knowledge of its technical components.
AN UNSTOPPABLE OBSESSION
Like I said earlier, once I’d picked up a camera, I couldn’t put it down. It was truly enthralling to have a way of showing and sharing with others how I saw the world. The more I use and learn about my camera, the more my view of life has been shaped by it. One of my all-time favorite quotes is from Dorothea Lange and states,
“The camera is an instrument that teaches people how to see without a camera.”
This perfectly describes how transformational my relationship with photography has been. It’s completely influenced the way I see life, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything.
For example, photography has taught me how to pause and be present for meaningful moments I would have missed otherwise. It has taught me how to observe and capture the color of light, indoors and outdoors. It has taught me how to see beauty in the ordinary by simply changing my perspective. Most importantly, portrait photography has taught me that no amount of perfect lighting, color, and framing can ever replace the genuine expression of someone who feels comfortable and relaxed.
By this point we’ve established how deeply I treasure photography. But this is really only half of the reason I feel that portraiture (and specifically, wedding photography) is my vocation. The other piece to this puzzle is that the content I’m shooting is so dear to my heart.
WHERE LOVE AND BEAUTY MEET
From a very young age, I’ve always gawked at sunsets (my mom was always telling me to not look directly at the setting sun so I wouldn’t go blind). There’s something enchanting about the soft warmth of the rising or setting sun that you can see and feel. Or the breathtaking way that light shines through trees, allowing you to see bokeh with your naked eye. I love how light allows us to see and experience the majesty of God’s creation.
And yet, how can even nature, in all it’s gloriousness, compete with love? How can it compare to the beauty of two people fully loving, accepting and committing themselves to each other? To the bliss and joy of finding, “the one who my soul loves”?
Wedding photography allows me to simultaneously experience and capture these two phenomenons: creation and love. It’s nothing short of a privilege and delight.
GIFTS ➔ VOCATION
Vocation is a word that gets tossed around a lot. I believe that it means doing work that you were created for and that your career isn’t about a guaranteed paycheck (although it should be something you can make money doing because I firmly believe that God doesn’t call us to live a life of scarcity). That said, rather than focusing on money, I believe that vocation is about using your God-given strengths and passions to bless others.
The vocation of wedding photography has been continually affirmed as I learn more about myself and my gifts. My senior year of college I read a book that discussed the strengths of people with a dominant right brain and realized that was 100% me. The right brain is associated with creativity, emotions, and connection (AKA a summary of all my passions + fortes). For example:
- Obsessive passion to create + document beauty
- Artsy fartsy (lots of graphic design + photography experience)
- Strong emotional intelligence (yes, I am one of those people that’s obsessed with the Enneagram 💁💁)
- Bubbly personality (all the positivity + encouragement)
- Social Butterfly (seriously, I’ve rarely known a stranger!)
- Systematic Planner (organization to the extreme, AKA recognizing and grouping connections)
The most consistent feedback I receive from my clients is that they appreciate the aspects of my personality that I outlined above (preparation, ability to set them at ease, providing beautiful images and an organized, easy-going experience). I wish words could adequately express to my clients what a delight it is to use these God-given gifts to bless and serve them!
So, to conclude, the reason I chose to become a wedding photographer isn’t anything elaborate. It’s simply what I feel I was made to do. Dedicating my time and talents to anything other than this feels like settling. Not only would any other career path fall flat when compared to photography, but I would also know that I was settling for less than God’s best for my life.
To all of you that have believed in and supported me + my business up to this point, thank you SO much. I wouldn’t be where I am without you. It’s been amazing to watch my love for photography grow from an artsy passion to a thriving business. I’m ecstatic to see what lies ahead.