The most common question I get asked as a photographer is, how long have I been doing this? This is a hard question to answer not just because I have lost count, but there are two different answers. If you are talking about professionally (when I started charging to my services) I am at two years, but I have been taking pictures long before then.
My first picture taking experience happened on the wonderful world of 110 mm and 35 mm film. If you ask many of my great nieces and nephews they would wonder what this is. I remember experimenting with light and different techniques and I would save my money for the new SLR 35mm to improve my photos and give me more options.
Later came the wonderful world of digital photography, I could see my pictures right away and make the necessary adjustments to improve my photography with each photo. This opened up a whole new world for me and I was not limited to the cost of film or the cost of developing that film. I would upload the images onto my computer and sort through the many images I had, removing the horrible blurry ones (yes even professionals get blur).
Most of my previous experience has been in landscape photography and my family and friends. As I grew up I was obsessed with making sure that our family events and history were documented through pictures. I loved looking through old photos of my family from long ago and hearing the stories about how things use to be and what they were like. I guess that started my fascination with starting to document mine and my families’ current histories so that our future generations could look at and hear the stories. There were many birthdays, Christmases, and the ever famous “really your taking another picture” look, that kept me in practice as I started to become the photographer I am today.
I have a big family, I am not talking the Duggar’s by any means, but eleven kids total. My mom calls us the his, mine, and our family (great old movie). Everyone has a job and a place in a family and mine was to take pictures and document our crazy lovable life. I was so lovingly and frustratingly named the family Paparazzi. It was a love and sometimes hate relationship as they tried to understand why I would take so many pictures.
My little sister who lived with me for most of my life was the primary subject along with our two cats for the most part growing up, but soon it expanded to the newest additions of the family (starting them young). When I reached adulthood I finally had my first great nephew Talon. I remember the day I found out he had entered the world like it was yesterday. I was so excited that I nearly blew out the ear drums of my friend. Most of his little life has been documented in my photography along with his little cousin Justyn.
The more I increased my skills the more my world expanded to encompass more and more of my friends. Their children and their events became the subject of many photo sessions. It was a sad day whenever I would show up to a birthday party without my camera, which was rare but happened. They began to rely on my love and ability to capture every memory I could.
When I learned how to make my pictures more resemble the style that I love my confidence grew. I took every online class I could in order to fine tune my skills.
I had always thought of going professional for years before 2017, but off course the little voice in side my head says “you don’t know enough” or “you don’t know it all”. My nephew Brandon and his fiancé gave me an opportunity that I never thought possible, they asked me to be their photographer for their wedding. This prospect made me nervous to say the least, wedding photography is a whole other animal. These are photos you cannot redo, they hold such an emotional feeling that if they are ruined the bride, groom, and family feels betrayed and crushed.
I agreed to do their wedding photos for free, since I didn’t want them to lose any money if the photos ended up badly, and made it a gift from their Auntie. I remember getting to the venue early as they were setting up, and normally at a family wedding I would roll up my sleeve and pitch in and help with everything, but this time I focused only on the task at hand.
Even though the wedding was at my sister’s property I didn’t not know what the ceremony or reception space would look like. The most concerning for me was the ceremony space under the trees, since the lighting would be a challenge (constant challenge for photographers).
I think that day my nerves could have matched the brides and I lined up shots and prayed to God that the photos would turn out alright. Until that day I had never been a primary photographer for a wedding or family wedding.
I cannot explain the magic that can happen once a photographer starts shooting, it is like you and camera becomes one and then you forget all about your nerves. All you think about is your settings on your camera and capturing the moments that are important to your clients. You get a sort of tunnel vision literally and figuratively. All you see is the view through your lens, which can cause issues as you move around.
I have found now that I have gone professional that my passion for photography has only grown. Once I am done editing one session, I begin to think of my next session with excitement.
I love capturing the memories of my clients, and I would love to capture your family’s memories!