Shooting my first two weddings.
So what you don't know about me is, I spent *most* of my adult life pretending that I could never be a "photographer" (which is just absurd). Once I realized, HELLO DUMMY that's what I am whether I admit it or not, things got immensely better. Then of course there was the realization that I was NOT a mini-session photographer; I'm just too chatty for that, I shot just about anything until I refined my focus. Oh, and despite being the mom of 4 amazing children, it's not Newborns. Truthfully, I still deep down would love to focus on birth photography, but as the busy mother of 4 who are either teens or toddlers, it's not exactly a good fit right now. I mean, I can't exactly skip off into the sunset whenever someone's water breaks. A girl needs some notice ya' know and babies are always trying to invent fun new inconvenient ways to be born (just ask my friend who gave birth in the front seat of her minivan in a K-Mart Parking lot; yes...that happened). So, yeah...everything has a season, and mine is weddings. Why? Well, for starters, I know I won't get a call at 2am asking me to hurry because the groom is about to slip the ring on the bride's finger or anything of the crazy sorts! Being a creative person, a creative people person, you know I crave the intimacy and vibe I'm digging from weddings. Besides, does it make me a weirdo because I LOVED planning my own wedding? Maybe. Still, I enjoy the thrill of being such an immense part of someone's day, so here I am ya'll. Well, use me, use me 'Cause you ain't that average groupie! (bonus if you get that reference; 80's and 90's kids will.)
The first wedding I ever shot was in....2011. It was a Halloween Wedding! I showed up wearing my Jessie costume (as seen in the awfully pixelated cell phone pic), and of course my love wore Woody. Now clearly this wasn't your typical wedding, but it was So. Much. Fun! It was what you'd expect from a Halloween wedding; Jack Skellington cake topper and all! I wish I still had some photos from it, but those were the days long before I started my business and they haven't seen the light of day in many, many moons - although I'm sure the bride probably still has the album I designed for her! The biggest thing I learned - you don't have to be traditional to have an amazing wedding; nuff said.
The second wedding I ever shot were for friends of mine. I hadn't really planned on shooting their wedding, because I just spent 17 days in the hospital and gave birth to my third child via emergency C-Section! He was born at 29 weeks and 5 days and weighed 3lbs and 9oz (will blog about that on another day). I shot their wedding because they had NO wedding photographer booked! I felt like it was important for them to have photos so I opted to slip away from the NICU for a few hours and capture their memories. Needless to say it was the perfect day! (j/k) The sun was high, bright and the beach was jammed with people in swimsuits - so. much. Photoshop. Still, I made the best of it and got some great shots of their day. Okay, so back then I loved them, nowadays I wouldn't exactly call them Wedding Wire worthy, but the most important thing about memories is capturing them. them is the most important part. That was in 2013 and it's taken me 5 years to have a strong drive and motivation to revolve my business and lifestyle around couples. Here's a photo I took that day. I'd share the happy couple, but I'm fond of this photo since the "sign" belongs to me. I just happened to remember to grab it on my way out the door. What can I say? I'm sentimental like that! The biggest take-away from this isn't actually what *I* learned, but what everyone should learn and that's this: When someone is celebrating a milestone, pick up the camera and shoot. I had very little experience shooting in bright sunlight 5 years ago, but despite the technical challenges I had, I am proud of myself for being there for two people on their special day. I could have just stayed holed up in the NICU and not been there, but I'm still incredibly proud to have been able to photograph their day. Don't ever not pick up a camera because you are too intimidated that your photos won't turn out. As a witness, you're capturing memories; not perfection. Just do NOT stand in front of the photographer (especially if you're using an iPad to take photos! *wink wink*)! So yeah. I guess theme of my blog shouldn't be "whoa, look at all the cool stuff I can brag about", but rather a dashboard confessional of how my experiences have shaped my ever evolving opinions. Even though I've always been creative, sometimes that comes along with the "I'm not sure about this" feeling too, and you know what? I'm okay with that! In these two instances I didn't realize that I WANTED to shoot weddings quite yet, however the experiences are irreplaceable and every experience gets me closer to the photographer I want to be. And maybe these weren't the two weddings that got me hooked on wedding photography, but they definitely didn't leave me running for the hills either. Most photographers I know run for the hills when we hear stories like the ones from that TV show, Bridezillas! THAT show is the stuff nightmares are made of!