I am pretty sure the first camera I picked up was a hot pink toy camera. I loved that thing! I regularly held “fashion” photo shoots in my home for only my closest friends growing up- complete with white bedsheets, a box fan, and plenty of outfit changes. I continued this obsessive behavior for getting the best shots of my friends through high school when I finally graduated from point-and-shoot to a completely manual Pentax 35mm. I don’t think I realized that conducting photo shoots at home wasn’t a normal thing to do to pass time until I got to college.
Weddings did not become my passion until I was given the opportunity fresh out of college to shoot one as THE ONLY professional photographer. Scared to death (but pumped about “making” a whopping $100), I accepted the offer, and my passion for photography, art and design has never been the same. What I once thought as the lowest form of photography became a whole new world full of emotional moments and beautiful sights. I photographed just a few weddings before I got married myself, but most (like 97%) of the weddings I have photographed, I have been married. So, I came into those weddings to photograph them as a bride… knowing what images I wanted and missed on my wedding day and trying to photograph the wedding for the bride… completely identifying with her.
But, as of January 17, 2009, it is different. I am a mom now (times two, as of May 15, 2011). And, I have an amazing husband that could not love our baby girls any more than he does, and I watch that in awe. So, now, I walk into weddings as a mom and a wife to a father… and that perspective changes everything. I watch the moms and dads of the bride and groom tearing up, and I can only imagine how that will feel in 25+ years when Claire or Ellen wants to get married. So, I now see the wedding as a mom, and I watch the moms more than I ever have before. I never thought how I shot a wedding could change this much, but it has.
But that’s not it. Work in general has changed for me. Because it is time away from my daughters. For this reason, I know that I won’t be doing 20+ weddings in a year for a very very long time. I never thought I would really want to cut back on my work and be working part-time hours (well, being a mom is really working full-time)… I also never thought I would love family portraits. But now, it is so precious to me. Something I could do all day long (well, maybe not ALL day since I like spending time with my own family, but you get the point). Kids and babies change so fast, and now I understand that more than I ever could before I was a mom myself. Family portraits aren’t a frivolous thing. I see them more as a necessity now. I am not a salesman, I am a photographer… a woman that will freeze time for you to help you remember all of the sweet things in life that pass all too quickly.
I am a woman of faith in Jesus Christ. God has deeply blessed me with this opportunity and gift to share with people, and I am continually honored and humbled by His ever abundant blessings. My prayer is that I can bless you as much as you will bless me.
I should probably add this… I have a Bachelors in Applied Art from Converse College in Spartanburg, South Carolina, so yes, I studied this stuff in school (although it was back in the days of film!). Kudos to you for reading all this! I look forward to meeting you someday!