Yep, it’s Valentine’s Day today, and while millions are celebrating over a nice dinner and box of chocolates and flowers… I am instead at home taking care of Eve who is too sick to bake the heart shaped cookies I had planned for today. But we’ll just have to postpone those plans until after she’s well again. So instead of posting a picture of Eve covered in cookie dough and talking about how much fun we had baking cookies for daddy, I’m going to reflect on something that Valentine’s Day represents for me.
It’s an anniversary of a life changing event that started 9 years ago, the day I shot my first wedding. I was miserably running a photo lab, developing pictures for other pro’s in town and selling cameras. This was back when we started stocking the first digital slr cameras that no one wanted to buy, and memory cards would run a deep hole in your pocket for just one 64 megabyte card. (that’s right, I said megabyte!) I had just purchased my first Nikon d100 and my 50 1.4. I was happily taking my time dreaming about becoming a photographer one day in the future. However, I never wanted to be a wedding photographer. I already developed wedding photography for local pros and honestly, a 24 exposure roll of film with a bride sitting on the same bench and holding her flowers exactly the same way in every frame just wasn’t exactly inspiring me to run out there and shoot brides. Wedding photography was a bit…um….cheesy in my eyes. But all I ever knew of wedding photography were the dozens and dozens of formals, and fake setups that were popular in the 80′s and 90′s. There wasn’t much soul, or feeling, or sense of knowing the real story behind the wedding. But that was all about to change. I began to discover the idea of shooting the story of the wedding instead. This peeked my interest. But before I could even think about what my first move would be, an opportunity suddenly presented itself and this beautiful woman ran into my store looking for someone to shoot her daughter’s wedding last minute. The timing of all this was astounding, and I found myself chewing over what to do next.
Have you ever had that moment when two little opposites of your personality pop up on your shoulder and bicker about what decision you should make about something? Well, that’s pretty much what happened to me. My left shoulder was saying ”NO WAY! Your not ready for this, and think of how stressed out you will be if you do this because what if you mess up??? There can be no mistakes in weddings!” While my right shoulder was telling me, “You were given this opportunity for a reason, so don’t pass it up!” After thinking long and hard about it, my right shoulder won, and I found myself shooting my very first wedding. Yes, I was so nervous I was sweating buckets and trying not to puke the whole time, but I loved it. I went on to shoot a few more weddings in 2003. Everyone of them came to me by chance, and always with perfect timing. I wasn’t even in business yet, still putting things together, but I was discovering myself with every wedding I shot that year. And on january 1st 2004, I made it official and finally opened my business with my entire calender filled for that year. I was lucky. I started at a time when there were less photographers in town than there are fingers on my hands, and the young brides of this town were ready for something new. And I was very eager to be that something new.
9 years and 150 or so weddings later, here I am. And I can’t imagine not doing what I do. I love all my brides. You have all made this experience very special to me. So thank you. On a day when everyone says I love you, I remember to say thank you. Thank you to Vickie for finding me in my store that day and changing the direction of my life. Thank you to Patti for giving me the courage to start my own business. And the beautiful Misty, thank you for being the first bride to ever find me through the great big web, and for continuing to be such a wonderful person to work with.
I am forever grateful!