For my first question in this series I thought I would tackle the broadest and likely most difficult question that I have gotten so far - “Why do you do what you do?”
This job comes with a lot of perks. I see some things many people do not - this year I have already photographed or helped photograph several weddings, went to Gillette Stadium to photograph people shave their heads to raise funds for cancer research (I also got to see Gronk - he really is larger than you can imagine) and I just finished up 2 weeks at a local summer camp, where I photographed archery, canoeing, obstacle courses and SO many more fun activities! PRO TIP: When you shoot with a wide angle lens, you get to be right up in the action - like, feet away!
I enjoy watching all of these stories unfold. Weddings are like dozens of stories rolled up into one. I love learning about couples and how they met and then learning about how their friends and family all fit into their story. Most events that I cover have stories behind them, because each of them started with a passion, or an idea, or a mission. I pay attention to the stories that I hear, and I do my best to represent those stories visually.
While I enjoy what I do very much, there can also be challenges. I like to joke that “I just press a button”, but we all know that most days I have to press at least 2 or 3. Seriously though, there will ALWAYS be something new to learn, and even when all of my knobs and buttons and light stands stay the same for any time at all (which does happen occasionally), the people or the things or the places in front of the lens change, and I have to find ways to adapt. Sometimes I can control the light, sometimes I can guide people to where I want them. Sometimes I want to eat the wedding cake while I am taking photos of it (I haven’t… yet.) There are times though when the stories and the people and the emotions just fly, and I find my focus, change the knobs and hit the button.
Another challenge is the stress. I mention this not because photography adds to my stress level. By most accounts, I am very relaxed and laid back to work with. That said, I am 3 years in and I haven’t shot a wedding that I don’t feel some amount of stress about beforehand. About a year ago I was photographing a youth theater rehearsal, and right before the curtain came up in total darkness (you hear everything in a quiet theater - especially whispers) I heard this exchange:
Actor 1: “I’m really nervous.”
Actor 2: “That just means you want to do a good job.”
That resonated with me. I think about it before everything I photograph. I think about it when I try something new with lighting, or perspective, or editing. I try to assure other photographers who reach out in Facebook groups about pre-wedding nerves. It doesn’t make the stress go away completely, but it takes the edge off and reminds me of why I do what I do.
I enjoy stories. I like new challenges. I love meeting new people. I like the challenge of capturing things that are sometimes not at all visual by using a tool that is. Photography as a business is just about as dynamic and thrilling a thing as I can imagine getting paid to do, and I love the opportunities that it continues to bring.
If you have a question about me, my business, what I like to shoot or anything else, I am always interested in hearing from you! Drop a comment here, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or reach out on social media. Any question, whether or not I answer it in a blog post will get you 10% off any full portrait session or wedding package!