How It All Started : My Journey to Becoming a Wedding Photographer
Can I let you in on a little secret? I didn't start out loving weddings. What?! I know. It's crazy and probably waaaaayyy counterintuitive to even say this in a post, but it's true.
Starting out in photography with my little ol' Canon Rebel t2i in college, I was a dog-obsessed design student who loved snapping pictures of anyone and everyone's pets that would let me. I actually considered specializing in just that as my niche and building my business off pet photography.
Fast forward to 2015. I'm a year or so out of college, working at a startup in Cincinnati and dreaming of working for myself. After being at a company that focused on Pinterest marketing, I had fallen deeply in love with the beautiful images I'd seen on wedding blogs such as Style Me Pretty , Bridal Musings and Green Wedding Shoes.
I knew that I wanted to be the one capturing those special moments for people and creating images that they could look back on for years to come and share with future generations (not to mention, I LOVE catching the groom shed that first tear when he sees his bride).
I was officially on a mission to become a wedding photographer.
Aside from not being formally trained as a photographer and literally only ever shooting in Auto, I had absolutely NO idea how to break into this industry. You know where I started? Craigslist. Yep, that's right. I opened up my browser, searched for anyone looking for a second shooter and hit send on my email submissions.
Believe it or not, in that first year of sending out Craigslist emails, joining local Facebook groups and networking every chance I could on social media or local YP events, I found FOUR photographers who let me work with them. I seriously owe them the world because, without this time to experiment with both my camera and style while second shooting real-life weddings, I wouldn't be where I am today. Yes, I know how incredibly cliche that all sounds, but seriously, it was a life-changing opportunity.
And yes, this meant lots of long weekends away from home, long hours shooting, tons of editing, more than enough YouTube tutorial watching, countless hours of posing my dogs and boyfriend for practice shoots and a less than healthy amount of drive-thru cheeseburgers. But, by the end of the year, I had booked my first wedding. My first, entirely mine, solo adventure wedding.
I WAS SCARED.
If you know me, you know how anxious I get. And guess what, this really kicked my brain into extra worry mode. How will you shoot alone? What if your equipment malfunctions? What if the lighting is horrendous? What if you literally just suck? These thoughts and so many more were racing through my mind from the second I signed the contract.
But guess what? I practiced and I practiced often. I learned more than I ever had by following not only local photographers' blogs, but also wedding photographers I aspired to be like. And, with time, that confidence became part of my process. By the time my first wedding rolled around, I felt like a real professional. Of course you make little corrections throughout the day or wish you would've shot something a tad differently, but in the end, the photographs from this wedding turned out beautifully and I was over-the-moon.
I've gotten several weddings in the books since then and am looking forward to what 2017 has in store for me. I'm hoping to not only grow my business, but also help those around me who are starting out. I love seeing other people succeed and this is the year I want to be part of that process for whoever I can. It's an exciting time and I can't wait for this next adventure!
If you're looking to jump feet first into the wedding industry, but don't know where to start, I'd love to link up and chat.