Oh boy, a “Where it all began…” post. First, a huge THANK YOU to Maura for sharing earlier. I’m not sure I’d have the courage without her. Here’s the thing, though, I think she was spot on in saying that we all have started somewhere, and honestly, I’m sure we all feel like we still have a long way to go.
Every journey that I have started in my life has begun with hesitancy. I’ve been afraid more times that I can count of how well I’ll do, and how much I’ll be judged for what I put out there. However, every time that I have started, the biggest relief was with the simple jump, and I’ve only grown from there. So here, today, let me leap again and share a bit about my wedding photography journey:
I started photographing weddings in 2009 as a second photographer for some local Pittsburgh professionals, and photographed three weddings on my own that year as well. My starting rate for those first weddings as $1,050, and I found those clients (who I’ve seen grow into beautiful families since then!) on Craigslist.
Here is one of my very first weddings as a second photographer:
After the first year, I took on 28 weddings the next season as a primary photographer, and that was the biggest year of my business in terms of growth. What a leap I took! Over the next eight years, I have learned continuously about what can go wrong, what goes right, business, time management, light, equipment, lenses – you name it! Now, I chose two other images from a recent wedding in similar circumstances to show how things have changed over the years.
What is the same? I think I’ve always been looking for light, but at the beginning that was overshadowed often by just “looking to take pictures” as quickly as possible. A lot of my early wedding images were included in the gallery, but were not beautifully lit. My mind was so consumed with just making sure that I was pressing the shutter button, that I was often forgetting about light, moving my feet, and working with my clients to produce great images. You can see the light on the veils in both of the getting ready photos is beautiful, and looking back on my early work I can see bits of pieces of my current style coming through even then – although I had no idea at the time that was the case.
What is different? Over the years my post-processing style has evolved into a more crisp, clear, simple style of editing. I am always looking for classic images now, instead of applying heavy presets over my images. I also try and use a lot more movement in my imagery at this point, working with my clients by giving them prompts and directions – and obviously lots of veil-playing! I also have adjusted my technique to first look for the light, and then simply ask my clients to move into that light and continue with what they were doing anyway.
Where do I hope to be in 10 years? I’m working a lot this year on continuous education for my lighting systems, focusing on flash and using light even more creatively. I also plan to work on my wide-angle photos, as this is an area that I personally want to expand my portfolio.
What are you working on this year? What has your journey looked like? Share some before/after images with us in the Facebook group!