Hello and happy Friday, friends!
This is a post especially for all you marvelous aspiring wedding photographers out there.
Recently I sat down and answered some questions I was e-mailed about my personal history as a wedding and portrait photographer. As I reminisced about my beginnings in this career, I felt a desire to share my thoughts on our blog. Being a beginner wedding photographer can be intimidating, discouraging and downright frightening at times. Trust me, I have been there. After all, you're entrusted with very special moments in peoples' lives, and that can feel like a daunting responsibility. But don't let that stop you! Courage, after all, is moving forward when your knees feel wobbly.
Below I've elaborated on my journey so far as a wedding photographer, and have included some advice for you along the way. I hope it encourages you and motivates you to get out there and keep growing, learning, and enjoying your budding career.
Did your degree prepare you for your specific job or program, or would you recommend something different? Explain.
Well, yes and no. I picked areas of study that I was fascinated by in college (American Studies with a minor in photojournalism), not necessarily practical majors that would land me a job after graduation. But what my liberal arts degree taught me was how to be an innovator and think outside of the box, and how to be a lifelong learner. These things have definitely helped me in my business and life. I honestly feel that learning to explore the world from a different perspective has made me a much stronger photographer. And of course, taking courses in photojournalism helped me learn some basic photography skills.
Describe your job/program.
My husband and I work together as wedding and portrait photographers, so we mainly work with engaged couples and brides and grooms. We also take portraits of graduating seniors and families. We document our clients’ big days by creating timeless, light-filled images. Our goal is for our clients to cherish the photographs we take for years to come.
Describe your typical day.
Even though we mainly work from home, we start our workday at 9 AM each morning. Surprisingly, we do a lot more behind-the-scenes work than being on actual photo shoots. We are typically balancing our workload between editing photos, staying in communication with clients, keeping our website presence updated, and doing business research. It’s important for us to always be refining and building on our workflow, knowledge and skills so that we can offer the best possible product to our clients.
We also make an effort to enjoy each day, every day. It's important to our creative spirits to get outside sometimes, to take little breaks, to read books, to walk around--things to keep us inspired. Just like we have a "clock-in" time at 9 AM, we have a strict rule that we have to "clock-out" by 5 PM. Finally, we choose to take one full day completely off every week. You have to find a healthy balance of work discipline and nurturing your artistic abilities.
What do you LOVE about your job?
I love so many things about my job! I love that my job is such a people-oriented job and that I get to be a part of special moments in peoples’ lives. I enjoy that I get to be creative every day and work alongside my husband. We are committed to working with clients who share our artistic visions and philosophies, which makes every job a true pleasure.
We also get to make our own schedules and be our own bosses--which takes a lot of discipline, but is a wonderful benefit. It’s also so important to me to be in a job where I can continuously learn new things. I think that has such a positive affect on your life AND your work.
What do you NOT love about your job?
In wedding and portrait photography, it can be so easy to compare yourself to other photographers who have more experience than you. That can lead to a lot of unnecessary insecurity, if you let it. I have to consistently remind myself to focus on my own work and my personal progress, instead of comparing myself to someone who has been working much longer than me. In the wise words of Jon Acuff, "don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle."
What is your end goal?
My end goal is to produce beautiful work that my clients are thrilled about, and to have a great time with them in the process. We love feeling like our clients have become genuine friends. Also, to simply love what I do and feel like I can positively affect peoples’ lives.
What would your advice be to anyone interested in your job or field?
Be patient with yourself, but be persistent and photograph what you love! It’s so easy to get discouraged in creative fields, because they require discipline from people who usually see themselves as free spirits. If you love it, just keep at it, because in photography it can take a great deal of time to determine your personal style. Refuse to criticize yourself for not being perfect yet! This brief, inspiring video called THE GAP by Ira Glass explains the discouragement artists often feel as they're growing in their creative journey (I still feel this A LOT). It's a must-see.
To put it simply, be willing to put in the work,
and ENJOY the messy process along the way!
Do you have any advice for aspiring wedding photographers you would like to share? Post a comment! I'd love to hear what you have to say. Or if you need an inspirational soundtrack to get you going, check out our Spring Spotify Playlist.