Why am I a Photographer?

February 26, 2018

My dad always loved photography, so we always had photography books around the house. Some of my favorites to look through included “The Instant It Happened” – a book of images from photojournalists taken…you guessed it–the instant it happened. Some like the war photographs were difficult to look at (particularly as a little kid) but I was fascinated by the power of photography and what a photographer was capable of capturing in the matter of a second. Also, a large red velvet coffee table book of images published in TIME magazine from the 20th century. I took a photo class in high school where I learned how to process my own film and work in a dark room printing my own photographs. It was so exhilarating! That led me to taking black and white film photography classes in college where I continued to work in a dark room, submitting and showing work at local galleries in southern California and eventually shooting my first wedding! I was 19 and my friend’s older sister was getting married and had a teeny budget but a whole lotta love and faith in me as a burgeoning photographer.

The Camera, published in 1970. One of my dad’s old photography books.

This continued over time – shooting weddings for friends or family until I met a wedding planner who was also starting to get her feet wet in the world of wedding photography. I built my portfolio slowly but surely until it became a full-time gig. It was such an organic process. I know there are photographers out there who up and quit their jobs to assist or second shoot after deciding they want to be wedding photographers having never done it before. I love hearing stories like that! My process wasn’t so immediate. Would you believe it if I told you that wedding I shot for my friend’s older sister was 18 YEARS AGO?! That feels like a lifetime ago, but it is such an important part of my journey as a photographer.

I have shot weddings for so many different types of couples, people from all around the world, seen a variety of customs and traditions honored at weddings and I have to say even with the myriad choices you can make for how to celebrate your wedding, at the end of the day, weddings are not so different from one another. I’m about to write something that sounds cheesy, BUT I mean this wholeheartedly and am speaking from experience. All weddings are about celebrating the love between two people among the people who love them the most. This is what I’m drawn to most and the reason I love this job so much. Sure there are pros and cons to the job – like busy seasons and slow seasons – but ultimately I feel fulfilled doing what I do. Working with happy people in love and excited to get married, being creative and doing it in my own way. Weddings are often one of the happiest days in a person’s life. I get to be there to see all the little moments, laughs, happy tears that are shared between the couple and their family. The joy is contagious! Not sure what other job can bring as much joy and happiness. Delivering babies perhaps? Not going to med school anytime though. (;