Cell phone photo by my 2nd photographer at Kara+David’s wedding last Sat.
I recently shared with you how I became a photographer so today I’d like to share with you how I became a wedding photographer and why I think I/we have the best job in the world. :)
When I decided I wanted to be a professional photographer, I had one teeny tiny problem. I had no idea what I wanted to shoot. I wanted to shoot anything and everything and any excuse to spend time with my camera was awesome but I knew I needed to narrow things down and have focus. Up until that point, I was mostly shooting flowers and sunsets and friends (and Bruno if he let me get near him with a camera). I considered doing portraits but I couldn’t afford a studio space and all the lighting that was needed (I had never heard of natural light photography at this point…that’s how little I knew then!). I toyed with the idea of food photography because, well, I like to eat. And maybe pets because I love dogs. You see why I was lost, right?
One day my best friend Ellen, who is a (fabulous) wedding coordinator, asked me if I would consider doing an engagement session and maybe co-shooting a wedding. My immediate thought? Hell no. I wasn’t going to be a wedding photographer! And what are engagement sessions?? Not only did I dislike attending weddings but I didn’t want to deal with bridezillas and be that guy running around sweating and puffing and lugging heavy gear (joke’s on me now haha). My exposure to wedding photography was VERY limited – I thought it was all cheesy, formal posing and the very few wedding photographers I’ve met were older men who always looked like they were in pain. No, thank you…
But then I thought…WHY NOT? Ellen’s clients were on a very limited budget and couldn’t include an engagement session in their package. They also liked the “vintage” style I was already editing my photos in and wondered if I could take a few photos at their wedding. I met with the couple and liked them so much I decided I wanted to help them out. Plus, it was work for my sparse portfolio.
I immediately began researching engagement sessions and wedding photography on the web and what I found blew me away. I discovered a world with beautiful light, soft colors, natural locations and couples who looked happy, relaxed, and in love. Basically, nothing like the photographs I grew up with. I never knew wedding photography was so beautiful and editorial and very artistic. I didn’t know you could edit your photos in so many different styles and that there were no real boundaries when it came to capturing emotions. These wedding photographers were documenting the day as it unfolds. It amazed me.
And that was what I visualized when I shot my first engagement session. I was a nervous wreck – couldn’t eat or sleep, I was practically hyperventilating and I thought I was going to pass out – but I told myself to keep things simple and natural and let the day unfold. That whole day was a blur but the couple was so patient and fun which made it so much easier for me (Judy and Don, if you’re reading this, thank you! And I miss you!). And when I got in my car to drive home after the session, I cried tears of relief and joy. I had done it. Not only had I done it, I survived it and I loved every.single.moment.
A shot from my very first engagement session in Pasadena (taken with my Nikon D60)
A shot from my first wedding (and first logo)
When I shot my first wedding, I thought ‘this is what it feels like to fall in love with something passionately and wholeheartedly’. I just knew, knew with all my being, that this was what I needed to do and what I was meant to do. After over 3 years of shooting weddings, I still feel this way – my love for weddings hasn’t diminished at all. It’s still my favorite thing to shoot along with engagement sessions.
People ask me all the time why I love and enjoy my job so much and it’s actually very simple – I have a job where the clients are happy, filled with hope and surrounded by so much love and support. And me? I get to feed off this positive energy! That’s pretty amazing and I can’t think of another job that allows you to be in this kind of surreal and wonderful world. I also have the most spectacular clients. None of my brides have been a “bridezilla” and I would be completely shocked if any one of my couples didn’t work out. I believe in their relationships and their love for each other and I will be the first to cheer them on because if anything, each of them have shown me what it means to give and receive love. And just be in love. It’s a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Have I made you want to be a wedding photographer? haha Wedding photography isn’t for everyone but it’s definitely for me. I’m very lucky and blessed to be doing this and to have people trust me to capture precious and poignant moments in their lives. It’s an honor and privilege I don’t take lightly and it touches my heart greatly.
If you’re reading this, thank you for your support and believing in me and being interested in my work. None of my dreams could come true without you guys helping me along and I’m always grateful for that. If I’ve captured moments in your beautiful lives then I hope to keep capturing more and if I haven’t, yet, I hope to be able to one day. I also love hearing from you so please don’t hesitate to share your thoughts with me or just say hello through comments or an email: nina [@] loveandlemonde.com
Talk soon! XO