Probably the question I get asked the most frequently by clients and potential clients is how I got started shooting weddings. And honestly? It kind of happened by accident.
When I first started shooting professionally, I shot portraits – maternity, newborns, and family. I spent practically an entire summer shooting maternity sessions in Stanley Park. I’d be on the bus with my gear, my step ladder, and my bag of tricks to keep siblings entertained. Weddings were pretty much entirely off my radar because I’d decided they were way too high pressure. I got really good at fart jokes, funny voices, and waving flashy objects in one hand while shooting with the other. But I knew that something was missing.
Once I got engaged, the most important part of wedding planning became finding my photographer. Through my engagement session, wedding day, and day after/trash the dress session (it POURED rain on my wedding day!), I realized that weddings weren’t necessarily high pressure. Our photographer had shared in my excitement through the entire planning process and we’d developed a relationship that was uniquely ours. I was disappointed because I knew I could never have this kind of relationship with my portrait clients.
My wife’s best friend was getting married in September, six months after our wedding, and she’d decided she wasn’t going to have a photographer. I loved our wedding photos so much that I couldn’t wrap my head around the idea of getting married without a photographer. I told her I could do it for a fraction of what it would cost to hire an established photographer with the condition that I could be there when she saw her photos for the first time. She agreed.
I spent the months leading up to the wedding reading everything I could about wedding photography. Over the summer, I shot an engagement party at Spanish Banks for a friend of a friend. Sharing these images online lead to booking my second wedding in December. After posting maternity and newborn sessions all summer, I booked my third wedding for the following May. At this point I knew I was all in and invested in a full frame camera and a flash.
The week leading up the wedding was the most stressed I’ve been in my entire life, but the stress disappeared as soon as I arrived to start shooting. There’s nothing quite like the energy of a wedding day. The anticipation, excitement, love, the sentimental stories and laughs, and tears. I was hooked immediately.
Everything hit me while I was shooting their first dance. That the day had been full of little moments that, however fleeting, meant the world to a lot of people. That these moments will live on forever in the hearts of those who were there to witness them, and that my images would be there should they ever need to be reminded. I felt so fortunate to be trusted with these memories.
I spent countless hours editing the 312 images I ultimately delivered. I found instrumental versions of songs from their wedding day and created a slideshow. I watched the slideshow probably 30 times before deciding that my first wedding was finished. I remember sitting with them through the slideshow. We all cried. We watched the slideshow again and cried some more.
I have learned a lot about shooting weddings since 2012… from taking courses, to working for other photographers, to being part of so many amazing love stories. But I will be forever grateful to Allison and Chris for trusting me before I knew to trust myself.