Okay, I’m gonna do it. I’m really gonna do it. I’m going to divulge to the world what I want to be when I grow up. Ready? Ok, here it goes. I want to be a wedding photographer! However, not a ho-hum, run of the mill, “my-6-year-old-could-have-taken-that-picture, photographer. I’m going to be a kick-ass (excuse my language, I’m a little excited!), photojournalistic, editorialish, wedding photographer. The photographer that places the bride and groom in a story, not just a stiff pose. The photographer that captures fleeting moments that others didn’t even realized happened. Yep, that’s going to be me.
I just need to learn the kick-ass and photography part. No biggie.
It has been a long road to get to this point. In August, 2010, my youngest child was finally in school so I went back to school. After two semesters, we moved from Oklahoma to Colorado Springs, CO. I signed up at the local community college right away to try to finish my associate’s degree. (Only 2 semesters to go!) Moving in the middle didn’t help the process because some classes didn’t transfer. Transferring schools has been a headache. Not knowing what I wanted to be when I finished school… a bigger headache.
When people asked me what I was going to school for, I would tell them “Art. Possibly graphic design, but I’m not 100% sure on that.” Recently I even thought about teaching. I love the hours! With three school age children it could be a perfect fit. Honestly, the hours were more attractive than teaching. That’s just not fair to the kids.
Enter the Photography 101 course. I took the class just for fun and to learn the camera my husband gave to me for Christmas a year and a half earlier. I really wanted to get of “auto” mode.
I really enjoyed the class, and I learned so much (and made two GREAT friends). I also realized that I wasn’t half bad! I even felt creative. My instructor even described some of my photos as “stunning”. I knew it was a great fit. However, it was just for fun. After all, a photographer I met at my daughter’s track meet laughed, “no one makes a living at photography.” Well, in that case, when someone with two cameras attached to enormous lenses hanging from her neck puts it that way, why would I even consider photography as a career?
I have the luxury to stay home with my three kiddos. I was a Pampered Chef consultant for 11 years which helped our budget and was a way for me to have some adult conversations. It started as something “for fun” and for a little extra cash, but I gained so much from the experience. I used to be a shy wallflower, but because of The Pampered Chef, I’m still a wallflower, only now, a much brighter one.
After we moved I decided that I needed to let The Pampered Chef go. It was a tough decision and a very emotional one. Pampered Chef was what I knew. It was all I could imagine. I couldn’t see past it. However, I knew that my heart hadn’t been in it for a long time. Deep in my heart I knew I needed to move on. I told people that I needed to find what my heart was yearning for. I needed to find what I was meant to do. I needed to finish school and find what was next. I finally let go. April 2012 was my last official month as a consultant. That’s when things started to change. Even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
Fast-forward to Memorial Day weekend. We traveled to Denver for a wedding of some friends. I watched the photographer shoot the ceremony with what seemed to be a simple camera. At the outdoor reception I took a few photos of the wedding cake, guests, and kids. Simply for practice and my own enjoyment. As the sun started to set I decided to check my nerves at the door and ask the bride and groom if I could take a few photos of them in the beautiful evening light. After all, the photographer was long gone. I had an idea that I couldn’t get out of my head. They graciously agreed. After I snapped the photos I envisioned the father of the groom (a good friend) requested a few different angles and ideas. Then, the bride asked for a photo of their shoes because the photographer hadn’t taken them. I was on a roll! She also said she couldn’t wait to see some of the photos I took after the photographer left. Although, still very nervous. I took several shots and I was happy with them. Then, I didn’t think much of it.
A few weeks later I somehow stumbled on the website of an “international wedding photographer based in Orange County” by the name of Jasmine Star. Oh my. I was hooked. I couldn’t pull myself away from her website or her YouTube videos. I was intrigued with her, her photography skills, and her transparency. Come to find out, she said she wanted to become a wedding photographer before she had even held a digital camera. Woo hoo, I’m one up! I took a class! I watched every free video I could find. Then, one day it happened. While contemplating teaching vs. graphic design, and having no emotional connection to either of them, I came across this video. I found myself a blubbering mess. That was at that moment I knew I wanted to become a wedding photographer.
I think I’ll choose to follow Jasmine Star’s advice instead of the track meet photographer. She’s making a living at photography. A good one.
Hmmm… Does this mean I have to grow up now?