As a wedding photographer, I have found that when you attend further education conferences in photography world, something that will come up over and over again is; ‘remember your why’. Teachers and brilliant photographers are constantly challenging people to remember this. This might sound like a simple and somewhat obvious thing. Why am I a wedding photographer? Hmmmmm…. Yet somehow I feel like important things are rarely answered simply.
Most of my friends who are photographers generally have unique and interesting stories of why they first got into the industry. But it’s not uncommon for them to have similarities in their stories as well. A life change affected them to push for their dream. A desire to work from home. A hope of quitting their “real” jobs and being a wild and free photographer. Ehem.
Mine is a little different. I grew up studying photography. Many of you know my grandmother, who was my favorite person on the planet, was a wedding photographer for 40 years. I learned so much from her, but her passion and kindness to people was something I treasured the most. She knew her ‘why’. Most photographers have a ‘season’ in their photography careers of ‘carrying bags’… aka running around like a crazy person holding ice lights (just kidding, we didn’t have those then, but my team has super buff arms) and moving chairs for the people with the actual cameras. I had the privilege of doing this for my grandmother.
Then I studied. I went to school and I read books in my spare time away from school. I walked in circles with my film camera and a notepad writing things down like; ‘frame 7 shutter 125 3f film 400 bright sun facing into the shadows’. I was a cool kid. AND I loved it. LOVED the excitement of getting the images developed and seeing what I’d done, and trying to do better.
Then came digital, and film cameras were more expensive and harder to keep the ones you had in good shape. Everyone loved digital…. I did not. Truly, not everyone loved digital. I’m sure there were lots of snobby ‘real camera’ people like me but for the most part, no one cared that I was mad about the change in the industry and the world went on without me. My film cameras then started breaking down one after another and I became more and more heartbroken when rolls of film I lovingly shot were destroyed.
So I stopped.
I am a long way from that now, and it’s hard to remember that point in my life when I didn’t have a camera in my hand. I have wholeheartedly adjusted to digital photography, although my images probably still look a bit like I’m shooting on film. Grandma would be proud. 😉 So much of how I live and think has to do with visual ideas. How I can create something different and try to build something unique to each client and each wedding. It is so much of my world.
Back to remembering my why. The reason I think they ask questions like that, or remind photographers that they need to ask these questions of themselves, is because in the midst of life, we have to keep the love of photography real or we’ll have nothing to give not only ourselves but our brides.
I had to get to the point that no matter how many cameras broke or what setbacks I might experience as a person or a business owner, I can still feel delight when I see an image for the first time that I hope is going to be significant.
It’s not enough for me to love photography, I have to know WHY I love photography.
Of course if you’ve hung around this blog much at all, you know my focus is people. I adore people and their love stories. I want to make something that will be significant, not only in their story, but also remembering their story.
There are pleanty of the day to day parts of life that are just, how shall we put it… looooonngggg. Or better yet, there are things we need to push through to get to the final image. When I’m on hour 53 of editing wedding images, I have the tendency to want to lose my passion for photography… 😉
The question is if my why is seeing the beauty in people, their stories and creating something significant for them, how do I keep my passion alive so that when the camera breaks, I am too invested in the process to walk away like I did all those years ago?
This blog is an unusual one. It is a collection of images from my cell phone. I make a point to NOT carry big cameras around on a daily basis. We all have these fantastic cameras attached to our phones but that’s a whole other blog post. 😉 Today I’m sharing this odd post as ‘real’ picture of my daily life. My coffee loving, tea drinking, vegan-ish, California, cold weather, dance appreciating, art enjoying, book reading, music obsessed me…
Today I wanted to share a glimpse into who I am, although instagram filtered and selective of course, it’s a little of what makes me passionate as a person. And helps me keep my ‘why’ on. I hope it brings a little smile to your day. 🙂