Sunday afternoon as I was leaving church I ran into my friends, Damien and Michelle. They live out of state and I haven’t seen them in a few years so it was a little bit of a surprise. However, the point of this post and the significance of our relationship is that they were the first couple to ask me to shoot their wedding. That little question changed my whole life and the world as I see it.
All throughout high school and the first two years of college, I had a little Olympus point and shoot digital camera (This was back in the first generation of digital cameras). When I got to college I started posting a photo on my blog everyday and called it “Picture of the Day”. The funny thing is that this was all before the word “Blog” had been coined, in fact it was back before Facebook, mySpace, Twitter, Xanga or anything else of that kind existed. I was hand writing all the code and figuring things out as I went.
Somehow through a photo I posted of Damien on my blog, he got set up on a blind date with Michelle. Things went well and before I knew it they were engaged. Then came the big question. They asked me if I wanted to shoot their wedding! I loved taking photos and had toyed with the idea of pursuing it professionally. But I knew I didn’t want something I liked doing so much to become just a tedious job, so I thought it would probably be better to stay an amateur. However, I suddenly found myself tingling with excitement at the possibility of shooting this wedding in only 9 months. I told them I would see what kind of equipment and experience I could round up and I would give then an answer in a few months.
I started asking everyone I could think of that took professional photos how I could get some experience and good equipment. One person told me to take a class. So I signed up for a summer class at my college. Someone else told me while I was on a mission’s trip to take a lot of photos. So I borrowed a 35mm SLR and shot a few dozen rolls of film while I was in India the next month. Someone else told me to find someone to apprentice under. So I started asking around till I met my now good friend Louis. He has been shooting professionally full time for 20 some years and let me tag along and take some photos at some weddings with him. Then as God would have it, the college group at my church called me up and asked if I wanted to take over the website and do all the photos for the ministry of over 1000 students. I said I would do it, but I would need a nicer camera. Our pastor decided it was worth the investment and purchased a semi-professional camera and lens for me to use. It was a whirlwind of two months, but God let everything fall into place and I ended up with some school experience, wedding experience, international experience, and a semi-professional SLR camera all in two months. I told Damien and Michelle I would do their wedding!
Five days before the wedding the nightmares started. Everything that could go wrong in my dreams did. I don’t think I have ever been more nervous about doing something. But I borrowed a second camera so I would have a back-up and brought a friend with me to help shoot. I’m getting close to having photographed 150 weddings since then, and my photos have changed a lot. But the old fear of photography becoming tedious hasn’t come true! The more I shoot the more I love it, and I thank God for the chance he gave me to capture His world through my lens and love what I do!
Here’s a few photos from Damien and Michelle’s wedding, as well as a quick one I snapped on Sunday with my iPhone. Crazy they have a couple kids now! Sorry the one from my iPhone is so bad, I should have waited for a smile at least. =). Thanks again for trusting me with your big day and changing my life forever!
iPhone photo: Apple needs to work on their white balance in florescent lights.