In the age of iPhones cameras that are more technically advanced than my first DSLR, the term photographer doesn't mean what it used to. It's very easy and affordable to get started in photography today and there are a lot of people who enjoy taking photos in their free time. I love working with people who have been bitten by the photography bug, and it's so much fun to see the excitement in their eyes as they discover new things and learn to see the world the way a camera does.
My first few years with a camera I was so frustrated with any portraits I took. I had so little experience with overall composition and was just starting to learn how to read and use light. The photos just never looked very good and I was so distracted by all the different technical parts of creating the images that I never connected with my subjects - I didn't even understand how important it was to connect with them in order to create great images!
A lot of other photographic artists might disagree with me, but like I mentioned before society is basically at the point where the word "photographer" doesn't refer to anyone with any specific knowledge or experience so I'm going to use the term "artist" to describe myself from here on out.
I'm an artist. Photography is my medium, and weddings are my studio.
Spending the last 10+ years experimenting with photography and learning the technical side of things has finally begun to pay off! My eye now automatically seeks out the good light in a situation, and it's almost like muscle memory - getting the right settings to use that light is now second nature. This leaves me to focus on the emotion, the facial expression, and the moment which is the difference between the current "photographer" and an artist.
This is so important when it comes to wedding photography! Think about it - how many times have you posed for a picture, felt awkward in front of the camera, and the photos just didn't show your personality? For so many people, the first professional portraits they have are taken on their wedding day.
Getting to know my subjects is the most important part of my job as a wedding photographer, and I think this is why I am draw to weddings over family / senior portrait sessions. I need more time to get to know who you are as a person so I can make that person show in the photographs. I absolutely am in love with capturing a person's essence in a photograph, and with couples I get to capture not just who they each are as individuals, but also who they are together.
Creating beautiful photographs is one thing, but creating beautiful photographs of the essence of a person is another. As a LGBTQ person I've spent an insane amount of time finding out who I am and accepting myself. It's taken years and that is part of why I'm so focused on capturing the essence of a person in a portrait. For some people it comes so natural, it's so easy to just be themselves but it's been a very long and hard struggle for me to even know who that person is. I absolutely love being able to find that person within my clients and bring it to the surface, visually shape them with beautiful light and create art of them!