photography

What I do, and why I do it...

I really don't write blogs about me personally. However I felt I needed to share my thoughts with you today about me and photography. This is pretty long but please take the time to read. 

Over the last couple of months I have been asked a few times "what made you decide to get in to photography?" Also, Ive been asked many many times "why do you want to be a wedding photographer? Isn't that a hectic job?" Before I give you the answer, let me say this...it wasn't a decision to get into photography, it was a want, a desire, an absolute yearning. I feel when you decide or make a decision there is always another option. For me I felt there wasn't another option. Well let me put it this way...I wanted no other options, nothing else distracting me for what I felt was a true passion to photography. Some may describe it as a calling. I call it LOVE!! So if you or someone else asks me again "What made you decide to get in to photography?" My answer to you or them is simply LOVE.

I have always loved photography as a kid but was steered to another profession that my heart wasn't in to. I went to college for it, studied hard as I could and got a degree...and believe me that degree never panned out. However it is a nice feature piece in my office. :) Even throughout all the years in my life, photography was still always burning and yearning to be in the forefront. The love of this creative art finally just overwhelmed me one day and I made the leap.  Was it easy? NO! Was it tough? Absolutely! Is it still tough and hard to break into the business? YES! Do I regret my love for it? NEVER!!

I LOVE photography and it is as simple as that. Do I like getting paid for the images I create? Absolutely I do.  I still need to keep a roof over my family's head and provide the necessities for my family. However, that LOVE for being behind that camera is something special. My LOVE for photography and especially wedding photography is just like love for a person. My second paragraph sort of describes that LOVE, just substitute some things and switch around some words and you may get something like this....

...It's like that girl or guy back in the day that you felt that connection to or spark for but never did anything about it. You felt in down in your gut that that person was the one for you, but you allow others or other reasons steer you in another direction.  You go off to college and/or continue on with your life dating other people or simply living life...but that person is always in your thoughts. Then one day you are out there around town, in another city, at a party or whatever or somewhere and you see that person again. At that moment all those feelings you had for that person comes back tenfold and just floods your body, mind and soul and you make that leap.  You make that leap because you know this isn't a decision, you make that leap because you know there is no one else for you and you feel you need to do this and you two are meant to be. And you do it! Dry mouth, nervousness, sweaty palm and all, you take that leap to tell them how you really feel and felt all this time. They reciprocate the feeling and things move and it all works out. You are with the person of you knew was meant to be with and the person you LOVE. Will that relationship has it tough times? Probably. Will you two always see eye to eye on everything? No you will not. Will there be a time where you will have to fight hard for your relationship? Maybe. If all those things happened that I just described would you regret it or do it all over again? If you LOVE that person like I LOVE photography, you wouldn't regret it a bit and would do it all over again in a heartbeat. I'm not saying this is how everyone falls in love with someone or something. I understand that. This is simply how I feel.  If I didn't take that leap how would I feel today? I would be always questioning this and that. Or asking myself what could have happened if I wouldn't have at least tried? The two words you don't ever want to say is "WHAT IF?".

I fell in LOVE like this before 3 times in my life and I will tell you in exact order.  I use to think that I fell in LOVE with my wife that way first but she was actually second. First I fell in LOVE with GOD that way. He gave me the LOVE that I knew as a kid and manifested it into a LOVE that I now have and cherish as an adult which brings me to #2. Second I truly fell in LOVE with my wife after GOD taught me how to LOVE the right way. This all happened after we were married. I always knew I loved her but this was a different kind of LOVE that GOD gave and allowed me to understand that I can't really put a finger on, but when you feel it you know it. We have not had the storybook and fairytale marriages that are portrayed sometimes on TV, but I THANK GOD for allowing me a second chance to meet her again after she went away a while after college.  This woman has supported me through so much in my life. Through both GOD and my wife's LOVE I fell in LOVE a third time and that was with photography. I know this maybe cheesy to some of you but to me this is what happened to me.

So this is why I cherish wedding and engagement photography, as well as couples photography. The idea of a two individuals taking that leap to marry each other and to love each other is so amazing to me. Having a photographer photograph them and freeze that moment in time is breathtaking and being a wedding and engagement photographer is not a job or work for me...it is an absolute HONOR. As a wedding and engagement photographer you are allowed into a couple's intimate and private space. To me I love being a part of that. I love to capture those moments between two people where they basically forget about you (the photographer) being there and it is just them in that moment. Those are the images that made me fall in LOVE with wedding and engagement photography. When I capture an image and you hold the print in your hand or see that image in your album and it makes you instantly remember what he or she said to you in your ear to make you look at the them with endearment, or laughter or a glowing smile and make you realize why you fell in love with them the first place, I know I've done what I was suppose to do. That's my goal in the images that I capture. I LOVE what I do because I have a passion, a yearning, a calling so-to-speak to capture LOVE and freeze it in time. Why I do it is because, I want you to feel the same LOVE for your husband or wife when you look at the image of each other and know that just like my leap, your leap was well worth it.

Until we meet...Stay happy...Love life...and Keep smiling!!

Myrtle Beach Train Depot Wedding Photographer | Myrtle Beach, SC

Oh the Myrtle Beach Train Depot Wedding.  This wedding was AWESOME!! Bright colors, good music and a Pastor taking a selfie with the couple right after the kiss!! Fun fun and more fun was this wedding.  I had the opportunity to work with the BEAUTIFUL Feuza Reis on this wedding. This lady knows how to work a wedding. By working with her she taught me a lot but one thing stands out...CONFIDENCE.  She owns it and works it.  It was an honor to work with her.

Getting back to this wedding...this was a fun loving, party atmosphere.  They were there to celebrate, and celebrate they did.  From the time you walked in, the mood is set to instill fun into your brain. From walking past the coolest looking photo booth that resembles an old school karaoke machine, to coming up the steps into the Depot and seeing a table full of colorful candy and goodies, with the addition of the colorful decor on the tables and the string lights swaying from the ceiling and the DJ booth in the corner, you know there was a good vibe going on. And the ladies that attended this wedding knew how to "wobble, wobble"! Colorful ceremony, colorful people, great dancing and a good ole time at the Train Depot!  Thank you again Feuza for allowing me to work with you.  It was an honor and I look forward to the next one with you!

PS--Beware of the Love Potion #9 drink.  That thing has a Kick!!

Research, Learn and then be a Second Shooter 1st

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So you wanna be a Wedding Photographer. You want to photograph those extravagant country and city weddings. You want to be able to charge un-Godly amounts for your photography services. So you went out and purchased a DSLR and you are ready to book your first wedding. WHHOOOAAAA!!! Slow down and take a few steps back. Believe me it's not as easy as that.  I had sort of the same mindset but I realized I missed a few steps.

Before I get into this, let me tell you about my experience as a wedding photographer. I have no experience as a wedding photographer. But keep reading.  I just started out in this business and had all these grand ideas and goals and then realized that you have to do some leg work in a very saturated professional market like wedding photography. So I took a breath and started working on how to become one by taking certain steps.  Now I am not saying that my way is right or is the only way to do it, but it's what I have doing to get my foot into the market.

First I researched what gear would I need to assist me in creating great images. That took me about 6-8 months to do. Because I am simply weird when it comes to buying things like this. So I read every stinking article that is available and view every video I can get my hand on and read every customer review to help me narrow down my decision. And sometimes you can't afford the gear you really want so you have to do research on backup ideas and so on and so on. But forums, videos and gear companies like B&H and Adorama are great starting points.

Next I dedicated myself to learning, learning, learning and yes...more learning.  I took classes,  I watch tutorials (Fstoppers and SLR Lounge are absolutely awesome to learn from), I read articles and watched videos of photographer interviews of the photographers I admired (Cliff Mautner, Joe Buissink, Patrick Hall, Lee Morris, Hunter McRae). I also studied the work of outstanding local photographers in the Myrtle Beach. So I was and still am always reading and watching and asking fellow photographers questions. I want to learn, I want to grow, but most importantly I want this information that I soak in to resonate in my work in the future. In the business of photography I think you are never "there" I think there is something to always to learn to grow your skill set. So why not continued to learn a long the way.

Next I started reaching out to other photographers to find work and gain experience. Whether it was being a second shooter or an assistant on a wedding, a commercial shoot, an event...I simply didn't care. I wanted to gain experience. I used my teacher for his resources to see if he had contacts.  With his connections my first real gig was a gymnastics shoot.  A weekend long state gymnastics competition. You may say, what does that have to do with wedding photography? Well let me tell you.  It allowed me to learn and experience two things. One...what it meant to be on your feet for about 8-14 hours holding a camera. Second, by the end of the weekend it taught me how to anticipate a moment.  Two things that wedding photography demands. So that situation taught me those two valuable things. But I didn't stop there. I started emailing the photographers that I admired their work from the Myrtle Beach, Charleston and North Carolina areas to find opportunities to work and learn from some of them.  Then by doing that I found other great photographers that I didn't know of.  I joined Facebook photography groups in my area and in other areas. I simply didn't just sit a home and wait for someone to call or reach out to me.  I took jobs for free because I felt the experience was valuable.  Don't get me wrong I like money but sometimes I felt I had to sacrifice to learn.  This process of mine gave me the opportunity to work with great photographers like Keith Jacobs, Scott Smallin, Jarrett Hucks, Feuza Reis and Patrick Hall. I learned a lot from each one of those opportunities and then I learn more when I see my images and they critique them. I still have a list of photographers just from my state that I would love to work with and learn from (Hunter McRae and Gillian Claire Reinhardt...I am not giving up)

So find your own way to break into the market. I am still working hard to get in there and I will continue to work hard. not saying my way is the gospel but it has been working for me.

 

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