I could gush all day about how INCREDIBLE this wedding was. From the perfect couple to the incredible vendor team to the amazing people who were included in the day. One of the coolest things about Franny & Tucker's wedding day was that Franny's goal was to embody their relationship and personalities in the most genuine way. They used 7 words as guidelines for their wedding day:
Joyful :: Simple :: Original :: Playful :: Unpretentious :: Inclusive :: Imperfect
At my wedding in Orange Beach on Saturday, I had several people ask me if I travel often for weddings and portrait sessions, the answer is a thousand percent YES! Almost half of my weddings this year are out of Birmingham!
Here is my current travel schedule for the year. If I am going to be in your city soon (or you'd like for me to come to your city) and you'd like a photo session, let me know! Engagement session and senior portrait season is among us and I love making portraits in new places!
I haven't forgotten about 2017 either! I have already started making plans to be in South Carolina, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and California!
As Spike and I approach our 3 year anniversary next month, I have been thinking about so many things. Mostly because of how busy the two of us have been in our own work, I have lately fallen into a spiral of 'what do I need.' But yesterday as I was running all over the place, I stopped by our loft and even though I felt hurried and had a to-do list in my head that was a mile long, I sat down and flipped through our wedding album and remembered OUR day.
Photographing your weddings brings me so much joy and it reminds me of the incredible joy that I felt on my own wedding day. As I watch you interact with your loved ones I am reminded of how it feels to be surrounded by every person who loves you along with every person who loves and cares for the one you love the most. It is the only time in your life that ALL of those people will be together, and they are there for YOU! It is truly incredible and my gosh it is an amazing thing to witness! But when it's all over and the sparkle of the wedding day fades and everyone goes back to their lives, it is just you and your beloved.
And the cool thing is, this is where the fun begins. The two of you begin to work together and create a life that is no longer just yours. You become a team. And just like every team in history, you will have your good, bad, and ugly games (and even seasons). The main thing to remember is that when you're feeling down and thinking about what "I" need, stop, take a moment to remember that you have help. You have a team mate that knows your strengths and your weaknesses and who wants to stand beside you and encourage you and help you.
As wedding season has begun to throw things at me that cause a roller coaster of joy, fun and even stress, I have had to remind myself to step beside the one I love and walk together in this crazy hectic life because I want nothing more than to be doing life together.
I ask you to pass through life at my side - to be my second self, and best earthly companion.
- Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte
Purpose : the reason why something is done or used: the aim or intention of something.
- Miriam Webster's Dictionary
Today I was mindlessly checking my Facebook for the umpteenth time when I came across a great blog post that my friend and fellow photographer shared from Jenna Kutcher's blog.
Yes, I admit it, I mindlessly click on the FB app without even realizing! It's like the social media fairies fly into my brain and force me to scroll through my feed even though I already saw the same 15 posts less than an hour ago! I like to think I am smart enough, social enough, creative enough, strong willed enough to go without the drug that is social media, but I am not.
The post was about the things that 'no one knows about wedding photography' and it is 100% accurate! Jenna candidly describes the dreadful fears of losing memory cards, the night terrors of camera malfunctions, the crazy hyper-focus moments we go through in a day, and the dreaded non-alcohol related "Sunday Hangovers." But her final two sentences are the all-encompassing truth about why, after I shot my first wedding I was hooked. "As we live and breathe and move through your day, we are pretending as if it is our own and documenting it in such a way that it will be impossible for you to forget it. The thing about being a wedding photographer is that at the end of the night when I hug you and say goodbye, I am secretly praying that this won’t be the last time our paths cross, because I have lived this entire day through your eyes and I never want to forget it or forget you."
Three years after second shooting my first wedding I started my little business. My one and only goal has been to create a memorable experience for my clients. I want that experience to result in imagery that will serve as a constant reminder of the amazing gift of marriage. I don't care if my images make it into a magazine or get the most likes on Instagram. Yeah, it's pretty cool to get recognized for my work, but that is not the true PURPOSE for my images... Think back to the days of our parents and grandparents. The purpose of their wedding photos was not to post them on social media to show off their 'dream wedding' to people they hardly even know! When you were a kid you didn't click through grandma's Facebook album to see her professional wedding photos mixed in with the crappy iPhone shots that your second cousin snapped. No, you sat and flipped through a beautiful album or held prints in your hands as she told you her love story. The purpose of those images was, is and will always be to tell a story. And while I am still learning how to make this 'experience' better and more memorable for my couples, I can guarantee that getting "likes" and "shares" isn't where I am spending my time.
Getting back to Jenna's post, nothing could be more true than her last two sentences. I have said it over and over again, truly KNOWING my clients is so important to me and to my process! By the time I arrive on a wedding day, I have already invested months of my heart and soul (and time) getting to know my couples. Most of the time it truly feels like I am walking into a friend's wedding, and by the end of it I don't want the friendship to end.
One of the best examples of this feeling came on the night of Andrea and Miles' wedding. Andrea was a bride who truly knew the purpose of a wedding. When we met to talk about her photography timeline she told me she could care less if I photographed the flowers or her shoes (even though I did because they were amazing!), she told me that my presence was important because we had become friends and because she knew I would capture the day as it happened and I would get the photos of her and Miles together on their wedding day, starting their marriage together. She knew that the moments of the day are what she will look back at, not the things. Andrea and Miles knew my purpose, the purpose of the photos and most importantly, the purpose of a wedding.
The purpose of a wedding is not to have magazine worthy photographs or the best hashtag so everyone who wasn't there can feel like they missed out. The purpose of a wedding is first and foremost a marriage. The reason a bride and groom take vows in front of their family, friends and God is to make a promise as a foundation for their marriage. I am so thankful that I have clients who know this and value it. In this day and age, social media is a blessing and a curse. My business wouldn't be where it is without Facebook and Instagram. But just like I must remember that my purpose as a photographer is to create an experience that allows my clients to remember why they had a wedding, we must also remember the purpose of social media. It's a means of connection, not comparison.