My First Wedding

Art, Photography, Wedding Photography

I’ll never forget when I haphazardly threw an ad up on Craigslist offering wedding photography services as a 21 year old, with a basic Canon T2i camera and no wedding photography experience.

I was living in Santa Barbara finishing my B.A. in Psychology and nannying for a family in Goleta. I lived in a tiny studio-sized apartment nestled in my landlord’s backyard. It was technically a “grandmother’s quarters” and they rented it out to me for a very low price because they were my boss’ best friends.

Like any other day glancing through my emails I noticed one that caught my eye– a response to my Craigslist ad. I eagerly read the email from a wedding planner who said her best friend was having a small beach wedding and backyard reception and that an amateur photographer’s work would be just fine for this wedding. She had seen other photos of mine– weird, artsy, abstract photos from my art classes at Biola University and novice photography of family and friends.


She set the price and I was shocked. It was much higher than I would have ever asked for as an unexperienced photographer. The price now would probably be about the price I would do for about 4 hours of photography.

It was such a major achievement in my books. To this day I still marvel that someone took a chance on me and gave me my first wedding experience. I learned so much from that wedding and all the weddings after.

When I look back I can think of all the mistakes I made. I knew so little. I find it funny that my first wedding happened to be one of the most difficult lighting situations a photographer can get–harsh sunlight at midday.


Yep. Their beach ceremony was during the brightest and hottest part of the day at the Refugio State Beach.

Back then I actually thought bright sunlight was great for photos. Ha! How wrong I was.

But by the grace of God I managed to get decent photos (perhaps I used Auto…I can’t remember) and I was able to provide my client with enough great photos for them to cherish forever.

One thing is for sure, I have learned so much over the course of all the weddings I’ve done.

Taylor Jackson, the hot shot Canadian photographer and YouTuber, pointed out the importance of editing your own photos. In having to edit his own photos in the beginning it taught him what mistakes he was making and how to correct his photographing skills. I couldn’t agree more. The old cliche is true–it’s all about learning from your mistakes and growing from it.

I’m so grateful for all the wedding experience I’ve had so far and I can’t wait to share what I’ve learned with others!


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