Last weekend my husband and I took our almost one-year-old up the coast the coast of California to see some friends and tour the great San Francisco. It was an unforgettable trip with the awe-inspiring coastline, the perfect sunny weather in the city, and the good times had with friends.
On April 3, 2014 a handsome man named Jason insisted I go on a date with him. I had been in the middle of college coursework, finishing my B.A. degree in Psychology. His rugged good looks and gentlemanly charm made it impossible to say no. We met for drinks at the Blue Agave in Santa Barbara that evening.
I can’t explain what the conversation was like, only that from that very first date, I felt like I had met the perfect guy. Our conversation had substance from the very first date and he encourage me to pursue my dreams like no one ever had encouraged me to pursue them before.
Fast forward to June 27, 2015 and we had a dreamy wedding day with less than 40 guests. For our honeymoon we whisked off to Santa Barbara and spent the weekend drinking chardonnay on the beach, soaking up the sun, and enjoying the city we fell in love in.
Today we live a beautiful life in the city of Ventura, California with my stepson, Isaac, baby boy Declan, and our little puppy Violet. Our lives in California are so blessed… I mean, who could complain living within a few miles of the beach? Life is a dream and my wedding photos constantly remind me of that. Perhaps that is why I love to capture other people’s wedding days. There is nothing like having a job where you have to show up to a happy, love-filled celebration each time you work. It is a dream job–my dream job, and I’m so grateful for the opportunity to photograph people’s special day.
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!