When I chose to build a photography business, I was adamant that I wouldn’t become a wedding photographer – it just wasn’t my passion. I didn’t have a long-term plan – I knew I had a camera, I knew I was having fun using it, and I knew I wanted to pursue something that looked like a photography business. I had dreams with no plan, and dreams without direction fall apart quickly. So, I became a wedding photographer.
I began shooting weddings about a year after saying that I would “never”… turns out, I really did enjoy them, and I could spend a day shooting, a few weeks editing, and make about a month’s worth of the income that I was making at my “real” job.
A few years in, I was flying back and forth between KS and KY to shoot every weekend and, consequently, burning out. I was living on borrowed sleep, barely holding it together, crying at the drop of a hat, always missing the people I was leaving… my wedding photography business was booming, but my personal life was falling to pieces. I found myself dreading every wedding because of the emotional toll I knew that each would take. Then, I would love the actual day and the bride and groom so much that I would leave the wedding, kicking myself for ever questioning this career. However, the next would roll around, and I would be a ball of anxiety and depression all over again. I was on a roller-coaster of emotions with no end in sight.
Following that season, we moved and then welcomed our sweet girl into our world, and a heavy hammer dropped: I could continue to shoot weddings, or I could have my life and my business back. I know that sounds dramatic, but if I’m being honest, that’s what it came down to. So, I opted to drop weddings from my portfolio of services, choosing to shoot a select few on a “part-time” basis. I shot more family photos, and I finally had space and time to acknowledge what I loved about this “job” of mine to begin with. Without a wedding every other weekend and without being tied to my desk, editing my days away, I could step back and see that my best work came from the intimate moments I was shooting. My favorite wedding photos are always the bride and groom, just having a moment together, forgetting about the wedding and just being the couple they always are. My favorite family photos are the ones I take of dad when the little one is melting down and just needs a snuggle from her papa bear. My favorite newborn photos are when momma is changing baby’s clothes and is staring at the incredible gift that is this life, and she has no idea I’m still shooting. These aren’t just “candid” moments – these are the memories and the moments you have every day, and I just happen to be around to document them forever.
I don’t regret or wish to change a single thing about my wedding photography years. They were hectic and chaotic, but I got to photograph some incredible clients, I loved every single wedding day, I honed my craft, and I was forced to face the truth about who I am and what I do. And that truth is this: at the end of the day, I am most fulfilled by personalized sessions for my clients, sothat is what my focus will be going forward – weddings will no longer be something I am offering.
This kind of change is a little scary for me, but I’m making space in my life to love what I do and who I do it with, and that’s worth everything. I will be a better wife and momma, and I’ll even be a better photographer – this will be an incredible new season, and I’m excited about the clients who are in this with me.