Why am I a Wedding Photographer?

A business’s vision is one of those things that doesn’t happen overnight – usually it’s a long process of figuring out what’s at the heart of why you do what you do.  So, why am I a Wedding Photographer? For me, it stems from my own personal experience with wedding photos.  

I married my first husband in 1996.  Like most brides, I was super excited to plan my dream wedding.   I had purchased a planning book which gave me a timeline of when to do what and a basic percentage of how much each vendor’s service should cost based on my overall budget. 

I remember asking my Dad about hiring a wedding photographer and feeling so sad as he explained that the money just wasn’t there.  Several weeks later, my future brother in law brought his new girlfriend home to meet the family.  We will call her Janet.  She owned DSLR camera and was studying photography in high school, so she knew how to use it.  She even offered to photograph my bridal portraits and the wedding for FREE as a gift!   

Not long after, my bridal portraits were taken. It was early in the afternoon when the sun is high in the sky at a historic plantation.  My dress was beautiful, and it had a 9-foot cathedral train that I really wanted to show off.   Since Janet had never posed anyone in a wedding dress before, I decided to stand at the top of the front porch stairs allowing my train to cascade down the stairs.  After some dress fluffing, I turned to my right, twisted my upper body a little, and smiled as she took my picture.  

Seems like yesterday… I remember arriving a day early for my wedding. The venue grounds were sprinkled with pretty, colorful flowers.  The reflecting pond sparkled as the sun glistened on the white marble building where the ceremony would be held tomorrow.  The next morning, I woke up to snow on the ground.  All of the pretty flowers where covered and it was freezing!  Certainly, nothing else could go wrong!

Somehow in all of the getting married hustle and bustle, I failed to realize that Janet never planned on making the 6-hour road trip to our ceremony location.  I had seen an iconic shot of the bride and groom’s reflection in the reflecting pool with the venue in the background.  Above all, it was the shot that I wanted the most.  But no one knew how to recreate that shot. So, our family and friends took photos of us and our wedding party with their disposable or point and shoot cameras inside the venue.  In light of the situation, they did the best that they could.

Like most receptions, the lights were low to set the mood.  The white lights sparkled around that arch that had been so beautifully decorated as a backdrop for our photos.  Janet was there and she was taking photos.  When it came time for our first dance and the cake cutting part, Janet was right there capturing it all on camera.  

Finally, I received my wedding photos.  I couldn’t wait to get them home and look at them. After looking through some, my heart started to sink. I couldn’t really see my facial features in my bridal portraits as a result of harsh shadowing.  Even more disappointing was the fact that all of the important parts of our reception weren’t usable. Our first dance and the cake cutting looked like we were having an “out of body experience”.   

Of course, all I could do was cry.  I had nothing to remember our wedding by other than my memories.  News traveled quickly and our family soon started printing off their rolls of film and giving us their 4×6 size prints.  With the few more photos, I managed to put together a small album including the out of body experience photos.  

I had picked out a special place on our living room wall to hang a couple of wedding photos and a bridal portrait.  Sadly, none of the photos were high enough quality to print larger than a 4×6. 

Why do I tell you my story?  Why am I a Wedding Photographer? Because this is where my HEART is! No one should have to go through what I did!!  The vision statement is the foundation and compass for my business.  It serves as a guide for everything that I do before, during, and after a wedding or portrait session.  I push myself to constantly keep learning and to never forget that I play a special part in preserving those memories for a lifetime and beyond.

Bella Lumiere VisionWhy am I a Wedding Photographer

March 7, 2020

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