I often get asked how I became a wedding photographer, or why I chose photography, and to be honest it’s not a simple answer. I can attribute different skills I carry with me to different experiences at different times of my life, but I can’t think of one specific moment where I knew for certain I would become a photographer. It was a career path I was gently nudged into over time.
In 2008 I sat in my Nana Earlene’s crowded living room in Tennessee with 20 other family members as my parents set up the Kodak carousel slide projector. It’s crazy to imagine that many people in one tiny room now, but I remember it clearly–Thanksgiving leftovers doled out on paper plates and solo cups swimming with sweet iced tea. Before long we were belly laughing at the infamous bouffant hairstyles and the horrendous 1970s fashion choices projected onto the wall.
In between laughs, we were able to relive memories of family members who were no longer with us and have conversations about the context of each photo. Why were beehive hairstyles SO popular back then?? Did Papaw ever finish working on his cherry red ford pickup truck?
Each turn of the projector brought us closer together.
I had a small Olympus 8mp point and shoot camera back then. When me and my cousins went outside in the front yard to play in the dirt, I hung back and wanted to take photos. I mirrored what I saw on the slides and snapped away at fleeting moments in time just hoping I’d catch something worthy to keep. As time passed I repeatedly fell away and came back to photography. Whether it was taking portraits of my best friends, creating a photo album to take with me to college, working as a photographer at Busch Gardens Williamsburg, or buying myself a Canon Rebel t5i as a Christmas gift in 2015.
I eventually started a photography Instagram account in 2015 to post photos I had taken in the Spring of that year. My boss at the time saw my Instagram account and asked me if I would be interested in taking photos at our organization’s events. Honestly at that point things kind of snowballed. Colleagues and friends asked me for engagement photos and before I knew it I was making MONEY from it! WHAT?
In 2018 I made the jump into weddings after focusing on portraits and engagements. I still photograph events in the DC nonprofit world, and the occasional headshot, but my heart is in telling stories and preserving memories. To me, photographs are meant to be relieved and not just taken, I approach each shoot with the belief that everyone deserves authentic imagery that stands the test of time. Images are meant to remind you of the joy found in the simplest of moments together, whether you’re flipping through a photo album or projecting the images on the wall over Thanksgiving dinner.