I had two people ask for this on my Dry Spell post, so I thought I would go ahead and blog about it! I hadn’t even considered blogging this because I just assumed… people already knew. I did a Getting Started Series about 2.5 years ago, but I think its time to revisit this topic! There are new readers and not everyone is obsessive like me and goes back to read blogs from the beginning. There are some other interesting tidbits about my journey, so if you’re in a reading mood, here are Part One, Part Two, and Part Three.
As with many people in this area, most of it is wrapped up in a special red headed lady: Katelyn James. 5 years ago, Jared and I got engaged. September 11th to be exact. We had already started the process of looking at vendors and ideas. I was on our local Knot board all the time, reading wedding blogs all the time, and basically breathing in the wedding industry. I loved it. I even was worried about what would happen after we were married. What would I do with all the time? I was investing almost every spare minute reading blogs and magazines and researching vendors. A friend told me I wouldn’t care about any of it after we were married. I took her word for it, and went on planning things.
We had a super small budget, around $3,500. I don’t know the exact number because friends and family were generous and I didn’t end up knowing the pricing of everything! One thing I really wanted to spend money on though, was photography. The only problem was… we didn’t have that luxury. So, I asked on the local board of The Knot if anyone had any suggestions. I wanted someone who was GOOD, and who would continue to get GOOD, and who didn’t cost more than $1000. I knew I wasn’t going to get a photographer who had been at this for years, was well known, or published. But, I still knew that out there was someone with good taste and style, who was newer, and would be in that range. I stubbornly held onto this until I found her. I got lucky and a woman mentioned that the 2nd shooter at her wedding was really good and just starting out and was in my range. She sent me to Katelyn’s site. I immediately fell in love. Katelyn was good, and I knew she was only going to get better during our 9 month engagement. I liked her colors, I liked that she paid attention to detail, and I loved her portraits. We booked her for June 5, 2009.
We were very impressed with Katelyn and love our images dearly. I distinctly remember driving to a little coffee shop that had wifi during our honeymoon so we could look at our blog post. We stayed for over an hour, looking at the pictures again and again. See the post here. We came home from the honeymoon and went on with our lives. I was working at a bank at the time. And, somehow I didn’t stop caring about all those wedding blogs. I still checked them daily. I still craved looking at pretty things, and happy faces, and researching the wedding world. A few months later Katelyn announced she was hosting her first workshop: The Basics. It was $100.00 and I begged Jared to go. I already had a job and this was something new that neither of us really understood yet. I arranged to borrow a friends camera and signed up. Jared surprised me instead and bought me a rebel. I attended the workshop and fell head over heels for this kind of photography. I had taken photography in High School, but this was different. Photographing people was different, and I really liked it. I went home and promptly started to do what Katelyn had told us to: shoot for free. I made Jared pose for me a lot, and I asked friends if I could photograph their families. After some time, people just started to pay me. I started charging about what people were paying, and following Jasmine Star’s advice, increased it based on gigs I booked. Soon, I had a wedding inquiry. I set up second shooting opportunities and really started learning. I booked 2 weddings relatively quickly, which was completely a God thing. Due to some family circumstances, I shot the 2nd wedding I booked just 2 weeks after I booked it in January of 2010. I was kind of thrown into shooting weddings despite trying to set things up the way I had been reading I should. I still did all the 2nd shooting I had lined up for that year, and I shot 12 of my own weddings that year as well.
The night I posted the images from my first wedding, I sobbed on the couch and begged Jared to let me take them down. I was a disgrace. My work was terrible, and I was embarrassed. However, within a few months I was feeling more confident in my work, and by the end of the year there were actually images I was proud of.
After that, things just snowballed. I marketed myself in a way that others had blogged about, I started blogging, and I updated my branding. 1 year ago this month, I went Full Time (which is another thing I should blog about.) It’s definitely been a journey! And, one that I am still living and working through daily. Its really hard sometimes, but I think its worth it. Ask any questions in the comments!
Thanks Karen for the image! This wedding is coming to the blog soon!