This is the tale of how I became a wedding photographer. Complete with pics from the first wedding I ever shot. Am I cringing as I post this? You betcha. Photographically I have learnt a sh*tload. Personally I have learnt a sh*tload. So why am I showing you? Because I am so incredibly grateful that this happened. I’m so chuffed to look back and see how far I’ve come. And I want you to know how much I’m going to love being at your wedding!
My high school sweetheart and I are good friends. Some people think this is weird, but we don’t. He was about to marry the most amazing woman in Margaret River, WA, and I was living in London at the time. I was SUPER EXCITED for the wedding and the summer holiday fun that was going to come with it. Mark and Andrea called me and asked if I would shoot their wedding. Despite having a degree in photography, I had lost all my confidence and hadn’t shot anything in over 7 years at this point. I worked with some BIG names in London music and celebrity photography, producing their photoshoots. They were sooooooo good. I was intimidated into thinking I could never do it. I had also never shot a wedding. Ever.
What if I muffed it? It’s not like they could throw the whole shebang again just so I could get it right. What if I missed the important bits? I politely said no, I wouldn’t do it. A few weeks passed. I felt bad, but I was scared. They called and asked me a second time. Again I declined. I didn’t want to be responsible if the pictures were rubbish. What would that do to our friendships? I felt really honoured that they asked me and had that much faith in my abilities, but still, so much pressure! A few more weeks passed, and they called me a third time. I finally relented even though I was TERRIFIED!
I was shooting film at this point, but the great digital revolution was happening. Before I left Oz, I was lucky enough to work for a company who were already using one of the first digital SLRs ($25,000 for a camera that your iPhone would now out-shoot!!!). So I had experience with DSLRs. I just didn’t own one. So, I bought one. Two weeks before the wedding. With no available time to practice with it. I forced my housemate to pose awkwardly in the park while I faffed with unfamiliar knobs and dials. I read the manual on the flight home to WA. This was going to be interesting.
Soon the wedding was upon me. I’d flown home, driven to Margaret River and everything was glorious. All my good buddies in one beautiful place for a wedding and holiday. What could possibly go wrong? And here I was wavering between the urge to vommit or pee myself. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was going to mess this up.
The day before the wedding I went to help set up and also did a location search for the best spots. I learnt pretty swiftly that it’s actually waaaaaaay harder to shoot your good friends than it is relative strangers. Your good friends will dick about far more. This is during set up…
Then on the wedding day, this is what I got from the groomsmen all afternoon…
Here’s some from the rest of the big day.
When we went down to the beach I did a superman stylee quick change out of my frock and stilettos into shorts and barefeet for ease of shooting. I clambered over rocks to get into position and as I reached for a handhold my camera swung from my shoulder. CRACK! into the rocks. Yep. I thought it was all about to be over before it had even begun but my bacon was saved by the UV filter on the end of the lens! phew, just a tiny dent, no other damage. Remember when I said I learnt a LOT since then? Lesson number one, always carry spare kit!
While I didn’t know the first thing about editing, I have to say, I was pleasantly surprised when I looked at these images after the wedding. And although I cringe as I share them now, I’m secretly proud that my first effort was a success. I didn’t muff it! Mark and Andrea were super happy. My photographic skills have definitely improved since then, but these images will always be special to me as they are of the best people in my life.
This also marked a big change in my life. I started plotting my journey to live in Australia again and how I would start my own photographic business. And I haven’t looked back!
This is Mark and Andrea now with their gorgeous kids. It is 100% due to their persistence that I picked up my camera again. They know me better than I know myself. And believed in me more than I did. These days when I prepare for a wedding I feel excited, energised and inspired (not like I am about to wet myself or vomit!). And I owe it all to these guys.
To see just how far I have come, jump on over to my Feature Weddings page, and of course if you are in need of a Wedding Photographer Melbourne, be sure to get in touch.