“So I just got engaged, and one of my first thoughts was that I had to find you and see if you still do weddings!!! You photographed my sister’s wedding (I was in the bridal party) and you did an amaaaaazing job!!! Plllleeeeeaassseee tell me that you still do weddings. I know I am sending this really prematurely without knowing my date or location, but I just got too excited wanting to see your availability that I couldn’t wait. Hope to hear back from you soon!”
When I got this energetic, excited and super sweet email from Chelsea, I had to reply right away- I was grinning from ear to ear. I wasn’t sure if it was that her sister’s wedding was only my second wedding (but I think I rocked it!) or that she remembered me after all these years- in a time when I wasn’t taking weddings anymore except very selectively- but right away I WANTED this wedding. Her initial email gave me that elated feeling- when you talk to “the” client and you just KNOW you need to have a relationship with them. I charged $500 for her sister’s wedding. 3 years later my rate had multiplied x7, but Chelsea didn’t bat an eye, and that made me feel so beyond valued. When I stepped away from weddings, I wanted to focus on my portraits, my mentorees, and my family. When I was shooting 10-20 weddings a year, a full portrait load, plus 1:1 mentoring and workshops, I was too busy to really spend time with my family. I felt like my portrait clients were going to start suffering before long because I was being pulled in too many directions to fully focus on them.
Eventually my heart told me that I needed to pull back from weddings. I enjoyed them, but unfortunately not all of them. For every AMAZING wedding with a totally in-love couple and a welcoming family, fun-loving guests- there were 3 others with couples who hated PDA and didn’t smile at all during the ceremony, family who acted like they didn’t want to be there, and guests who looked at you like you were stupid instead of laughing at your ice-breaker jokes. The days were long, the editing hours and album design were even longer, and in the end it wasn’t always an emotionally fulfilling gig. So I pulled away. I was going to completely retire from them until my last 4 weddings in a row were all PHENOMINAL. The entire day was a rush. Every time. It was full of love, laughter, bonding, tears. I didn’t want to quit, I just wanted to have more control over who I photographed. Who I spent one of the most important days of their lives with. I wanted more of that feeling of being “part of the family” when I was there.
So I decided that I was only taking 1-2 weddings a year. Not only am I guaranteed to enjoy every special day I get to be a part of now, but my availability is more guaranteed when someone close to me does get engaged. In September, I’ll get to spend the day with Chelsea and Kyle- and I know it will be full of as many laughs as their amazing engagement session wasIn October, I’ll get to capture through tears one of my best friends saying “I Do” to the love of her life and father of her daughter. In 2015, I get to photograph my chiropractor- one of the sweetest, most wonderful women I’ve ever met in May. A family member in July, as well as a past client’s son and his fiancé the following day, and one of my Chicago workshop attendees from last year and her fiancé’s wedding in the fall, as well as my dear dear friend of almost 5 years that has not only been an amazing friend, but has modeled for me for multiple photography fun projects. THIS is what I wanted. This is what it’s all about to me.
Enjoy some of these engagement photos