I REMEMBER THE first wedding I ever photographed like it was yesterday. And in a way, in a sense, it was.
I say that because the weddings I photograph never truly leave me; even with my terrible memory, I can remember minute details, right down to what size shoe the bride wore (a 5 in this instance) and what didn’t exactly go to plan (power outage. fun.)
It was a cold winter day when Alyssa and Ethan got married, and Alyssa had asked me to step in, knowing that my grandfather had just purchased my first camera–a Kodak EasyShare. “We don’t have anyone else to take our photos,” I remember her saying. “Could you please come and do this for us?”
How do you say no to that? You don’t.
I showed up at the Church of the Nazarene in Griffin, Georgia that sunny-but-cold winter day to find both the bride and her mother a little freaked out because of the power outage. It had iced over throughout the week and the power lines, which of course were not made to withstand the weight of ice, stopped working. Instead of spending time getting photos of Alyssa getting ready, I rushed to help find flashlights and candles.
The ceremony came and went, the tiny church glowing with electric light thanks to a backup generator that someone just so happened to have (good gravy, I love the South). I remember asking Ethan to dip Alyssa in front of the altar because I thought that would be artistic, especially with a super exaggerated vignette thrown over it in post-processing. I remember going to Office Max two days later to buy a few CDs to put the pictures on and I went to Walgreens on the way home to print off one of their pictures to gift to them because I wanted to do something special.
That was five years ago. January 15th, 2011. A lot has happened in that length of time…I didn’t jump into photography as a professional until March 2015. In-between those dates I had a wedding here and there but didn’t consider myself professional or particularly cut out for weddings, but every time I did one, I thought back to Alyssa and Ethan’s wedding. My first wedding. The one that started it all, the one that kindled my passion for couples in love, the one that was booked without ever seeing examples of my work or signing a contract or anything.
Now when I photograph weddings, I am reminded of faith–the faith Alyssa and Ethan trusted when they hired me and the faith with which my couples these days trust me. The moments of a wedding day are fleeting and irreplaceable, and it is an honor and a privilege to be entrusted with that task and to take a leap of faith with those couples.