When 2016 arrived a few weeks ago, I realized that in April of this year, my very FIRST wedding clients will celebrate their fifth wedding anniversary! It’s crazy to me how much time has passed, but also how quickly it went by. When I photographed my first wedding, I desperately wanted nothing more than to be a full time wedding photographer with a “successful” business. Though I still feel on a day to day basis like I’m striving to get to that place where I can finally feel successful, I technically have all of the markers of success as I defined it five years ago when it was my dream to do exactly what I’m doing today. That just blows my mind because I can’t believe how lucky I am to get to do this!
Anyway, thinking back to the first wedding I shot made me reflect on the job and I decided to make a list of the top ten things I love about being a wedding photographer. I’m sure all of us wedding photogs have different things that we like (and sometimes dislike, let’s be real!) about the job, but here are my favorites!
1. I love seeing people get married. Witnessing each wedding we photograph reminds me how much I love marriage as an institution and how valuable my own marriage is to me. I love hearing the vows and seeing each couple at the start of something new and wonderful.
2. I get to work with happy people! I don’t think there are really many people who are happier than a bride and groom (or groom and groom, or bride and bride) unless maybe your job is delivering pizza. In which case, I think you have a lot of happy clients too…you might even have the upper hand because EVERYONE loves pizza!
3. I’m good at it. I think it’s really important to seek out a job that is a good fit for you. If you think about it, it makes so much sense for each of us to do jobs that we are well suited for. We’re happier, we do a great job, and we feel fulfilled doing things that we have a natural affinity for. It’s a win/win for both the clients who benefit from our jobs (whatever they are) and us as well. As a visual person, I LOVE doing photography and a lot of it comes somewhat naturally (along with hard work, of course) and I’m an entrepreneur at heart. My job helps me utilize my talents in a way that’s fulfilling!
4. Every day is different. I was never really all that into working in an office environment. Possibly because a lot of those types of jobs can mean doing the same thing day after day. There are definitely similarities to each wedding day and you come to learn to anticipate what might happen next, but there are always so many unique things about each wedding and it keeps me on my toes! I also rarely spend every single weekday doing the same work. I’m spending time working on social media strategies one day, blogging the next, preparing my taxes, emailing with clients, packaging gifts, designing albums, bookkeeping, etc. There’s always something different to do! You can never be too bored!
5. I get to travel a lot. It’s given me the opportunity to explore my state (and John’s home state of MD, too!) from corner to corner. We’ve shot with our toes in the sand and literally driven up and down mountains to be alongside our clients on their wedding days. It’s fun to be able to combine two things I really enjoy (photographing weddings and traveling) into one job!
6. I get to do it with John. Not every wedding photographer works with their spouse. I don’t think it would work for everyone, but it works really well for us! I love having my best friend at work with me on the weekends. He’s so at photography and he’s also really patient and adaptable so he makes the perfect second photographer. We make a great team!
7. It allows me the freedom and flexibility of making my own schedule. I love being able to manage my workload the way I want to during the weekdays! I love being able to go to the gym during the day when it’s quieter or have lunch with my mom or another fellow entrepreneur if the opportunity arises. I like being able to travel without having to use vacation days. I also really appreciate the fact that one day when we have kids, I can be at home with them more during the week and still have a career that I love. Wanting to create my life in this really intentional way was a huge catalyst for starting my business and one that helps set the tone for the way I do things now.
8. I actually really love running my business on the back end. I think a lot of creative people struggle as business owners because they don’t have the mentality that you need to run your own business. I’m kind of odd in that I love to do creative things, such as (obviously) photography, but I am also really analytical and business minded. I love blogging, bookkeeping, marketing, etc. I love planning out my goals and figuring out how to accomplish them. I think I’m so lucky to have a job that lets me work both parts of my brain!
9. I’ve made genuine, life long friends through the business. This is a huge gift that I never expected to receive when I first picked up a camera and thought to myself “Hey, what if I did this for a living??”. A lot of people have friends who become clients, but I’ve been lucky in that a lot of my clients have become friends! Some of them are such good friends I know I will still be friends with them forever, even if I stopped running my business tomorrow. I also have a few photographer/industry friends that I consider my “forever friends” who are always there to share a laugh or commiserate.
10. What I do actually means something. I have to start this with the disclaimer that I really don’t think what I do is going to save any lives or anything like that. I’m not a solider or a firefighter or a nurse, or even a teacher. What I do doesn’t impact tons and tons of people, but it does offer something meaningful to the people I work with. My job takes memories and makes them tangible. It turns them into something beautiful that you can hang on your wall or make into a book. My job saves stories for future generations. And even more than that, more than the images, which are a huge part of the legacy I help document for each of our couples, my job is also to help add something positive to each wedding day I have the honor of being a part of. To me, it isn’t just about taking photographs and passing them on, it’s also about making people feel good about themselves. It’s about taking people who feel less than confident in front of the camera and making them feel beautiful (and/or handsome). What I do actually means something because I’m in the business of making people happy. Does it get better than that?
I can’t close this post without a thank you. Thank you to all of our clients….past, present, and future. Thank you for trusting us with your memories and letting us be a part of your stories! Thank you to all of the friends and vendor pals who believed in me from the beginning, and of course, thank you to YOU, the person reading this, for reading and supporting the blog.