November 23, 2017
While looking back on 2017, this Thanksgiving I am SO thankful to be a wedding photographer.
Growing up, I wanted to “be” a lot of things – a marine biologist. A guitar player. A graphic designer.
Most of those ambitions came from whatever I had most recently seen. I watched Free Willy and thought I should work with killer whales and dolphins. My Dad took me to my first concert (Fleetwood Mac), and soon after thought I should grow up to have a wardrobe like Stevie Nicks and the guitar skills of Lindsay Buckingham.
When it came time to choose a major as a college freshmen, I thought it would be so cool to use creativity in another way in the music industry, and dreamt of making album cover art and living in Nashville.
What I didn’t notice throughout all of those musings was that I constantly wanted to return to the dark room. In high school, I loved my photography class. I loved taking photos with a film camera, developing the film in a very strict assortment of chemicals, and seeing the image come to life on a piece of photo paper.
Related: Why Film?
But then it came time to apply for the graphic design program while I was attending JMU, and it didn’t feel right. I switched my major to Art with a concentration in Photography, and finally got return to the darkroom. That skill still didn’t seem like an “employable” major to graduate with, so I added an “Integrated Advertising and Corporate Communication” major on top of that.
A few years later, and I am shooting weddings with film, adoring my clients, and becoming more and more passionate about marriage! Owning a small business has it’s difficulties – the lack of consistency, predictability, and having to do #allthethings, but I am so SO thankful to be a wedding photographer.Here are a couple reasons why I love this role so much:
#1 I get to be creative, while also serving people.
I could write an entirely different post on personality tests, but as an ENFP on the Myers Briggs, and a type 2 on the enneagram, I find the most JOY in life when I get to be with people and be helpful in some way. The Enneagram illustrates different personalities by describing their core value system, and as a “Helper” I value relationships and time with people pretty much more than anything else. What a blessing it has been to have a job where I get to work with people on such an important day!
#2 I get to witness two people promising commitment, love and sacrifice.
The clients I work with are in such a vibrant, incredible time of life. When I get to photograph their engagement session, they are dreaming of the days ahead – days filled with hope, love, and adventure. When I get to photograph a ceremony, they not only vow to love each other then, but every other day in the future.
#3 I get to witness friends cheering each other on.
As me and my husband venture further into adulthood, we’re realizing how difficult it is to retain deep friendships from college. Although our friends are a phone call away, it’s always a great reminder that true friends stand by your side during life’s most important moments. I’ve gotten the opportunity to witness friends that are fiercely loyal and and love celebrating each other!
#4 I get to work with my husband.
My husband Shadi occasionally second shoots with me, but more than anything, I am thankful for his business strategy skills. He loves strategizing with me on how to reach our clients and serve them even better, and I am forever thankful he’s my partner in life!
#5 I get to tell other women they’re beautiful.
This may be one of the most surprising things on this list. It has been one of the most healing, redemptive things for me as an individual to continually tell other women that they’re beautiful – and truly mean it.
#6 I get to meet some incredible, passionate, creative professionals.
After organizing my first styled shoot this past year, I was surprised how fun and inspiring it was to work with women who are rockstars at their craft! I’ve never been so in awe of wedding planners, calligraphers, florists, and other creatives than after that day!
#7 I have an unpredictable job that draws me closer to a constant God.
Owning a small business is incredible – it allows for freedom and flexibility, but it also demands a lot and doesn’t promise a consistent schedule. Through this journey, I’ve been pushed to rely on the Lord’s plan for my life and for my business more than I ever have in the past. This prayer has been on my heart lately:
“Disturb us, Lord, when
We are too well pleased with ourselves,
When our dreams have come true
Because we have dreamed too little,
When we arrived safely
Because we sailed too close to the shore.
Disturb us, Lord, when
With the abundance of things we possess
We have lost our thirst
For the waters of life;
Having fallen in love with life,
We have ceased to dream of eternity
And in our efforts to build a new earth,
We have allowed our vision
Of the new Heaven to dim.
Disturb us, Lord, to dare more boldly,
To venture on wilder seas
Where storms will show your mastery;
Where losing sight of land,
We shall find the stars.
We ask You to push back
The horizons of our hopes;
And to push into the future
In strength, courage, hope, and love.”
– Sir Francis Drake, 1577