My First Wedding as a Solo Photographer

Hi, y'all! Thanks for visiting my blog. I'm trying to be more active on the internet so I can connect with more beautiful couples like the one I'm writing about today. Keep reading to learn a little bit about my process and what lead me to wedding photography after all.

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A Little About Me...

I've been enthralled by photography since I was a little kid shooting on a Fisher Price film camera, my fascination focusing on nature and wildlife. As an adult shooting on a more sophisticated DSLR camera, I continued pursuing wildlife photography. As my skills improved, friends began reaching out wanting me to photograph them. I agreed and found I quite enjoyed having people in front of my lens but was adamant that I couldn't handle the stress of an 8+ hour wedding day. The stakes were too high! The work too exhausting. But then a dear friend and fellow photographer asked if I would be her second shooter at a wedding earlier this year. I accepted because any experience is valuable, and afterwards... I was still sure I didn't want to shoot weddings! I was exhausted! So what changed?

A Sweet Couple Reached Out...

Chris and Emma are fellow students at my university, Southern Virginia University, and they found out about me through a referral from one of our professors (thanks, Dr. Romriell! Referrals are vital!). They told me they only wanted 2.5 hours of wedding coverage and they were fine with the fact that I was new to the wedding industry. After some internal conflict, I decided that 2.5 hours wouldn't kill me and I was honored that they liked my style and wanted me, so I agreed. This wedding turned out to be the absolute dream-come-true for a first time wedding photographer and I was hooked.

Anything that Could Go Wrong... Didn't.

Chris and Emma were on top of everything, providing me with timelines and shot lists before I even asked. They were so easy and fun to work with, I couldn't remember why I was adverse to shooting weddings in the first place! Their family was fun, the venue was beautiful, and I had everything I needed for a successful shoot. I channeled the photographers I'd grown to admire-- my own wedding photographer, Jinny Khantasouriya-Singleton, and my close friend from school, KJ Breen-Anderson, and I was able to conduct the day like a boss. A wedding photographer is so much more than a photographer; they are the schedule coordinator, the backup stylist, the messenger, and the "gopher" for anything the couple needs. I wanted to fulfill this role to the best of my ability and make Emma and Chris grateful they chose me.

We Started With a Simple "Getting Ready" Shoot

Although the couple opted not to have "getting ready photos," I arrived early enough to catch the bride getting ready with her mom, sister, and sister-in law and couldn't resist. The sweet energy in the room was palpable as these women rallied around the bride and showered her with loving words and support. I felt so honored to capture some of these quiet, intimate moments before the craziness of the day began.

Once the Bride Was Ready, We Had a "First Look"

If you're unfamiliar with what a "first look" is, it's when the bride chooses to meet her groom, or her parents, or her bridal party before the ceremony to capture their reaction to seeing her in her bridal glory for the first time. This couple decided to do a bride-and-groom first look and my heart almost couldn't take it. As you can see in the photos above, Chris's love for his bride was overflowing and the emotions were high. It almost felt wrong to be intruding on such an intimate moment, but these pictures tell a story that will be cherished forever.

Next Was the Ceremony

The ceremony was held in a beautiful, historic chapel and was accompanied by a stunning new organ, choral music by the chamber singers of Southern Virginia University, and readings from beloved professors and family members.

After The Ceremony We Had a Blast Shooting Family Portraits

Emma & Chris were so awesome because they provided me with a detailed shot list and their aunt read out the shot combos to me so I could orchestrate and adjust the groupings. With so many loved ones present, I had to muster my best commanding voice to get everyone to pay attention and cooperate, but we got the job done and had a blast!

Afterwards Was a Small Reception, and Then We Were Done.

After a triumphant ceremony, we headed to the fellowship hall, cut the cake, and enjoyed some food.

I Felt So Accomplished on My Drive Home...

I think the difference between this wedding and the wedding I was a second shooter for is that this one was my show to conduct. I didn't have to worry about getting in the way of another photographer, I didn't have to follow anyone else around, I could run the show the way I felt I should, and it turned out great. What an exhilarating feeling-- to know that this event was a success due in-part to me and my work. I have now begun booking weddings for 2022 and I am excited to witness beautiful people in love, committing to walk through this life together, and having an absolute ball while doing it. So if you're interested in having your day documented, let's talk! It would bring me great joy to work with you.

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