Okay...I cannot share photos with you just yet, BUT soon!!! I wanted to start off with the fact that I want to be more candid with my clients. More RAW, more vulnerable in hopes to attract the right clients and repel the ones that are not a good fit. Now, that may sound harsh, but I think its VERY important that we click, that we vibe, that we get along and mesh well together. After all, you need to feel most comfortable in front of my camera right? I want to help you feel that way...but anyways back on track (ADD much?)
I couldn't tell you what made me decide that I was ready...I literally took the plunge and decided, "OKAY! LET'S DO THIS!!" I knew from the beginning that I wanted to wait. I felt that weddings were a big deal. I feel that they are important, and you only get ONE chance not to screw it up! (I want to warn you that I swear, I swear a lot...its who I am and I am here to be open, so you can see and understand more of who I am, so forgive me if that bothers you. I do NOT want my Blog to have a filter anymore. I am real, and this is who I am.) I feel like I have SOOOO much to say and my thoughts are all over the place right now, can anyone else relate? Anyways, your big day is a once in a lifetime deal, and what right did I have to mess that up???? Worst case for a newborn session or family or milestone, etc....it can be rescheduled. Weddings....not so much. BUT everyone has to start somewhere right.
SO....I had posted in my local MI Candid Babes photographers group. Its a sub group right underneath my absolute FAVORITE group! I learned so much from this group in the past year.
Here was my initial post, and it caught Amy's eye! I am so incredibly grateful that it did! Amy messages me saying that she had an upcoming wedding that she would love to have me tag along with. There was no pay, but I didn't care! I was hungry enough just to work besides another photographer and see how they work. See how someone else does posing, timelines, and what their workflow and personality was like! I also didn't care that she (and the wedding) was 2 hours away from me! I thought "ROAD TRIP!!!" I don't get to go on many of those, if any! Haha
So I sign my contract (which also states I need to wait to share any images) and wait for the morning of. November 12th, 2016....a Saturday! I wake up....(Chris, my son is at his grandma's) and I go to make morning coffee (MUCH NEEDED in the mornings!) I already have my outfit for the day pre-planned and ready hanging in the bathroom. I found a couple cute pieces throughout the week. I have started to pay attention to WOMAN'S fashion a bit more. I have never been the girly type or have my mom around to show me girly things like doing your hair, or nails, or cute outfits or anything like that so I just never cared, until recently. I want to be taken more seriously. I want to dress better, look better, and most importantly FEEL better! So I get dressed, pack my bags, make sure I have all the charged up equipment I needed, put everything in the car, and then took a selfie before I headed out towards Jamestown, MI.
Don't I look cute? I have always loved my red hair too! New shoes/boots. Cute cardigan things I found at Plato's Closet (I am a bit frugal and spending money gives me anxiety....specially anything over $20 on any one piece of clothing!!) Driving the two hours, I thought would be cool to see different scenery, but to be honest...Michigan is not that scenic...at least where I'm from, so it was mostly farmland and road! Don't judge though...I am sheltered! I am on a mission in life to change that though and NOT care what people think of me! I don't want to be there anymore, I want to move forward, be happy with who I am and my life, and here I go rambling again!!! I listend to a YouTube video created by Jasmine Star. She is one of the top 10 photographers in the whole world!!! Wedding photographer to be exact and she is loved and admired by so many, so this may be nothing to new to some, but I feel like I can related to her so much! I feel like I am her, for the most part, I match her personality....only difference is she is smarter. She knows more about business, and she has more of a determined attitude, mainly because she came from a family that believed in her. No matter what she did with her life, even if she left law school with full scholarship to be a wedding photographer....they supported her! We need a code word for when I start to ramble...what shall that be?? Hmm...??? Anyways, it wasn't until my GPS said I was 10 minutes away did my heart start to race, did I feel even more nervous. I have a bit of anxiety and sometimes I will admit I suffer from depression (were being RAW here right?) Its built in and I can't help it. I grew up around A LOT of negativity, but I have already BEEN on a path to change that in my current life! I have the power, the control to decide how my life goes now and I have been working on being more positive!! So I get to the park, and I text Amy that I have arrived. She texts back saying to meet at her in law house, which was 3 minutes away from Spring Grove Park
Still nervous, me and my loud Escape head on over to her in laws and I find Amy waiting outside for me! We chat a bit and go inside. I meet her husband and in laws and I watch her make a sign for the reception. A little back story to this day was that Amy is friends with the groom and she agreed to do this wedding for them. Most of Mike and Stacey's friends and family did not know they were not married yet. As far as they knew, today was just the reception and they had already gotten married at the city hall a week prier. It was actually a surprise to many to be able to actually witness the ceremony AND have some fun at the reception. How cool is that?!! I was so nervous, that I had to ask Amy to tell me the story again to make sure I didn't screw anything up. I was so nervous, and still stuck on the fact that I was finally meeting her for the first time. I sound and look like a babbling idiot when I am nervous! ....and sometimes I may come across as "dumb" to others but really its just a nervous me, wanting to get to know you and not screw anything up! ...but something about Amy was so chill. She was easy to talk too, easy to get along with, and easy to relate with.
Waiting for the Brides and her bridemaids to get to the house (who were all REALLY funny too and some pretty cool, chill people!) Amy worked on a sign for the reception that mentioned to put your cameras and phones away during the reception. Stacey (the bride) walked in first and she is just beautiful. At this point all the girls had their hair and makeup done and were just ready to put on the dresses. Working with Amy, I was too the side. Its a different experience than being the lead of anything really, and that was a bit hard to do because I am used to directing a session type thing, but I appreciated and loved every minute that Amy gave me!! I loved that I was able to see how she works, and how others do it. I have been curious for the longest time since I am self taught. I only know my world, and how I have done things. So we work together to try and find a spot to hang the dress and Amy ends up finding one screw that was towards the top by the fireplace (pics to come!) We both take turns shooting the dress. I like to shoot up close and tight, so I got a few details of the dress, up close. Then we moved the bride and Amy to the back of the room where they did the "putting on the dress" shots and me and one of her bridesmaids stay in the living room waiting. Stacey wanted a "first look" at the dress with her best friend, which I took lead and offered to shoot her face/reaction for Amy! Some shots were really great, some were not so flattering to the bride, some were very candid, and some were beautiful candid moments of her best friend witnessing the bride in her beautiful dress! Did I mention I was a beginner. I want to document where I am now and read about this later in life, after I have completely busted my arse gaining experience because I absolutely LOVE what I do and never stop learning!!!! Anyways, Amy had the idea to take a few quick shots of the bouquet and the Brides shoes, which I thought, "Okay cool idea!" so I took a turn and took a few shots and angled the shoes her way, then another way. Again, I liked the close up shots....so I got a few of those, a wide one, a few different angles and perspectives. The bouquet was actually DIY'd and made from a book (pics to come!) SO unique and such a cute idea. Mike is an Arthur and Stacey is a bookworm so it was PERFECT for their personalities and careers! After the girls were all ready we met the boys at the park so Amy could do a few formal shots with the boys. Waiting in the park, the boys decide to walk down to this beautiful trellis. Amy told me a while before we met that this park was actually made for photographers. Let me tell you! She is SO lucky to have this beautiful park practically in her backyard (Pics to come!!) SO the boys walk down, do their thing, and I was to wait by the limo. The girls waiting in the limo till the boys were done. I was waiting for a "here comes the bride" message from Amy which was my cue to have the girls come out and I was to take shots of the girls coming out of the limo, and down the path walking towards the stairs down to the trellis. I was also in charge of taking shots of the bride while she walked down the stairs, and her girls stayed up at the top! I love responsibility like this...I feel so grown up....so cool!! haha Anyways, I stage myself by this beautiful trellis in front of the grown. We were about to do the "FIRST LOOK" how exciting right?! It was my responsibility to get the brides reaction!! I got this!! I love a challenge! Just let me make sure I get my settings right. I fumbled a bit because I was shooting a bit over exposed. SO finally, something I can work with, get me OFF the spot lol OKAY, READY! Phew...Mike turns around (I can't see his face or expression at this point) But Stacey is glowing and smiling from ear to ear! "Well...do you like?" She asks haha boys! Men of few words...but its easy to figure out why? He is speechless, he has lost all words because she is stunning, absolutely gorgeous! They give a little kiss, and she does a little twirl in her dress! LOVE!! We spent the majority of the time, doing formals and I watched her pose and work up a sweat. I wanted to help more, but felt so useless just standing there! I did my absolute best to make sure I got what Amy needed, any shots she needed and especially made sure to keep OUT of her shots! I thought the coolest thing that Amy did, and something I will learn and take away from was when she had one of the grooms carve a heart out of a leaf and then used it as a filter in front of her camera and had Mike and Stacey kissing in the heart (pics to come!!) I LOVED THAT!!!! Here is us after we all walked back towards the Limo. I have to get my selfie with Amy!!
Isn't she gorgeous?! SO carefree, laid back, easy to talk too. It was like we were already friends for a while! We were, but online friends till this day! This Mama is actually halfway through her 4th pregnancy, finally having a boy after 3 girls! That is one BAD ASS Mama to be pregnant AND do weddings!
Next was the reception, where I learned a little about shooting in Kelvin. I am not going to lie, I still need to understand what the difference is. Why its better in camera. (I'm sorry Amy I know you explained it twice to me!!!!!) .....but sometimes I am a little slow at understanding things, BUT I never give up even if I look stupid asking 50 times! I want to learn. I want to know. I am determined. I DID learn that once you set it, you don't worry about it till you change lighting...which is great because I thought it was yet another thing to fumble with, and its not. So....phew! I loved her centerpieces too. FYI....this entire time I have been looking at the RAW files to remind myself how the day went! all 993 photos I took for Amy's small wedding!! I would consider myself the second shooter at this point. I felt like I was rocking this job enough to make Amy feel totally comfortable and confident that I would capture what she wanted/needed....and I DID!!! I am so proud of myself! Another one of the BEST things that happened to me this night was when I walked towards our table where we were to sit. A little sticky note that said, "Photographer (Julie)" made my night! A tiny piece of paper, that's all it was...maybe its silly to some, but I don't care! I have the biggest smile on my face and I'm happy! I'm keeping this sticky note forever! Even when they made an announcement and mentioned, "Please put your phones away and leave the photos to the PROFESSIONALS!!" Moral of this story is even the little things can make someone's day. This is just a piece of sticky note paper, but it made me so happy, and so proud of myself and all the hard work I have done so far!! I love this so much. I cannot describe the feeling when you find your passion!!! ......I did in fact keep the sticky note and its sitting right on my desk as I type and going into the journal soon! We take ceremony shots, and then we all go out into the hall where I take quite a few shots of all the witnesses, officiant, bride and groom sign the marriage license. Throw in a few cute shots of their son, who loves his Mama and loves to be held by her. The rest of the night was filled with funny speeches, GREAT food (I went for seconds!) thanking the bride for allowing me to tag along and for the delicious food, cutting the cake, bouquet and garter toss, dancing and fun! I thanked everyone and then gave all my RAW files to Amy in the lobby. We had to plug in her laptop there and wait a long while while all 993 RAW images loaded, haha! Then I took the LONG 2 hour ride all the way to Waterford to pick up my cranky son, and another 30 minutes back home to crash. This was a great day!