I am so excited to start this countdown! In case you missed it yesterday, I am counting down my favorite 15 photos from the last 15 months to celebrate my first full year in business. And there's a contest to make it more fun, so check the details on that at the end of the post.
I thought about how to do it - my least favorite to most favorite? Beginning of the year to the end of the year? Great ideas, I guess, but I am really more of a "throw it all against the wall and see what sticks" kind of girl (does that even make sense in this context? I don't know). So - I am just going to pick out my favorites as I go, with no real rhyme or reason. 'Cause I am quirky like that. And let's be real here - I'm also not organized enough to go in any kind of order and honestly don't think I can pick ONE photo over another in a countdown to the best. So I'm just going to pick my favorites and share one (or a few) each day. No particular order. And away we go!!
I knew this had to be my first "favorite." This beautiful bride was my first paying client. Yes, my very first paying job was a WEDDING. I can't even believe it myself. More on that in a minute - just look at this gorgeous photo first.
So now, I know you are thinking to yourself, "Who in their right mind takes a WEDDING for their first paying job?" Looking back, I am a little bit stunned myself. And I will admit right here, I was as nervous as a cat in the weeks leading up to this wedding. But how did it happen that my FIRST job was a wedding? Well, let me tell ya.
I had been saying I was going to open my business for about a year. I had set up my website, started a Facebook page and did two tons of research that resulted in a monstrous list of all the things I knew I would need to start a legitimate business. And then I stalled. I kept taking photos, building up my portfolio doing free shoots for friends, but I was just not taking the final steps. And then along came my dear friend Kirsy with this friend who needed a wedding photographer. I hemmed. And I hawed. And she pushed me. And I hemmed and hawed some more. And she pushed again. And I finally got my rear in gear and filed all my business paperwork, got a tax i.d., purchased insurance and did all of that crazy (important) stuff I had been putting off. And boom, I was officially in business, with a first paying job ... gulp ... a wedding.
Most people start out in wedding photography by second shooting. That means they work with a more seasoned wedding photographer as the helper. Something I would have loved to do but just never had the opportunity at that point. I had done a wedding for my cousin, as a gift to her. And I had a few seasoned wedding photographer friends to pepper with questions before the big day. I had been taking photos for years, so I had some technical skills. But posing, timelines, wrangling family members, and all of that ... with just one (unpaid) wedding under my belt, I was NERVOUS.
Thankfully, all the advice helped me through it. The bride was amazing to work with, super sweet and gorgeous to boot. I rented the gear I needed, printed out my shot lists and posing ideas and brought along my favorite assistant (my smarty pants son). At the end of the night, I was tired, happy, nervous (did I get all the shots?) and so anxious to see my images. When I got home and started looking through the photos, I saw this one and immediately knew that I had done it. My first paying job, and I knew I had gotten what the bride and groom deserved. Which is why, when I think of my favorite photos from my first year, this is the FIRST one that comes to mind. She's gorgeous, right?
Here are a few of my other favorite images from the day. Some of them are not technically perfect but these are the ones I love.
Photo credit to Sam Ringel (my trusty assistant) for this one. That's me with the bride.
And how about these crazy kids?
My assistant in action. Isn't he cute?
And finally - my friend and cheerleader who pushed me just as hard as I needed to be pushed, with her beautiful family. Thank you Kirsy for all of your support this year and especially for the kick in the pants that I needed!
And now for the contest! Enter to win a FREE winter mini session - simply comment on the blog and let me know what you think. You can enter once a day for each of the 15 days of the countdown. For additional entries, I will also be posting the link to this blog on my Facebook page - you earn one more entry if you like my page, like the post and comment on the post (you need to do all three to get one entry). And one more entry if you share the Facebook post with your friends. So THREE possible entries per day. I'll be picking a winner on Wednesday, January 6th.
Fine Print: Winter mini session includes a half hour shoot at a location of your choice and five(5) digital images with print release. No cash value - booking date must be before March 1st. Locations must be within 30 minutes drive of Burlington, N.J.
Can't wait to hear from all of you!