I've been waiting two weeks to share this with you. Two LONG weeks of keeping this to myself, which, if you know me, is pretty impressive. So, today, it is with great excitement, that I can share that with you: I am officially a full-time business owner. As many of you know for the past four and half years I have been working as a news photographer on the North Shore. I have worked for four different papers, all owned within one company, as well as freelanced for various people and companies. It has been one of the best, and at times worst, experiences of my life. I can say with great confidence that without this job I would not be the photographer that I am today. The deadlines, learning to anticipate, working with horrible lighting, posing, storytelling. You learn all that AND more.
So you may be wondering then what brought me to wedding photography, what made me want to pursue my own business instead of pushing ahead with the career path I was on. It's simple. I fell in love. I fell in love with my clients and their stories. It's cliche and it's cheesy, but it's true. I find joy in meeting new couples and becoming part of their love story. I find joy in documenting their big day, knowing that the images I take, will be passed down for generations. I find joy in telling their story.
I've decided to share how I got to this point. How I made this decision and why I've decided to become a full time wedding photographer. Stick around and read if you are interested, and if you're not, that is o.k. too:) But be forewarned, this will be a long and text heavy post, and for those of you that read to the bottom, please know you have my appreciation and a big BIG internet *hug*.
I remember when I was in college, my first photography job was for a local wedding photographer. Every Saturday we would meet at his studio's parking lot and load his two seater car up with equipment (this was also the days of film and he had LOTS of equipment). He'd wear a ratted old tuxedo, (yes a full on tuxedo with cummerbund and bow tie) and I would nervously sit in the passenger seat trying to think of things to talk about. I never shot a single image with him, but instead carried all of his lighting equipment, handed him lenses and moved people to and fro. I did all of the non-glamorous things an assistant gets to do. But even as I ran back and forth to the bags, I watched and I learned and I soaked it all in.
Once, as we were eating our vendor meal with the videographer, I was asked this question: "So, you are going to be a wedding photographer when you get out of school?" I vehemently denied that I would EVER, be a wedding photographer. I was, first and foremost a photojournalist. You see, I thought wedding photography was stuffy, posed pictures; set up shots that never told the real story. I wanted to tell stories with my camera.
So, I continued to study photojournalism, graduated college and immediately went to work at a news paper. I worked hard, won numerous awards and learned all I could about what it took to become a successful news photographer. Wedding photography was the last thing on my mind. That was until I stumbled upon Jasmine Star's blog. I've said it before and I'll say it again, as cliche as it may sound, seeing Jasmine's work and following her as she photographed weddings the way SHE interpreted them, I was inspired. A desire to document weddings began to percolate. Maybe I could combine my love of photojournalism and, well, love. Just maybe.
This past spring, I attended WPPI, hoping and praying that I would find connection with wedding photography, that some how this trip would help lead me in different direction than that which I was headed in. I sat with photographers, Katelyn James, Zach and Jody, Alicia Candelora and Peter Bang, at a PhotogUnite meeting and like a fool, cried big, fat, tears. Tears of yearning and wanting. I wanted so desperately to be a part of the community I witnessed. A community of small business owners, that loved their job, loved their clients and loved what they did.
Last year I launched Deborah Zoe Photo as an experiment of sorts. Would I like shooting weddings? Would I find clients? How would they trust me? Somewhere along the way, despite my lack of confidence and the many questions I was bombarded with, I found clients and clients found me. They trusted me, they encouraged me, they supported me, they helped me to fall in love with wedding photography. Their stories and their love inspired me. And the rest, well it's not quite history, but it's a beginning.
Today, I start my journey. I'm scared but I'm happy.
And I'm so thankful for all of you, my clients, my family, my friends, and my colleagues who have supported me this past year and continue to support me as I branch out on my own. Your blog comments, messages, emails, texts, words and prayers have been such a source of encouragement to me, I can't even describe what it means.
So thank you for all your love, especially my husband, for encouraging me to follow my dreams, even if it is hard, and scary and new. I am so excited to take that step. Something is ending, but something else is beginning.