Years ago, I photographed what would turn out to be one of the most nerve-wracking and yet enjoyable weddings in my career. I was just a few years into the business and I was asked to photograph the wedding of a NFL player. (Imagine all 5’7” of me directing a 300+ lb, 6’5” defensive end and all of his equally intimidating groomsmen!) The wedding was absolutely amazing for many reasons besides the fact that it was my first destination wedding. Mainly, it was amazing because of the people. While I have experienced it many times over the years, the bridal party and guests welcomed me like family throughout the weekend. I wasn’t just the photographer, but a trusted friend. Fast forward five years – imagine how I felt when I received an email from Akilah, one of the bridesmaids from that wedding, telling me that she was engaged and wanted me to be her photographer. Touched, honored, ecstatic. This is what I love most about photography; it isn’t just a job, but a journey that brings people into my life.
When Bryan and Jessica asked if I did maternity photography, I hesitated for a moment. I am so comfortable photographing weddings, posing brides and grooms, and capturing moments as they naturally unfold that I wasn’t sure how to approach a maternity shoot. So when I said yes to the shoot, I approached it with two things in mind – love and anticipation. It was love that brought them together; love that keeps them together; and love that is bringing baby Beckham into the world. Spending the afternoon with Bryan and Jessica, the anticipation and excitement between them to become parents was palpable. In the end, what I realized as I was editing the photos and reflecting on the day was that what I am photographing doesn’t matter nearly as much as what we are suppose to feel when viewing them. It isn’t the subject or the purpose of the shoot, but the universal emotions that we connect with. Love, security, tenderness…all things we have experienced and things that will welcome baby Beckham into the world.
Last night I rushed to design a new sample album to show potential brides and grooms. It is a daunting task that any creative dreads. Why? Because we are emotionally attached to our photos. Imagine trying to pick out your favorite handful of photos per wedding from the thousands of images you have taken every year. For each wedding, I started with the portfolio of 300+ images and picked my favorite 25…only to whittle those down to 5 or 8 photos. It is like picking your favorite child – you just can’t do it.