Michelle & Faris

If you know me, you know I am (and I always describe myself as) a connoisseur of love stories. Jane Austen is my favorite author, “Notting Hill” is my favorite romantic comedy, my inner monologue usually sounds like Bridget Jones, and I read books like “Fangirl” by Rainbow Rowell until I’ve practically memorized the text.

So then, I shouldn’t be surprised by how much I love wedding photography. My first paid gig was as a second shooter for Luna Photographie at a September wedding, and I was stunned by how at-home I felt. It’s difficult for me to feel upset or sad during a wedding, one of the few events which is (at least for me) all-consuming, distracting to the point that I can’t keep up with current events on Twitter or wallow in my own existential angst. Weddings are a time for celebration, laughing, supporting, loving.

So, of course, when Michelle asked me to photograph her elopement to Faris I immediately answered YES! Or, to be accurate, “OH MY GOD LETS (sic) DO IT!”

What a special time it was, and I felt my luck in being granted access to such an intimate ceremony. I met Faris just a few minutes before the first look and was so touched by his excitement, and by his desperation to see Michelle (who is so clearly his favorite person.) I won’t bore you with my read of Faris & Michelle’s relationship, except to say I’ve never met two people who loved each other so eagerly. The trust they granted me as they held each other before the ceremony was truly a gift— hell, I’m tearing up now remembering it. And I knew then, after the first look and before the officiant arrived, that I was right where I wanted and needed to be. That wedding photography has to be a part of my life moving forward. Love stories are my happy place, and this was a good one.

Anyway, here are some images of the beautiful couple & their ceremony. (And, just an FYI, the officiant rocked. She began the ceremony by talking about feminism and the complexity of marriage, and I was immediately on board.) Thank you to Michelle & Faris for letting me in on your beautiful day, and for helping me to find my place in the giant terrifying world of niche photography!

Resources for new photographers

I bought my entry-level DSLR in June of 2018. It took me several months to figure out the basics of my camera, but once I did, I began living and breathing photography. I work out of town so I spent my commutes listening to photography podcasts. On my days off, I read photography books and watched photography tutorials and put what I was learning into practice by shooting around my apartment— on my dogs, on my husband, on myself, whatever.

If you’re a new or learning photographer and you’re feeling a bit overwhelmed, I have some resources to share that helped me with my own journey. As you’ll notice, MOST of it is from the “So You Want to be a Photographer” podcast— it’s hands-down given me the most inspiration & help.

Take a quick scan and see what can be most useful to you!

Exposure & Beginning photography

For Dummies books - If you can, find a For Dummies book for your camera. I was floundering because I didn’t understand the basics of exposure or how different dials on my camera controlled exposure. The For Dummies book don’t actually treat you like a dummy, by the way.

Ben Long’s “Introduction to Photography” course on Lynda.com

Episode 20 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Get off auto, master manual mode in 30 minutes

Episode 28 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Bok bok bokeh: How to get beautiful blurry backgrounds

Episode 66 of So You Want to be a Photographer - The Matrix: Camera Metering Modes Explained Without the Need for a Science Degree

Episode 67 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to Shoot in Low Light

Episode 136 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Should you work for free, and how to take your photography to the next level

Episode 141 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Crank it up! Why every photographer should embrace high ISO

Episode 202 of So You Want to be a Photographer - A complete guide to focal length and how it affects focus and depth of field

Episode 222 of So You Want to be a Photographer - What are the best lenses and camera settings for portrait and documentary photography?

Seeing Light

Episode 14 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Lighting explained without the need for a science degree

Episode 217 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to see and read light

Artificial Light

Episode 17 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Get your gear off! How to use off-camera flash. Part 1

Erin Manning’s “Learning Studio Lights and Flash Lighting” course on Lynda.com

Episode 35 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Classic portrait lighting styles every photographer should know

Episode 58 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Seeing the Light: Rookie Lighting Mistakes and How to Overcome Them

Episode 89 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Your Guide to Buying and Using Speedlights and Accessories

Episode 169 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to use coloured gels in photos

Episode 218 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to work with speedlights for beginners, intermediates, and pros

Posing & Directing

Episode 19 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Girls on film. How to direct and pose women

Episode 29 of So You Want to be a Photographer - You’ve got male: How to pose men

Episode 33 of So You Want to be a Photographer - 7 Deadly Posing Sins and how to avoid them

Episode 43 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Group Hug: How to direct, pose and light group photos

Episode 99 of So You Want to be a Photographer: How to communicate effectively as a photographer

Unposed Fieldguide

Confidence & Style

Episode 25 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to become more confident as a photographer

Episode 32 of So You Want to be a Photographer - Work it! How to find and develop your own photographic style

Episode 88 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to Overcome Fear and Self Doubt and Thrive as a Photographer

Turning photography into a business

Episode 10 of Photospark - Taxes are no joke

Episode 24 of Photospark - Unprofessional Habits of Photographers

Episode 18 of So You Want to be a Photographer - KERCHING! Everything you need to know about pricing

Episode 47 of Photospark - Finding your dream clients

Episode 90 of Photospark - Live & Learn: Contract Edition!

Episode 96 of Photospark - 10 things we wish we knew when we started our photography business

Episode 99 of Photospark - Creating a marketing plan with Heidi Thompson

Episode 137 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How do you know if you are ready to start a photography business?

Episode 146 of So You Want to be a Photographer - How to find your photography niche

Episode 259 of PhotoBizXposed - Photography Business Growth by Referrals