How I Became a Wedding Photographer

My Journey to my Dream Career

Michelle Joy Photography Natural Light Destination Wedding Photographer

When I sit down with couples to talk about their wedding day, inevitably one of the questions they ask me is, “Soo…. how did you become a wedding photographer?” And it’s such a good question! My journey was different than some, because I didn’t go to school for photography, work in a studio, or anything like that. However, for as long as I can remember, I absolutely LOVED taking pictures. As a child, I remember carrying around disposable cameras taking photos of *everyone* and being so excited to go drop it off at Target to be developed! As a teenager, the back pocket of my flared jeans quickly became home to my sleek silver point-and-shoot digital camera that my parents had bought for me. If something funny happened, everyone would turn to me because the KNEW I would always have my camera (this was before smart phones ya’ll). I recognized even at that age that pictures created & preserved memories, and that was extremely important to me.

When I started college, though I still didn’t dream of becoming a wedding photographer (I wanted to be a teacher- you can read more about that in another post!), my love for photography was growing. Friends asked me to take their photos for senior recitals & other events, and I bought my first DSLR (the same camera I would use to shoot my first wedding three years later). One of my best friends worked for the university as an event photographer, and he taught me how to use my big new camera. I kept learning and loved every minute of it!

Fast forward to a year and a half after I graduated college… my most recent career dream of being a dietitian hadn’t panned out how I had hoped. It sounds like a lot of failures when I write it out, and I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t cry a little every time the bridge I’d planned to cross had crumbled. But I say that with joy because without those path diversions, I wouldn’t be photographing weddings and right now I can’t imagine doing anything else! I truly believe that God guided me through all those twists and turns and led me out into the bright meadow that is wedding photography. A friend of ours was getting married, and I knew their photographer… so he graciously allowed me to tag along! From that very day, I was captivated. I’d spent my entire life documenting moments… what if I could make a career capturing the *MOST* important moments of people’s lives? It sounded like a dream come true.

From that point on, I studied and studied. I read blogs every day, learning about weddings, camera settings, posing, editing, and so much more. I invested in new equipment, and shoots for free. I practiced on everyone, and started booking small weddings for just a few hundred dollars. To put it plainly, I worked my butt off… because I believed then, as a I do now, that couples deserve THE BEST on their wedding day. I wasn’t willing to give any couple anything less!

Brides and grooms, you deserve a wedding photographer who won’t miss a single moment. You deserve a photographer who makes you feel just as comfortable in front of the camera as you do cuddled up on the couch in yoga pants. You deserve to feel like a million bucks on your wedding day, like you could conquer the world, and have that confidence and joy preserved forever in an album that won’t fade or fall apart. Bride and grooms, you deserve a wedding photographer who will run your wedding day like a dream. No stress, no anxiety, no uncertainty… because you can trust them 100%. A photographer who will treat your family with respect, who will giggle with your bridesmaids and joke around with your groomsmen. You deserve a wedding photographer who will make your wedding day better, because they care so much about your relationship, your marriage, and your memories. That’s how I became a wedding photographer, and that’s the business I’ve worked so hard to build over the last five years!

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