The story behind the photography

So this month marks ten years since my baby, Capture Photography, was born. Can you imagine that ten years ago I had this crazy dream of owning a photography business and here I am, literally living the dream. The story itself is definitely one that needs to be shared, because well its the story of my lifetime.

In high school I couldn’t wait to be a junior. Being a junior meant you could take photography so of course as soon as I could- I signed up and fell in love. I remember the very first photograph I took. It was the bottom of a fence with a rain drop falling off of it. Now when I took this photograph I saw it from start to finish, unlike how I take photos today. I took the photo, imagined what it would come out like, rolled out the reel of film from the camera, put it in a black bag and got the film out without being able to see it because of course it couldn’t be exposed to light (similar to a magic trick really). From there I would make a “contact sheet,” which allowed me to see a 1×1 view of the photos from the film and then coordinated the picture from the contact sheet with the negative that would become a print.  Using mixtures of developer bath, stop bath, and fixer bath I would slowly but surely create an actual photograph. Do you know what I do now? I take a photo, it’s captured on a memory card in my camera, I put that card into a card reader and the photos appear on my computer screen.

I am so happy to say that I learned photography the “old fashion,” way. Learning how the photo is actually created is the foundation of taking a good photograph. As old as I sound saying this- these kids these days have no idea how easy they have it! The camera in most smart phones alone is better than cameras that cost hundreds of dollars back in the day!

So now the story. I fell in love with photography from that first rain drop and I spent hours upon hours in the darkroom. In fact until this very day every time I hear the Black Crowes song “She talks to Angles,” I am instantly taken back to that dark room in Daniel Hand because it was one of only 3 CDs that circulated in there. The darkroom was my constant. The darkroom was always there whenever I needed it. It was there through every tough time I had at the age of 17 and 18 and for that, I will be forever grateful to that 10×10 space. As a senior there was a competition and as students we had to create a theme and use our photographs to express that theme. I decided that my theme would be contrast and to display that I showcased photos from the country and the city. In addition to the subject matter having contrast, the photos which were black and white were developed with high contrast, the whites pure white and the blacks dark as night. With photos on each side, the song “Southern California Wants to be Western New York,” by Dar Williams was written in the middle.

There were two other photographers in my grade that were amazing. As much as I loved them as friends, I was highly competitive against them and knew that if I had any chance in this competition it was either second or third to these two talented chicks, that was my very best hope in being a part of this. The judges came in during the day and the show for friends and family was at night. Basically once you walked into the school, you found your piece and saw if there was anything next to it. My mother came with me and as we walked the halls we past by the first girls photography exhibition, 2nd place. “Thank god,” I thought, there was room for me in 3rd. The next hallway had the second girls work and it said 3rd. My heart was crushed. CRUSHED. I can’t believe I after all the hard work, the talent I thought I had, the hours that went into this project, the time spent in the darkroom day after day, night after nigh there was no room for me in 2nd or 3rd place. My work was in the next hallway. We went over because of course I wanted to show my mom my piece. We turned the corner and you know how you have moments in your life that you will never ever forget? The turn of the corner where my work was displayed on the right side at the very end of the hallway, against a horrible tan cheap wall made of plastic, there was my work with a blue ribbon hanging next to it. First place. My mom and I tried to comprehend what we were seeing and from there it was just tears and screams of joy. We didn’t care who saw or heard us.

Looking back in retrospect I’m amazed at the honest lack of self confidence that at no point between one hallway and the next did I ever have a moment when I considered that maybe since they were second and third, that I was first. It simply was just never a thought. That night, till this day, was one of the best nights of my entire life. That night confirmed that my love for photography was more than a passion, it was a purpose. So at 18 I found my purpose. Imagine that. Imagine being an 18 year old girl with the world at your fingertips and there it is right in front of you- the gift you were born with, the gift that would make the rest of your life complete.

So then I went to art school, got a degree in photography, started a business and I slept soundly every night. Every word in that last sentence is a lie but wait till you hear the truth because from 18 till now has been one hell of a ride and I wouldn’t change any turn for the world. To be continued…

For the purpose of this post I dug out the project, enjoy 🙂

And todays post is brought to you by the song that brought the photos together,

 

How to make me work double for the same amount of money

I have the type of job that allows me to use my creativity in so many ways. A few times a year I’ll do a shoot that allows me complete creative freedom but in between those, I find ways to explore this creativity through the jobs I’m given. Each job is different from the last even if its the same type of job. For example I photograph weddings almost every weekend in the summer and fall but no two weddings are the same. Sure there are similar timelines and routines but the couple is what makes each job different.

Last week I had a wedding that simply reminded me of why I love what I do. This amazing couple, Mandy and Mike who got married at Saybrook Point Inn, lit up my life! When I originally met them I knew there were a perfect fit for me, the perfect capture couple. When I meet potential clients I screen them as much as they screen me. I need to make sure I feel a connection with them, I need to make sure they are looking for the type of photography I provide. I am not your typical photographer. Yes I get gorgeous photos of your family and bridal party when they are sober and dressed to the 9’s but the rest of the day I want to document the wedding as it happens. I want to capture the smile your mom has when she laughs, not when she says cheese. So if I meet people who are looking for a formal photographer who will continually pose people all day long I simply let them know I am not the right fit for them. Then I am happy to provide a few names of great photographers who have that style.

Think of choosing a wedding photographer being like choosing a college. Each person has specific needs and wants. Do they want a big school with a large campus or would something smaller feel with more community feel? Not everyone is going to want to go to a party school, some want to go based on the sports program, others want to go for the specific major while others don’t know what they are interested in yet. Some couples know exactly what they want, some learn during the process what they need, but they all want to find one that is their perfect match.

So back to Mandy and Mike. They are a great fit for each other and that couldn’t have been more obvious then on their wedding day. First of all they are so madly in love, you couldn’t help but smile and feel that love radiate from them.  Here is the part that makes my job so fulfilling- they gave me complete creative freedom. When I met with them a few weeks before the wedding and asked if they had any list of pictures they knew they wanted they simply said, “We trust you to get us everything we need.” Now when I tell you this is the best thing I client can say- I am not exaggerating. I work SO hard knowing my clients have complete trust in me. Its a wonderful feeling knowing that they hired me based on my vision. A lot of people get caught up in their own vision of their wedding photographs. They may even find photos that they want to recreate (hello Pinterest!). What I always tell those people is- let’s create our own photo! Why do something that has already been done by a couple who isn’t you? Let’s make photographs that represent the two of you. Why would we want to recreate someone else love when it is so different from yours?

I take the time to get to know my couples very well. I used to shoot about 30 weddings a year and 4 years ago I changed my entire business plan to cater to only 15 weddings a year for the purpose of giving my clients a more personalized experience. This personalized experience is demonstrated best by the photos we take. My creativity mixed with their story is what creates the end product. Mike and Mandy were amazing clients and I was so lucky to have them. Their trust in my gave them a final product of pure love and joy that they will hold on to for the rest of their lives. So next time you give me a job and want me to work twice as hard for the same amount of money simply give me creative freedom and you’ll see the world through my eyes which is pretty fucking beautiful. Congrats Mandy and Mike and thank you for the reminder of why I do what I do.

 

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