The first camera I picked up was a Canon Powershot that didn’t have changeable lenses, but did at least have manual settings. I sat in the dark photographing fast moving dancers without a flash, surrounded by professional photographers who were willing to suggest settings that might allow me to get a shot or two, which was all I needed. I was only there to make sure I had a photo to include with my review of the performance. Back then, I would never have guessed that I would fall in love with the world through the lens and eventually find myself photographing important life events like weddings.

Photographing weddings was never part of my plan — but then Amy asked me to shoot her wedding. I love new challenges so I couldn’t resist this opportunity. As I started learning and preparing myself, I realized that although there were brand new challenges, there was some similarity between shooting a wedding and the performance events where I was first introduced to photography.

Among the similarities are the lighting challenges. I shot ballets and modern dance in a dark theater without a flash. The only light I had to work with was the often minimal stage lighting. Not only was the stage sometimes almost completely dark, but the light changed frequently, meaning I had to keep up with my camera’s settings. Add to this the pressure of knowing I have one shot. If I missed a shot, the moment was gone. So I learned to keep up with the lighting changes while anticipating the next move to be ready for the shot. I found this kind of pressure exhilarating in the theater — it was part of what drew me to photography. I find it equally exhilarating when shooting a wedding! Regardless of the lighting situation, there is only one chance to catch a first kiss.

Amy and Jeff Smith’s wedding, my first, was a beautiful and intimate event of family and friends, hosted in the back yard of the Smith’s good friends. Amy requested only shots of the ceremony and candids from thee day, none of the standard formal group shots or still life photos. This made it the perfect entry into weddings for me. I was able to focus on the the pace and pressure of getting the important one-chance shots and capturing the warmth of the day.

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And some of my favorite guests…

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I’ll be sharing some shots from a wedding I shot last weekend in my next post, and I’m excited to have several weddings on my calendar for the fall!

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