so everything takes me a while with the whole new baby and two kids instead of one thing… here, two weeks into the new year, is a selection of my favorite images from wedding and portrait sessions through 2011. at the very end down below, there’s an image my second shooter amber wilkie took of me (five and a half months preggo and looking a hot mess after eight hours of shooting) with some of my most awesome clients – osman and lubna, at their walima in july in DC. and the very last image, i just blogged prior to this – but it might be my most favorite image from all of 2011 :) thanks SO much to my family, all my clients and my amazing second shooters for taking this journey with me last year – can’t wait to get started on 2012!!
so at the end of this incredible year… i wanted to say a little something about how i’ve gotten to where i am.
i joined yahoo’s flickr photo community several years ago, but never really thought much of it, until one day in the summer of 2008, when i came to the realization that i knew next to nothing about wedding photography and needed to find other photographers to talk to, to find out what i was doing wrong and how i could improve. about a week before a two-wedding weekend – the only ones i shot that summer – i remembered that flickr had groups, and went to see if i could find one that dealt with wedding photography. found “starting a wedding photography business.”
flickr has a unique photo interface… a fluid “stream” of images you can upload, and organize into sets and collections, tag, promote in groups, etc. but flickr’s greatest strength by far is its community. i’ve done my share of deriding online interaction and social media as “fake”, but i actually can’t imagine my life without my flickr group – yes, mine! without a doubt, the single most important step i took in becoming a professional wedding photographer was joining this flickr group – more important than practicing, than learning software, than buying gear, anything else – because i wouldn’t have known what to do in any of those categories without them. (as an internet addict… i actually spend more time on flickr than on facebook, if that tells you anything).
they hail from every far-flung corner of the globe. they are full-time photographers and weekend warriors, college students and parents of college students, outliers and brilliant thinkers, writers, travelers, dreamers and realists, believers and atheists, political junkies and apathetics, honest and real and friends. with, of course, one thing (at least) in common… this incredible passion for and talent in photography. they are good people, the best: they support you when you’re struggling, cheer you when you’re winning, teach you when you’re being an idiot, defend you when you’re attacked, commiserate when you’re venting, pick you up when you’re down and knock you down if you need it – tell you what you need to hear, not what you want to hear – share your joys and sorrows that have nothing to do with photography, even. they make you laugh, cry, think twice, think differently, think outside the box. they constantly – every day – inspire me not only with their work, but with their experiences, too. they push boundaries in business and in photographic technique, and they go out of their way to share willingly and generously of their knowledge and expertise. i’ve heard comments from friends before about “the competition” in my industry… but it’s so obvious among us that it almost goes without saying, that we gain immeasurably more by sharing with each other.
i’m lucky enough to be in the d.c./baltimore area, where there is a wealth of absurdly talented photographers anyway; but i’ve had the opportunity to connect with many of the local members of our group, whom we rely on for second shooting, emergencies and other situations. and sometimes we meet in person and shoot together… our last meetup was in november, in baltimore on a sunny sunday afternoon. we’ve gained a few new members with moves and such, so i’m truly looking forward to the next meetup in the new year – till then, here are a few shots from our november meetup, where we tried to sneak shots of cute couples at the harbor and played around with freelensing.
SWPB… i love you guys. more than you’ll ever know. you are my rockstars. thank you for being who you are and for teaching me… i’m so incredibly proud to be a part of our group, and i can’t wait to see how we all grow in the coming year!
i’ve had the most amazing year… take a look!
so even though the summer season is picking up, i couldn’t resist the opportunity to meet up with some old photography friends for some practice shooting this past week… back in october of 2008, just a few months after i had first joined the most incredible photographic community in the world on flickr, i was able to travel up to frederick to join a bevy of photographers with much more experience (and more batteries, huh, bill?) than me, and had an amazing day trying to learn how to take better pictures of people… ideally, pretty brides in wedding dresses. i learned about reflectors, off-camera flash, composition, focusing and more – and particularly the importance of having back-up batteries, as mine ran out of juice just before the brides got into a stream to “trash the dress” – and made some good friends among a disparate group of people with one thing binding them closely together: geekhood. for cameras. i’m sure you guys are all cool in other respects!
anyway! so… i’ve missed many meetups since then, but found out that the fantastic folks at hopeland studios were putting together a meetup with some real-people models focusing on flow posing, and i thought it could be extremely helpful, as posing for portraits is an area i’ve been looking to work on. plus, as much as parenthood thrills me to the bottom of my heart, i have to admit that the luxury of an evening out, by myself, among other adults, indulging my creative side, was pretty darn tempting…
well, we absolutely lucked out, i must say: a generous and kind hostess, a dedicated and friendly group of photographers, gentle sunshine, clear skies and warm air through the evening, and – our models? two couples – one getting married in two weeks, the other having been married for 20 years – both classy, gorgeous, funny, patient, both absolutely radiating the love they felt for each other… the list goes on. kathlyn, rob, marcie and pedro – i mean, dan – i can’t thank you guys enough for letting us contort you around for hours while keeping smiles plastered on your faces :) it was SUCH a pleasure meeting you all and i truly hope you get as much joy out of our pictures as we did learning to take them properly :)
a note: the off-camera flash shots shown here of the two couples used a hotshoe flash inside a large softbox, triggered by alienbee cybersyncs, which was set up by my friend and sometimes-second-shooter, the amazing rehan bashir, and the photos of kathlyn in her gorgeous wedding dress at the end used a hotshoe flash firing through a shoot-through umbrella, triggered by pocket wizards, set up by bill millios of hopeland studios. me – i’m still working on being able to set up lights properly and get results like these… might be investing in a good softbox in the near future!