I met Cindy when I was first starting as a wedding photographer in Northwest Arkansas. I was immediately drawn to spending time with her because of her genuine presence and her passion for florals. About a year after meeting Cindy, I met her husband James for the first time. He drove forty-five minutes to help me set up a floral arch for a friends proposal. My experience with James was the same, so genuine, and such a joy for life. I loved these people.
As I got to know them better I learned their story; they got married during Cindy's lunch break at a floral shop twenty-three years ago. Yes, she went back to work after. That was it! They never had a celebration or any fancy clothes, instead they had two sons and started working hard. Cindy pushed toward her dream of having her own floral shop and has since become one of Northwest Arkansas' go-to gals for wedding florals. The queen of wedding florals that never got to have wedding florals of her own. As I heard bits and pieces of their story I became more and more obsessed and joined the gang of humans that wanted Cindy and James to have their fairytale wedding. When Cindy called and said they were going to do it I was thrilled to have the opportunity to take photos.
Cindy spent months curating details for this celebration. She wanted to honor and celebrate all the of the people that had poured themselves into them as a couple. From two dollar bills at each place setting to represent an old family tradition, to her late father's hat at the top of their cake display. This is a special one, friends.
Shoutout to all the incredible vendors that made this day extra special!
Venue : Bride's Mother's Home
Florals : ZuZu's Petals and Gifts
Planner : The Wedding Lady NWA
Videography : Dave and a Camera
Cake : Rick's Bakery
Pie : Fork N Crust
Wine : Sassafras Winery
Popcorn : Hill City Popcorn
Lighting : Lightworks Events
Rentals : Intents // Eventures
Dress : Anita's Fine Tailoring
Servers : Bohemian Geeks
Venue: Legacy Acres
Catering: Simply the Best Catering
Videography: Tyler Tarver
Florals: Magnolia Belle Design
Cake: PattiCakes Bakery
Makeup Artist: Haley Baxter
Venue : The Ballroom on I Street
Florals : LP Floral
MUA : Jen Ferrell
Words are hard for me so I'll keep this short. I love this couple. Brittany and I have a special relationship after years of shooting together, but working with B + James together is something I never want to stop doing because their love radiates to everyone around them. I am so darn excited to be sharing their gorgeous day in Arkansas!
Venue : Kindred Barn
Coordinator : Linen + Rust
Florals : ZuZu's Petals and Gifts
Videographer : Kristen Leach
DJ : Groove Productions
Catering : Stirred Catering and Coffee
Cake : Ricks Bakery
Hair and MUA : Natasha Rae Artistry
Dress : Chantilly Couture
Ceremony : The Botanical Gardens of the Ozarks
Florist : Events by Jules
Caterer : Greenhouse Grille
Cake : Shelby Lyn's Cake Shoppe
Coordinator : Sweet Tea Designs
Second shooter : Leigh McGruder
I met Kirstin and Anthony for the first time when I showed up in Tacoma, Washington to shoot their engagement photos. I immediately felt connected to these two. They were kind, compassionate, and so honest. They were themselves with no hesitation and I loved it. The day of the wedding one of Kirstin's bridesmaids asked her if she was nervous and she responded with, "No, I'm not nervous. It's just another crazy adventure with my buddy, you know?" Those words sat with me the rest of the wedding day as I watched these two celebrate their forever.
Thank you two for having me there to celebrate with you all! Wouldn't trade it for the world!
Kristen and Adam are the perfect combination of kind, genuine, and goofy. Honestly, their day couldn't have been more of a dream. From start to finish Kristen was calm, Adam was excited, and their bridal party was loads of fun! I'm so excited to be sharing all of their gorgeous details!
I met Brooke as a freshman in college. I even remember the first time she told me about Travis. We were in the red couch room of the Chi Omega house on campus. We'd just started back for our Fall semester and while we were away for the summer she had met a boy. You could tell from day one that her and Travis were special just by how her eyes lit up talking about him. Their wedding day was no different. I wish I was better with words so I could tell you more but words are hard and I'm bad at them.
Travis and Brooke, thank you so much for having me! You two are so special to me!
The night before this wedding I had my first encounter with food poisoning. Yep, food poisoning. Unfortunately, a wedding photographer has no days off, so I headed to Eureka Springs with an extremely sick tummy and a wonderful friend who had offered to help me through the day (SHOUTOUT TO APRIL). How fortunate am I that Rachel and Kenny are a dream couple, treated me like family, and made my job beyond easy? This is one of my favorite weddings to date and I am so excited to be sharing a few of my favorite images.
Rachel and Kenny, I wish you a lifetime of happiness. You two are one stunning couple.
This blog post has been on my 'to-do' list for much too long and today is the day I finally write down the words floating through my head. Since I took the leap to full-time in January I feel as if I'm always shouting out why photography is valuable to those who don't understand my career choice. I see it discussed in various photography boards I'm on and every time I meet up with other artists it's brought up again and again. However, how can we as artists expect others to understand the value of our work if we only discuss it with other creatives? Can we really complain if we haven't done our part educating others?
I want to start this post by explaining that some people will have a difference in opinion. Not everyone sees the value in investing in photography. We can't all see eye-to-eye and that is okay! Second, I am in no way complaining about my chosen career. I LOVE what I do. I wouldn't give it up for the world but I also want to do my part educating people that photographers (and all artists!) do a lot to follow their passions and the price points aren't just random!
Photography is accessible. Almost everyone I know owns a camera of some variety, which means that almost everyone can pursue photography if that is what they want to do. I love that because it allows me to share my passion with all kinds of amazing people. Unfortunately, that accessibility makes photography a field where the perceived cost is often MUCH lower than the actual cost. I think many people see photography as a career that is also easy to pursue, and in some ways, that is true. Heck, my dog could go buy a DSLR from Walmart, whip up an Instagram account, and tell everyone she's now a photographer. That’s obviously a bit dramatic, but you all get my point! Anyone can pursue photography and that rocks, BUT not everyone fully understands the investment and what goes along with running your own business.
So what all goes into shooting? The fixed costs that allow me to simply show up adequately prepared and equipped on the day of a wedding include:
- Camera equipment and upgrades
- Lenses, flashes, and other crucial accessories
- Editing and photo management software
- Computer and additional hard drive space
- Cell Phone
- Office space
- Vehicle costs (gas, maintenance, insurance, repairs)
- Business insurance
- Domain name, webhosting, and website maintenance
- Client payment and management systems
- Business cards
- Further education (Workshops, seminars, conventions, books)
That's just the bones of a professional photographers business. There is time that is invested with each additional client:
- Responding to inquiries, emails
- Filing contracts, receipts, invoices
- Hiring second shooters (weddings)
- Scouting locations
- Pre-Portrait/Engagement Session (clean equipment, location planning)
- Travel to and from portrait/engagement session
- Importing imagery
- Backup imagery
- Cull imagery
- Edit imagery
- Upload galleries and deliver products
- Pre-Wedding Day (clean equipment, scout venue)
- Travel to and from wedding
- Repeat import, backup, cull, edit, and deliver
- Follow-up with clients
Finally, there is the wonderful world of social media and marketing. This is the way I reach the majority of my clients. So many of you have found your way to my website via Instagram and Facebook! Keeping up with that part of the business requires:
- Cull edited imagery
- Export optimized versions for upload
- Update and maintain website
- Format blog posts
- Write blog posts
- Share blog posts on Facebook
- Upload to Facebook
- Upload to Instagram
- Respond to comments and DM's
Every task listed above I don't necessarily enjoy but I would never give it up because it means I get to do work that I am passionate about. They are also part of the costs of running a business.
I too have been shocked by estimates I've gotten in the past. I applaud you for spending time thinking about how each dollar is spent and asking questions so you understand exactly what you're paying for. I pour my heart into making a business model that is profitable so that I can do what I love and enjoy my life away from the computer or the camera (mostly the computer haha). Nowhere above did I mention paying my rent, feeding my dog, or the costs of day-to day life. Like anyone else, the money I make at work has to support more than just the business, it has to pay for me!
The professional photographers that you are reaching out to capture your biggest moments have spent a lot of time perfecting their craft. They work hard, long hours just like you! They want more than anything for you to have imagery that you can cherish forever. Just last week I spent the afternoon flipping through my Grandmother's wedding album. Getting to experience her memories is pure magic, and priceless. To make that happen for you and your loved ones, photographers give up their weekends, their friends’ weddings, and time with their families to celebrate you. They spend long hours on the computer making sure that you look your very best in every captured moment. After all, the only tangible thing you take away from your wedding day is the images you capture and print.
I’ve said it about a trillion times in this post, but I love photography and I am grateful to make a living doing it. If you’ve made it this far, thanks for taking the time to read my rant. I'm thankful for people like you.