(Not a) Wedding Photographer

A couple of months ago a friend of the family told me she was getting remarried and asked if I would be her wedding photographer.

“I just love your photos.” She said. “I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”

This woman has been like a second mother to me. I love her dearly, so I wanted to say yes, of course I’ll take your pictures! But, I’m not a professional photographer and well, it’s a wedding. A wedding requires a professional.

I told her that I was flattered, but I also reminded her that I was not a professional, that photography is something I love, but not something I get paid to do.

“I trust you.” She replied.

Because she is dear to me, and because she did so much for me growing up, I agreed to do it. I had no intention on charging her because again, not a professional. I was going to do it because I love her and because it was something she really wanted me to do.

The wedding was on Sunday. On Saturday night, I’m not sure I slept for more than 3 hours. I tossed and turned all night. I was terrified, nervous and insecure. I did not take this job lightly. My called my sister and expressed my concerns. “Be confident, own it and kill it.” She said.

I arrived an hour earlier than they asked me to be there so I could check the venue out. I was sweating before I had even taken my camera out. I was nervous as hell.

The bride arrived and I just started shooting. She didn’t have specific requests (aside from traditional family type poses before the wedding.) So, I just watched and tried to capture the beauty and details of the day. I’m telling you, the next day, every muscle in my body ached from standing, squatting, laying on the ground and running. My respect level for wedding photographers went up by the BILLIONS.

I posted the album of photos the day after the wedding. I was nervous, afraid I had missed things or not done a good enough job. Then, she left a comment (and later that day, left me a voice mail) that said the following:

“Yvonne I don’t know what to say… Every picture is perfect. You are the best! Another talent you have you have been blessed with.”

It wasn’t until I read those words that I realized just how stressed out I was. I actually cried with relief to know that she was happy with what I had captured. I was happy to do that for my dear friend, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for anyone any time soon, or probably ever. I’m way too big of a wimp to deal with that kind of pressure.

52 thoughts on “(Not a) Wedding Photographer

  1. Lori

    Those are incredible. You have a fantastic eye! My brother in law is a wedding photog, and I think these are *at the very least* as good as his, and probably even better.

    You are truly a gifted person.

  2. Suzy Q

    These photos are GORGEOUS! I would hire you any day of the week. If you happen to be in Miami on Nov 17, well, I am performing a wedding vow renewal for my nephew, hint, hint. 🙂

  3. Kyla

    You did a wonderful job, truly. Those photos are gorgeous and I know she will treasure them. But I can only imagine the stress of being responsible for immortalizing a day as important as that…you did it well, though!

  4. mommabird2345

    They are beautiful!! You’d better be careful where you post these, someone WILL want to hire you. You are definitely a professional photographer. You should start charging as one. 🙂

  5. MargieK

    You did an amazing job, Y! I “get” the pressure; who *wouldn’t* be nervous about this? You can’t go back and do “retakes” with a wedding. But you’ve been taking awesome pictures for years, and it shows.

    Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful! What a fabulous gift!

  6. carol

    Y, you do have a “magic eye”. Photogs see things through a lense that the rest of us do not. Every one of those photos are album worthy. Kudos! I loooooved her dress(pass that along).

  7. Kate

    I suspect you’re the only one who’s surprised at what an awesome and incredible job you did.

    You are fantastic and incredibly talented.

  8. Miranda

    OMG Y! These are AMAZING! And BEAUTIFUL! And just…WOW. You may not currently be a “professional” photographer, but you totally could be! Thanks for sharing.

  9. DogsDontPurr

    Yvonne! These are the best wedding photos I’ve ever seen! They look like a celebrity wedding shoot. Totally magazine worthy! You should really consider doing this for a living. And not just weddings. Maybe you should get a portfolio together and pursue magazines and other venues. Seriously, you’ve got major talent here. You’ve got an eye for it. The angles, the framing…everything! Love it!

  10. robyn

    I seriously could not have done that good – and you know who I work / write for! CONGRATULATIONS on such a successful shoot. The photos are amazing and the couple was so smart to trust their instincts, and you!

  11. Gc

    Looking at those photos, I never would have guessed that you’ve never done it professionally. I think they’re great! And, you’re right…wedding photography is highly stressful. That’s probably why they get paid big bucks, especially if they’re good. I think you could do pretty well at it, if you decide to pursue it. 🙂

  12. Lisa

    I’ve read your blog for years and can’t remember if I have ever commented. But…your pictures are amazing. If you are not a “professional” photographer it is time to become one. They look like they should be in a magazine!

  13. Jan

    I have been to a wedding! I could feel the excitement, I could smell the roses and perfume, I could hear the band and the laughter, AND I could see the beautiful bride and her family as no one with an invitation could! Well Done Professional Wedding Photographer!

  14. Coco

    Wow! I always read and never comment but I must comment on this post! As a soon to be bride (6 more days!!!), I’ve seen many photographer’s portfolios and these pictures are some of the best I’ve ever seen! And we’re getting married in Paris where the photographers are quite talented. I would of easily hired you based on these pictures! Amazing and stunning!

  15. Lyn

    Hi Yvonne,
    I’m a long time reader but can’t remember if I’ve ever commented before but I had to once I saw your photos. They are absolutely beautiful! I would’ve loved to have had pictures like yours instead of the ones I have of my wedding. This is another gift you have that you can share with others and for which you should be VERY proud of yourself. Great job!

  16. Rachael

    Looking at those, I cannot believe you’ve never shot a wedding before. I shot a friend’s wedding recently and my photos do NOT look like that. Awesome job!

  17. lisa

    And what a lovely family.
    You should be very proud of yourself. I would have loved these types of photos on my wedding day.

  18. LIsa

    Hmmm, maybe you SHOULD consider doing it more! These photos are spectacular! Better than any “professional” photo’s I’ve ever seen! You have an amazing eye…incredible.

  19. upnitestx

    A gorgeous wedding and your photography was superb. Better than professional because while all the pictures are beautiful it is the added dimension of love that I can feel in each one that makes them so incredibly successful. Christine

  20. Casie

    beautiful beautiful beautiful! I love the candid shots much more than posed and I think you absolutely caught the feeling of the day and captured some beautiful memories for her.

  21. maggie

    Absolutely beautiful photos! You did a great job. The bride looked so happy and gorgeous. Love her dress, too.

  22. Teresa

    Awesome!! I would totally hire you for my wedding. If I was getting married….. and you lived in Iowa….. and stuff….. 🙂

  23. Laura Lohr @mommycanrun

    Of course you did a great job! You know there are some people that love photography and have to work at it (like me) and people like you that should have been born with a camera in your hand. You are a natural! It is a gift! <3 these! WOWZERS!

  24. Shay Kay

    I too love Photography, and often fear my own creativity but your pictures are so incredibly beautiful . Any woman would be overjoyed to have those photos as a memory of her special day. Congratulations, you accomplished what most take a lifetime to build in their portfolio.

  25. lani

    You absolutely KILLED it, my dear! I get the “nerves” and it not being enjoyable because of it, but you… my dear… could stand to make a lot of money as a wedding photographer!!! Wow. No words. These are stunning. All of them.

  26. Tammy

    Those pictures are fantastic! You have such an eye for capturing meaningful scenes which is something that you can’t be taught. Great job!

  27. Nancy P

    I don’t know what to say that hasn’t already been said. (nothing like being a few weeks behind) Soooo I will say this. WTF are you thinking?! Like it or not Y it appears you ARE a wedding photographer. These are awesome pictures! They capture soooo much.

  28. Janet

    Yes, oh yes. You *are* a wedding photographer. You nailed it. They are absolutely beautiful, and perfect. I would hire you any day!

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