My First Time
My first camera was a point-and-shoot piece of crap. I got around 50 photos out of it before the batteries kicked the bucket…AA batteries, I might add. I’d take photos at concerts, snap shots of random inanimate objects (failed artistic notions) and plaster them all over my bedroom walls. Annie Leibovitz, watch out!
At 21, I invested in my first crop sensor DSLR and upped my game considerably. My subjects turned from fruit bowls to friends. Friends’ families. Friends’ family friends. I spent the first few years of my business photographing events and portraits while I finished my Psychology degree.
Six months later, I put a call out to shadow photographers at weddings on Gumtree (what on earth was I thinking?!). Luckily, I got one reply from a bride who welcomed me on board for her wedding. She’d already hired a professional but said I was free to come along and learn. Bingo!
I’LL BET YOU A BEER YOU CAN’T GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…
I organised a meeting with the couple a month from their wedding in order to get to know them and see how I could help. I was young, eager, and super excited. But I soon discovered that there was actually no professional photographer other than me for the day. Shut. The. Front. Door.
After restarting my shocked brain, I shot my first wedding solely with the support of my dear mum. I was underprepared and extremely dangerously inexperienced. But despite my rookie status, I walked away feeling overwhelmed with excitement and in love with the whole ritual of the day. The energy. The happiness. The love in the room. The dance floor…
I wanted more! This was what I was put on earth to do. I could apply communication skills that I’d picked up through my degree (not in a creepy Derren Brown way, honest!) and engage my creative side at the same time. It was perfect. And although I was (at the time) pretty hopeless under pressure with regard to settings, composition and, let’s be honest, overall skill…I knew I had found my true calling.
I took a leap of Faith and It Paid Off
After a few years of building my portfolio through freelance photography gigs, I tied a bow on my college years (with Honours, #athankyou) and jumped into a full-time Provisional Psychology position. Even with a full season of photography gigs booked in advance, I was worried about leaving a consistent income.
It wasn’t until I flew the nest for the first time and adopted our first-born child Ollie (‘child’ = ‘dog’) that my mindset totally shifted. I’d spent nine months working on psychological assessments but I couldn’t stop thinking about my photography business. Branding, emails, growth, etc. So I took a leap of faith and quit my day job to become a full-time wedding photographer.
Wondering how to become a wedding photographer in Australia? Just do the opposite of what I did. In my first year of being a full-time wedding photographer, I came perilously close to going bankrupt. I spent more money than I made and had zero industry experience. I had to find a way to keep doing what I loved and provide for Ollie, so I spent my remaining dollars on a photography mentor and attended workshops to understand how to make my dream a reality. Spoiler: IT PAID OFF! Three years and another fury addition later, through my customised photography mentoring online, I want to do the same for you.
BUT ONE THING WAS MISSING: I WAS LACKING A TRUSTING NETWORK OF SUPPORTERS
After a few long, lonesome years of struggle and self-growth, I found some genuine friends in the industry who were both supportive and favoured a ‘tell it like it is’ approach. They remain my absolute favourite humans in the world and helped me get out of my funk. I would not be who or where I am today without them.
Here’s the truth – I never want anyone to feel how I felt when I first started. It frickin’ SUCKED. Years of mistakes and frustrations, all easily avoidable if I had just found my community of peers at the beginning of my journey.
I had to figure things out on my own from the very start. I had no wedding photography course. Sure, they were out there, I just didn’t think to look for them straight away. Instead, I worked bloody hard, clawed my way up, and now I’m ready to share my knowledge with you.
I will be honest and raw with you right from the start. I’m only human, after all. I still have days when I think ‘Am I good enough’? But through these feelings, knowing that the expertise I have to offer will have a positive impact on others makes it all worthwhile.
Thanks for being here!