Three years ago, I remember talking with my husband and friends and saying “I’ll never shoot weddings. It’s just not my thing. Give me newborns over brides any day.” Of course, those words were probably formed after watching episodes of Bridezilla and knowing I’d never be a good fit in that atmosphere. But those scary images totally dissolved when I shot my first wedding.
I’ve always tried to adhere to the “Follow Your Heart” philosophy, especially when it comes to business decisions. And my heart was telling me to capture those once in a lifetime events. Nothing like the stress of knowing you have one shot, one opportunity, one chance to get it right the first time, because there is no second ‘first look’ or a second “I do” at a wedding. I fell in love. Honestly. I never imagined I’d ever get so emotionally involved with my work, that I would be so passionate about weddings and the wonderful couples I’ve worked with, but here I am. A hopeless romantic who makes a living doing sometime I absolutely love. I feel so blessed.
The end product of photos are all that most people will ever see of my weddings. But they are just the icing on the cake so to speak. For me, the wedding begins far in advance when I develop a personal relationship with the couple. We talk, we email, we often become friends. And when it comes to final moments of the ceremony, I’m usually looking through my lens with the same tears of happiness as the rest of the family. It’s not just a wedding. It’s like being in the cast of a beautiful love story played out before your eyes, that’s filled with the kind of emotion that spills over and touches everyone — from the first moment with my couples, to capturing every possible detail of their wedding, then editing the photos and posting the final blog — it’s a journey I love.
A prime example was getting to know Brandy. We had spent so much time together during the past year with her Engagement Session, her Destination Bridal Session at the Old Sheldon Church in Beaufort, SC, and her Wedding at The Saratoga Springs, that I came to know her on a personal level. We became friends.
I remember working on her bridal images and putting together the Wedding Blog, and was amazed when we received so much positive feedback. At that point, I decided to shoot for the stars and submit her wedding to Carolina Bride wedding magazine. With so many incredibly talented and amazing wedding photographers in my area, I knew the odds of getting published weren’t in my favor, but I figured, ‘why not give it a shot?’
When I heard Brandy’s wedding would be featured in the July/September issue, I was totally over the moon! I just can’t explain what it’s like to pick up a magazine and see my own photos of a beautiful bride featured for the world to see. I just kept looking and staring at those pictures and words. It was almost surreal.
And then I read Brandy’s own words in the magazine. “Julia really captured our love story like no one else could have. She really wanted us to get what we wanted, and she did everything she could to make sure we did.”
I dissolved into tears of happiness. Those words were just the reassurance I needed to let me know my heart was correct in the path it had chosen — that my passion for wedding photography was incredibly real and was now paving the way for a true work of love.
I’d like thank Brandy and all my other brides for entrusting me to capture their most precious moments, and to Carolina Bride, for helping me realize that dreams do come true. I feel truly blessed and fortunate.