Looking back over this year’s work has caused me to stop and think of where I want to be a year from now – 5 years from now.
We have grown over the past three years and as we embark on our fourth year as full-time husband & wife wedding photographers we want to be certain that we’re headed in the direction of our dreams. One of those goals for this next year is to showcase images that really speak to who we are. We see thousands of photographs each day and in a sea of photographers we want people to know instantly what makes us different.
In reality, most photographers use the same cameras, shoot the same glass (lenses), and edit with the same software and presets, but when it comes down to it – it is the person behind the camera that makes the difference. Our personal preferences, our likes and dislikes, our inspiration, and our experiences are all part of the images we take. Hundreds of thousands of times our shutters have allowed pulses of light to pass onto our sensors and very small fraction of those captures are seen. Not because they were necessarily ‘bad’ images, rather they simply didn’t fit the story we want to tell. The luxury of having two people capture a wedding day is that at the end of the day we know we will walk away with images that speak to the true nature of how we see the world. Our personalities are fused into our work and often it is in the chaos of documenting a wedding day that our personal strengths are both tested and utilized.
As Katie and I continue to work together we see how very different we are – how very different men and women are! For that we are thankful. We fall in love with each other’s work. The more I begin to see life through Katie’s eyes, the easier it is for me to relate to her on a more intimate level as a person and as her husband. I get her. Sometimes. I think marriage is a lot like that; a dance of sorts – where we sometimes lead and sometimes follow. But most often we just trip over each other’s feet and laugh. That is us, in a fun non-catastrophic way. We don’t pretend to be perfect and the remarkable people we photograph aren’t either. They’re real, down-to-earthy people like us.
It is often the flaws we see when we look in the mirror or stare at a photograph of ourselves. We search through old albums hoping to find a memory that didn’t involve braces and bulky glasses. In Katie’s case baggy t-shirts and stirrup pants. Mercy. Adolescence was not kind growing up in the 90s. We survived and so did our ability to laugh at ourselves.
We rejoice in what makes everyone unique and it is often those flaws/quirks/ idiosyncrasies that really remind us of how special we are and that we do have a story worth documenting and remembering. Some day your kids will ask to see what you wore to the prom or what your dress looked like on your wedding day. And when you can pull out your wedding album and show them how stunning you looked and how grandpa cried as he walked you down the aisle you will remember and emotions will come flooding back. The same way it does when you forgot it was picture day in third grade. Katie and I were petrified on our wedding day and it took every ounce of our being to make it through without shaking or crying from sure nervousness. We made it through and you will too. We own those awkward family photos, they’re a token of successfully surviving adolescence and a testament to our implausible neediness.
So what makes us different from all the rest?
We like to think that it is our outgoing personalities coupled with our impeccable photography skills. But really it is our love for serving others. Many have passion for photography or for storytelling, but for us it is more than that. It is more than just taking pretty pictures and showcasing beauty – it is about investing in the lives of other people. Our calling is to serve, whether that be taking photos of missionary families or devoting our free time to help better community outreach. This is how we measure success, not when we’re so busy that we aren’t able to give of ourselves when we’re needed and not when our bank account is padded and the bills are all paid. The indicators of our success isn’t measured by the amount of weddings we book each year or whether we shoot a destination wedding in some pacific paradise, rather it is visible in the lives of those we meet.
We want our clients to feel like they’re family and not the kind you wish would just stay in the backwoods, the kind you really hope come home for Christmas. The kind of family you want to spend the most time with on your wedding day.
Many years from now, when the flaws become more visible and life’s journey has left its mark, we want you to get butterflies when you brush up against each other unexpectedly and relish the opportunity to share an afternoon with your great-grandchildren. We want you to kiss like you did on your wedding day!
So sweet, you two!! 🙂
I adore this post-so important! Keep it up, you guys! We are inspired by you!
Thanks Stephanie! We hope to meet in person sometime in the very near future. Blessings – The Stokes
Special Thanks to Kelsy & Butch of McCartney – The McCartneys Photography for capturing Katie’s grandma and grandpa. We have never been able to get them to kiss on camera before 🙂
[…] have so very much to be thankful for this Christmas! Our family has grown this year and so has our business. Katie and I feel like we were just celebrating the Holidays, but that is how all of life feels […]