Today I am spending the day organizing my home (in anticipation of Vietnamese New Year tomorrow) and I took a break for some true throwback Thursday and reflect on my journey into wedding photography. It’s hard to believe almost 4 years ago I was still sitting at my corporate desk as a CPA. In early 2007, I bought a Canon 30D – a pretty nice (and expensive) camera for someone who didn’t even know how to use it for the hopes of taking some nice travel photos. I went to Europe for the first time a few months before and caught a serious case of the travel bug and was determined to take many more trips and document all of the amazing places and memories. When I got my camera, my photographer friend gave me a quick tutorial on how to use the camera and basic things like aperture, shutter speed and ISO. So then I started shooting everything and I mean everything. I remember every night for a few weeks, I would just photograph my roommate sitting on the couch watching tv. She thought I was so weird. Then I went to my mother’s house and photographed every plant and flower in her garden. She also thought I was so weird. I had no idea what I was doing but I knew I loved that I was able to capture so much beauty through my lens. I started joining photography forums and reading up on how to properly use my camera, basic editing techniques and how to start my own blog. I spent most of my free time after work, just reading and shooting in my apartment. My sister was planning for her wedding right about the same time and since I had a fancy camera, she made me take photos of her bridal shower and rehearsal dinner (I was the maid of honor for her wedding). And so I happily clicked away hoping the images were not too terrible. She shared the images with other brides she had met on theknot.com and then miraculously one of them hired me to do their rehearsal dinner! It was my first booking as a photographer and the first time I thought I could actually turn this into something. I was so nervous before the shoot. I remember arriving 2 hours early and just sitting in the parking lot to calm myself down. And then they told me they loved their photos! I will never forget how wonderful I felt at that moment – I felt so honored that they trusted me with capturing such an important time for them and how amazing it felt that they loved what I created for them. It was definitely a turning point in my life and I was determined to just kept shooting every opportunity I got. I would actually work my accounting job from 9-8pm (we had long hours) and then go home, eat dinner quickly and edit from 10pm-2am. I read so many things online and in books but for me, the best learning for me was the experience. I learned that I loved shooting people. I loved connecting with them and capturing their essence and relationships on my camera. And as a girly girl, I learned I love weddings. Every detail was so pretty. Every moment was so magical. I knew I had found my calling. I took a leap of faith and decided to pursue wedding photography as a full time job in the summer of 2009. I was so scared because at that point I only had five weddings booked. But I knew if I ever wanted to be really successful at it, I had to give it my 110%. Somehow the number jumped to 30 weddings and I knew I was on the right path. And a few months later I met a handsome and tall wedding photographer at a destination wedding and now he’s my husband (a pretty awesome work related perk =)). I feel life gives you opportunities and sometimes you just need to see the signs. I can’t wait for all the new opportunities that come my way. I don’t know what will happen but I know passion and determination will get you far.
Click HERE to see my work as wedding photographer. Here’s a throw back Thursday photo from when we went to Paris to shoot a wedding. Definitely #blessed.
P.S. Sorry for the long rambling today!