Happy New Year from the Deep End

Written Saturday, December 29, 2012:

I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Lancaster, PA downing a skinny peppermint mocha in what may be my last Red Cup of the season and trying to wear off my nerves by bouncing my knee incessantly. I’m sure the man at the table next to me would chop my leg off if he could, so I’m glad that it’s not socially acceptable to carry hack saws into coffee shops. There are exactly two more hours until I begin shooting what is bound to be a fantastically gorgeous wedding day. My last wedding of 2012. My last wedding of the first year of my business. It’s exciting. It’s a blessing. And I am nervous.

It’s also snowing and two degrees below freezing outside. I don’t think anyone holds a workshop on how to shoot a wedding in snowy, 30 degree weather, but maybe I should start. I don’t want my bride to freeze and be miserable on her wedding day. I don’t want my groom to spend the first few hours annoyed at his photographer for keeping his brand new wife outside too long. I don’t want to forget the dozens of poses that have been running through my head like a shiny plastic horse on a merry-go-round. I don’t want to be fumbling with setting up lights and look like I have no idea what I’m doing. I don’t want to show up to the church and have a cute old church lady tell me, “Sorry, there’s absolutely no photography during the ceremony.” (That last one actually happened once.)

Without fail, these thoughts always run through my head in the last few hours before I begin working a wedding. But here’s the issue with them: they’re about me. They aren’t about the two most important people of the day. They’re not about adding any excitement to the bride’s moment right before she sees her husband for the first time that day, and they’re certainly not going to add any joy to the groom’s face as he holds his wife during their first dance. Because the thing is, I don’t create those moments. I capture them. Sure, I pose the bride and groom during portraits and compose photographs in my viewfinder, but the beauty, the joy that comes from the first day of a lifelong love story, I cannot possibly create that. I also feel pretty certain that it would take more than a few minutes too long in the cold to ruin it.

I write this before my final wedding of 2012, and if you’re reading it, it means the wedding was fantastically gorgeous and wonderful and everything went well, even if it was snowing and two degrees below freezing, and I’m probably incredibly excited to share the full day with you later this week. But I am such a believer in the importance of capturing the current page of the love story that my clients are in, and I wanted to be sure to do the same for myself. To remember the fear and the excitement of my first year in business, and how the only real answer I’ve ever had is to dive in head-first, because dipping your toe in the water never calmed anyone’s nerves.

So here’s to a 2013 full of cannonballs in the deep end, setting goals and diving in right after them. I’m excited for what this new year has in store, and I’m thrilled to be sharing it with you. Happy New Year, friends!


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