HOW I DO | WHAT I SHOOT IN THE "OFF SEASON"
I am a full-time photographer. When I am not photographing weddings and lifestyle sessions, I am still doing photography through various personal projects, as well as commissioned projects.
Last year I began something new: commercial photography. I was fortunate enough to work with two great organizations-- The Norfolk Redevelopment & Housing Authority, and Liberty Baptist Church. At Liberty, I was brought on to capture photojournalistic images of a "Day in the Life" at the church, where their tagline is, "It's not just church, it's life."
The project--which is now in it's six month-- has encompassed everything from early morning worship run-throughs, to the opening of two hybrid campuses in Suffolk and Chesapeake, to Christmas events, Acts of Love, and this weekend, Easter events as well.
My work with Liberty has been deeply satisfying on a few different levels. It's incredibly humbling to see people who have a passion for Jesus Christ work so hard to create a safe, comfortable, loving place for others to visit, worship, and immerse themselves in the church culture. I almost never make it through a service with dry eyes because of the hearts of these people, which are often laid bare.
It's also satisfying in a creative sense. My director/boss-man has ultimately given me free creative reign. Almost all of the work I do is photojournalism, which allows me to move about my time with comfort and ease, and not be limited by others' visions. Working with others isn't a "bad" thing; but I personally feel incredibly honored that someone believes in me enough to say, "You've got this." As I previously wrote, photojournalism is my first true love, and when I am offered a chance to do this type of work, I jump at it!
This type of work keeps me on my toes, and ultimately serves to benefit me in my wedding work. Wedding days are a complete whirlwind; there are so many moving parts, and things are constantly changing. That fast-paced environment, for me, requires a lot of concentration. I shoot entirely manual, so I am almost always changing my camera settings for the scene; aperture, shutter speed, ISO. For those who don't do photography, this may not mean that much to you--but you can think of it like this: with every step you take, every move you make, I'll be watching you. (HA! For real...) And in those movements you make, you will traveling through limitless lighting scenarios, and at different distances from me. I have to ensure that each image will look good in each of those situations (literally half-seconds in time) and, through shooting manually, am able to have the most control I am allotted. In working on these commercial projects, I can't say, Hold on right there! YAAAAAAAS! You've got it! I have got to be ready for action at all times, just like I would during a wedding ceremony or reception.
The best advice I ever received around the time I began Photography 101 was "JUST SHOOT". Every day, shoot. Hundreds and hundreds of images, of everything and nothing, photograph until you understand how the camera works, how you work, how you desire your images to look and feel.
I believe that I will never reach a point where I have mastered everything there is to possibly know about photography. I will never be able to reach my highest potential, because there are limitless possibilities to vision. I believe in practice. Practice every day, even when you get loads of compliments telling you how good you're getting, how far you've come; practice when you think you've gotten pretty good, and come pretty far--in fact, at that point, I think you should practice even more!
I'm sharing this commercial work with you because I feel it's important to the work I do as a photographer in general. I love my craft, and I wake up nearly every single morning ready to jump into this life I've created. When I am not at a wedding, engagement session, or with a family, I am most likely taking photographs of what's going on in the world, my own life, or of those people who live with me who call me Mama ;) (Or Babe). I'm sharing this with you because this is commitment to my heart's work; it's what I do and I trust that whomever needs to see it, will.