I get asked pretty frequently, "What made you want to become a wedding photographer?" I've thought a lot about it over the years, and so I wanted to share my journey that led to me pursuing the job I absolutely love.
Let's start off by saying this: I NEVER imagined myself as a professional photographer, much less a wedding photographer. However, growing up I did love photography. I was on my high school newspaper team as a photographer, and loved doing it in high school and college as a hobby. I've always known I wanted to do something creative with my career, and my true passion always lied in the art of acting. I love theatre and film, and that was 100% my career goal up until I graduated college. And I'm not going to lie, I still have a deep love for acting, film, the whole shebang, but something one of my theatre professors in college told us students has always stuck with me. She said, "The people that truly make it in acting, are the ones that absolutely cannot do anything else. If you can see yourself doing literally ANYTHING else, acting is not for you." And I didn't realize what that meant until I graduated college, and could actually see myself doing a lot of other things besides acting. It was freeing. Life suddenly didn't have to look like auditions and callbacks and stressing over whether or not I got the part. I realized in that moment that acting as a full time career probably wasn't for me. And that's ok.
I want to interject a sidenote here for anyone graduating college, or in that scary season of life. You do not have to go into the career you majored in. Read that sentence again. Let it soak in. Because I think a lot of us are petrified once we graduate college, thrown out into the real world, trying to pursue our dreams. College is amazing. It's a time to learn, grow, and develop yourself as a person. It teaches you so many skills, but don't for one second think that if you reach the end of your college career and don't love the major you chose, that you are stuck in it forever. You aren't.
Ok, back to my story. Remember how I said I loved doing photography as a hobby? Well sometime in college, I got a Canon DSLR T3i for Christmas. I was LIVING, so excited I had a "big fancy" camera to shoot on. However, I never actually learned how to use it to it's fullest capabilities. This absolutely PAINS me now, but I took that camera to Europe when I studied abroad. I was fortunate to travel to a ton of places, and I shot EVERYTHING on automatic in JPEG. I'll be mentally slapping myself forever for that one... So immediately after college I did an internship with my church's college ministry. It was during that year long internship that one day I woke up, looked at my camera, and had an epiphany. Honestly, it was probably God nudging me in the right direction. I thought to myself, "I don't actually know how to use this thing on manual. I don't know what aperture means. I thought ISO meant 'In Search Of..' haha.
So from that day on I started learning about my dinky little Canon camera. I opened up the manual and actually read it. No one ever actually reads the manual, but that day I did. I started researching photography blogs so that I could learn how to shoot in manual. I started soaking up anything and everything I could about photography. And you want to know what happened? I loved it. Every part of it. I loved the fact that I could use this device in my hand to make people feel something. When you look at it like that, the art of photography, isn't a far cry from acting. I was using my abilities and talents to create works of art that made people feel something. And that's been my heart for my career as a creative all along.
Practically, it's been a huge journey from learning about my camera and loving it, to running a full time wedding photography business. Overnight success is a unicorn, and even if it appears that way, there are so many steps behind the scenes that people don't see. I started off taking photos of my roommates and friends for practice. Then people in my church community caught wind of my photography pursuits, and slowly started asking for family sessions. I wanted to try my hand at weddings, so my very first wedding I ever shot was second shooting for a friend at our church for free. One day I created a business Facebook page. Then after awhile I decided a website would be more legit. It was sometime after creating my own domain, that I decided to really give it a go and try and make this a career.
It was never like one day I just decided to start a wedding photography business. It was more a slow progression of shooting, figuring out my style, and what I wanted to specialize in. When I started, I shot anything and everything. And while I do think that is a great way to learn different aspects of photography to grow, I truly believe in being a master at one area of photography, instead of mediocre at all of them. I learned shooting couples and adventurous destination weddings were my absolute favourite. Connecting with couples and shooting their love story lights me on fire in a way that I just know it's what I was meant to do all along. I love meeting people. I love using the art of photography to be creative. I love storytelling. And I love making people FEEL something. With all of those things combined, I can see how photography is a no brainer for me. I can see why I love it so much. Working doesn't feel like work. I don't dread Mondays or working late. I'm excited to wake up and do a job I feel called to.
I know this is not the norm. I know more often than not people absolutely hate their jobs, and that breaks my heart. My advice for you if you feel that way, is to find that thing you absolutely love to do. Find that thing you do as a hobby in your spare time. Then work your butt off to make that thing the way you make money. I don't believe you have to wake up everyday doing something you hate just to make a living. Because dreams are just that... dreams. They don't come true if you only keep dreaming them. It takes hard work and persistence. It takes a lot of late nights and doors slamming in your face. It takes ingenuity and creativity to stand apart from the norm and chase after your God given calling. But friend, I believe in YOU. I believe you are capable of those big, crazy God dreams in your heart. Now go out, and make them happen.
And because I think it's encouraging to see an artist's growth and progress, below is a slideshow of my work starting from my most recent wedding, and going back to the very beginning before I even started my business, when I did silly photoshoots in high school. I hope viewing these photos encourage you to keep goal setting, dream chasing, and working on your passion.
If you have any questions about my journey in becoming a wedding photographer, any part of the process, please leave them for me below and I'll answer them!
Lindsey Roman is an adventurous, destination wedding and elopement photographer based out of Oahu, Hawaii and available worldwide. She lives for outdoor adventures, intimate moments, and candid images. Her style is raw, passionate, and authentic. She believes in chasing sunsets, laughing too hard, and most importantly: capturing genuine moments that evoke feeling over perfectly posed photographs.