When non-photographer people find out I am a wedding photographer, I often get one of these responses, "you must be brave, that is way too much pressure," or "wow, you must be crazy, I could never shoot weddings!" Honestly, I would have to say that as a wedding photographer, I am a bit of both! I am pretty sure it is required. I shot portraits for years and never planned on shooting weddings regularly. I can admit, the pressure of missing those once-in-a-lifetime moments was a bit intimidating at first! But after a few years as my business really began to grow, I realized it was time for me to step out of my comfort zone and accept the next challenge in my photography journey. And honestly, I love it!
I began by second shooting for a couple of other photographers that generously let me tag along to get the gist of being a wedding photographer, and I photographed my very first wedding on my own shortly after. Granted, I didn't win a pulitzer prize for those wedding pictures (or whatever the photographer related prize would be!), but the couple was thrilled with their photos and I learned a lot just from that one experience. I can read books until I am blue in the face, but you really can't grow in photography without the hands on experience. Over the next twelve months I photographed TWELVE weddings. This might not seem like a lot, but for someone that had decided just months before to take on weddings, but I was surprised! My goal was one wedding a month, and that was what I got..kind of. It ended up being more like one wedding here-one wedding there-and then Hello Spring and Fall!-where I had three weddings in the same month a few times. Anyhow, enough of the back story I think...
What I have learned throughout my experiences are that weddings are a thrill! My personal style is to portray images that are Fun, Real, and Beautiful. When I decided on these aspects as my ultimate goals I was only shooting portraits. I chose those particular words because I felt (and still feel) that it is the only way to encompass everything about a couple, individual, or family when photographing them. Weddings give me ALL of these things! From the women getting ready in the morning, to the vows and time spent alone with the couple, and of course the party in the evening, it is a constant opportunity to shoot what I love. Though the day flies by in a whirlwind, once it is over I always have images that are amazing that I could never get from just shooting portraits. I am referring to those awesome wedding moments such as Mom putting the veil on the Bride, the Bride holding back tears as she walks down the aisle, the tear on Dad's cheek during the father-daughter dance, and of course all of the laughter and partying that takes place in between. And, I am happy to announce that I have never missed those once-in-a-lifetime moments that I was worried about before I got started. =)
Wedding photographers have to be a little crazy AND brave to gladly accept the challenge of photographing the most important day of many peoples' lives from start to finish. For example, there are a lot of details that are very important to different people for different reasons, the environment and locations are constantly changing and unpredictable in most cases, the lighting isn't always awesome (I love an old church as much as the next person, but whoever built the church with green and white walls and yellow lights was clearly not thinking of the wedding photographer at the time!), and there are a lot of emotions all around you throughout the day. However, there is beauty to be found in all of these moments. Each couple has a unique love and a unique story to be told, and every time I am chosen to be the one documenting this day I am both humbled and honored. So thanks to those that have come on this crazy ride with me, and I look forward to embarking on this same journey with those of you that are just starting to plan your own Wedding day!
Stacey Zoll is a photographer based in Manhattan, Kansas that serves the surrounding areas of the Flint Hills, including Fort Riley, Junction City, Wamego, Saint George, Kansas City, Salina, and other surrounding areas! Wedding service areas include Kansas City, Topeka, Wichita, Salina, Abilene, and other areas of Northeast Kansas and Southwest Missouri. SZP offers services for Glamour / Boudoir, Engagement, Wedding, Maternity, Newborn, Cake Smash, Seniors & Teens, Family and more!