I have been a professional photographer for over thirty years now. I have, of course, grown as a photographer, but I have also grown as a person from what photography has taught me along the way.
I photographed my first wedding in January of 1989. I started my career shooting medium format cameras. Although this image is not from my first wedding, this image is where I learned you have to ASK for what you want in life as the worse thing they can say is no... also, to listen to the little voice inside.
I saw the trampoline in the corner of the yard, and my little voice was telling me, "how great would it be to get the bride and groom up on that trampoline for a 📸 picture. My newbie shy nature was saying, "they will never agree to that!" I wasn't going to risk being told no. However, that little voice kept talking, and finally, I took the leap and just asked, and they said yes!
I got them up on the trampoline and said jump! At first, their feet never left the mat, and I yelled no higher. I only got three bounces, but I got one great shot and a life lesson I still carry forward to the day.
You just have to ask...
My favorite part of this image is that I figured it was the bride who would shut my idea down, and the groom would be all in. Their expressions are opposite of their personalities.
A mentor taught me a second lesson early on: to Look Beyond The Obvious... and to Walk Around The Shot.
Whenever possible, I always try to find the shot or shots within the image. They are always there and sometimes even better than your initial vision.
This was a wedding I shot in New York. As I was taking portraits of my bride, after a few clicks, I walked around looking for other possibilities and saw her reflection in this piece of art. I was so excited after this capture.
One more example of walking around the shot. I was photographing bridal fashion for a dress salon. Of course, most of the images to that point happened face to face. I noticed the upper level and then went up the stairs; when I looked down, I saw the potential. With a little direction, I captured this image, which today is one of my favorites...
Walking around the shot for me translates to my life to be open to all sides of the story, hearing others' opinions even if mine differ, which helps me grow and makes me a well-rounded person.
Looking beyond the obvious helps me to stop and look at a person or a situation and realize I may not have all the facts or know the backstory before I form an opinion. I try to have compassion first, then put myself there before casting judgment. I am just human, and this takes practice; I am not perfect.
I would love to hear what lessons photography has taught you and how you take those lessons forward into your daily life. We are all people who share a passion for the visual arts. Please share your images regardless of your photographic genre, and the "Life Lessons" photography has taught you.
I have definitely learned (over and over) that in camera is better than fixing it in post. There have been so many times I didn't take 5 minutes to move something that then took me 30 min to fix in photoshop!
And, if you think something could be improved, just do it. I can sometimes not want to bother someone by delaying things, but it is almost always better!