Picture this, 95 degree summer day, the wedding party is lining up and the wedding is about to start. The wedding march begins and you’re in place to capture the bride as she walks down the aisle. Your body is starting to ache, by the time the bride and groom are exchanging vows, you have the chills and your sweating. It comes time for the romantic shots and even though you want to collapse you need to smile, make your bride + groom laugh and also pose them to look soft, relaxed and effortless. After arriving at the reception, running around like crazy capturing the first dances, toasts and rings shots it is finally time to take a break. It is also at this time that you realize you have been running around all day with a temperature of 101 degrees and so has your second shooter. True story!
Over the past few years as mentors for photographers who are just getting started we are often asked this question, “how do I figure out what I really want to shoot?”. We too had the same question and at the beginning it can seem so overwhelming, but take heart you will figure it out. I know this may not be the answer you are hoping for but here it is…
It takes time, patients, practice, hard work and perseverance.
On those days when you just want to pull the covers back over your head and hit the snooze button you have to resist, pull yourself out of bed, drink a tall glass of water and get to work. There is no “easy path” to success, trust me, its a lot of sweat, tears and more sweat.
So how do I figure out what I really want to shoot? You shoot everything you can. Start with shooting still photography for an entire month; food, flowers, architecture or create your own artwork and shoot it. Then try shooting nature and landscape in the country, on the mountains or by the ocean for a month. Transition to shoot in the city and capturing street photography for a month. Next shoot animals for a full 30days. Follow that up with trying your hand at single subject portraits then move onto multiple subject portraits for a month. Ask a family member or friend if you can photograph there baby for a month. And last but not least ask a professional photographer if you can be their second, third or even fourth shooter at a wedding. This will give you the experience needed to determine what you truly enjoy shooting.
A little disclaimer, I am not saying you should go to work sick, as a matter of fact when we headed to work that day we both felt great. But my point is that it takes work, hard work and dedication. We did collapse that night and spent the next few days in bed nursing the worst cold ever. But after it was all said and done we had happy clients who were thrilled with their wedding photos + a gorgeous publication to top it all off.