I became fascinated with photography at an early age, thanks to my father. It wasn’t his photographic skill that inspired me, though, since my dad was not a very good photographer. We would always joke how people in his photos would have plants and trees growing out of their heads.
It was actually my father’s camera that captured my interest. I loved the way it felt in my hands — all those cool buttons and controls. It intrigued me. I was also amazed at how it could be used to create these awesome images.
I still have that camera, an old German Praktica 5B, and it sits on my desk alongside my own first camera, a Canon A1.
I loved the camera, but after college, I ended up in the aerospace industry (but that’s a story for another day). I must’ve done pretty well — I ended up president of an aerospace parts company. I got to travel and saw lots of amazing places.
It was on one of those trips in 1999 that I walked into a camera shop, on impulse, and came out with a brand new Nikon camera, lens and flash. In no time, I was hooked again!
Because of my extensive traveling, I thought I wanted to be a travel and landscape photographer. In a bizarre twist of fate I even managed to win a National Geographic contest for a photograph I took in Greece. (I owe my wife for this one as she constantly encouraged me to enter my images).
I knew it was time to get out of aerospace and into photography. About that time, my nephew in Canada asked me to photograph his wedding. Now, I got married in a powder blue tux with ruffles — maybe that’s why I had always associated wedding photography with those cheesy, posed images. But I said I would do it for my nephew.
I bought a book on wedding photography, went to Canada, photographed his wedding and yep — I had a blast! It was so much fun and such a creative experience for me that I knew right away that’s what I wanted to do. Six months later, I was a full-time wedding photographer, and I haven’t looked back at the aerospace industry once.
I admit it — I just love action! Wedding photography requires me to be an expert in all types of photography, whether it’s portrait, landscape, action or product shots. I have to be able to work under pressure to make sure I get all the required shots in, but then I can spend some fun time creating artful images with my couples.
My favorite thing about being a wedding photographer is getting to know my clients. My couples spend their whole wedding day with me, so we have to be comfortable with each other. I often end up being friends with many of my wedding couples.
Do I dream about being a world-traveling, award-winning photographer? Not really. I’m happy shooting weddings full-time. I don’t even enter contests. I believe the true judges of my work are my clients. If they value my work, there’s no greater reward.
Okay, for you organizational types, here’s the facts:
I live in Southern California with my wife and two dogs. My kids are out doing their own stuff and are not into photography — yet.
I’m currently a member of Professional Photographers of America (PPA) and Wedding & Portrait Photographers International (WPPI).
I write for two online photography publications including www.shootsmarter.com and present workshops on wedding photography.