When I started my career in wedding photography just over 10 years ago, I never would have thought I’d be where I am now: in a career where I not only feel fulfilled but truly believe I am meant to be doing what I’m doing.
My First Wedding
I began my career by photographing my first wedding for my cousin. I took approximately 350 images and gave those rolls of film to my cousin for developing, and that was it! Now, I take approximately 2500–5000 images on average, with about 400–700 “keepers.”
That wedding was the first (and only) time that I used film for wedding photography. After that, I purchased an entry-level digital camera, a Canon EOS Rebel, for about $650 off of eBay. It came with a standard telephoto lens and kit lens, along with a few extras to help in cleaning and storing the camera.
Since that time, my arsenal has increased dramatically. I own almost a dozen different lenses, different flashes, and a variety of gadgets to help me do my job.
The amount of technological and social change in the past decade has been astounding. When I photographed my first wedding in 2006, Facebook wasn’t mainstream, Instagram did not exist, and Snapchat wasn’t even a thought. In fact, most phone texts still required you to enter a series of numbers! My, how it’s changed since then.
10 years later, I look back on how much has changed, the distance our society has traveled in the evolution of technology. I realize how much I’ve had to learn, adapt, and implement new techniques almost every few years, and I’m glad for the drive that keeps me constantly trying to learn and improve myself.
Uncovering the Hidden
I never like to place too many eggs in one basket, so I believe in diversifying my skill set. Even though I primarily focus on wedding photography, I try to develop and nurture other types of photography such as astrophotography, macro photography, family photography, modeling, senior sessions, boudoir, and newborn photography.
In particular, I love astrophotography. Why? It captures the unseen. When we look at the night sky, we see the stars twinkling above us, but we often have to squint to see them.
But when I open the shutter on my camera and allow light to filter in, to expose the sensor, something magical happens. It uncovers the hidden. Stars appear out of nowhere. The night sky becomes a blue hue that you can’t see with the naked eye. Most astoundingly, the Milky Way Galaxy reveals itself in a rainbow cloud of gas, stars and dust.
On the flip side, I also love macro photography, which is when I get *really* close to something to photograph it. For example, if I use a macro lens on a bumblebee, I can see all the fine hairs, pollen, and individual eye lenses.
I love macro photography because it allows me to peel back a layer of our everyday lives that we cannot see. I love opening this door for myself and others.
Owning My Own Wedding Photography Business
I think half the fun of being a solo photographer is in building the business itself. I revel in the fact that I am able to create a structure for myself. It’s also nice to be able to rely on only me for the success or failure of my business.
I love to interact with people in this business. Make them feel something (happy, mostly!). I love to get a group of people together, press the shutter, edit the photos, and end up with something that they can look at and say, “Wow, what a nice photo of me/us.”
I know the next 10 years will bring astronomical change for Adam Shea Photography, and I'm OK with that. I am looking forward to it.