I started my career as a Seattle wedding photographer in 1999. Today I wanted to take a look back at my 15 year career in the wedding photography business. I thought it would be fun to share images and stories that have made me the professional wedding photographer (and Seattle resident) I am today.
The very first wedding I brought a camera to was my cousins. I wasn’t the hired photographer, heck I was 14, but I remember thinking her early 90′s hair, antique lace covered dress, and large puffy sleeves were the most beautiful things on earth. To keep me occupied my dad let me use his all manual Minolta. It had a 35mm lens SLR which my older brother had used when he took a photography class in high school. I prowled the wedding with what I assumed was ninja proficiency and photographed all evening. It wasn’t until a few hours had passed that I wondered why I hadn’t run out of film yet. That’s when I opened the camera’s back to discovered I hadn’t loaded the film correctly. It never advanced and I hadn’t captured a single frame.
Fast forward through college ( I went to the Art Institute of Seattle and studied commercial photography). In 2001 I had a few weddings under my belt at this time. I had photographed a green card wedding, Star Wars themed wedding held in the middle of the woods (yes costumes were involved, and no, I don’t have photos of this anymore) and several small budget weddings. I felt pretty good when I’d make $300 even though that barely covered the cost of my film and developing.
Just as I started to build a decent client base and portfolio, I decided to marry my high school sweetheart. But wedding bliss came with a price, he was in college in Utah. So I moved myself and my business to the Midwest.
The next two and a half years I wored to perfect the art of LDS (or Mormon) weddings. These are pretty easy weddings to be fair. Each bride and groom wants great portraits outside the amazingly beautiful temple they were married in and then a few
family portraits. Receptions and getting ready photos were optional. Most of my clients were booking elaborate portrait sessions, really. This is where I learned how to run a business and a family while my husband finished college at BYU. I photographed 30-40 weddings a year, had two kids, and paid for his tuition. It was a busy time, but it was great practice. I learned a TON about lighting in bad conditions, working with large groups, and how to manage time. By 2006 our little family returned to Seattle, and I was prepared to take my business and my work to the next level.
Between 2007 and 2012 I photographed weddings non-stop, had another baby, and went from a portrait photographer to more of an editorial inspired photographer. I came to love the art of story telling and began to incorporate that into my work.
Then in 2010 when my work load became too demanding for one person, I hired and trained my youngest sister Terice. Together we photographed 100+ weddings, and ate way too much cake.
Additionally by 2010 I was well established in the area and running a retail portrait studio as well. Many of my wedding photography client’s had become parents and I found myself photographing their adorable babies. It was easy for me to relate, because photographing my own children had become my favorite past time.
In 2012 my business went under a reorganization and became IJ Photo. Sadly Terice moved to Spokane but is doing well with her family and 1.5 kids. By the way, if you’re looking for a photographer is Spokane I have a great recommendation for you!
2013 to present has been filled with press for my studio. My work was featured in several wedding blogs, fashion magazines, and additional publications are scheduled for later this year! Here are links if you’d like to check out these blogs and online magazines.
Frosted Pettycoat: Alaina and Arriz
Be Minked: Angela and Cole
Borrowed & Blue: Breanne and Graham
Be Minked: April and Ben
But more than the publications I’ve been featured in, I’m humbled by the overwhelming number of referrals I’ve received over the last year. It says a lot when a bride says to a friend, “You should check out my wedding photographer!” I want to thank all of the couples and their families that have made my career thus far a rewarding experience. I’m looking forward to many more years behind the camera and all of the wonderful stories that brings.
Below you’ll find some of my favorite images organized by year. Due to lack of storage space and foresight, I do not have all of the images from my earliest days available. However the following chronology shows images since we moved back to Seattle.