I am a sports photographer by training, a wedding and family photojournalist by choice, and a storyteller at heart.
I grew up as an athlete, playing a variety of competitive sports throughout the year, and rooting on my favorite teams and heroes as hard as I could. So when I found myself in photography school thinking about my year-end portfolio, I naturally gravitated to my first love. For all my portraits, I used athletes as models; for all my commercial shots, I used sports gear. I found the unifying theme and singularity of purpose to be inspiring, and between my portfolio requirements and all my extra self-assignments on the sidelines of games, I graduated with the highest-rated portfolio in the history of Hallmark Institute of Photography. Immediately thereafter, I was tabbed as a “Rising Star” by Photo District News, a national photography magazine.
I spent a couple of years pursuing my goal of becoming a professional sports photographer, shooting almost every collegiate sport imaginable while collecting small assignments from such organizations as the NBA and Sports Illustrated. Along the way, as I started to realize just how much money a top sports photographer needed to invest in their camera equipment, I decided to shoot some weddings on the side as a way to raise some capital. I vowed to do so in the way that made the most sense to me – using a photojournalist approach.
Upon photographing my first wedding, I immediately came to a few realizations that would change my career. First, having grown up with three sisters, I was completely at ease hanging out with brides and bridesmaids all day long. Second, all the skills I had been honing in sports photography were in fact essential to capturing the various moments of a wedding – skills such as anticipating what is about to happen, timing the perfect moment when it arrives, and being able to improvise smoothly when the unexpected happens. Lastly, I realized that a wedding is the ideal story to tell in pictures.
Storytelling, you see, is the reason why I fell for photography in the first place. Before ever picking up a camera, I had gotten my bachelor’s degree from Dartmouth College in English literature, and I had even taken workshops in the oral tradition of storytelling. Be it with a pen or around a campfire, my style has always been to be as descriptive as possible, trying to use words to paint a picture for my audience.
So when I shot my first wedding, and I found myself amongst people coming together for the best of all possible reasons, in a day full of pageantry and beauty and emotion – well, my instincts just took over. Whereas sports photography at its best has the ability to inspire, I found that wedding photography has a power that resonates at a whole different level. It’s about life itself, and the connections we have with each other. Once I caught a glimpse of this, I never looked back.