A Nova Scotia Wedding Photographer Story
This is a Nova Scotia wedding photographer story. It’s been a very long journey. A journey that began in August of 2006. It is my story, of how I became a wedding photographer. Make sure you scroll to the end to see just how far I’ve come with some of my fav 2019 wedding photography images!
Wedding photography was never on my radar, it was a fluke I just fell into. It was never in my career plans. I am a planner, of all things. My ducks are always in a row. This path took me completely by surprise and to this day I still find myself wondering, how did I get here. But I also get very emotional over the path I took to get here.
My First Camera
I was 16, when I asked my parents for my first camera and that following Christmas, they gave my brother a new camera. I was not impressed, perhaps my parents forgot who had asked for it? Yes that was how my camera story began.
I bought my first film camera when I was 17, with my first pay check from MacDonald’s and from that point on, I would take pictures of every aspect of my life. Then scrapbook those memories. Photography has been a part of my life from that moment on. I had no idea it would literally become the air I need to breathe. A hobby that went so far off the rails, sometimes it’s hard for me to believe, I am where I am.
Long Haul Truckin’
Most of my clients know, that my full time career is as a long haul driver. I didn’t start my career in this industry. Human Resources was my area of study and I began my adult career in recruitment. My hubby decided he wanted to become a truck driver. Two years later, I joined him on my first trip in the big rig headed for California. I got the amazing opportunity to spend a day at Alcatraz, I am a serious true crime buff. We then took three more days sight seeing around San Francisco. It was this trip that changed the direction of my career and my life forever.
I went back to school and became a long haul truck driver with my husband. It became like a permanent vacation. I fell in love with the open road, I fell in love with the travel. I fell even more in love with my photography. Taking pictures and telling the story of every place we visited. Being able to get paid and travel all over North America was absolutely amazing to me. The things I’ve seen that I would never have had the opportunity to see otherwise. I don’t regret a single moment.
My long haulin’ adventures are now back online for the first time since 2008, come join me on the open road!
My First Digital Camera
During one of our long haulin’ trips we stopped at a rest area in Washington State. It was there that I found a digital nikon point and shoot camera. It had been left on the ground in the parking lot. That camera changed everything for me. Being able to see my creations immediately and not having to wait for film to be developed, was a game changer. I started taking even more pictures then you could possibly believe. Prior to this, I could barely afford film and developing so I was very careful with what I would photograph.
I started an online gallery of our escapades across North America which I shared with family and friends. Digitally scrapbooking each adventure we went on. Every load was an adventure. The immediate gratification was too much for me, I couldn’t stop! I had the ability to take as many pictures as I wanted to. At this point I began digital scrapbooking everything!!
Melinda & Dave Get Married in 2006, Wedding #1
The first step in becoming a Halifax, Nova Scotia wedding photographer. Honestly, I have no idea what I was thinking. I look back now and think to myself I was absolutely crazy, insane, totally nuts.
A friend of my bestfriend was getting married and she couldn’t afford a professional photographer. She had planned to put out disposal cameras everywhere and have her guests take pictures for their wedding. I did not know her personally. To this day I have no idea why I offered to shoot her wedding. But I did and shot her entire wedding with a point and shoot, in auto mode and with a very cheap $80 speedlight. Insanity at it’s best.
When the day ended I swore to my bestfriend, I would never shoot another wedding again. I actually said that to her. “Never ever again!” The stress was unbelievable, my hands would not stop shaking the entire day. How I wish I could go back in time now and redo that wedding as an experienced wedding photographer.
What I Learned…
I knew nothing. Absolutely nothing about fill flash, posing, manual mode or even straightening your horizons in post. Forget about removing power lines. Ugh honestly, don’t let an inexperienced person shoot your wedding and that’s coming from someone who started there. How I feel now looking back? I had no business capturing such an important moment in a person’s life, knowing nothing. If I am being totally honest here, it’s painful for me to show these images. But you will definitely see just how far I have come since 2006.
My Sister’s Iinfluence 2008, Wedding #2
Two years later, I decided to purchase my first nikon dslr camera. It was the Nikon D200 and instead of the kit lens I opted for the 18-200mm lens. I had the camera for just two weeks and had just begun teaching myself manual mode when the inevitable happened.
I was about to take my second step in becoming a Halifax, Nova Scotia wedding photographer, and didn’t even know it. My lovely and beautiful sister decided she would volunteer my name as a wedding photographer to a colleague of her’s at work. She did not ask me first. Weddings had been totally thrown out the window, had never given them a second thought, after that first one. It was just never going to happen again. Well, it appears I have a problem with saying no.
I met with her colleague and her son and future daughter-in-law at my sister’s insistence. They could not afford a professional photographer. I guaranteed them absolutely nothing, had them sign a contract that basically stated that. Then crazy as it may seem, I shot their wedding for $50.
What I Learned…
My second attempt at wedding photography with at least a dslr now! I still had focus issues, still had exposure issues and did not fully understand white balance or metering. Looking back on these photos, I can see my style slowly emerging. But I still had so much more to learn.
The Snowball Effect 2009, Wedding #3
The snowball effect had begun and honestly, I still had no clue. Still didn’t see where all this was headed at that time. Bride number two was the maid of honor of bride #1. She saw her friend’s images and emailed me. Her wedding was set for the following year in 2009 and she wanted me to capture it. I agreed again for $50. Yup $50. Guaranteed nothing yet again!
What I Learned…
Oh just look at the vignetting, something I don’t do now lol. Get away from fads. My focus is getting better. I finally understand white balance, manual mode and started to really move into editing with photoshop. I was even having better luck with my speedlight and learned how to bounce flash in the church. But I still had so much more to learn, posing was definitely improving.
My Present Day 2019, Wedding Photography
By the end of 2009 I had captured 6 weddings. The story telling hasn’t slowed down since! My style however, has changed dramatically. I learned manual mode, learned how to edit and discovered I hated posing people. I prefer to direct and let my couples fall into place naturally, going for that candid look in every image I take. Learned to use my camera like a pro. Got to know about camera equipment, lenses, speed-lights and how to use them effectively. The learning continues on to this day. It will never ever end for me as I love learning new things. Here are just a few of my absolute favorite wedding images from my 2019 wedding season.
What I’ve Learned…
You have to be yourself, you have to define your own style, you have to do what makes you happy. Never stop teaching yourself things. Above all else, ignore what your competitors are doing and just be YOU!
It wasn’t until 2015 that I truly felt I had found my style. When I truly started to L❤VE my work. It was just one image that did that for me. It was an image that defined my present day posing style. I learned I don’t like posing people. They always look stiff. I prefer to give direction to my couples and let them fall into place in their own natural candid way. I love the natural candid interaction of two people in love. That is how I define my posing style.
2015 was also the first time I had that moment where I said to myself, “I can’t believe I took that picture, can’t believe this is my work.” I still have those moments ALOT! The first time someone told me my work belonged in magazines. I truly felt like I had finally come into my own, finally moving in the right direction.
2006, it was a moment that changed my life forever, though I didn’t realize it at the time. It was the moment I found my true calling. I can not thank Melinda and Dave enough for giving me that first opportunity. At this point in time, I can’t thank my sister enough for pushing me into that second wedding. Had it not been for her, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I had no intentions on ever doing another wedding again. What a waste of talent that would have been on my part. And a loss of love, for a career I would never have known.
My Wedding Photography Education
I was self taught for the first five years I was in business with my photography, my lightroom and photoshop editing. In 2011, I decided I wanted a diploma for photography to go next to my Saint Mary’s Degree on my wall. I also wanted to make sure I truly understood the fundamentals of photography because I had decided I wanted to take this much further. I enrolled at the New York Institute of Photography and took their professional wedding photography diploma. That was a rough year, driving 10 hours a day, taking my courses and photographing weddings. It was a two year course, I finished in one. To this day my learning continues through online seminars. Check out my wedding photography education!
Favs From My 2019 Wedding Season
At this point in my career, 14 years later, I truly consider myself a Halifax Nova Scotia wedding photographer in all sense of the word:)
I can not imagine my life without wedding photography. So much so that I am taking steps to leave long hauling and make wedding photography my full time career, hopefully in 2021. Update August 2020, I left my long haul career behind mostly due to covid, I didn’t want to travel to the USA or Ontario or Quebec or anywhere. I wanted to stay safe within the Maritime bubble. I decided I wasn’t quite ready to let go of the rig though, so I became a local truck driver with Armour and made the decision to keep my weddings to the weekends. The best of both worlds for me.
I live, L❤VE and breathe weddings!
Capturing your L❤VE story is my absolute passion!
It’s my way of relieving the stress of life.
It IS my HAPPY place!!!!!
Additional Wedding Resources
New York Institute of Photography – online photography certificate
Creative Live – free streaming of online courses
Capturing your L❤VE story is my passion…let’s chat!