The way that the early hours of sunlight illuminate the peaks of the Rocky Mountains around Aspen, Colorado is a sight that is enough to make anyone feel an overwhelming sense of gratitude. Or, it is for me at least. I've been starting every morning by expressing gratitude for being given another day and another opportunity to improve and grow. Last year’s wedding season was filled with a number of travels and adventures that I still can’t wrap my head around, and I think I’m still recuperating from. Although demanding and exhausting, an attitude of gratitude is the key to success.
I have been a professional wedding photographer for 5 years, establishing and growing my studio in my hometown of Valparaiso and communities of Northwest Indiana and Chicago. That all changed last year In 2015, when I went from being a budding, up-and-coming 24-year-old photographer in the Chicago area to a full-time, traveling destination wedding photographer who’s being sought out and hired to photograph weddings and commercial shoots across the United States and the Caribbean. After business hours, I live a life that is centered on being true to who I am, and as a result am learning to unapologetically be true to myself in a world that’s so eager to judge and shame individuality, rather than encourage someone to celebrate all the characteristics that make up who they are.
I’ve spent some time thinking what it is that I truly enjoy and appreciate about the art of photography and being a photographer. After all, that is the point of writing this blog post. But why I’m writing this and taking the approach that I am is after thinking over and over about what kind of brand, message, and communication I want to have with my audience and followers. That message comes down to a combination of a lot of pure gratitude, a little disbelief, and a lot of stress and strain that makes me question why I get out of bed to do it over again every day.
What I've found is that every day is a new experience, and a new journey; one that I am currently undertaking with the help of so many amazing friends and fans by my side to show me the lessons and silver linings that life is so eagerly ensuring to teach me. I never do anything that I am not passionate about or that I generally do not find satisfaction or fulfillment in. Photography brings me both. So does discovering, educating, empowering and supporting anyone who respects both my professional journey as a photographer and personal journey as a human being. I am not a big box studio or company. I am a one man show with a small handful of the most trusted and talented people I know and who share my lust for life and passion for living that are helping me accomplish my dream.
I’m writing this as a personal statement, or a declaration. To continue to always live true to myself and my path in life, and that I will never lose the feeling behind what I do. The secret is that any photographer can see an image, a moment, or an opportunity. But very few are in tune enough to truly feel it. Feeling is my secret ingredient, and it’s in everything I do.
So, with each post, and each new piece of information I become more comfortable with writing and sharing, I encourage anyone reading this to do the same. I encourage you to live true to yourself and live for meaning, purpose, and feeling. Life is bursting at the seams with opportunities and silver linings just waiting for you to tap into them. Thank you for following me both as a personality and as a photographer. I will continue to write regular posts and on different subject matters ranging from personal observances, travel tips and tricks, photography tips and tricks, workshops, education, and more.
So as I write this, looking out of the plane window looking down out over the turquoise water of the Florida keys, flying to photograph a destination wedding on the island of St. Lucia in the Caribbean, I am saying thank you and overflowing with gratitude as you read this. I hope you are inspired and encouraged to succeed in your own adventures through any perspective I can share.
My wedding season kicks off today as myself, Brooke + Kyle and their closest friends and family, arrive here in St. Lucia airport for their wedding on April 30th, 2016. I am beyond humbled and thrilled to fly in today and enjoy some rest and relax time on the beach before photographing tomorrow’s rehearsal dinner, Saturday’s wedding, and Sunday’s day-after session at the Sandals Grande, St. Lucia, with the gorgeous volcanic Piton mountains decorating the horizon. I also want to give a special thank you and shout out for my colleague and fellow photographer second shooting for me on this trip, Marissa Rick with MariRick Photography. I’m definitely thankful to have the helping hand and massive creative talent she brings to the table to help me create images of a lifetime for Brooke + Kyle.
Following this post, I’ll put together a few posts like “What’s in my Camera Bag?”, and other informative articles on how I’m able to efficiently and effectively travel and photograph all over the country without being tied down by gear or overpacking. (Simplify your life!) Let me know in the comments or on social media if you have a particular request!
My 2016 started out photographing skiers and snowboarders at Aspen Snowmass Resort in Aspen, Colorado. I am photographing Brooke + Kyle’s wedding in St. Lucia April 28th – May 4th. From there, I’m headed back home to Chicago / Northwest Indiana for a bit of time before heading down the East Coast and traveling through Gatlinburg, Orlando, Jacksonville, Savannah, Charleston, and New York City for weddings, workshops, and magazine shoots. Summer takes me west to Denver and Aspen, Colorado and then on to the Grand Canyon and Phoenix, AZ. I am available for hire for engagement sessions, weddings, portrait sessions, and more, and also with availability remaining! I would love to book up any available dates, so please contact me today by shooting me an email or message. If interested, let me know your location and style of shoot you’re looking for, and we’ll plan out a breathtaking session together to show you what I can create for you.
For those of you who follow and support me, seriously, thank you. Stay tuned for more updates from the Caribbean!