April 11, 2019 #goals | Fearless Photographers | I won my first Fearless Award!
Gosh, I can’t even remember the first time I heard of Fearless Photographers. All I know was that at the time I was a fledgling wedding photographer and I still had a lot to learn photographically. I would look at the collections of photos and think “ha, yeah right, I’ll never be able to get my brain to think like that.” (And it’s only gotten infinitely more competitive and impressive over the years.) I had resigned myself to being a “good enough” photographer who could take pretty portraits and could transport my clients back to their wedding not with a single frame but rather the sheer number of photos I would take and deliver. I was happy with where my work was, my clients were happy, and that’s what mattered. Fearless seemed unattainable but I was okay with that. It’s okay to just acknowledge that you’re not that person, embrace your strengths, and appreciate others’ accomplishments for what they are. Just like I know that I could never be a painter. I’m not the kind of person that can create something from nothing.
And then things started to change. Post-HoffShop (still the single greatest investment in my business and my life) in 2016, for the first time I started to think that although I wasn’t yet in the same ballpark as the Fearless photos I’d been admiring for years, I was at least in the same city as the stadium. Over the course of the next three years, that small flame that Tony, Amy, Jim and Farid helped to light turned into a true fire. I was thinking in terms of real moments – seeing things not the way the average person does but the way a camera would. Seeing light dynamically. Anticipating moments before they happened. I was learning to put not just my head into my photos but my heart. And it’s the combination of the two that wildly changed my work. Being able to connect to people around you, tap into their emotions and capture not just a moment but how it felt – and quickly going through a mental process to make sure you’re telling the story in a way that is complete. I realize now that I’ve learned how to do what I thought was just pure natural born talent. I’m still not the kind of person that can create something from nothing. But put a camera in my hands and I can show you the beauty of something that might otherwise seem like nothing.
The photo that won was a photo of an already great moment – any time someone rips their pants on a dance floor, it’s pretty great. But what takes this photo to the next level and what makes it “Fearless” worthy is that every single person in the frame is reacting to the action. It’s being that deliberate (and frankly, that lucky) that makes a great photo.
It’s still a learning process, and I’m still working on becoming the best photographer I can (a bar that I’m constantly setting higher and higher for myself) and the best person I can be. The more connected I become with myself the more connected I am with those around me. I’m thankful for Fearless (especially Huy!) for helping me to find that connection between self and photography and for constantly raising the bar and recognizing the best in the industry.
My photo is featured alongside some of the greatest wedding photographers in the world. See the full Collection 48 here.