Guest Post – My Journey From RMSP Student to Professional Wedding Photographer
After investing years of time, money, patience and dedication, you begin to see the reward of hard work – and reward is an understatement. I’ve dreamed of becoming a wedding photographer. It’s what I love. Funny thing is, I didn’t know it was wedding photography until I attended Summer Intensive. RMSP has this strong creative community, between the teachers, assistants, and owners who not only taught me the most quality proficiency in photography, but took me in like family. They wanted to learn about me – to make me into the artist I am. It helped me discover myself in ways I hadn’t been able to before. Luckily I had a family wedding during the immersed summer of 2010 and decided to take my camera along just for fun since I was already learning so much in school at the time. What I felt was PASSION. MY passion. I love weddings. I love love. I love photography. BINGO. Remembering that feeling over and over transformed my passion into my business. And receiving continual inspiration from my classmates who experienced the same explosion of creativity.
I went on to take the Wedding Photography course, and the Advanced Intensive course in the same summer. All three courses were hands-down worth the investment. I was able to have this foundation and structure of understanding the most professional aspect of photography – first technical, then wedding specific training, and then the business side.
So, what did I do? I graduated, and immediately ordered my first business cards featuring my portfolio I built in school, launched my website, then started advertising like you wouldn’t believe. And then, nothing. Literally, seven months went by and not one wedding. So I realized okay, I want to do weddings this summer, period. I then did one of the most disgraceful things to the wedding industry, I booked three weddings for $500 a piece, digital files included. It felt shameful, but, I was going to do weddings, no matter what. This gave me the experience of three weddings, and they paid for the experience of a first time wedding photographer. I then went on to book my first full paid wedding that same summer. I was also working two other jobs and doing any other portrait work that came my way, continually studying, learning and educating myself, following photography conventions and finding out every tip imaginable. I finally moved where I wanted to live, raise my children, and base my business – and one year later, I went full fledged. That choice in itself was risky. I am so grateful I took the final risk, because it has enabled doors to open from the world around me to do what I love. The Flathead Valley has taken in my children and I as their own, where I am able to pursue photography full time with my 2014 summer almost booked up with weddings!
This is the first step to my goal of future accomplishments – and I truly, truly owe my gratitude for receiving such a superior education as my foundation. Thank you Rocky Mountain School of Photography. Thank you C-D class “Charlie-Delta” (as we like to call our group of classmates!)
And don’t forget – follow your passion!
Jennifer lives in Whitefish, Montana raising her two children in her home-based studio. She was featured in My Montana Wedding Magazine this year (see gallery images above). If you would like to talk to Jennifer about her experience at RMSP, she welcomes your questions. Contact her via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can see her work at jennifermooney.com