HOW WE GOT STARTED – PERSONAL
When I was a child I loved flipping through our family photo albums and learning about the people in them. My parents and grandparents would share stories about the people in them and I was fascinated to learn about our family through those images. I realized how important it is to preserve our family history in photos, so that our stories can be told through the generations.
For my 12th birthday I asked for my first camera. I became the family historian, taking pictures of everyone and everything. When I got my first DSLR camera I was excited to take my love of photography to the next level. I thought I was so “fancy” because I could change my lenses! There was so much more freedom with my DSLR. If a photo was horrible I could just delete it. I began taking photos of my kids and played around with landscapes and nature, but here’s the thing…I never once thought that I was a photographer. It was just a hobby for me.
It wasn’t until I met Todd in 2014 that the idea of taking my interest in photography beyond just being a hobby manifested. He saw how much I loved it and encouraged me to consider taking it farther. I thought he was crazy and laughed it off every time he suggested it. He gave me his old camera, which was an upgrade from mine, and told me to learn it. I started out watching tutorial videos and played around with what I learned. After about a year of learning I was finally able to confidently shoot in manual!
At the high school where Todd teachers, students get to select their senior portrait for the yearbook. He realized several students weren’t getting put in the yearbook because they couldn’t afford to hire a photographer to take their senior picture. Before we met, he started taking their pictures so they would be included in the yearbook.
After dating for awhile, Todd started taking me with him on these senior shoots. He would let me take a few shots during the session to practice. He decided he liked what I was producing more than his own, so from then on he had me do all the senior sessions.
When a close friend of ours was getting married she asked Todd to shoot a wedding video for them. He somehow convinced her to let me shoot their wedding portraits. I thought he was out of his mind for suggesting it! She was totally down with it thought and there was no getting out of it with Todd involved. He was convinced this was exactly what I needed to see what I was capable of doing.
The wedding was in Yosemite, no pressure there. With the little knowledge I had back then I shot the wedding and I didn’t ruin it! Looking back, there are for sure a lot of things I would do differently now, but for what I had to work with back then, I was really pleased with how it came out.
Again, Todd kept encouraging me to put myself out there. I had found a Facebook page for weddings where engaged couples could look for vendors. Todd told me to put my hat in the ring and try to book some weddings from there. I was not okay with that. It was one thing to shoot a friend’s wedding and another to do a total stranger’s! There was no way I was going to chance ruining someone’s wedding pictures! But, Todd being the constant encourager and believer in me, he just said, “Fortune favors the bold.” So one day, I finally took the leap and ended up booking a wedding with a total stranger.
Shaniah and Joey’s wedding was amazing. She knew I was a newbie but she was willing to take a chance on me, since she herself was learning photography and hoping to start her own business someday. The wedding turned out to be a dream and it was then that I knew I loved this and wanted to keep doing it! I was on fire to learn more and push myself and I kept getting hired.
It has been almost 5 years now and Stargazer Photography and Video has grown so much! I never in my life would have ever thought I’d be a photographer sharing all the amazing moments life brings with people. I have covered weddings, pregnancies, births, graduating seniors, and the most beautiful families.
This is not a job, it is a passion. It is something I can’t imagine myself not doing. We have met some of the nicest people along the way and we get to call them friends. Some are even like family now.
We are so thankful to all of our clients for trusting us and allowing us to be part of your memories. It has truly been an honor to share these moments with you and help you preserve your own family history!
Learn more about us here.