What’s So Great About Photography Anyways?

I am a photographer. So what’s so great about that?

It sounds pretty straight forward. Everyone knows that a photographer takes good pictures. What most people don’t know, however, is all the weird, random, hilarious, and amazing things that photographers (if they are lucky) get to do. Photography has led me to some very interesting places. I love it when I get into a spot and I think “what in the world??!?!……Yep, this is my job.” Allow me to elaborate.

My days consist of some pretty random things, and photography is only one aspect of it. I sometimes get into projects that begin as one thing but then evolve into something so much better than I imagined. Recently, I helped organize a local animal shelter charity fundraiser. Somehow it turned into a dog costume pageant where we dressed up our pups in crazy costumes, photographed them, and photoshopped the pictures into funny scenes to make cards, and t-shirts. We sold the goods for the fundraiser. Here I am, with this scrawny mangey mutt in a dinosaur costume and I am photoshopping his picture onto a card that reads “Godzilla, King of Monsters”. Is this supposed to be work?

Photographing weddings somehow always requires me to contort my body in a way that I didn’t know was humanly possible. Someone told me once that “A good photographer does not care about looking like a fool, they only care about getting THE SHOT.” One time I went to photograph a bride in her house and we were experimenting with back lighting. We also needed a reflector to bounce some window light on her face. We were shooting in this hallway next to her bathroom which was a perfect spot with beautiful lighting but unfortunately very cramped. I ended up laying curled in a fetal position hiding my body behind her wedding dress on her bathroom floor, holding a flash in one hand, and balancing a reflector with my left toe. Who knew that all those childhood days of playing Twister would come in handy for my future career?!  This is what we do to get ‘THE SHOT’, and trust me when I say….it’s worth it.

Being a photographer has some serious ‘free’ perks too. Whenever I get a job to photograph food I am secretly ecstatic because I know that after I photograph something, no one wants to eat it because I’ve been touching it and rearranging it for the last hour. This usually means: free food for me. Driving away from a job with 6 take out boxes of free vietnamese cuisine (and getting paid on top of it) HARDLY seems fair to them. Photographers don’t ever have to pay to get into the events that they photograph. Hell-o…it’s called “Photographer Press Pass”, and it’s gotten me into concerts, fashion shows, sports games, you name it. That’s Awesomeness with a capital ‘A’.

You can’t event imagine some of the things I have seen. Sometimes, I am about to capture something and I think….is this legal to photograph? Because it’s definitely not tasteful. Mostly, I am talking about drunk people at wedding receptions. There always seems to be a crazy aunt sally that can’t keep her mouth shut or her clothes on after a few too many glasses of wine. Also, the wild uncle Bob that thinks he can dance like Footloose and ends up knocking over a chair, a speaker, or just falling on his face. It always seems like it’s the song “Don’t Stop Believin’” by Journey that gets the crowd to this climactic point. After that, it’s all nudity, sweat, puke, and nothing that needs to be photographed.

I’ve photographed two baby births. You read correctly….baby BIRTHS. Yep, you got it, the whole deal. I for one would not ever want to be photographed while giving child birth. However, I will say that it was the most amazing thing (possibly ever) that I have been able to capture. I get goose bumps even now thinking about it. It was messy, and loud, and intense to the max, don’t get me wrong, but documenting the raw emotion, pain, love, vulnerability….is what fuels my passion. The post-birth photo shoots are awesome too. Newborns with their new parents. First-time dads that are unsure how to work a diaper. The way they hold the baby with stiff, awkward arms. Sleep deprived Moms that get slightly panicked when their baby cries. The beginning stages of a new family are so beautiful and It’s humbling to be able to witness and be a part of it.

So maybe that answers a few questions, maybe not. Bottom line, I am so fortunate to have one of those jobs that doesn’t feel like a job because I’m also doing what I love. Photographing is fun. Photography is beautiful. People are fascinating. These are the simple truths that determined my life’s passion.

If you are reading this and don’t know me already, here’s a few of my other “passions”. I enjoy art, music, travel, meeting new people, seeing new places, fighting for a good cause, and anything creative. Oh, and I can’t forget kittens…kittens are numero uno on my favorites list. I also love things that are unique, things that are genuine, things that make me think, and things that challenge me. There’s about a million more things I could add to this list (eating a bowl of Publix mint moose tracks icecream, putting on a brand new pair of converse all star tennis shoes, Nora Jones voice when I first wake up….etc. etc. etc) but I’d rather you follow my blog to find out more;)

Peace. Love and a lil’ Spunk,

Melissa

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