I started taking photographs regularly when I purchased a camera with my first credit card in 2006. A year later, I began photographing weddings and I was instantly hooked.
It wasn't easy. I was still in college and the Great Recession was just beginning. But it forced me to expand my horizons and I began work at my university paper and then the Chicago Sun Times.
There, I had incredible opportunities. I got to cover Barack Obama's inauguration at Grant Park. I photographed galas hosted by the Joffrey Ballet, the Steppenwolf Theater, and McDonald's. I met Rahm Emanuel, Scottie Pippen, Sarah Jessica Parker, Gary Sinise (Lieutenant Dan), and others. Also, covering high end restaurants was an amazing experience, every time. For a kid still in college, photography opened doors for me I never would have had otherwise.
Then, in 2010, I had the opportunity to visit India and Katrina torn Baton Rouge to cover some philanthropic work. I realized, then, that there's more to being a photographer than taking pictures of celebrities. (That, and the Sun Times stopped calling me for jobs, thanks a lot Twitter)
The ensuing years was a mess of working for huge wedding studios and odd jobs. I got burnt out. I believe this was a time that really shaped who I am as a wedding photographer today. Working for a big studio was soul crushing for me. I would speak with the wedding couple for ten minutes the week of their wedding, shoot their wedding, dump the cards, and never think about the couple ever again. It was easy for me to look at wedding photography as "just another job."
It was then that I realized the missing element- a personal connection. Photography is an intimate expression of who I am and it became clear that investment in the relationship with clients was crucial. I quit working for the big studios and focused on cultivating a client base with an emphasis on photographing their unique relationship.
I haven't looked back since.