A new phase

I’m in the phase of liking what I like no matter if no one else does. I am in the phase of no longer trying to make what everyone else is making. I am in the phase of trusting my creative judgement. When I was younger I went with my style and what I thought was cool. Somewhere along the way I started to follow the trends, and doubt myself. I know there is a balance to create what the market demands and what I think it wants.

When it comes to my youtube channel, I can’t help but let the view count effect my ability to create. I am making what no one is asking for, but a part of me know there is a community out there who is searching for it because
I am.

What is “it”? Well, I am trying to find that out for myself. First I have to let it develop inside of me. What a person makes is so connected to the person. I know we live in the template kinda world, where everyone can feel like a photographer or designer by just downloading an app. The hard work is, can you make something that is 100 percent your creation?

I think not having a job (well, not one that pays) has allowed me to lean towards what I naturally like, I am picking clothes that I would never wear to the office, more skater plus 90 grunge. I bought dye that is a color I had when I was 18 (haven’t had the guts to do it just yet..), I am listening to music from my past, and yes I’m sure every old person does this, but revisiting bands that had such an impact on me is helping me become more honest and myself. I am searching for a way to express what is taking place inside my creative mind and fashion and music has always helped lead me there.

As a mom and wife, I am trying to find my new self. I can’t spend the rest of my life missing the twenty something Monica. I want to love who I am right now. And I do.. just trying to find the new her thats all. Life has changed for me, I am too busy trying to keep a little human alive to worry if I am cool or not. So when it comes to the work I create, I have to tap into my creative style I developed over the years. Go with my instinct. I am also excited to see where my random ideas lead me.

Photography Style

I started teaching myself photography when I couldn’t find the type of photos I needed for design work. I read websites and discovered photographers I wanted to be like. I asked friends if they would let me photography them to practice. I copied other photographers and found myself struggling at shoots.

It wasn’t until this year, nine years since I started learning photography did I finally discover my style. The answer wasn’t in a web seminar or a blog, the answer was found when I became the client.

What type of photos do you want your photographer to take on your special day?

As a bride, I wanted a photographer that knew how to capture random moments, notices happy accidents, and sees those moments no one else notices. As I looked for a photographer I kept seeing shots that could be googled.

Looking at your work, which ones are your favorite shots?

I realized I was the photographer I wanted to hire! There must be others out there who would like my style… I have a style!!!

When shooting Miranda’s graduation pictures, the day went so smooth. I was able to direct her with ease. She felt comfortable and we had fun! Photography no longer felt like work. After all the years of struggling with my settings, dealing with harsh sunlight, nervous subjects, and flash malfunctions, I was able to capture shots I am proud of because I gave myself permission to be the photography I am – not what I think others want.  All the normal elements that go wrong didn’t stop me from capturing photos I loved.

 

 

A Book and Spring Flowers

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You know we all have our thing, the thing we are self conscious about that seems so large in our own mind. For some reason the feminist movement has made being a woman confusing, should we or shouldn’t we be proud to be a woman. The modern world seems to encourage us to be more like men, and to ignore what makes us different. For years, I avoided wearing dresses, or to wear too much make up, afraid it would make me look weak, but it all goes much deeper than that. Now that I am in my thirties, a department director and soon to be wife, being a woman seems like an impossible achievement to master.

Processed with VSCOcam with c1 presetThe book Man and Woman: A Divine Invention by Alice Von Hildebrand came to me while listening to Eric Metaxas interview. I would be lying if I told you the pressure of becoming a wife isn’t freaking me out a little bit. Is there a wife bootcamp I can attend to get me ready for the challenge I’m about to face? Probably not, but reading more about my new calling would give me an idea on what I am to do.
I know becoming a wife is deeper than cooking or the classic 1950’s woman. In fact, while reading the book , I began to see being a woman is a divine gift given by God – which I never really looked at it that way.
“[Male & Female] They are two beings of equal dignity, but complementary; therefore, they are mutually necessary for enriching one another.”
Reading about the power of a woman made me embrace being femine. The weeks following completing the book, I bought flowers for the video office. It was a small act, but for me it was part of embracing the fact I wanted flowers because they are beautiful. It brighten up the room and I enjoyed looking at them while I rendered.
It was interesting to read about the influence a woman’s heart can have on society. I thought about when developing a video project, what heart can I bring to my work that I usually ignore?
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“Without feminine, contact, men will never develop their “human side.” They become inventors, creators, and producers, but their own being remains an uncultivated field.”
She quotes another fellow writer, Adolf Von Hildeand,  “So it is that we love a woman as our holy ghost; through womanhood we develop our most human element into full sensibility; the rest of our being belongs therefore to the outer world.”
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“We live in a world that has become more and more dehumanized, more and more heartless, a world dominated by technology, by machines…The machines cannot smile or utter a word of comfort to the sick, who are desperately in need of understanding, patiences, and compassion in order to carry well the cross of physical and psychological suffering. Human persons are made of body and soul, and the body cannot recover when the soul is neglected.”
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“Feminist forget that to be a wife and a mother, to create a home and to be there to give love, and to listen to the little woes of the little ones who crave for tenderness and affection is like being the sun illuminating a dark world.”
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Something Gus told me when we first met, he said I bought color into his world.
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“Each sex has its role; each has its talents;  each has its mission.”

I loved learning about the beauty I hold and the call on my life to deliver it into the world.

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I don’t think I would have been able to embrace my femininity without falling in love with my future husband’s masculinity. Our different strengths together make us better people. I’ve never had so much confidence like I do now, and its not because I’m no longer alone, it’s because his perspective are my blind spots, and my perspective his blind spots. We help each other in so many ways.
Male and Female, how beautiful they complement each other.
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What an adventure we are about to take on. Its going to be fun.. says the happy engaged woman about to marry the man everyone said didn’t exist.
Two months to go..

Getting Married


View More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagementI’m – I mean, We are getting married! On to a new adventure called responsibility. I thought long and hard when Gus got down on his knee and asked me to marry him, actually, it took me 4 seconds to answer. I thought about what this new promotion in life would mean, what would I be giving up? What will I now have to do?  I thought about how hard everyone says marriage is, and well, if I was going to go into battle, it would be Gus who I would want to fight along side.

I take no credit in finding Gus, and I am sure he would agree, we accidentally found each other.  I was in the middle of working, and he wanted to check out the control room at church. Time stopped when we saw each other, actually I pretended like I didn’t notice him noticing me. I played it cool that day, and I am still playing it cool. Hopefully he doesn’t notice my flaws, like how I think I am the main character of this movie. He would say that he is the main character.

View More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagementView More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagementView More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagementView More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagementView More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagement

From a distance you may think we have it all figured out, the only thing we know, there is nothing we can’t solve together. We kept being engaged a secret for six months, why you ask? We’ll we needed time to trouble shoot all the questions – where? when? wedding? who is invited? babies? Yes, yes, yes, no, yes! haha.

I’ve always been a late bloomer, I was the last of my group of friends to kiss a boy, to move out and now to get married. Most of my friends have pre-teens, actually I’ve lost most of my friends to their husbands and children, a real shame!

My life plan was to get married ten years ago, but one problem, I needed someone great – and I wouldn’t meet him until what felt like FOREVER. Its been a journey from that moment when we first met to the ones you see on screen. There was a lot of things that hand to be discuss, fixed and worked out. For that we thank Jesus, He makes the impossible possible and helped us though the process of learning how to love with a pure love.

Wish us Luck! On our way to be married.. 4 months to go. View More: http://williamtyates.pass.us/redlands-engagement

photos by William Yates

 

 

 

Grand Canyon

The Grand Canyon was one of the most beautiful sites I’ve ever seen. I stood at the edge of the cliff saying out loud many times, “I can’t believe this is real.” 

I’m from the generation that everything we see is pretty much fake, its hard to realize what is real at times. But when standing in front of it, those who said it’s only a dream, you can’t help but feel anything and everything is possible.

The limits are limitless. 

Hiking that day in the Grand Canyon changed the both of us, Gus said, “Take one step at a time, we’ll get to the top together.” I did something I never thought I could do that day, overcome fear.

It was here that Gus proposed to me. I was nervous when he asked and couldn’t believe this was rallying happening, but I knew I wanted to spend every day with him. I gave him my answer and then tried to go back to normal but we now had a new normal…becomig life partners.

Finding the right camera for you

Trying to figure out the right camera to buy can be challenging. The endless research can be overwhelming. So I offer you my love story with my cameras.

The first question I’d ask you is why do you want a camera? Once you share your passion and excitement then’ll I’ll crush it by asking how much money do you have to buy it?

The point is to get the soul purpose of your desire. You might be selling yourself short if you answer about your budget first. I saved up for my DSLR for 6 months and paid for it cash. I had learn having debt for equipment can be dangerous, you can get too excited and waste money on gear you don’t need. 

Why do you want a camera? I wanna have fun taking photos – Any camera can do.

Find any camera and play with its effects. Look at thrift stores or eBay. I recommend an old film camera, you’ll fall in love with photography!

I think the most fun I had with a camera was my Diana 35mm film camera I got at Urban Outfitters. It was first stressful learning how it worked because its suppose to be “easy”, which made things complicated. Once I figured out how to use the camera, I had fun trying out different effects it offered. 

I wanna start learning photography. – Film cameras

You won’t like this answer – I know you wanna run out and buy an expensive camera. I recommend buying a 35mm camera with a detachable lens to teach you the fundamentals. Test the shutter to see if it works before you buy. You will bond with this camera and people will call you strange. Little kids will ask to look behind the camera wondering where their photo is. But you will learn how to frame up, expose, and capture a moment. Every exposer will cost you – $2 for each shot (development and film.) You will feel the mistakes in your wallet but you’ll also learn how to use the camera without a computer thinking for you. The photos you take will surprise you, and show you what kind of photographer you wanna be. Because those will be the picture you take most.

I want a camera to take with me while I travel. -a digital point in shoot

We all have this romantic image in our head of walking down the streets of Italy pointing and shooting our camera capturing people in the market place, beautiful architecture and of course our self in front of landmarks. But the reality is, you will leave your heavy camera in the hotel and settle for your camera phone – this my friend, you will regret. Sure you got 50 likes on FB but the day will come when you want to print the photo and there you will see the truth of how bad camera phone pictures are- they suck. The good news, because of iPhone technology advancing, they are getting better but until then, I recommend a point and shoot that cost more than $200, anything cheaper will have low pixels. I found the Nikon CoolPic 300 produces great photos! I bought it for the manual settings. Although I hardly use it because it takes too much time to set, instead I use the auto settings.

When traveling you are going place to place so fast, you only have time to frame up. Plus this camera is easy for other people to use when you ask a stranger to snap a photo of you. Its very rich in color, wide in frame and great at night.

I want to start filming/shooting professionally. – Canon or Panasonic with audio inputs

If you are starting a photography and video production business or if you are hired to film, the poplar DSLRs is what you are looking for. The quality is great without having to spend so much on a camera. The audio is bad which you’ll need a secondary recorder for that. But if you are getting B-roll type footage or plan on creating wedding montages that don’t need audio, then this camera is best to use. You will have to invest stabilizers but they aren’t too much. You do have the choice of buying a cheaper DSLR for $700 which is great for filming because they have the flip screens or go pro $2000 which would be ideal for photography. Look up tech details to see what best fits for you. I would recommend if you are starting out to start with the cheaper camera until business kicks in. The last thing you want to do is put all your money into something that you later find out you don’t really enjoy or find that the area you live in doesn’t have a market for it. Keep in mind its the LENS that really affects the quality, that is where you will need to invites your money in.

When it comes to filming you’ll want to record audio. Make sure there is an input to plug a mic in.

As you can see, you don’t just have to pick one camera. If you love photography, you’ll love cameras, and each one is different. I go thought many different phase just using one type of camera. When I get bored of my work, I search for a new camera that can spark up some fresh creativity inside me. You don’t have to spend thousand of dollars either, sometimes the right camera ends up finding you.

The Importance of Being Prepared

When I think about the photoshoots I’ve done in the past, the ones that were the most stressful where the ones I took getting prepared lightly. Usually this would happen after I hit a home run with a shoot, I’d just grab my camera bag with not many thoughts about preparing for the shoot. A number of problems never fail to come up during a shoot; I didn’t charge the battery, the batteries in the flash decided to give out by the third photo taken, the location agreed upon was closed, a child starts crying for no reason, all of these things happen but preparing for them is the game changer to master.

Every mistake I’ve made or failed to be ready for, I add it on my mental list of preparation.

1. Work out money and the detail before your shoot. Land on an agreement of prints, photo count, location, and so forth. What will help you with this is to pretend you are looking for a photographer in your area, research and see what the market is like. Then decided what is fair for your time and talent.

2. Charge all the batteries the night before, even if you think they are charged enough.

3. Clear all memory cards, capture any photos on it before you head out, even a few images on a card can impact your ability to get that final shot. You don’t want to stand there with your clients in front of you deleting images to make room.

4. Contact the location you are going to shoot at, get open time and ask if they don’t mind if you take photos. There have been times I failed to do this and the place was closed, and another time we had to pay $50 to take photos. That is something I could have added to the price.

5. Contact the client days before, exchanging contact mobile phone numbers, location address and time. Be prepared to show up earlier.

6. Communicate the payment for your service is due the day of the event. Many time’s I’ve said, “Don’t worry pay me later”, only to be paid months and months later, and awkward conversations of where’s my money. People forget and move on, get paid now.

7. Look up examples on line of the shoot you’re going to do. Of course you want to have your own style but chances are your clients have been on Pinterest and now have “this” idea of the photos they want. Also, this will help you with setting up your shots.

8. Gas up the car, clear your calendar. Avoid booking two photoshoots in a day. Its overwhelming and the second one will pay and be sloppy.

9. Book your appointment based on the best lightning of the season, or if the location is shaded anytime works best. The most visual mistake is shadows or harsh sunlight.

10. Do as much as you can to make the process easy for your client, do most of the work as possible. They are not only paying for photos but a service. Go beyond the agreement if it doesn’t hurt you. You want them to tell there friends about you, and you want to become their family photographer. What an honor. Or better yet, you want a photo you took to become their Facebook profile picture. That’s the greatest honor for a photographer of them all.

California Road Trip – Santa Cruz

I’ve must have passed Santa Cruz many times while on my way to San Francisco. My Australian friend had went for a visit during her last stay and told me how awesome it was. Gus and I drove up after Santa Barbara and took in the fresh over cast morning at Pleasure Point.

Gus told me about his family growing up in Monterey and suggest we take a drive to enjoy the town the following day. But first I wanted to check out Mission Santa Cruz since we where so close. We went to the church only to discover it was very small, compared to Santa Barbara mission there wasn’t much to see. We enjoyed a walk in the garden and headed towards downtown.

Driving in to the city I noticed the Museum of Art & History, right away I wanted to check it out. I enjoy visiting art museums in new places. I never know what they will focus on and its interesting to see the different exhibits. There was a lot of interactive art displays. I joined in and created a passport about my family history. Gus was impressed at my drawing of myself. I laughed because if there is one thing I know how to draw, is the face I’ve looked at all my life.

Walking downtown was one of my favorite parts of the trip. Looking at all the old buildings and discovering new shops is so fun. We spent some time at the record store looking at all the music past generations enjoyed. I bought two albums for the road trip back but both albums end up sucking, haha. I like taking risk but thank goodness for iTunes preview!

With the last bit of energy we checked out the Boardwalk. Talk about busy! There wasn’t an empty space in the park. Gus and I were so worn out, we spent less than an hour here. I’m sure my 14-year-old self would have loved every bit of it. The rides, the crowds of young people, and all the fatty food!

The next day, we headed over to Santa Cruz Breakwater Lighthouse. My friend had told me about this cute little place to have breakfast called Aldo’s Harbor Restaurant that overlooked the dock and lighthouse.

We got in the car and headed to Monterey to check out Cannery Row and the Fisherman Wharf. We first
took a break at Starbucks which I saw this man and his dog relaxing. He chatted with me about how his dog likes to do his own thing and doesn’t listen. I smiled and laugh at his dog’s little tongue hung out. After we checked our email and social media, we headed to grab some famous clam chowder at the Fisherman Wharf.

Time flew by and back to Santa Cruz we drove. Our vacation time was ending with just a few days left. Two more missions to see on our way home. We stopped by Mission San Juan for a few shots.

We drove to our last mission only to do a drive by. We where worn out and now needed a vacation from our vacation.

I’ve lived in Southern California my whole life and never bothered to visit central California. It was a nice road trip to do with the missions as an excuses to drive and take in the location. It was interesting to visit these historic sites and appropriate a school lesson I kinda slept through in 4th grader. I’m sure Mrs. Luper would be proud!

 

Forever a Student

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We live in a great time where we don’t have to go to a room to be a student. We are the generation raised by the Internet, its up to us how we use it. I recently started looking on youtube key words, “start up business” or “photography lighting” to learn from professionals. I want to use the knowledge given freely to learn more about the skills I want to develop. I’ve probably watched every Steve Jobs interview out there.

Creative live.com is one great resources I discovered years ago. If you catch a live showing, the classes are free. They have workshops with professionals on all kinds of subjects. A course I’ve bought was from celebrity wedding photographer, Joe Buissink. Hearing how he developed his business and his photography style has been so helpful to me. There is no excuses when it comes to learning something new. I encourage you to find resources that can make you better at what you do and to keep on growing.

Starting Something New

12166387224_f8d3bd9e2a_cThe current in thing is start up companies. Everyone is doing it. But to be honest, it’s not very glamorous to start a new business. No one knows who you are and you have little credibility. All you have is to hope people trust you.

This weekend we had a very successful speaker and author visit our church. He is wealthy, has a beautiful family, sales millions of books, and travels the world. As I listened to him talk about the early days of having no money and being a newlywed living in an empty apartment, I realized success takes time.

I see many successful large churches celebrating their 25th and 30th anniversary. For as long as I’ve been alive, they’ve been building the church. When I look at the old footage, I see a young passionate person preaching to a crowd of 20 people as if they were speaking to thousands, not knowing that one day they would.

It’s easy to be discouraged when starting something new. It’s tempting to give up and stop trying. But I’m encouraged of the lives of the generation before me that things take time to grow and success is something that is built. It’s those early days of creating the foundation that will determine how long something last.

The Buzz of the City

The buzz of the city filled the air with endless possibilities. From the moment we saw the bay bridge we knew we were in for an adventure. I imagined young people working in their studio offices making creative decisions that would influence our culture.

The first stop we made was a hidden coffee shop. When I walked in the doors, I saw tables full of people talking and visiting with one another. I was tempted to ask them what they did for a living so I too could be in a coffee shop on a Tuesday morning at 10am hanging out with friends.  We ordered our lattes and pretend we were one of them.


We later made our way to watch the sun set at the beach. The people of the city seemed to be searching for a connection with nature, the parks were full of runners and the beach with surfers. I saw business people in their cars, looking in to the sunlight and an older couple standing at the edge of the sand taking in the moment. Then there was us, talking about hopes for the future.

The drive down the city streets made me forget about what was happening on-line and enjoy the present moment. We kept telling one another to stop taking photos, to look out the window and see what was all around us. 

Once we got inside a pub for dinner, I was glad to see there were no big TV screens on. We told one another to place our phones in the middle of the table and enjoy hanging out with one another. Conversations about business and dreams of making money seemed to light up the room.

We tried to imagine the lives of those who call San Francisco home. Its here that the city encourages individuality.

My favorite part of the trip was when we visited a fancy coffee shop that sold toast and coffee for $10. I figured I was paying for the experience of living a life style I’ve only dreamt of. I was inspired by the big groups of people exchanging ideas. I imaged staff from twitter, or from a new high tech company meeting at these very tables, planning on the next big thing. It made me want to create an encouraging community like this back where I live.

We gave ourself the afternoon to be tourist and to visit some well known locations.

A friend told us to visit the Golden Gate Bridge from a different location. I enjoyed hanging out by the water, listening to the birds pass by, laughing and making jokes with one another.

On our final night we left the car behind, and took public transport. We wanted to blend in and feel what it was like to live in such a thriving city. One thing is for sure, living in the city there is very little room for personal space.

I thought the city was beautiful at night, but at sunrise, it glows with hope.

I’ve been to San Francisco many times, but this time I finally captured the heart of what San Fran is all about.

Be yourself…no matter how weird you are. 

Dear Social Media

Dear Social Media,

I want my life back. My moments, my relationships and privacy. I no longer want the pressure to brag and show off where I am at, what I am eating and who I am with. I know you mean well, but when I instantly give these precious life moments to share, I lose them as I try to upload, tag, and write a caption.

Thanks for what you do, connecting me with people but I also need to connect with the people in front of me. I’m putting my phone down and forgetting about it when I don’t need it. When I snap a photo, I’ll look at it later. The world can wait and so can I.

Wednesday morning before work I heard an interview with the creators of Instagram. I was pulled in by their witty personalities and big dreams. I listened with closeness as I heard their heart behind Instagram. They spoke about capturing those special moments; children learning how to walk, a mom spending time with their child, graduations, weddings, birthdays and how people can share images as they happen.

I began to think about all the big events in my life to my everyday routine. I thought to myself, “Those are mine, I don’t want to give them away by snapping a photo, writing a caption and uploading it.” I’ve learned through the years about the sacrifice a photo can cost. Live life or take a photo of it? I have to make a decision between enjoy what is taking place or pulling out my camera and capturing it. And now because of instant publishing more time is lost to experience life.

The question is how do I solve this dilemma? If I’m not careful, I can end up experiencing life though a screen, missing out on the beauty that no camera can capture.

This 4th of July weekend I did an experiment. Take a photo and look at it later. I was anxious to share immediately but instead told myself to enjoy my time with the people I love most.

Looking back on the photos, I can appreciate them even more because I got to live them.

The Images of Life

Life can happen so fast, that even a 2,000 camera can miss it. The past few months I’ve been enjoying my camera phone. When I was 8 years old I use to say, “I wish I could take as many photos as I wanted, to have unlimited film!” Now many years later, I am living that reality, minus the film. The camera phone isn’t the best quality to print but I can’t deny the joy of being able to capture the simple moments of life and sharing them right away.

Maybe this is my way of rediscovering my childhood love of photo taking. If anything this will help me see how beautiful life is and be thankful for all I have.

 

Photoshoot: Leeah

Leeah has an amazing story. Last year on her way home from a friend’s house she was hit by a motorcycle that left her in a coma for weeks. Her family wasn’t sure she was going to make it however they prayed and asked God for a miracle.


Fast forward a year, she is out of her coma and is re-learn everything from walking to talking. Every week it seems as though she is getting better and better. Since her recovery, we’ve become great friends on instagram. I asked her if she would like to do a photoshoot with me. I wanted to capture her beauty that she often hides. She isn’t one to enjoy the center of attention but I knew my camera could help capture her unique style and display how pretty she is. It’s interesting to see that even being in a coma a part of her mind remembered her style and personality.

With every shot, the camera was pulling out a small part of who she is. At times I was directing her to pose but its when I left her alone did I finally find the mood I was looking for.

Before every shoot I usually have some idea of what I am going to capture. I thought I would try to get the girly side of Leeah,  I brought some make up and hoped maybe she would let me put some on her, but as I moved passed my ideas and just captured what was true I saw that who she is was more interesting than what I had plan. What good is a portrait if it doesn’t portray your subject.

We went to Kats Alley Record shop to take our final shots. I knew Leeah would feel right at home in this place. We walked around the shop together, laughing and talking about music.

By the end of the photoshoot Leeah had turned the tables and started taking photos of me. Photography allows us to connect with people, thats why its so enjoyable.

Photos: The Wedding Dress

The past few months I’ve been really bored with photography. I asked one of my friends if she wanted to do an artsy shoot with her old wedding dress. I knew she had gotten married in the 90s, so I thought it would be fun and random to shoot some photos.

I had no idea these photos would teach me something about the wedding dress.

For many girls, the wedding day is their dream day. I see it in all my friends who are engaged to be married. Their countdown to the day, their search for the perfect dress, and the plan for the big celebration. Then the newly married couple becomes old news, never to be seen again. Its as if the wedding was the best moment of the couple’s life.

Angel told me the story of how she was only 18 when she got married and those first few years weren’t easy.  Doing this shoot made me realize marriage has nothing to do with the dress. The dress is just fabric.  Angle didn’t care that it got dirty, what matters are the years after.

What I learned today was that the wedding isn’t the end, its just the starting line.