I still can’t believe it!
The chance of a lifetime happened and I am so humbled and grateful for the opportunity! What is this once in a lifetime opportunity you may ask? I was asked by the local ABC News to share my story about being a wedding photographer while legally blind!
I will admit I was so nervous and skeptical at first, thinking it might be a scam. Upon further correspondence it was the real deal! Why me? Why do they want to share my story, I asked myself. Growing up my parents never let myself or my younger sister use our legally blindness as a crutch. They wanted us to follow our hearts. Yes, there would be obstacles ahead that we would have to face and challenges we would have to overcome, but nothing is impossible with God! He has given me this passion for photography and I knew He would help me overcome any obstacle in my way.
A little backstory for you!
This is so you can better understand my legal blindness. When I say legally blind, most people say how can you walk and get around. I like to tell people that I can see, but only around 2-3 feet clearly then anything past that gets fuzzy and blurry. Myself and my younger sister were born with albinism. This condition affects the pigment in our hair skin and eyes, so thus pale skin, white hair, and the lack of pigment in our eyes have caused us to be legally blind.
The best way I can describe it to people is that my vision is 20/300, so an object someone with 20/20 vision can see from 300 feet away. I have to be 20 feet away to see it. So basically I have to be close to things to see them. Being born with this has been a blessing. I have never known what it is like to be able to see well, so if I would have slowly lost my vision I think it would have been a harder battle for me to overcome. I think one of the things I wish I could do the most is drive. My friends and family have been so amazing to drive me to weddings and different places, but having that form of independence is something I wished I could do for myself.
Aside from my vision, my pale skin has made my family and I buy stock in sunscreen haha. Beach trips and summer days are definitely filled with bottles of sunscreen and chilling under umbrellas or in the shade. Needless to say, we have learned to adapt and work around things to make them work.
I am so thankful for my parents and their passion to help myself and my younger sister to not focus on the things we couldn’t do, but rather the things we could. I attended a private Christian school all my life. School days looked like a lot of magnifying glasses and literally anything my parents could find that could magnify my work to help me see it. I wore glasses, but still needed magnification to help with my work. After several years of using hobby magnifying lights or the magnifying sheets, we were blessed to receive these amazing magnifying machines. I would take my school work and put it under this big machine and it would blow it up to any size I wanted. I was like a kid at Christmas when this happened! Now I could do my school work and not have to ask my teachers to help me out.
All while growing up, I was very creative. Anything from painting, sketching, sculpture, drama, and music, I was in love with creating things. A funny side fact, my sisters and I would make these dinner theater shows for my parents. Everyone was involved and nothing was off limits. Even our little dog was a sheep in a Christmas show we did haha, Such fun times.
As you can tell, creativity was part of who I am. At an early age I became infatuated and addicted to roller coasters. I would research everything I could about them and the way they accelerated and were able to do all those cool loops and spins. I thought I was going to be a roller coaster engineer. I wanted to create some of the world’s best roller coasters and work for places like Disney.
The day I got a camera.
My dad has his degree in art from Ringling School of Art & Design, so a camera was somewhat familiar to me, but never really an interest. I got into creating movies and bought a cheap entry level DSLR camera. I had seen all the youtubers use this and thought, if they use a DSLR I need to get one. What I didn’t know is that I would quickly find this camera was going to be a whole new way for me to see the world around me.
I remember the first day I had it and brought it home. I had gone outside to play around with it, and my eyes were seeing things clearly I had never seen before! The detail in flowers, the birds up on the trees, and even the bee crawling around on my mom’s rose bush. I couldn’t put it down! I took my camera everywhere and took photos of anything and everything that would stay still long enough.
Quickly my love for photography grew and I was asked by a family I knew if I could do their fall family pictures. I was nervous because up until now it had been more street style photography and not really posing or anything with portraits. Being the perfectionist I am and always wanting to try new things, I agreed. That first family session was the beginning of what would become my heart’s passion!
I quickly started photographing other families, newborns, and seniors. I was taking it all in and just loving every minute of it! It wasn’t until several months into taking photos that someone asked me to photograph their wedding. A wedding, the day that is so important for so many people and can’t be redone. I was a nervous wreck! Part of me wanted to go for it, but the other part was thinking what if i mess it all up and they have horrible photos to remember their day by. My family reassured me and encouraged me to go for it and my dad stepped in and said he would help me shoot it since he had photographed weddings before for friends of our family. Going into my first wedding I was dreading it, but leaving the reception I was on this adrenaline high! I WAS HOOKED!!!!!
Lookin back at where I began and where I am now, I am so humbled and can’t help but feel blessed! It has been a long journey of late night editing, stressful days worrying with weather on wedding days, and thousands of hours of educating myself on how to run a business and serve clients. I have faced a lot of challenges along the way due to my vision, but I try to step back and think of different ways I can achieve my goals.
Some challengesI have faced in photography are seeing the small details, like noticing unbuttoned suit jackets, seeing when someone is trying to get my attention, or even seeing those pesky fly away hairs. While those challenges can get me discouraged, I have learned to adapt and work in a way that I notice all those things before I step back to take the photo.
Walking around at a wedding can be difficult for anyone, but especially someone with poor vision haha. I have found myself numerous times walking into things, tripping over chords, or bumping into chairs during the candlelight receptions, but those minor things don’t compare to the joy I have getting to love and serve my couples on the most special day of their life together!
Why do I do what I do?
If you would have told me when I was younger that I would be a wedding photographer, I would have laughed. I much preferred to sit at home and work on art, play music, or design roller coasters on roller coaster tycoon. Now, I love getting to meet new people, help others, and make others feel and look their absolute best!
It is amazing to me how God has helped me along this photography journey and allowed me to meet so many amazing people along the way! Each and every challenge has helped me to grow and become a better photographer and person. Photography has now become who I am rather than just what I do. It never ceases to amaze me that a guy who can’t see to drive is the one there at a wedding taking these gorgeous photos that will preserve these legacies of love! All I can say is God has been so good to me!
If you would like to talk to me about photographing your wedding, I would love to hear from you! Just head over and fill out the contact form and we will begin the fun wedding process! Can’t wait!
So Humbled & Honored
See my news segment here
I am so humbled and honored to have had the opportunity to share a little about my story. I never in a million dreams would have imagined I would be on the local news, but it happened! The biggest take away I want for people to see that no matter what your circumstances are, you can go for your dreams! God might have taken away my vision, but He put a desire in me to love and serve others through photography. I hope and pray that is evident in every wedding and session I do!