How We Got Started - blog.cblissphotography.com

How We Got Started

We are a mother and son wedding photography team based in Anchorage, Alaska. Most other wedding photography teams consist of a husband and wife, or two friends, etc., so I thought you might want to know how it all got started.

It was the 80s and all we had was film. I’d gone to school for Photojournalism and was going to set the world on fire! Then I found myself suddenly single with an infant and a toddler. I moved to Alaska with two babies, two suitcases and four boxes. We moved in with family and I got a day job that paid the bills (mostly), and did whatever creative work I could find on the side. This worked great until my youngest got seriously ill (more on that later), and I had to stay home to take care of my children. Eventually I got remarried, had another child, and I did whatever freelance work I could find, got involved in Before & After makeover shoots, babies (LOVE babies!), and then a couple of weddings.

Then suddenly everything changed…AGAIN! Digital came along and nobody knew how to use it. Only couple of plucky nerds with too much money had digital cameras. REAL photographers would not have anything to do with it and decided it was a passing fad. OOPS! Suddenly Walmart had a photo studio selling images for $3.99!! It was an outrage! No self-respecting photographer could make a living anymore. I went to work in the home remodeling industry and became a designer.

Fast forward to 2008. The kids were all grown up and I was single again. Digital was everywhere but I didn’t know how to use it. I felt completely stifled as a photographer, and after years of hauling samples or gear to jobsites, I had developed a serious problem with my back. I was told I’d be in a wheelchair within a year (another story). Freaking out about this possibility, I decided to stay relevant I would need to go back to school. But what would I do? It had to be creative, and something I could do anywhere, just in case those doctors were right (shudder). I really wanted to do photography but I decided on Web Design and Interactive Media…online so I could study from home. I told this to one of my brothers, and his jaw dropped….”that’s going to be one heckuva learning curve!” he said.  That just pissed me off so I decided I would show him! Talk about motivation!

Fast forward again to 2012. I was still working on my degree part time and had to learn digital photography to create work for my websites! I obtained a DSLR (digital camera) and was having a blast learning to use it. I started shooting everything! Product shots, portraits, boudoir, pets, houses, weddings, you name it! I started following some amazing photographers online learning current techniques, and that was when my youngest son Ryan got involved. At first he was helping me carry gear, as did his older brother and uncle from time to time. But Ryan hung out to see what I was doing, curiosity took over and I gave him a small digital camera. I told him to shoot some pictures and show me what he came up with. We started a dialogue and with his background in IT he understood some of the more technical aspects that I didn’t. He started helping me haul gear and do setup/teardown and logistics, and I began to rely heavily on his assistance and input. Eventually he got his own DSLR and started shooting gigs with me. Together we’ve done lots of houses for realtors, and several weddings. He has become a really great photographer whom I trust and am proud to work with, and the rest is history! I feel really blessed getting to work with my son and do the thing I love most! He still works in IT and I still do design by appointment, but nothing gives me as much joy as shooting weddings! To witness and capture something as intimate as the sharing of vows, and to preserve that moment in time forever is magical. It fills my heart with so much joy to watch two people full of hope and love promise their undying love to each other forever! (Okay I’m a sap…and yes I cry often during editing sessions! But that’s just how I roll!)

Engagement sessions and Weddings renew my hope and faith in a higher power, and my belief in the magic of love. “…but the greatest of these is love.” I Corinthians 13:13

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