Jess had a dream to shoot a destination, and you know what… she did exactly that.
AND she captured it beautifully to boot!
I’m thrilled to introduce Jess, and to share her fabulous destination wedding experience with you!
Photography Bucket List
When I started my photography journey I decided to write a photography bucket list. I wanted to keep challenging myself no matter how long I was in the game.
Writing down my dreams at the start of the journey meant I had no preconceived notions of what was achievable… anything was possible. My bucket list consists of some insane dreams, but I love that. I love that I’m not confining myself to what I perceive is reality.
In my first year I ticked three dreams off the list, leaving some of the crazier ones to be tackled. I’d photographed a birth, a mass breastfeeding shoot and a marriage proposal.
Project Destination Wedding
Then I revisited the list and picked shooting a destination wedding.
I went about sharing my dream on Facebook and asked people to help make my dream come true through a little video I made. That video was watched by over 5,500 people and shared all over the world.
I was contacted with offers of weddings all over the world but the timing clashed with other shooting commitments. I started to think this dream would never become a reality.
That was until Jess and Leigh contacted me with their offer to shoot their Las Vegas wedding.
Not only was I available, but the wedding was in ONE month!
Dreams Come True
My favourite part of the whole process would have to be the crazy amount of support I received.
I couldn’t believe and I am still humbled by the generosity of my friends and strangers in helping make my dream come true. I don’t feel deserving and I never thought I would get such an incredible response let alone find such an amazing couple!
It really makes you feel all warm and fuzzy and restores your faith in humanity when you see people pulling together to help a total stranger’s crazy dream come true.
I am just so grateful people cared enough to make it a reality.
I had wanted to shoot a destination wedding to keep me excited… you can get bogged down in doing the same thing over and over again. So the challenges were conceived to keep me on my toes, and help me grow.
Big dreams will come with challenges… but growing in your art of choice is worth pushing though for.
So to that end being organised is very important and the key to success, and luckily I’m super organised!
In the specific instance of a destination wedding, you can’t afford to have equipment failures, or lose anything. I made sure I had a spare body, enough memory cards to last a lifetime, and I split my cards after the wedding in case one bag got lost (I always shoot on to two cards simultaneously).
I think the biggest challenge of a destination wedding was not knowing the area. After the ceremony we entrusted the limo driver to find us a nice desert back drop, only to have him look at us blankly and drive around aimlessly. We were lucky enough to find a spot on his random drive that would work.
Everything else is just like home… a wedding is a wedding no matter where it is. I just had to walk further than normal as the Las Vegas strip is so long!
How to Dream
My advice for other grads wanting to follow their photography dreams is to…
Then double it!
If you don’t believe in yourself no one else will.
You need to push the boundaries you’ve created for yourself in what you think is possible… anything is possible if you believe it is.
Then work hard to achieve those goals… don’t get lazy, don’t get complacent, keep that fire burning in your belly and push forward.
Even when it feels embarrassing. Even when it feels crazy. And even when you fail.
People thought it was great I was giving it a go but no one really believed I would do anything incredible. My stubbornness and amazing ability to dream has meant I have achieved things people who have been in the industry longer than me haven’t. It’s not because I am a better photographer, it’s because I am a better dreamer and I fight for what I want.
How to Grow
I never ever want to feel comfortable because that’s when I know I am not growing, and I want to be the best photographer I can be.
I learnt that pushing my boundaries brings so much growth, and I am a better photographer because of this experience.
I tried new ways of shooting, was freer in my approach and less constrained by what I had to achieve, and it meant I got better photos.
Sometimes having a plan – which the planner in me loves – can interfere with our creativity. This trip allowed me to be free from plans because it was such a whirlwind.
A big thank you to Jess for her words and images!
I hope this post inspires you to start your own photography bucket list, with the primary goal of putting yourself out of your comfort zone so that you too can grow to be the best photographer you can be!
Ready for Your Own Photography Dreams
If you’ve mastered manual mode on your DSLR and you’re ready to take your photos to the next level… our Advanced Photography Course will provide you with the next steps to get you there.
The course is strating soon and we will sell out. Be sure to join our wait list to hear about it first.