I found this photograph of my parents from my sister's wedding last October, and besides wanting to show y'all how good looking they are, I thought it brought about an opportunity to reflect on how grateful I am to have grown up working and learning alongside them.
I photographed my first wedding with my dad when I was fourteen- I clearly remember my nerves and trying my hardest to make a good impression, as my dad rarely had assistants join him for weddings. Imagine my horror, then, when in the first five minutes, I dropped his brand-new digital camera and later, set a flash off in the middle of a strict, no-flash ceremony. While I thought he would be furious, my dad acted the whole time like nothing had gone wrong, and later that night at home, he told my mom how I had been an excellent assistant. His patience and compassion gave me a confidence that kept me improving with each wedding I assisted him and my mom.
I spent six summers after that first day working alongside my parents, observing the way my mom projected her excitement for the images she was making to her couples, setting them at ease, and my dad's easy humor with guests. I learned how to run a business, how to be responsible with my images, and how to take charge for family portraits. I'll always remember the pride I felt when I was given a commission check for the first big wall portrait I sold, something my dad didn't have to do. When Jeff and I began to date, my dad happily took him on as an assistant so he could learn some of the same things I'd spent most of my teenage years doing.
While it's been a few years since I've been able to work alongside my parents, who still run a studio in Pennsylvania, I still call them with advice often, and Jeff and I work together very similarly to the way they do. They're our biggest resource, and our best cheerleaders.
I'll always smile at the way my dad would stand next to me every time we'd photograph the father-daughter dance, and how my mom would save me a piece of cake to eat at the end of the night.