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From KFC Yum Center to Masterson’s

KFC Yum Center

When I moved to China in 2010, I never knew the impact it would have on my life’s trajectory.  I had taken a position as a traveling educator, moving once every three weeks from city to city, instructing English teachers on how to teach English more efficiently. I was given the position through an offering at my church, Ada Bible, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.  I would spend seven months with a group of people specifically chosen for this purpose.  One such person, Michael Malvitz, brought two Canon cameras with him to document the trip.

At first, I jumped at the chance to have my journey documented, posing in front of the camera whenever I had the chance.  But as our time continued, I found myself more and more intrigued by the opportunity to be the one documenting.  I remembering pointing the camera out the window at the same moment as Michael, snapping what I assumed would be the same picture, then becoming frustrated when I saw how shockingly different they were. I vowed to learn the art of photography.

While in China, I accepted a position as a Spanish teacher with Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky.  I was so excited to get into the classroom.  I had found a passion for education in my time with the Peace Corps in Costa Rica, teaching young students how to speak, read, and write English.  Signing on with JCPS meant I would receive a bonus.  I promptly researched which camera I should buy, and invested in a Nikon D5100.  As it turns out, teaching is really tough!  I spent the first three years involved with planning, researching and organizing.  My camera sat in the cupboard, collecting dust.

In 2013, one of my best friends got engaged!  Thrilled for her, I offered to take a few engagement photos for the two of them.  We went to the KFC Yum Center and I proceeded to try my hand at portrait photography for the first time.  While they were relatively happy with the photos, I was devastated!  The pictures turned out nothing like what I had envisioned.  I’ve never been one to feel like failure is a stopping point, and so I started to research how to manually use my camera utilizing YouTube.  I quickly figured out that the best way to learn was to photograph as much as possible.  I began offering sessions to my students, capturing three senior portraits that year.

The following year, students began coming to me, asking for senior sessions.  In 2015, I photographed my first wedding; two former students were tying the knot.  I WAS HOOKED! The maddening pace of the day, coupled with the problem solving and organizational skills necessary were right up my alley.  And I got to make magic happen in the form of wedding portraits.  That day filled me up like never before and I knew wedding photography was my passion.

In 2016, 2017 and 2018 I averaged a respective 24 weddings per year by utilizing the Knot and Wedding Wire for marketing.  I got to photograph some of my all time favorite locations in Louisville, including The Olmsted, The Brown, and Jeptha Creed. I was flown to Cleveland, Detroit, and South Carolina for destination weddings and even booked a wedding in Paris for 2020.

Fast forward to 2019. I found, and started following, the incredible Jerry Ghionis.  His style and unique perspectives became something I aimed for in each of my shoots and took my photography to a new level.  Finding my rhythm with editing in Lightroom, I was able to complete 20+ weddings yet again.  But I was frustrated.  I knew the level of photograph I was turning out was better than ever, but many of the brides who were inquiring simply wanted pricing.  They didn’t want to know why I offered a timeline session, or how I posed my brides to look so natural and beautiful.  They were interested only in the cost, and didn’t understand how much my expertise contributed to the flow and elegance of their big day.  Frustrated, I looked for a better way.  And that’s when I found Jordan Correces.  Founder of an online marketing tool, and an amazing photographer himself, Jordan taught me to understand my value, and my brand.

Green Apple Weddings – Louisville KY Wedding Photographer

The final step to understanding, and building my brand, was to redesign my website.  I don’t know how many of you out there have ever tried to build a website yourself, but it is really difficult.  That’s why I am beyond grateful for Haniel Singh.  Haniel has changed my life with the rebranding of this website.  My true brand is now being presented online for the first time since I started this business.  He taught me why, and how to blog.  He showed me integration tools that make my workflow not only more efficient, but intuitive.  He was available at all hours of the day to answer any questions or concerns I had.  He recommended small changes, all of which matched what I didn’t even know I wanted, but that aligned to the vision I had perfectly.  He has made me an online presence that demonstrates who I am as a person and a photographer to a T.  To say I owe him everything is an understatement.

So there you have it.  That’s how I went from a traveling English teacher to an elegant Kentucky wedding photographer.  I can’t wait to see what the next twenty years bring and all the magic I get to make for my couples.