Fast-forward: I spent a few years as a fashion and editorial photographer in Miami. Photography provided a creative outlet that I had been craving and encouraged me to use light in a way that drew inspiration from those classical masters I admired. But while the art was wonderful, there was something missing; it didn't feel complete. It wasn't until I was asked to create bridal portraits for a family member that I discovered exactly what was missing: love. The love they had for each other and the joy of combining that love with my artistic vision was all I needed to change my direction at full speed. It was around that point that the experiences with my own wedding photographer came roaring back -- the sense of loss that my wife Caitlyn and I felt about not having a single photo of her walking down the aisle, photos out of focus, and none of our first dance. We discovered that we can combine our love of creating art and capturing people's love in images, all while determined to make sure that what we experienced never happens to our couples.
As a child, I had the pleasure of travelling as my dad worked in the Middle East and North Africa in the oilfields. This usually translated into us living in one of a couple European countries on the opposite side of the Mediterranean. When I look back on these times, sometimes only through photos, it amazes me how much that period of my life influenced me creatively. My mom always wanted my sister and I to be exposed to various cultures and the arts -- I remember being transfixed by paintings by Botticelli and Michelangelo. Growing up we had a few Rembrandt prints in our house and I used to study them, looking for all of the details that are left in the shadows. After college, I had the opportunity to go back to Europe, visit the Louvre in Paris, and marvel at some of the greatest masterpieces of all time. Sitting transfixed in the hallway with massive paintings by Jacques-Louis David, or in the Rijks Museum in Amsterdam, for the first time in my life appreciating the original paintings that I had for so long admired.
One of the best things to arise from my career as a photographer is the ability to have this amazing partnership with my wife. Being able to collaborate and create with her on a daily basis is something that I cherish. This was a major factor in cementing my philosophy of "relationship first;" it is through meaningful relationships that we open the door to fun, creativity, and memorable experiences. When all is said and done, its not just the beautiful photos that let me know I did a good job; it is that, from start to finish, everyone had an amazing experience to accompany those beautiful photos.