We are so excited to welcome the wonderfully talented Abby Caldwell to the Blog! Take a moment to learn more about her beautiful wedding photography, and be sure to visit her website Abby Caldwell Photography. Thank you so much Abby for taking the time to share your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I think inspiration was breathed into me when I was created. I have always seen beauty in random things, and have expressed myself through music, painting, drawing, and photography since I was young. My first print publication was in the local newspaper of an image shot with a disposable camera on a 6th grade field trip!
How would you describe your photography style?
My style is simple and clean. I like to fade into the background and tell authentic stories as they happen. Occasionally I may rearrange furniture to achieve a certain backdrop, but I prefer to watch and see people interact so that I can capture the most true images.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I started down the path to becoming a Dental Hygienist, then moved onto Humanities. When I felt like I was spinning my wheels, I landed an internship with Visions in White in Dallas, TX. Learning hands-on with this team and keeping my nose in books, forums, and my camera manual was my school. When I realized that photography could be my job, I never looked back. (Thanks, Cindy and Mike!).
What brand/model camera do you shoot, and what is your favorite lens?
I currently shoot with Canon 5d Mark IIIs. I own Mark IIs as back-ups and often throw one into the hands of an intern. I go back and forth loving the 85mm 1.2 and the 50mm 1.2. In fact, I shoot with two cameras at once. Usually the 85mm and the 35mm are attached to get different looks in one place, especially when shooting solo. I love polaroids, though that is more of a personal thing. I have taken some polaroids at a few weddings just for fun. Its neat when I can send the couple home with something tangible that day.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
I think if you don’t automatically see good light, you just train yourself to find it. One of the simplest ways I learned was by noticing catchlights in the subject’s eyes. If you see them, its probably good. If not, there’s a better spot or angle. Ultimately, good old fashioned hard work and practice will be the key.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings?
Other than admin stuff (I’m forever in debt to my husband for making me a better business-woman!), the hardest part for me is getting started. Upon arrival, I am often so nervous that I stand there and look around. I have to get my camera in my hand, breathe, and just get in “that mode”. Forcing myself to be creative and to see things in a unique way can be overwhelming, but once I start it seems to come naturally.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
I like to check things off of lists. Learning that I can’t finish editing a wedding in one sitting has been hard for me. This year has taught me patience and how to properly use lists to my advantage. I now have a better understanding of my process from start to finish, and I know what stage I should be in and when. So, I can make lists for each stage of the process, but I’m no longer reaching for unrealistic goals.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Stop looking at the internet. My most inspired work comes from me. I will probably be blacklisted for this, but I can’t handle Pinterest. Lean on things like music, reading, or time with family to inspire you. Picture things in your head, not what others have pictured for you.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I am a mom to the wittiest, coolest, most stylish little 5 year old ever, and he gets all those traits from my husband. My job allows me to teach my son, alongside my husband, who also works from home as a Pastor to Redemption Church, with a flexible schedule. It also reminds me to teach him big ideas, like beauty and finding the best in people. My heart is happy that I get to be the one to show him the world. There are parts of being a photographer that are very much like a job, i.e. emailing, paying insurance, doing taxes, but it is rewarding and fulfilling to see the world in a way that helps others see the best in themselves as well.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I hope I will grow as a human and an artist, but honestly, I am quite content with my life. I do not seek fame, rather smiles on client’s faces. I really believe God put me here to be an encourager and to build people up; one of the best ways I know how to do that is by helping people tell great stories through great images.
About the Artist: I like pictures. I like my family. I especially like pictures of my family. I also tell stories about people in love.” I am primarily a wedding photographer living in Annapolis, MD. I strive to deliver creative, timeless images that inspire people the way they inspire me. Life is a story, and I want to tell a good one.