Today I’m thrilled to be able to bring you another interview with a very amazing photographer .
Sarah Eddy is from the Jacksonville, FL area where she specializes in engagement and wedding photography. Sarah has a real love for people and desires to capture the special moments in their lives. You’ll catch a glimpse of her enthusiasm as she describes for you why she chose a career in photography and lends some helpful insight for those looking to enter the field. Read it below or click the link to listen to the entire interview.
Thanks again Sarah for doing this interview with me!
Listen to the interview below or download it here.
Follow the links below to view more of Sarah’s work:
Greg Hahner Studios: How did you get started in photography?
Sarah Eddy: I have done art my whole life, and I actually had plans to be a graphic designer. But on the path to become a graphic designer, I had decided that I really wanted to get a nice camera to go along with it. I loved photos and I loved people, so I felt that I should get a camera and really learn photography because I thought that that would really pair well with being a graphic designer. I ended up loving photography so much, the photography business took off, and I never really thought about being a graphic designer again. I took some classes and just started pursuing photography, and that was the beginning of what has now become a big passion in my life, and a business, and a ministry, and everything in between.
GHS: Describe for us your business and its core values.
SE: I started my photography more as a hobby. I guess I was hesitant to turn it into a business because I didn’t want to be a starving artist. I wanted to be efficient and I wanted to make sure I handled the business side of photography well, so I did everything I could legally before stepping out and offering my services. I wanted people to know that I was a legitimate business.
When it comes to core values, one of my goals is to make sure that I’m capturing the heart and soul of my clients, and not just treating them like any other person whose story I’m going to tell any way I want. I love life and I want to capture life, and I want to capture the joy and the beauty in life. Probably one of my favorite sayings is, “It’s real life,” because before you know it you’ll work with someone and people will say, “Oh no, this happened or that” and in reality it’s real life, we see it, but we’ll make the most out of it. There’s hardly a wedding day that goes exactly perfect; flowers are late, or it rains, it’s not what we would call ideal. But at the end of the day it’s a wedding day so in that way it’s beautiful and it is perfect.
And so I’m really trying to focus in on the idea that I’m going to capture the day true to itself. I don’t want my photography to present an idea of a story that’s not true. I think as photographers, we have the tools to focus on what we appreciate and what we like, but in doing that we need to make sure that the story stays true.
One of my other core values would be that my business is honoring and glorifying to the Lord. I see it as an opportunity to be a part of life and of the bigger picture for why I’m here. I know that it’s what God has put in my path to do. I want to make sure that I spread love through photography because it’s not just a business to me.
GHS: What would you say drives you as a photographer?
SE: Wedding photography is my primary business, and often leading up to a wedding I am busy scheduling meetings with clients, fine-tuning details, etc. Come the day of the wedding, people always say to me “You must be so exhausted.” It is a long day, and things usually haven’t gone as planned, but I’ll tell them that I most always leave after the end of a wedding and on the drive home I’ll be in my car just smiling, and I think those are the moments when I realize that I just love it. And even though I should be super tired, it takes me time to unwind because I’m still so excited from that day, and if it was fast paced or whatever else, I’m still basking in it.
I love being a part of being able to capture a wedding and seeing all the family and friends gather around. I love to think in the world that no matter what religion, no matter what type of person you are, most everyone is going to have a wedding and a ceremony with vows and commitments, and I think there’s something beautiful about being able to be a part of that.
Another thing is that by the end of the night after months of planning with the couple, I feel like they’re my close friends, and there is just something beautiful about that. I guess it just gets me excited again for the next wedding. Just getting to know people and to be a part of their lives and being able to capture it in the beautiful way that I see it.
GHS: In looking at some of your images, I notice that you have a very bright, but natural style. Has this always been your style or has it evolved over time?
SE: I think my style has always been basically like that, but as editing programs have changed I’ve been able to fine-tune and see what I love and what I don’t. It’s always been bright, and I’ve always tried maintain a realistic look to my images rather than adding effects. Obviously as a photo you’re going to see it slightly brighter or more saturated than in real life, but I want the images to really reflect what we remember that day to be. I’ve always thought that when we look at those images two weeks later, I want people to say, “That’s exactly how my day was.” We know that over time that printed images will fade, but what I love about digital is that people can look back at photos of that day and see their day for how they remember it. It’s not going to look like an imitation or like someone else’s wedding that was shot on film. That’s probably why I have stayed true to the vivid, bright style. It portrays how I imagine other people would envision their wedding to be.
GHS: Where do you go to get your inspiration?
SE: I would probably say that traveling ends up being a lot of my inspiration. Obviously I can’t travel far distances every day, but I love it when I can get on the airplane to fly somewhere or take a road trip and literally go out of town. I feel that that always gets me away from the business side of photography enough to be able to breath fresh air. Before you know it, everything I see is art and everything is inspiration.
But even when there isn’t a trip planned, just getting outside or going to a coffee-shop can bring inspiration. Most of it is taking my eyes off of a to-do list or taking my eyes off myself and just watching life around me. I think that just in watching life and trying to see it through simply living, the smallest of things can inspire me. I can be going through the line in the grocery store and if someone says, “Have a wonderful day,” automatically it sparks in me a desire to pass that on to other people and it opens up a brightness and makes me realize that we can add joy wherever. Ultimately I think that joy and love can be an inspiration to anyone. Whenever I receive that love and joy, it makes me want to share that joy through an image and touch others. It really is about taking those little things and realizing the purpose in life and the joy in what we’ve been given. So I guess people inspire me, traveling, and just being able to take time to step back and look at life in a different way than just the next thing on my list.
GHS: As a Christian photographer, what would you say is the purpose of photography?
SE: As a Christian, I feel that the purpose of my life is to be a follower of Christ and to let that shine brighter than anything else. Everything in my life is a reflection of Christ. The purpose of photography as a Christian would be to make sure that my work is always honoring and glorifying to the Lord and to make sure that it’s making a difference. It’s not just about me, it’s not just about a paycheck, it’s not just about a beautiful day, but it’s about finding the purpose behind everything we do in life. God’s given me a passion to be able to capture someone’s story and to remind them of what life is about and that He is the true joy and that He is life. Ultimately it’s about spreading the story that God has given me, and I’m blessed that He has given me photography to be able to share His story with other people.
GHS: In looking back, what has been one of the biggest take-aways for you?
SE: Being a photographer is not just about being someone who takes photos and edits them and sends them to clients, it’s an investment of life, and in a sense for me it has also been about being a business owner. So I would say balancing all of that and realizing that there’s way more to this business than just taking photos, editing them, and calling yourself a photographer.
GHS: Do you have any advice for beginning photographers looking to get into the professional marketplace?
SE: I would say two things. First of all, go intern with people or second-shoot for people or even go carry their bags. That way you can see how it works so that when you step into it on your own, you know what to expect. You know you’re doing it right, and you aren’t questioning yourself all the time. Plus it builds relationships with people around you which is highly important, because when they see your work improve and they enjoy working with you, they will recommend you to other people and you’ll acquire connections and resources for getting answers to questions you might have. It’s an easy way to step in and get experience. I’d also say just talk to people in your area to find out how things work in your city. Building relationships and growing in your business is way better than just showing up one day and saying, “Hey everyone, here I am!”
GHS: Where do you see yourself five years from now?
SE: I feel like I will still be a wedding and portrait photographer. If my business was to grow in that time, hopefully I would hire a few people to help me out. I really feel that I want to keep pursuing photography and growing my business, but if God leads me elsewhere, obviously that’s the way I would go. For now, probably sticking to it, pressing on to see what clients need and want, moving forward, and trying to be a better photographer.