and the answer is....

...SIX YEARS!

Inevitably I'm asked
"so how long have you been a wedding photographer?"

Hmmm...good question.
I can pretty much name each & every couple but coming up with the YEAR can be tricky.

BUT last weekend when I was asked that very question, I simply called out to Amie & Paul at the next table:

Q. Hey, how long have you two been married?
A. Six years. We celebrated 6 years in April.

and here are Amie & Paul (and Sagan & Damian) now:

If there was a timeline graphic of me as professional photographer; Amie & Paul's wedding would have the big star & bold letters. When I walked into their April 2001 wedding rehearsal ...feeling nervous & overwhelmed, I found myself in an empty church, a wee bit early with pre-wedding jitters. Then a conversation in the hallway caught my attention. And in walked the bride's (Amie's) Dad with the minister. It was good news -- Kim Caselman (Amie's dad, and Erin's -- who was just married last weekend, too, but keep reading I'll try to make sense of it.) Anyway, Kim Caselman was one of my most favorite family members on my husband's side of the family. He introduced me to the minister in a way I'll never forget, but before I share, here's a bit more background:

Kim was a custom cabinet maker who created such beautiful & artistic pieces ~ such amazingly skilled work. When he introduced me to the preacher, he said:

This is my nephew's wife, Amy. She's at that point, that I remember being at myself. You know, I was making pretty nice cabinets well before I ever would have called myself a Cabinet Maker. But I'll tell you this: Amy is a Photographer.

He nailed it (heee...LOVE a pun!) -- he brought it all to light for me. I will be forever grateful to Kim Caselman for saying those words in my presence because it helped me understand how I was feeling (trepidatious...was I a photographer or just playing one on TV?) and identify the journey one takes from creating-the-product, the art, to recognizing oneself as Artist.

Honestly, if it weren't for Paul's beautiful cousins (turn of the century brides Amie Caselman & Katie Cole) who went out on a limb & asked me to take their wedding pictures, I don't know that I would have explored the path. And I LOVE this path!!

And the above is why for a long time most of the people in my portfolio were well, related to me. And here's the latest:

Erin Caselmen (Amie's kid sister; one of Paul's MANY cousins) was married last week.

She's both kind and BEAUTIFUL:

and wore an AMAZING DRESS:

as she married a really great guy:

becoming part of terrific family:

while surrounded by family & friends from near & far:


It was a perfect day and a delight to document. [CLICK RIGHT HERE FOR THE SLIDESHOW]

and

BIG BONUS:
had a chance to put my "One Light" knowledge (Zack Arias' lighting workshop Kim, Annika & I went to in Indianapolis in May) to the test...and (yipeee!!!) LOOK, though I'm still working on improving my abilities to create & capture dramatic light, so far, I feel like I've moved forward by leaps & bounds:
CONGRATULATIONS, YOU GUYS

with lots of love
~amy