I’m always interested in people’s stories. How they got where they are, why they do what they do.
It helps me connect and, when you’re a wedding photographer, that makes all the difference. So, today I thought I’d tell you a bit about how I got here. Pop the kettle on and get comfy…
One crazy idea
My photography journey started 12 years ago with a shiny new Canon 350D. It was the first camera that let me capture the world the way I saw it – and I loved it.
For a while I just posted random pictures on Facebook – leaves, buildings, friends… anything that would stand still long enough. Then one day someone said how much they loved my photos. They even suggested I go professional. I’ve got to say I was pretty excited – professional photographer sounded like a pretty sexy job to have. I was all set to leap. Until the doubts crept in.
They came from people just trying to help. People who advised me not to do it for good, sensible reasons. They said it’s hard to make it in photography – or any of the arts really. And, now everyone’s got a camera in their pocket and an unlimited audience online, was there even enough work or money out there to make it pay?
I knew the arts made terrible career sense. It’s not like people say: “You know where the money is kid? In photography.” So I hesitated. I listened to the sensible me, working my 9-5 job. Don’t get me wrong, the 9-5 was fine, it paid the bills – it just never made me go “I bloody love my job”.
That stubborn creative spirit
Then I thought, hang on a minute. People do this. Somehow there are people out there being photographers, writers and potters, all against the sound advice that it’s hard to make it in those areas. Why? Because creative folk have an urge to make pleasing things for no particularly good reason. And that’s reason enough.
At the same time, my urge to create was getting stronger. It was growing day by day – and it was hard to ignore. So I went for it. I decided to take that big scary leap into the unknown and go self-employed. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at the same time.
It wasn’t just picturing my camera-toting future that pushed me over the edge. It was looking back at my past – at those moments I’d taken risks before and they’d worked out in my favour. Like the time I decided to come to the UK with £200 in my pocket, no English and no friends here. Like the time I decided to travel the world at 32 with a 7kg backpack because I’d been made redundant.
These were big, life-changing moments when I’d taken huge, heart-racing risks. But you know what? They worked out. Every time. So I thought, why wouldn’t this work out too? And here I am. Is this path sometimes difficult? Of course. Does it make for an interesting life? Hell yeah.
Finding my focus
So I chose photography. But, just like in any other career, I had to find my direction. I thought about what I wanted to be known for – and asked myself a couple of big questions.
First, what kind of photography really made me lose track of time? Which jobs flew by and filled me with energy – and which just left me drained? Second, what was it about my photography heroes that really spoke to me?
Putting that together made me realise what I wanted to do. I saw how much I loved people, travel and beauty. I also came across a few super talented wedding photographers who showed me just how cool this job could be. The days of stiff family line-ups were long gone – and I was excited!
Weddings tick all the boxes for me. First up, the people – and let’s be honest, people at their best, hair done, big smiles, great settings. Second, the travel. I get to travel a lot in this job and my need for adventure is absolutely satisfied. My job also lets me take long holidays in the winter when wedding season’s over. Long breaks mean I can travel further – and see more. Third, the beauty. I think we’re all beautiful and that’s something I want to show and share in my work.
Loving what I do
I also love a good story, so it’s deeply satisfying to tell them with my pictures. I really do love seeing the day unfold with every click. Finally, and really importantly, I get so much joy out of connecting with people – getting messages from happy brides who love their pictures or appreciate how I blended in. I’m doing what I love, being myself and making people happy. What’s better than that?
I put a lot of heart into my pictures and there’s no doubt weddings can be intense days (sometimes even 12 hours!). But the reward is so huge it’s totally worth it. People often say “wow, you’ve been on your feet all day, you must be knackered”, but because I’m doing what I love it gives me energy and I don’t feel tired till I’m on my way home.
In short, living this creative life is so much more rewarding for me than my old office life. It’s tough sometimes, and running your own business is always demanding, but it definitely makes for an interesting living.
So, if you have a dream, if there’s something you just love doing, go and do it. If I can make it work, so can you. At the end of the day, I’m a Polish girl who came to the UK with £200 in my pocket, curious to see what life had to offer. Turns out, life had lots in store.
Love Magda x