I figured since most of the people that read this blog have only been doing so for the past 1-2 years I figured I would take a litte step back and time and highlight some of my favorite posts in the 3+ years I've been writing on here.
I started off this blog on October 5th, 2008 with a simple initial blog post. For those that go WAY back I used to call this blog "Josh's Photo Vortex" mostly because I pretty much shot anything that moved back then. Be that cars, brides, seniors, families, mountains (ok those don't move very often), and the occasional water droplet.
Back then I had been shooting professionally for a little over 2 years at this point and knew that I loved photography but didn't really pick a specialty. I also wanted a place to show some of my most current work. Just for you photo gear people, back then I was using a Nikon D50, 18-55mm kit lens, 70-300mm zoom, and a 50mm f1.8 lens. Here a few of my favorite posts from back in 2008.
Anne's Wedding. This was the first wedding I posted on this blog. At that time I think this was the 8th or 9th wedding I had ever shot. I don't think I did too bad of a job but WOW I have come a long way from there!
Euro Auto Fest. I loved shooting cars back then. This was my first time at a big exotic auto show and I had a blast!
Falls Park Night Photos. This shoot combined two of my favorite types of photography. Nature and Night. Me and my friend Aaron (who's wedding I shot earlier this year in Georgia!), went out in falls park to play with some super long exposures!
Top 10 Tips for Night Photography. This was a pretty cool article I wrote on night photography. This later got published on a couple photography websites and I had the opportunity to teach it at photo school of the upstate here in Greenville, SC.
Times Square Ball Drop. This was one of the most unique moments of my life. Surrounded by millions of crazy people, not being able to go to the bathroom for 12 hours, half numb from being outside for 12 hours in NYC, nothing is like it.
This was a period of transition for both me personally and the blog. I graduated from RIT, I took a big chance and followed my dreams of living down south. No more snow, no more high taxes, no more relying on mom and dad. Sure leaving all my friends and family was painful but looking back on it I am so happy I took the leap. I also started to find my specialty in photography. I posted less about random photography expeditions and focused on some of my favorite things to photograph. I also Joined Professional Photographers of America (PPA) this year. (Here are a few highlights from the blog back in 2009:
Mt. Marcy Adventure. This was probably the most physically exhausting thing I have ever done. A full 15 mile hike up the tallest mountain in New York. The photos say it all.
Red Hot Z4. This was one of my favorite automotive shoots. Of course I was a bit bias though. I still miss this car. I can just see myself when I'm 65 talking to my grandchildren about how awesome my red convertible was.
Church of Christ Scientist, Rochester NY. This church is usually blocked off to the general public but thanks to the Architectural Photography class I was taking at RIT we got permission to go in and photograph this STUNNING church.
Featured: Cover of 2009 SC Presidents Report!. This was my first cover image, ever! I was so excited. Still am!
Candid. Simple. Timeless. This was a breakthrough for both me and my photography. I was officially a portrait and wedding photographer and came up with three words that really defined how I captured these moments. I still use these three words as a framework for my style as it continues to evolve.
Alexa & Preston's Engagement Shoot. This is when I finally started to get into my element. After shooting professionally for almost 4 years everything just started to click. One of the photos from this shoot went on to be named the top engagement photo in the state for 2009.
Free wedding photography giveaway. To round out the year I decided to hold a contest for people that wouldn't normally be able to afford to hire a professional photographer for their wedding. The contest went on to be published on the first page of the lifestyle section of the Greenville News. After interviewing lots of worthy candidates we finally awarded the grand prize to Brandi and Andre. This was an amazingly rewarding thing to do and something I will probably do sometime again in the future.
This was a year of growth. My first full year in Greenville, I went on to shoot more weddings this year than the past two years combined. I upgraded my equipment and spent lots of time learning it inside and out. I was so blessed to be able to meet so many awesome couples who would give me the opportunity to document their weddings.
Kurt and Carly's Wedding. This was one of those unique times were I found myself with lots of time to run around falls park at night with a bride and groom. It didn't matter that it was January. It didn't matter that it was slightly raining. They were in love and nothing else mattered. I still get compliments on these photos!
Featured: US Airways Magazine. I'm still not sure what I did to get this awesome opportunity but I had several of my images featured in the March Issue of U.S Airways Magazine. More importantly I helped the over 5 million people that fly U.S. Airways every year stay awake during those long flights!
Emily and Chris's Pretty Place Wedding. I had never been to Pretty Place before and wow they don't call it that for nothing. These photos still get hundreds of hits every month!
Tia's Cliffs at Glassy Bridal Portraits. There was something in the light that day. Tia was absolutely radiant and we were able to capture some of my favorite bridal portraits ever! Having to carry her down the side of the mountain was also a unique experience!
Nikon 135mm f2.0 Lens Review. This was the first truly exotic lens I bought. Finally I had arrived at the point of where I could justify spending well over a thousand dollars on a lens! Apparently others enjoy reading this review as its been read by well over 4,000 people as I write this.
Lizzie and Joe's Acanthus Wedding. This was the first wedding where I REALLY started to get to where I wanted to be. I was finally consistently making the images I always dreamed of. I even nailed this awesome image of them with the moonrise!
Vanida's Traditional Laos Wedding. By this point I was pretty comfortable & confident shooting weddings. Then all of as sudden I found myself in the middle of a traditional Laotian wedding. This was unlike anything I've ever been at before, and yet, I loved it! This really pushed me to expand myself out of just shooting traditional, Christian weddings.
Featured: At Home Magazine. I rounded out the year with the awesome opportunity to have Alexa and Preston's Wedding Photos featured in At Home magazine. This was the first time I had a full set of wedding images published in a magazine.
This was the first year I really knew what I wanted to photograph. Weddings. And thats it. Back in 2008 I pretty much shot whatever was in front of me. Now I actually turn down other shoots that aren't weddings. This allows me to shoot and gain experience in exactly the type of photography I love. Even though this sounds restrictive, I found myself doing more photography than ever! God has been very, VERY good!
I got engaged! Now that I knew I wanted to be a Wedding Photographer I figured the next step would be to get engaged so I could see what the whole process was like. Ok, ok thats not the real reason I got engaged, but it will be useful. Debra is the love of my life and I can't wait to see what life brings us as a couple. You can checkout more about how all this went down here as well as watch the engagement on youtube.
Winner: Best in Show! If there was any doubt in mind that I made the wrong decision to just focus on weddings it was instantly erased when I heard that my image had been named Best in Show in the 2011 South Carolina Association of Wedding Photographer's annual judging in Columbia. I still can't believe this happened and I'm so grateful to be appreciated so much for what I do.
Jessica and Paul's Wedding. This wedding just stands out in my mind because of all the beautiful lighting, stunning settings, and classy sword arches.
Let the Fun Begin. I still remember writing this post, looking at my schedule for the rest of the year and just thinking there is no way I could shoot a wedding every weekend until Thanksgiving. Now that I'm just about finished with my wedding marathon I'm more sure more than ever that I LOVE what I do.
So I come back to the start of the post. After 500 blog posts on here, what have I learned? I've learned that it takes a LONG time to get good at something. Looking over some of my early posts on here its totally evident how far I've come both as a writer, and as a photographer. Sure there weren't always times where I felt like blogging, or even taking out my camera and pressing that button for the 234,000th time (this is not an exaggeration!), but it really takes practice to get really good at something. As long as you have the perseverance to continue on doing what you love and always striving to get better, you can't really go wrong. Sometimes its hard to find out what the something is, but once you find it, push it to the limits.
I also wanted to thank the thousands of people that visit my blog every month. Thank you to all my RSS subscribers. Thank you to my parents, friends, and Fiance. Most importantly, thank you God for giving me the skills and opportunity to do what I love. Ok, I'm done with my Oscar's speech. I really do appreciate all you guys though!
I'll end this out with some crazy traffic statistics (as of 11/14/11):
~Total Unique Vistors Since 2008: 34,483
~Total Pages Viewed Since 2008: 84,961
~Total Time People Have Spent Reading this Blog: 1,080 Hours (45 Days Straight)
~Number of Countries Vistors are from: 146
~Number of RSS Subscribers: 73
This blows my mind! I can't wait to see what things are like when I'm sitting here in a few years writing my 1,000th blog post! Thanks again for reading along!