Life and other ‘shiFts’ – why I became a wedding photographer
What do you do when your business is doing well…and you turn 40? Become a wedding photographer!
Somewhere along the way, despite having a great life, I lost my driving force and my enthusiasm; becoming a wedding photographer in Cambridge, was my therapy!
I’d been shooting all my life, seriously, since I was seven years old when someone (not sure who) gave me an old Zeiss Ikon camera to use. Off course the shots were terrible, but that didn’t matter because it was then that I realised that i wanted to be a photographer.
And I was blessed with the most supportive parents, who even though were Spanish didn’t insist on me working in a bank or becoming a Doctor.
Aftter studying photography at college, shooting passengers on a cruiseship, returning home and working as a scientific photographer for Cambridge University and the moving to London to assist and then shoot fashion, editorial and advertising…I returned back to Cambridge.
But this time to follow another passion, business and new media marketing. I’d set up a few companies and all was going well, at least on the outside.
Inside, I was finding things difficult; although I was doing well, I wasn’t happy. And as I was dragged kicking and screaming into my 40th year, I realised that in life, you have to follow your dreams and do what you feel passionate about – regardless of the finances.
My wife told me she would rather see me happy and poor, than on holiday and stressed, grumpy and clearly unhappy.
Around about five years ago I started to shoot for commercial clients, secretly, almost as if I was still in denial. You see, whenever someone asked me what I did, I told them I was ‘in marketing’ or ‘I developed businesses before selling them’, but what I really wanted to tell them was that I WAS A PHOTORAPHER!!!
Then as you do on the eve of a new year, you have a massive clear out. And that’s when I came across an image of me taken when I was in Captiva, FLA. I looked much younger, I looked thinner, and I looked like a photographer. I had my trusted Nikon F4, my favourite lens and I was on an assignment and shooting. I had an identity then and realised that as I was about to turn 40, the time had come to decide.
And although I still remain passionate about all things business, my driving force now is taking pictures which means I get to smile every single day, something that hadn’t happened for a while.
While I still maintain my commercial photography clients (www.cambridgeweddingphotography.com), and I love to photograph actors (www.johnnyheadshots.com), absolutely NOTHING can compare to the high I get when I am commissioned to shoot a wedding.
Sure, many of my peers would turn their backs at shooting weddings. ‘It’s not a front cover, is it?’ I’ve heard them say, but photographing a wedding can give you so much more than any studio based cover shoot can.
Apart from testing every single aspect or skill set that any photographer can muster during a wedding shoot, you get to share an amazingly special day with a family. You get to see a couple in love get married and in some tiny way the work you do on their wedding day forms the foundations of the history of their lives together. A cover shoot last a month, maybe more if it’s in your book; the photographs I take during a wedding will still evoke the same emotions they did in 10, 15 or 20 years time.
Many of my closest friends experienced a ‘funny forty’ period, some navigated their way through, some have remained slightly adrift.
Where you are now is not important, where you are heading is.
And my wish for them all is that they get to wake up every day and do something that breaths happiness into their lives. Because at the very end of the day, you won’t remember the fabulous car you got to demonstrate your success with, but you will remember the laughs and happy times you had.
I’m Juan Muino and I’m am PROUD to be a professional wedding photographer based in Cambridge and I love shooting weddings throughout the UK as well as photographing destination weddings.