Do you ever feel like Divine Intervention brought a certain someone into your life? I feel it often.
Through a Heavenly Hand, I met my friend Savannah. Kind, smart, brave, beautiful, and strong, she was a person I was drawn to immediately. From the day we met and onward, we became close, preparing for missions together, navigating post-mission dating life as roommates, and bonded over over-sized bean bag chairs and cookie butter. I feel so grateful to know her — more than I have the words to express.
Because of my friendship with Savannah, I was able to get to know her wonderful family. (One of my children’s names was even inspired by her amazing brother!) The whole family is incredibly kind, talented, inspiring, and lovely. I have had the opportunity to talk and spend time with her incredible sister, Maddie.
Not only is Maddie a fellow journalism nut (#writersunite), but she is a multi-talented wonder with a contagious passion for life. As a wedding and lifestyle photographer, Maddie captures the most beautiful moments of peoples’ lives, allowing them to treasure their memories and relationships with gorgeous, ethereal photos. Seriously, you’re going to majorly swoon over them.
On today’s Talking Shop, Maddie shares how her journey to photography began, what she loves about her job, and top-of-the-line tips she’s give to aspiring photographers.
Tell us a little about you and your family.
I grew up in Houston, Texas and I moved to Provo, Utah to attend Brigham Young University in 2014. I attended BYU for a year and a half and then deferred to go on a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in February of 2016. I served an 18-month mission in Porto, Portugal and fell in love with the country as well as the Portuguese people and culture. A year after returning home, I married the most amazing man. We met our freshman year of college and wrote each other during both of our missions. We have been married for a year and a half and I love him more and more every day.
How did your interest in photography start?
My very first job? Sports photography. My aunt and uncle ran a sports photography business and when I was about 12 years old, they “hired me” to help them photograph baseball games. I actually rarely took the pictures, but I was so intrigued. When I was in middle school, I put a digital camera on the very top of my Christmas wish list for four years in a row. For two of those four years, both of my sisters received a digital camera for Christmas. As for me? Nope. I decided that instead of asking for one, I would earn enough money to buy one for myself. Well, once I finally earned enough money for a regular old digital camera, I changed my mind.
Now before you make any assumptions, let me explain. I had taken an AP Photography class and fell in love with photography. I took hundreds of pictures of my family and friends for class and personal projects. I borrowed my older sister’s DSLR for photography projects and fell in love with it. I decided that I didn’t want just any digital camera, I wanted a DSLR, but those were much more expensive. Regardless, I was willing to wait. In the meantime, I went to a photographer at church and asked her if she would help teach me some of the DSLR basics. She not only taught me the basics, but let me shadow her on a couple of her photoshoots. After the shoots, she would bring me to her house and teach me how to use Adobe Photoshop and Lightroom to edit the photos. Finally, after high school graduation, I made enough money to buy my very own DSLR and the rest is history.
Tell us about how Wedding Photography came about.
Ever since I was a little girl, I have always loved weddings. I couldn’t wait for my own wedding to come. When it finally came time for my wedding, I was in heaven. I loved everything about it. It came and just like that, it was over but I didn’t want it to be. I loved everything about wedding planning and wanted to have a wedding over and over again. I realized that I could make that dream a reality with wedding photography. However, I pushed that thought to the very back of my mind because I hadn’t touched my DSLR for almost three years. Negative thoughts kept creeping into my mind and I had almost convinced myself that I would never make it as a wedding photographer. It wasn’t until I mentioned this idea to my husband that it became a reality. Quinn didn’t even hesitate. He urged me to just go for it. And that’s all it took. In August of 2015, I started my photography business.
What do you love about doing wedding photos?
My couples! I love meeting with them, hearing their vision for their special day, seeing their excitement and love for each other and getting to be a part of the most beautiful and happy day of their lives. I think I have cried at every single wedding I’ve shot and I know that I will continue that tradition going forward. I just can’t help it. The toasts, the vows, the songs, the slideshows, the dances. It just highlights the amazing people the bride and groom are and I feel so honored to be a part of their day.
What advice do you have for aspiring photographers?
Just go for it. Everyone has to start somewhere, so start right where you are. You don’t need to wait until you’ve got a better camera or taken dozens of classes. Start now! Don’t compare your beginning to someone else’s prime. Everyone had to start at the beginning, so be nice to yourself. There are incredible photographers out there who have been in the industry for years, but trust me, they started out just like you. It’s taken them a lot of time to get to where they are today. You’ve got this!
What do you like to do when you’re not behind the camera?
I love to travel. My husband and I have been able to travel to the coolest places since being married. My favorite was definitely going back to Portugal. It was such a neat experience to be back and to introduce my husband to the people who took me under their wings there in Portugal. I also love to shop and design! I love anything that allows me to be creative and make something beautiful. Whether it’s creating a cute graphic or decorating my home, I am in my happy place. HomeGoods and J. Crew take all my money.
Describe a day in your life.
Each day is so different. I am a senior at BYU studying Visual & Design Journalism. I currently have four different jobs (and just accepted a fifth post graduation 😉 and some days I do all four and some days I just do one. I am a Marketing Manager at The Daily Universe, a Sales Associate at J. Crew (where I earn my shopping money), a Graphic Designer for the BYU Chemical Engineering Department and of course, I run my photography business on the side.
Usually my days consist of going to class, doing homework, eating lunch with my husband, working at The Daily Universe planning events and social media posts for a couple of hours, coming home to edit some photo sessions and then hanging out with my husband for a bit. Some days are bit crazier where I will literally work all four jobs, go to classes and do homework, but I try to limit those days to keep my sanity. I love to stay occupied, but sometimes I bite off more than I can chew. I am still trying to work on balance. 😉
The Fun Qs:
What’s your favorite show to binge-watch?
This is Us. Wow. I could just watch that show for hours on repeat. It has such a great message behind it and really helps me evaluate myself and my life.
What song is the soundtrack to your life?
Honestly, anything from Taylor Swift. She has a song for every phase of life and every mood, especially in her new album Lover.
What is something that you collect?
I collect paintings from pretty much every country I go to. I just love art and want it to completely cover my walls.
What is your favorite food?
Frozen yogurt, hands down. Cheesecake and Salted Caramel flavored fro-yo with cookie dough bits, crushed Oreo’s and caramel on top. Mmmm.