It took me a while to write this post, and this is a very very vulnerable post that I’m about to share, but I feel like it needs to be said. As a business owner, it doesn’t feel right putting out all of these personal feelings, but that is something I have stayed true to from the beginning; being transparent and honest.
When I first started photography, I was a landscape photographer that was terrified of doing portraits. I felt so awkward like I wouldn’t be able to direct/pose an actual person. I was good at just photographing mountains, flowers, birds, you know, things that didn’t talk to me or interact. During a project in college, I had to do portraits and from there I shot my very first wedding. Looking back that wedding was the start of something I never dreamed for myself; being a wedding photographer. I loved the passion and relationships that wedding photography brought me. It was so fun being a part of planning a brides big day and delivering her beautifully crafted portraits of the most special day.
The past two years have been very difficult as I’ve not only navigated being a business owner through a pandemic, losing a very special and important grandparent, but also being a bride who moved three times. Through sharing my personal experiences as a bride and how I was planning my wedding on my business page, I received a lot of backsplash from the very beginning. First when I had a truly awful experience with a wedding planner who used my consultation phone call as a way to drag my name down. From there it got worse, especially on Tik Tok, where I shared my thoughts on wedding vendors I was/wasn’t using and ways to save money. This is when I truly learned that the wedding industry can be very vicious. As someone who always has something to say and doesn’t back down from conflict, I was honest about how I felt with my experiences. I never once put down a wedding vendor, I just shared how there are ways to go about having a wedding without certain vendors. Example: You can have a friend do your day of coordination without hiring a wedding planner. Or how you could get fake flowers for your bouquet and decorations without hiring a florist. Or you can use a photographer that is just starting out to do your photos or heck, even edit them yourself! Some people took these suggestions as saying they weren’t worth investing in or how I didn’t think that their business was needed in the industry. Instead, I was really just showing some budgeting hacks on how to save money since weddings can be very expensive these days.
Through this, I felt like I didn’t have a spot at the table anymore, as if I wasn’t welcome in the wedding industry. I noticed how my wedding vendor friends weren’t talking to me as much or inviting me out any longer. I really took this to heart and decided I needed to step back. Honestly, there were multiple times where I was completely burnt out and still had to show up on a wedding day and be the hype girl I was expected to be. The truth is, I truly love wedding photography and being there for my brides and the relationships that I build with them. On the other side of that truth, I do not like all of the politics that go into running a wedding photography business. You’re either making someone upset or you’re not booking enough and those burnt out feelings creep back in.
As people who have supported me throughout the past years that I have been photographing, I feel like you needed to know the truth about what has been going on with me. I know that I didn’t need to explain myself, but I feel like I cannot move forward without explaining the past two years. As of this point, I want to continue photographing your favorite memories and weddings, but I don’t think it’s time just yet. I’ll continue booking very select sessions but I will not be full time right now.
Thank you all for your support, I love you all and I truly appreciate every wedding vendor and small business owner out there. I apologize if the things I have said about budgeting and ways to go around certain wedding vendors and traditions hurt anyone out there or made them feel less valued. All of us in the wedding industry are worthy and valued, but you cannot get upset when people want to plan their wedding their own way. Remember that you are NOT for everyone and that is the best thing you can learn even though it is tough. Thank you again for your support and taking the time to read this.
Rachael Caddell Photography