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The Most Successful Wedding Photographer

My friend emailed me a picture the other day and when I saw it I cried.  It was a picture of one of my sons and I at my son Jake’s wedding.  When I looked at it I could still feel my son’s arms around me.  This is my son who is stationed in Japan and I hadn’t seen in two years.  I don’t even care that my face is looking pretty old, I  just absolutely love it.  It’s the wedding of one of my children and emotions were high.  I’ve shot at least 30 weddings but have never been the Mother of the Groom.

When I first started shooting weddings, I dreamed of being the most successful wedding photographer in the world.  I mean if you’re going to do something you might as well be the best right?  I’ve always tried to capture the emotion of a wedding day because I knew that’s what couples wanted but slowly my focus started to change.  I started to look at Pinterest, which I still love by the way, but I started looking at it in the wrong way.  I started imagining all these perfect shots I HAD to get. I started to look at wedding blogs and thought if only every wedding had that many details or that amazing venue.  If you’re the best photographer in the world you have to learn how to crawl on the ground or climb up a tree.  You have to shoot through something or spin your camera to get some cool light effects.  I was no longer shooting for the couple but I was shooting for what I would show everyone else on Facebook.  Emotion started not to be as amazing at getting THE COOL shot. I’ve got to get an amazing shot, I’ve got an award to win!  Now let’s face it I’m not all that creative so the pressure was starting to get to me.  Every time I posted a picture on Facebook I stopped thinking about if my client would like it and started caring more if other photographers liked it.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love other photographers and I appreciate how much support they’ve given me on my fan page, but really,  my job is not to please them it’s to please the amazing couples who have entrusted me to their most special day of all!  When it comes down to it clients don’t really care if the shot has awesome bokeh or glorious sun flare. What they care about is an image that actually captures an emotion where you can just feel yourself right there in the moment.  My job isn’t to win an award when I’m shooting a wedding, it’s not for my fans on Facebook to be amazed at and tell me how great I am.  Although that does make me feel pretty dang good. 😉 My job, which I knew starting out but somehow lost,  is to make a whole entire family look back on their day and remember exactly how they felt at that exact moment for the rest of their lives.  If I can do that than I’m the most successful wedding photographer in the world.


Now this is an amazing picture.  This is me and my son Justin who I miss dearly now that’s he’s back in Japan.  This was taken by my amazing friend Jenn Morrow who knows just how to capture emotion. 🙂

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Thank you for reading my ramblings! 🙂


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  • Emilia Jane - Just beautiful!ReplyCancel

  • caitlin elizabeth - thanks for keepin’ it real toni 😉ReplyCancel

  • Katelyn - Loved reading your blog! I’m an aspiring photog and a fan on FB and I really felt inspired by your writing. Thank you for sharing and the picture melted my heart. Take care!ReplyCancel

  • Belen Perez Mercer - Such a good reminder, and great timing, right before wedding season starts. Thank you, this will be in my mind as I shoot weddings this year! <3ReplyCancel

  • Katie Ingraham - Oh Toni! That picture is awesome and what a great reminder of what we should be actually shooting for!ReplyCancel

  • Shauna DuBois - You hit the nail on the head!ReplyCancel

  • Two Chics Photography - This couldn’t be more truer than true!ReplyCancel

  • Valentina Glidden - Toni, I love this! What an awesome reminder! Love you!ReplyCancel

    • Toni Lynn - Thank you sweetie, love you too!ReplyCancel

  • Devon Christine Stockton - Well said, dear…ReplyCancel

  • My Photographer - yep <3ReplyCancel

  • Kaitlin Hebert - This literally made me cry. Emotions have been high for me lately dealing with entirely too much drama and this post just saved me! It was perfect. Honest. Dead on….I just love it and I am so sharing it!ReplyCancel

  • Amber Wood - Love every.single.word! It’s a gorgeous photo!!!!!!ReplyCancel

  • Damaris Mia - Beautiful, my friend <3 So true! <3ReplyCancel

  • Jillian Tree - So true & such a great reminder Toni, thanks <3.ReplyCancel

  • Richelle Dante - I need this reminder. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Tümer Kılıç - çok güzel uyum bless you.ReplyCancel

  • Tiffany Kitchens - So sweet!ReplyCancel

  • Paula Odom - My favorite wedding pics have ALWAYS been the candids – the ones capturing the true spirit and emotion of the day. Posed photos are fine, but give me the sweet candid shots all day long.ReplyCancel

  • Toni Palmer Gundlach - Thank you Belen!ReplyCancel

  • Toni Palmer Gundlach - Thank you my friend!ReplyCancel

  • Toni Palmer Gundlach - Thank you so much Katie!ReplyCancel

  • Toni Palmer Gundlach - Thank you so much Kaitlin!!

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