“It’s not what you know, it’s WHO you know”
This cliche is true is some industries more than others, but it definitely rings true for the wedding photography industry. Getting to know other photographers, both established and up-and-coming, is pivotal to working in wedding photography.
Several years ago when Instagram was still new, I started following anything and everything that I found to be inspirational and fun. As an avid photography + art enthusiast, I found this applied to A LOT. I followed magazines, illustrators, art directors, street photographers, dog accounts, cat accounts, product designers, tech companies, nonprofits, poets, painters, animators, foodies, night photographers, friends from high school, models, wildlife photographers, clothing brands, coffee companies, and wedding photographers. Gradually, my taste became more curated and my eye settled into this new social media landscape. My "following" number whittled down as one by one I unfollowed account that no longer spoke to me but one trend remained: wedding photography. But these weren’t the posed, awkward stances of yesteryear. No, these photos were flawed and fearless: they were intimate and close, raw and unposed, and they translated as a documentary-style art form rather than an interfering, uncomfortable bystander’s work.
A girl in my design school program but a year ahead of me at Georgia State University was taking photos that I found myself absolutely in love with. She captured romance and weddings in a dark, moody way that I found mesmerizing. One day on her account I saw a photo of her and her boyfriend in front of the camera rather than behind it. The photo was taken by Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield - I looked at this account and was blown away. The level of vulnerability her photos portray and the intimate connection you can see between couples is inspiring.
So I did what any normal person would do. I emailed her out of the blue.
From: Morgan Pirkle
To: Vic Bonvicini Bedingfield
Subj: Aspiring Atlanta photographer!
I came across your Instagram and was really blown away by your beautiful photos. I'm a senior at Georgia State studying design & trying to enhance my photography skills outside of school. I'm trying to reach out to photographers I admire in hopes of learning more. I was wondering, are you local to Atlanta? If so, I would absolutely love to grab coffee sometime. If not, would you mind if I sent you some questions I have about photography (wedding + travel particularly).
Have a great weekend!
To my great surprise, this sweet sweet angel replied back. She wasn’t able to meet up for coffee, but she encouraged me to send her any questions I might have.
She signed off:
Looking forward to helping you!
Over the course of almost a year, our email thread grew. Whenever I had a question about posing, gear, talking to clients- I’d try to find information online, and whatever I was still curious about I’d send in a short + sweet email. Within a few days she always responded. She was so generous and open with her advice and her guidance helped me so much more than she could possibly know!
During that time, I worked with other photographers assisting and shadowing weddings. No two were the same, yet I got goosebumps at each ceremony (and I might have cried at one). I began photographing my own clients. I photographed couples, portraits, events, products, festivals, maternity, and families; basically, anything I could get my hands on to gain experience.
Over the summer of 2017 I was offered a job in LA and was beyond excited to move out there. My only stipulation was that it HAD to be after Vic’s workshop in Atlanta, Reset to Rise. On August 3rd, I attended her workshop and at 10:30 p.m. that evening my fiance and I hit the road on our five day cross-country adventure to the west coast.
Her workshop was amazing. Vic brings such a unique perspective to photography and her energy is absolutely contagious. She shared her personal journey with photography and the role it has played in her life since. She brought in models and gave attendees the behind-the-scenes version of her photo shoots. She explained how she talks to models, how she makes them feel comfortable - she was so helpful and full of advice.
Since moving out to California I've shot mostly portraits and couples. Before that workshop I knew I had a passion and admiration for couples photography, but that day I realized that's where my passion lies; in creating this everlasting time capsule for couples to look back on. Photographs are a method of documenting our lives. To be able to capture a place and time for a couple, to document this season of life for them is the work I love to do.