It is an incredible privilege to capture the happiest day in someone’s life and create images that will be treasured for generations to come.
Sarah Hodge of Forbes won the Central West Brides Choice Award for Wedding Photographer for the fourth year in a row – and it’s clear her passion for her work is only growing.
She was left speechless after watching the award announcement via Zoom this week – though she admits it’s an odd experience celebrating at home in the living room rather than at the event.
“(Photographing weddings) is a huge responsibility, but the day is so happy – I’ve never been to a wedding where it’s not the happiest day in their life,” she said.
“I know these photos will be cherished even 100 years from now, that one day they will be someone’s grandparents and they will be cherished even for generations.
“So in the short and long term it’s beautiful, it’s such a privilege.”
The Brides Choice Awards are open to couples who got married in the past 12 months for nominations from vendors from all fields involved in weddings.
They all aim to recognize professionals in the industry who help relieve stress and enhance the magic of your marriage. It is therefore an incredible honor to be named a finalist.
To show how blessed we are to have talented professionals in the field here at Forbes, Caitlin Bray’s Ivey Lane Photography was highly commended in the category.
Sarah was only 18 when she started Essjay Photography. She started photographing weddings about eight years ago and found that she wanted to specialize in this area.
“About five years ago, I started putting my heart and soul into weddings,” she explained.
She works throughout the Midwest and beyond for her clients, embracing the diversity of people she meets along the way.
“There are never two similar marriages, that’s one thing I love about it,” Sarah said.
“I really love to see how unique each family is.”
Sarah has also discovered that the photographer does more than just photograph on a wedding day: whereas most of us get married after the photographer sees many weddings.
Whether it’s how high to hold the bouquet or when to move your engagement ring in your other hand, the photographer knows and is there with you all day long.
This experience is all the more important since most people are not comfortable being in front of the camera.
“Most people have never been photographed before,” I tell them, “it won’t be awkward,” Sarah promises.
On top of all this, photographers, along with other industry professionals, have been through so much uncertainty with their clients over the past 18 months.
The wedding industry is one that has been turned upside down over the past two years with COVID-19 restrictions on travel and gatherings.
The couples might have had to postpone their special day at any time, choose between a micro-wedding with essential staff only, or pick a date with all the uncertainties of the future.
Industry players had to react and adapt as best they could.
“I had two weddings a week in September and now I don’t have any,” Sarah said.
This potentially means a busy season ahead, as Sarah experienced last year when restrictions could be relaxed.
Of course, a photographer’s job is not entirely done during the day: there are also thousands of images to process after returning home.
For Sarah, it is all worth it for the legacy she leaves to her clients and their families.