First up in our Wedding series is photography! Wedding photography is about capturing beautiful memories that last a lifetime. Capturing moments that matter to the couple’s big day. Oh and while you are at it, make the images look natural and poignant. Allow us to introduce a woman up to this task- Sammie Carter! She owns and operates SL Photography. Yes, she travels, too!
Sammie has always loved weddings ever since she can remember. She fondly told a story of growing up in Liberia watching wedding processions, in complete awe, from her Grandmother’s yard; which was close to the local city hall. She would venture close to the hall and peep through the windows to watch the reception. She marveled in it all- colors, garb, order of reception, etc. It made her happy!
Sammie also had a love of photography as a young girl, but grew to shy away from being in front of the camera. She quickly learned her comfort zone was behind the camera. She volunteered to take pics at her home church. While doing this, she focused on capturing beautiful images and reveled in the work she did. The feedback she received was positive and helped build her confidence as a photog.
Sammie began her photography journey by doing a lot of pro bono work, initially. This was the avenue where she grew in skill and tactic. This speaks to the passion that she has for the art of photography. Sammie does believe that passion shows in a photographer’s images. Her passion comes through interaction with the bridal party and guests; interaction with the couple, and timing. She is steadfast in her belief that her passion is what sets her work apart from the rest. The passion is vital, but communication with the couple is also a tenet of wedding photography. Understanding the couple’s vision for the day and executing on that vision is what relieves stress and builds trust for the couple. You see, Sammie does not want to just take pictures as a job, she wants to create a memorable experience.
The work that Sammie is most proud of is for a model who was also the bride. As a lay person to photography, this would scare me because models know images, angles, and lighting well! Sammie accepted this challenge and the review from the bride was well worth her efforts. “The bride was ecstatic with the images that I had taken, and I was relieved!”, she said. She tells that customer review and satisfaction is her greatest achievement as an entrepreneur.
What I loved most about this interview was Sammie’s take on work-life balance. I was still smiling after we completed the interview.
Tikolah: How do you do it? Work, business owner, wife, mom, friend, sister? How do you balance it all?
Sammie: Balance does not exist. Something has to give.
Tikolah: (on the inside) Yes! Yes!
Sammie continued: “There are days when you shift priorities to focus on family. So, your focus waxes and wanes between different priorities. I am grateful for a husband who can help on the home front. My schedule begins at 0330 because I get the most done, uninterrupted. This is why I limit the number of weddings I do per year. I know my limit. As an entrepreneur, you cannot be hard on yourself when you cannot be with family. Sacrifices are ok.”
The true artist, she draws inspiration from several sources: being the mother of a brilliant little boy with an infectious laugh, who shares stories on YouTube. Hearing the challenges/stories of everyday people pursuing their passion and making sacrifices along the way brings Sammie joy. She is thrilled by stories of journeys through school, dream jobs, promotions, business ventures, etc. The everyday woman, particularly, is fuel for Sammie’s soul. For inspiration with her art she looks to and follows other photogs, African artists and photogs. It is her hope that who she is, comes through in her work.
Sammie gives back to her community as an advocate for women in her personal life and in business. Her other passion is “Liberian Women In Business”; an outlet where she seeks to inspire women- Liberian women pursuing their passion. Whatever that passion may be. She feels Liberian women need inspiration because the journey of pursuing passion has “walls and mountains to climb, but you keep going.” Her desire is to use this platform for seminars and panels that can empower women and impact the community.
Be sure to subscribe and follow Tikolah on FaceBook and Instagram; @tikolahcollxn on twitter for more on our wedding series!
What did you look for in a wedding photographer? What makes a difference in the selection of a photographer for the big day?? Comment below!