Happy Hump Day!
Today, I’m celebrating my mid-week, TGIAC (Thank God It’s Almost Christmas) joy by sharing the heart of one of my favorite people with you. My life got a little bit brighter this past winter when Chad and I hired Victoria, of Victoria Selman Photography, to capture our wedding day. We were initially referred to Victoria by a friend and swooned over her stunning wedding work – but had no idea that we’d one day be lucky enough to not only call her our photographer, but true friend, too. Victoria is one-of-a-kind: a truly captivating, sincere soul who loves others well and can crack a joke before you even know that you need a good knee-slapping laugh. She is one of the most talented, creative, and encouraging people that I’ve ever met.
We chatted about owning a business, marriage, contentment, and pursuing passion over paycheck. I hope Victoria’s story will encourage you to chase whatever dream you’re working on with fearlessness and faith.
Curl up with a cup of coffee, and enjoy!
C: Hey, friend! I’m already lucky enough to know and love you – but please share with my readers a bit about who you are and what you do.
V: Hello all! I am Victoria, I’m a wedding photographer based in Annapolis, MD. I am a sucker for outdoor weddings with beautiful florals, earthy décor, and excited guests ready to celebrate with the bride & groom. My photography, both my art and my business, is full of who I am – a storyteller, world explorer, Jesus disciple, lover of the little things, and believer in laughter. Together with my husband Hunter (we shoot together on wedding days), we bond closely with our brides & grooms. I am very fortunate to work with clients that are down-to-earth, creative, and enthusiastic about life. Weddings are about people, and I find those people to be the most amazing part of being a wedding photographer.
You started out on the physical therapy track in college, correct? I’m dying to know what led you to pursue full-time photography.
You are correct! In college I was pre-physical therapy, headed full speed for grad school. I love science, math, physiology and learning – and still do. As time went on, however, I found myself plodding through the motions of a career in PT without a fire inside. I decided to stop wasting time on the stuff that didn’t light me up. I realized that God’s will for my life wasn’t one magical path and that he had given me the ability to make choices in life. So I said Self, what gets you most stoked? Do more of it. The answer was wedding photography and I am endlessly grateful I took that leap.
Have you always been in love with being behind the camera? How did you learn your craft?
Ever since I borrowed Hunter’s Olympus camera in 2008 at his family’s cabin in the woods. We laugh about that camera now, it didn’t even record video! Hunter & I weren’t skilled or too interested in photography when we first started dating (I was 15 and he was 17). As years went on we borrowed each other’s cameras, taught one another what we recently learned, shared photos back and forth, and went on photo adventures. I love remembering those days. I wonder how hard I would have laughed if someone told me I would do that as an actual career one day.
What was the hardest part of straying from the “normal” route – taking the risk to start your own business after college?
Oh man! Being content. With a world that defines success as money and being busy as a way of breathing, it can be challenging to not feel dissatisfied. Like, really challenging. It’s natural – and flawed – to look to other creatives in your industry and be envious of their business growth, their busy schedules, their following, you name it. You get sucked into this whirlwind of a stereotyped success. And it’s not even what you actually want! I want a limited number of weddings to focus on my couples (not 35), I want to make memories with my friends and family on weekends (not work 17 weekends in a row), I want to spend time with my husband during the evenings and make meals together (not overflow with work every night), and I want to be intentional with my time (not be on social media in the bathroom, la la la). Your worth and success will never be found in these earthly things – money, productivity, a perfect Instagram life – and will only be found in Jesus. He offers a life of worth, meaning, freedom, confidence, perfect love, and hope that exist independently in him and will exist for eternity. Realizing that your definition of success is rooted in the whole picture of Jesus is one of the biggest lessons you have to learn in starting your own business.
One of the many reasons why Chad and I chose you as our wedding photographer was because your husband, Hunter, is your second shooter. You make a great team! What’s one of the challenges that comes with working with your husband?
Knowing when to separate business life with personal life. For sure. When Hunter comes home from work, I’ll have a project whose next task needs his attention. Sometimes we’ll end up working until the late hours of the night and haven’t even asked about each other’s days or laughed at the things that happened that day.
What’s the best part about working with your husband?
Everything. Hunter is the reason I love and continue my career. He is an amazing photographer, a daily encourager, and a friend every step of the way. I love that we share the experience of this business together, spending weekends creating together and making memories along the way. Hunter is the reason I am excited for our couples as they get married, I know what great, wonderful adventures lie ahead for them.
What’s your favorite moment during a client’s wedding day?
My favorite moment happens during bridal portraits before the bride has seen her groom. During these five or six minutes, I’m just focusing on taking one photo of the bride nearby some window or other light. It’s the first time she isn’t being bombarded with questions or having someone pinch and poke her dress/hair/makeup. When all becomes quiet, there is this beautiful moment where she takes a deep breath and her eyes fill with reflection as she realizes she’s about to marry her love. It’s quite beautiful.
I’ve seen your wedding, engagement, and maternity work – so beautiful! Are there any other photography services that you offer?
As a wedding photographer, I focus my attention and time on weddings and engagements. I want to hone my skill and craft in the realm of weddings and spend time really getting to know my clients. I infrequently take on other sessions like families/maternity but there are occasions where I really dig the vision & people and will creatively wander into portrait sessions. With the right people it can be really refreshing.
What’s your advice to someone that wants to take the huge, heart-pounding leap to start their own creative business, but might not know where to begin?
Connect with people that are already doing what you want to do. Meet with them over coffee, discover their stories, and ask them the real questions you have. Use this time to find out if the life they live is really what you want. After 400 hours of physical therapy shadowing, I realized that I didn’t enjoy 1 of those hours. It took me another 399 hours to get there but, hey, maybe it won’t be as laborious for the next guy. Anyway, if/once you choose to dive into your business, you’ll now have a network of people that are likely going to be referring clients to you, giving you advice when you’re stuck, and cheering you on in your business.
Just for fun: What are three things you’re loving in life right now?
Our neighborhood kitty, the book Manage Your Day-to-Day, and hand-making soaps. I’m in la la land head-over-heels in love with this kitty that belongs to someone in our neighborhood (we don’t know who). He visits me several days a week and comes inside to play, have his belly rubbed, and snuggle on the electric blanket. I jokingly titled him Hunter the Kitty one day and it seems to have stuck since we don’t actually know his real name. Hunter the Husband isn’t very amused. But he loves Hunter the Kitty too so he moves on.
My second fascination is with the book Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus, & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. It’s all about restructuring the way you work and creating a routine that allows creativity to flourish. I’ve found my days to be much more productive, relieved of stress, and meaningful. Yep, it’s worth the 7 dollars.
I’m also loving hand-making soap – it’s artistry, chemistry, and natural all-around goodness. Currently I’ve been making a tea tree & lavender blend with naturally exfoliating barley oats. It’s anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, oil controlling, and soothing wrapped in a crisp, clean, floral scent. My other favorite is a blend of cedar & fir that’s just right this time of year, earthy and sweet. I love blending the realms of inspiration and artifacts – photography and soap making are some of my favorite ways to see it all come together.
Thank you, Victoria! I’m so grateful for your story and words of encouragement. For a complete portfolio, blog, and more information on Victoria’s photography services, please visit Victoria Selman Photography.
Check back every Wednesday for #HearttoHeartHumpDays, featuring interviews with women whom I admire chasing their own big and brave adventures.