Sarah McAffry | Voted Knoxville's Best Photographer | Family, Senior and Teen Photography in East Tennessee » Knoxville Family, Senior and Teen Photographer in East Tennessee

Why I Stopped Photographing Weddings

When I decided to stop photographing weddings several years ago, I had no idea if I would have enough work to keep the studio going full time. All I knew was I couldn’t do weddings anymore.

Carrying my equipment around for 8+ hours at a time was wearing my body out. Working all weekend was wearing my family out. I knew I couldn’t keep going at that pace.

With a little more time on my hands, I started to focus on senior portraits. Little did I know how much working with graduates would light me up.

After working as a high school English teacher for 6 years, I knew I was drawn to teens. Something about that stage of life, with so much opportunity on the horizon, is magnetic. I love hearing their dreams and their plans for the future. They are full of so much hope.

Over the past few years specializing in senior portraits, I have found my passion. And it’s not just taking pictures of graduates.

It’s watching them transform in front of my camera.

From their first few minutes, usually a little shy and uncomfortable, to the end of their shoot when they’re owning every pose.

It’s seeing Mom tear up as she watches the slideshow, knowing it’s her last year with her baby.

It’s watching them choose their favorite pictures together, deciding which images will be on display in their home.

We walk through tender moments together as we plan and execute these photo shoots.

It’s about so much more than cute clothes and pretty makeup.

It’s a milestone to experience together.

We’ve had seniors say they have looked forward to their photo shoot for years. One sweet girl said she looked forward to it as much as she looks forward to her wedding day!

The weight of that is not lost on me.

Just a few weeks ago, I was honored to be named Knoxville’s Best Portrait Photographer for 2017 by Cityview Magazine.

Then last week I got a call from a senior in Louisiana who is coming all the way to Knoxville just for her senior pictures.

My jaw dropped to the floor.

We now have had grads travel all the way from Mississippi, Texas, and now two from Louisiana.

From an English teacher to a wedding photographer and now a portrait photographer, I’m so thankful for the paths He has led me to.

I will never get over it. Only God writes stories like this.