Do you remember when you decided you wanted to be a photographer? And do you remember the first type of camera you had?

Honestly, I’ve always loved photography but the moment It clicked, where I knew I wanted to do photography as a career, was at my best friend’s wedding. I started talking to their photographer at their wedding, who is now a friend of mine, and he told me he just bought his first house with cash from shooting weddings in Santa Barbara.

 It was at that moment that I thought, “Dang, maybe I can make a career at this as well.” Two years later we were shooting weddings full time. My rig was a Canon 5D Mark I I got off of Craigslist and a Canon 24-70 2.8 L lens and a Canon 70-300mm lens. For the first year that’s all I had.

When you decided to become a photographer, were there hardships you had to overcome while trying to accomplish your goals?

Probably one of the greatest challenges I faced was learning to really manage my time and balance time with family. When you’re a photographer your job just doesn’t begin and end with the actual shoot. It begins with the call, then moves through the sale, then moves through the consultation, the meeting, the engagement session, the money, the communication, the timeline, the actual shoot, the editing, the media posting, the printing, the packaging, the album design and creation, and so forth.

It is a time-consuming process and unless you are organized and manage your time wisely, you’ll get lost in your work and miss the rest of life around you. It took me a few years to really learn how to balance my work and life outside of work.

Do you remember the first wedding that you shot? If you could talk to yourself back then, what advice would you give?

I totally do. It was a wedding in Morro Bay. If I could talk to myself back then with everything I know now I would say, “Trust in yourself and just have fun.”

It’s easy to get wrapped up in trying to get the perfect shot and getting everything just right but if you’re too focused on all of that you’ll miss the joy of doing what you love. To do what we do we have to know our gear, be prepared, know our couples, and just be confident. If we spend the time knowing our gear, being prepared, knowing our couple, and are confident in our ability behind the lens and in connecting with people, the rest is just being yourself and having fun. The photos will naturally happen.

How has wedding photography changed while you have been doing this?

With the popular rise of social media and online blogs, wedding photography has had to continue to adapt and change due to the ever-changing trends seen on Instagram, Pinterest or other social media platforms. It’s dictating so much but truly goes in seasons.

It’s funny. When I first started shooting, a really well-known photographer told us, “No matter what trends come and go, just be yourself and shoot the way that is true to you. Everyone can take photos, but no one else can be you!”

The wedding industry changes constantly with every new Pinterest or social media trend, so many young photographers keep trying to keep up with whatever the new trend is … So many of them fail and you never hear of them again. We’ve continued to stay true to ourselves and the way we shoot. More than that, we’ve stayed true to one of the greatest strengths we have: “We love people.”

What is one of the most unique requests from brides/grooms that they want of their special day? Did you have any shoots that challenged your skills as a photographer?

One of the craziest requests we had of a bride/groom on their wedding day was to capture the couple in the rain as they were throwing those Indian color-bomb powders at each other. At least off the top of my mind. We ended up doing it during an engagement shoot for them — but trying to line up the weather, golden hour and just capturing the fun and craziness of the moment was definitely interesting.

As far as shoots that really challenged my skills as a photographer, one of the hardest weddings I shot was a few years ago at Santa Margarita Ranch. It was the weekend of the 30-year storm we got. It was no joke, 40 mph winds, non-stop rain, like 10-plus inches up there.

The wedding was scheduled outdoors and the venue is a primarily outdoor venue. Every shot had to count, and we had to make the most of every opportunity. In between the downpour and the wind we would run out every chance we got and get the shots we needed. It was stressful, but we got some amazing shots. There was no room for error and we had to know what we needed to get the shot we needed to get.

When you look at the photos from that wedding you’d never guess we were in the middle of a 30-year storm on the Central Coast.

What is one of the most memorable weddings you have shot? A love story that really touched you?

We shot a wedding for an older couple last year where both … had been married and had lost their spouses. They were really close friends prior to losing their spouses.

After their spouses passed they found themselves for years running into each other but never doing things together because it felt too hard to re-live those past memories.

Finally the man reached out to the woman on her birthday. Knowing she was celebrating alone because her kids lived out of state, he reached out to her and took her to a romantic dinner as a friend. A year later the two were tying the knot as their lifelong friendship had now become true love. It was really awesome.

Where is one of the most interesting places you have photographed a wedding?

I have to say Louisiana. It was crazy, totally different culture for sure and it would be sunny one moment, and then we’d be running for cover because out of nowhere it would all of a sudden be like a torrential rain storm, lightning and all. Then sunny again. Pretty crazy.

Justin Jacobs can be reached at 805-637-4528. To see his portfolio, log onto