Gabe McMullen Photography

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Gabe McMullen Photography

Four years ago I had zero direction in life. I was working as a line cook at an Italian chain in town and was really frustrated with what was going on in my life. I was depressed, anxious and not satisfied. While I was on a road trip from New Mexico to Colorado, I began using a Canon T-2i Rebel that a friend had recently sold me. I was hooked immediately. I enjoyed being outside and documenting that adventure. When I came back to my home town (Lancaster, PA), I saw a lack of epic landscapes. I still wanted to use my camera, so I began photographing my friends.

I spent almost every day off from work with friends and my camera. In December of 2015, I quit my job and went on a month-long road trip with my friend Logan. On that trip, someone asked me to be the second shooter for their wedding. From there I dove headfirst into what makes a good wedding photographer. I was always looking up tutorials on youtube, and shooting couples for free. Within 18 months I went full time. I had shot almost 35 weddings in the first two years, 10 of which were my own. It’s been exponential growth since then.

I tend to spend a lot of time with my community too. We’ve created this culture of thriving together which I love. We are a collective group of wedding photographers and filmmakers building each other up in encouragement rather than a competitive spirit.

What do you think makes a photograph good?

The intention behind the image. We can all go to Yosemite at Taft Point and grab an epic sunset photo. But what’s the heart behind the image? Did the couple want that just because it was pretty, or did they spend all of their summers together climbing walls in the valley? While I love those epic landscapes with a tiny bride and groom, I think I prefer those images that are close up and intimate with the couple. Ones of them either laughing or crying. Those are the moments that I am most proud of.

What makes your business unique, different or special?

I tend to be very empathetic and vulnerable with couples. I’m very relational, and I value a lot of one on one time with people. I see that relating to my couples as well. The more time I spend with the couple, the more unique and real photos I get! I’ve shared about how growth or pain in my life has helped me document days differently and more intentional.

Advice for new photographers?

Keep shooting! Whatever your passion is, you’re not going to get better at it if you only watch tutorials or read books. You need to be outside with your friends and taking pictures! They say that practice makes perfect – it doesn’t! Practice makes habit! Make bringing your camera with you everywhere a habit!

What’s something people need to understand about photography?

Light! One of my first mentors told me to try and see the light and use it to create a dynamic image. I didn’t really understand what he meant then, and I’m still trying to grow in my understanding of light today!

How do you make an income with photography when you’re just starting out?

Find your niche! If you LOVE to shoot concerts and only want to shoot concerts, then don’t share pictures of your cats or couples on your instagram feed. You can start small with your pricing, and grow from there! It’s also very important for you to know that paying for a photographer is a luxury! Once you’re semi-established, find out what other photographers in your area are charging, and then price yourself similarly!


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West Coast Wedding Awards is an awards program for photographers residing on the west coast of Canada and USA.


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