You know those people that just instantly make you feel like a friend? When I met Joshua Ratliff, it was the night of my sister-in-law's wedding. It was a crazy, stormy ceremony. We were all hunkered down in a gorgeous romantic setting enjoying this delicious meal (thanks again Ronin Cooking, LLC). After talking for just a little while, I knew I needed to work with such a fun, creative and talented individual.
I was so nervous when a few months later I asked if he might have an opportunity for a second shooter. His instant reply, "of course" with this freely-given faith in my not-yet-proven capabilities. Instant relief!
The day of the Zamoras wedding at Stonehouse Villa in Driftwood, TX, Josh couldn't have been more gracious. His laid-back approach and positivity permeated each room. Everyone was more calm and at ease knowing he was there.
He had a game plan from the get-go. It was fun to watch him seamlessly switch between his gunslinger-style cameras (a Canon for digital and his newly acquired prize Contax 645 for film) as he patiently arranged a cantankerous belt or layered the rings just so to catch the sunlight.
As the day moved on things of course became more lively but that didn't phase Josh. He kept moving forward, gathering people and images, while carefully and quickly getting his shots.
Tucking the bride & groom away from guests to give them a few moments, while carving aside time for them to have a few precious minutes right before the ceremony.
No matter what curveball came, how the timeline changed or what question came to "the photographer" - Josh was there ready to respond with grace and efficiency. I KNOW he made this juggling act look easier than it is.
Yes, I learned so much from him about technical things, how he approaches a venue, how he carefully estimates light fall off over time, how he works with clients beforehand to set agendas for the best photos. However, the thing I take away from spending a day with Josh is how to share love with people. Josh really approaches weddings the way he approaches life. He is filled with God's love, he treats people with kindness and that becomes evident through the photos he takes.
I think Helen Keller said it best...
Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.
At the end of the night he said, "well Kendra, what do you think? Do you want to shoot weddings?" I paused, unsure of the answer. I talked to him a bit about how I think it could be really fun honestly but I've run in to some folks who have made me a bit nervous about the work, becoming jaded, etc.
"I love what I do. Photography is fun for me. I love being a small part of their family history."
- Joshua Ratliff
And instantly, I know that Josh's optimism and faith will lead him to great things. I personally cannot wait to see the photos he produces. I know Haley and Zach feel the same way!