After spending her childhood here and there as part of a military family, Caitlin Norwood decided that wasn’t going to be part of her adulthood. That’s not how life tends to be though. You can’t always plan your future and while she didn’t imagine herself marrying a military man, that’s how things unfolded and while it may’ve shaken some, it didn’t seem to phase her as she continued to make her business, Love Always, Memories Photography flourish no matter where they landed. Now let’s get to know more about this lovely wedding photographer, the value of a photograph, and more!
Kendra: You’ve noted that it’s those big family reunions, the old photos on display, that sparked your love of photography. With so many people opting to just carry pictures on their phones, do you feel like we’re losing a bit of the beauty of what photography means in terms of capturing memories? I mean, looking through the giant chest my mom stores all her photo albums in has a more personal vibe than just scrolling through a phone. At least for me.
Caitlin Norwood: Yes! We are definitely losing emotion and attachment just keeping photos digitally. I totally understand that it is so much easier and convenient, but there is just something about holding a picture in your hands or see it hanging on your wall that looking at a phone does not give you! I can’t tell you how many times a client of mine has cried when they get their prints or albums in the mail!
My grandmother actually made all of her grandchildren picture albums as we grew up. She included not only pictures of us through the years, but our parents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. We all were given the albums when she passed and it is one of my most treasured items.
Kendra: When you were growing up and seeing the world as a kid, did you ever get to see weddings from different cultures at all?
Caitlin Norwood: I didn’t, but since I’ve started wedding photography, I have been able to see many different types of religious and non-religious weddings, I had never been able to prior! I do hope as my photography expands, I get to travel to other countries and see many different types of cultural wedding traditions.
Kendra: That must be the life you love because you went and married a military man and have kept moving about. Is that hard on you in terms of your photography? Starting over in a new place when he’s reassigned and you have to pack up and leave?
Caitlin Norwood: Funny, military life was not my first choice! Growing up I knew I “never” (never say never!) wanted to live the military lifestyle, because I had the “perfect life plan” figured out and the military lifestyle would not allow for that. My fiancé, and now husband, had already graduated from college and was working for the corporate world. He came to me one day and said, “ I’m quitting my job, and I think I want to join the Army.” Wow, talk about shock factor on my end! We both fully embraced the lifestyle and took life as the Army gave us head-on!
I took some photography courses in college, but I didn’t create a business until I had a constant stream of family and friends who believed in my ability. Moving every few years is a hard challenge when owning your own business. Luckily through social media and getting involved with local organizations, businesses, and events, and word of mouth, rebuilding your business is a lot easier than it used to be!
Right now my husband is currently deployed. It has not been as “bad” of an experience as I imagine some families have during deployments since we live so close to family, and our village is overflowing with support and help. Most families experiencing deployment live hours and hundreds of miles away from family and their village. I’m not sure what toll that would have taken on my business, but I’m sure I would not have been able to do half the weddings or sessions I was able to.
Him being gone and having an almost two-year-old has added another level of stress and extra planning and organization to my business. I can’t exactly schedule as many sessions or weddings as I would like to, and I have even blocked off all of November and December of this year in preparation for his return! Luckily I have some of the most amazing clients and they understand and are too supportive of me!
Kendra: Speaking of packing. You’ve admitted that you tend to overpack on trips. Me too! A weekend away requires at least five ensemble choices, right? But when it comes to packing for a wedding day shoot, what are some essentials you recommend packing that others may not think of?
Caitlin Norwood: Oh yes! I am a huge over-packer! For wedding days I always have spray deodorant and water. Living in the south it is warm more months than not, and extra deodorant and water is a MUST!
I do have two big bags I pack just for wedding days. One bag has my extras for detail pictures, as well as my extra batteries, flashes, long lenses. The main bag I carry with me all day has my two camera bodies, favorite lenses, flashes, extra cards, extra batters, chapsticks, tissues, scissors, thread, and needle. Plus my car also has a load of extras like my off-camera flash, clear umbrellas, “ER” Kit.
Yep, I always overpack!
Kendra: So over the years, I’ve become a little more comfortable in front of the camera but I’m dreading the potential wedding photos. Do you have any tips for a nervous bride to be who is anxious over this wedding must?
Caitlin Norwood: RELAX AND BE IN THE MOMENT!
Do not worry about the little details that may or may not be completed. Do not worry about family or friend tensions. Do not worry about the extra five pounds you wanted to lose, but didn’t.
The day is NOT about those things. The day is about you and your spouse! I try to create an atmosphere of joy and peace when it comes to first looks, as well as Bride and Groom portraits. If you just relax and take in the moments your personality and relationship will come out in your photos!
Kendra: A little out of left field, but for those who don’t know – you love a great hot dog but what would you say is the most photogenic one out there?
Caitlin Norwood: HAHAHA Hands down LUCKY DOG in New Orleans! I don’t know if others would consider them the most photogenic, but taste, memories, and emotions definitely go into food photography for me. If I could do my wedding over, I would have a Lucky Dog stand at my wedding reception!
Kendra: Right now you and the family are in Kentucky for a while. Is that where you plan on growing as we head out of 2019 and into 2020 with your business?
Caitlin Norwood: Yes! My husband is stationed at Fort Campbell, and we should be there for another two-three years! We live on the Kentucky-Tennessee border, so Nashville is just a skip away. Also, both of our families live in North Alabama, so I am very lucky to be able to have two “home bases” with my business, Nashville, Tennessee, and Huntsville, Alabama. I am very excited about what 2020 and beyond holds for my family and business!