How I got into wedding and elopement photography

If you haven’t met me yet, my name is Joe Hendricks and I’ve been shooting weddings and elopements for over 12 years now. I got into weddings by unfortunate circumstances. The first was that my wife Rhonda lost her job at Logans Roadhouse, so I started taking pictures to pick up some extra money. Those pictures turned into repeat customers that turned into me booking my very first wedding!


I had a lot of confidence in myself, because I learned photography in the Navy and they teach you well how to take a great picture. But shooting a wedding was unlike anything i had ever experienced! I had heard that wedding photographers we are the low end of the totem poll back then, but I found the exact opposite to be true. You literally have to be good at every aspect of photography to be a great wedding photographer!

You have to know portraiture, landscapes, details, how to deal with people, how to make something out of nothing, what to do when your camera messes up, you pretty much have to be ready for anything and everything to happen in a split second and your expected to capture it perfectly! No pressure at all.


However, I found myself loving the pressure! It was pretty intense being able to take beautiful shots in the middle of a ton of coordinated chaos! Not only did I find myself loving the photography aspect of it, but I found myself being a psychologist at the same time. Sounds funny, I know, but I was putting out fires left and right at weddings, because everyone has some sort of family drama. Sometimes it’s a drunk uncle, controlling mom or a brother that is high and needs all the attention. Whatever it was, I was hooked on making everything good and then killing it with an awesome shot!

Over the years, my photography got know for my creativeness. I had brides and groom doing all kinds of things for an amazing shot and they trusted me with everything! I even had a bride lay down in her wedding dress before she walked down the aisle! Guys loved how cool I made them look, but more importantly, they liked that I took the picture fast and they didn’t have to hold a pose. I completely understand how that feels.


There came a point though, when I was wanting something more, something exciting and I wasn’t sure what it was until I went on a trip out west with my family. On this trip in our minivan, I saw my wife come alive in a way I hadn’t seen in a long time. My 3 year old was not really sure where he was, but he also loved being outdoors and enjoying nature. I found a new love… landscapes and I was hooked on them.

It was after that trip that I convinced my wife to sell everything in Nashville and travel around America in an Airstream! While on the road, I was flying back and forth from different airports to shoot weddings in Nashville. I loved seeing my brides and grooms and talking about our adventures. It was always nice to take a break from the road and get back to shooting weddings. The controlled chaos felt like home to me.

We were in that Airstream for a year and then we took a turn for the worse. I got tennis elbow and missed out on some important photo shoots and we detoured to Brackettville Texas where my side of the family lived. We started taking care of Rhonda’s mom again and helped her buy a house there. This detour sidetracked us for a year and a half. Although it took me away from wedding photography in Nashville, I got to spend time with my Grandfather before he passed away and I spent some good quality time with my grandmother on my Dad’s side before she passed also. I was also there for my Dad the day he was diagnosed with cancer and I can’t help but think that God put me in that small town so I could be there for these precious moments.


Then came the time for us to move somewhere else. A small town of 2,000 people is not a good place to revitalize my photography career, so we decided to move to Montrose Colorado. A lot of people have asked us why we moved here and the answer is easy… Landscapes!! Montrose is smack dab in the middle of the western slope of Colorado and I can be anywhere fast for an amazing landscape picture! I was also excited about the thought of elopements! Elopements are basically a wedding without all the drama! Just two people with maybe a few guests in some fo the most beautiful places on earth!

Life here in Montrose hasn’t been easy, only because we are starting our photography career over again. I have a lot of choices to make only because we have a lot of options. Sometimes I wish I had only one option, because it was make my decisions easier, but i know God has put me here for a reason and I would like to think that the reason is to be there as two people fall in love on a mountain side and to allow spread his glory for everyone to see through landscapes!


The road has been an interesting one for sure, but I wouldn’t trade a second for all the adventure we have lived. So, that is how I got into wedding and elopement photography and a dabble fo landscapes. The Landscapes really move my soul and I feel are preparing me even more for elopements. The people in Montrose are pretty amazing and LOVE adventure!

I hope to write you a blog in a year with a compete turns of events for us! I hope that includes a new house, a steady income and adventure as far as the eye can see!

If you want me to take pictures of you having the time of your life in the mountains or even getting married there, email me at or click the button below. I know the perfect places to take your pictures!


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