I am a formerly homeless teenager who became an award-winning wedding photographer

Feb 6, 2018

Carsten Schertzer

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Feb 6, 2018

Carsten Schertzer

We love it when our readers get in touch with us to share their stories. This article was contributed to DIYP by a member of our community. If you would like to contribute an article, please contact us here.

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My life right now is spent hopping from one fancy wedding venue to the next, but it wasn’t always that way.

I picked up my first camera when I was 11 years old. I was completely enamored by the skateboarding culture, and industry photographers at the time. I dreamed of photographing skateboarding for a living and tried relentlessly to make it in the skateboarding industry.

By the time I was 16 I dropped out of high school and was living on the streets of southern California. Sleeping in public parks and friends’ couches, still pursuing my dream of being a skateboard photographer.

At 18 years old, and still not a professional skate photographer, I decided it was time for a change, I packed my camera bag and decided to drive to San Francisco and become a wedding photographer. I spent weeks living out of a car and using Starbucks as my office. Slowly, using my skateboarding portfolio as my only reference, I was able to start booking clients, eventually turning weddings into my full-time job.

Today, I am 24 years old. I have traveled to 12 countries, on 4 continents all because of wedding photography. I am so proud to say that I have the greatest job I could have ever imagined. Even better than shooting skateboarding for a living!

A self-portrait

About the Author

Carsten Schertzer is an award-winning wedding photographer based in Los Angeles. He offers his photographic services through Ilumina Studios. If you’d like to see more of his work, check out his website, Facebook page, and Instagram. This article was also published here and shared with permission.

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7 responses to “I am a formerly homeless teenager who became an award-winning wedding photographer”

  1. Gerd Avatar
    Gerd

    That are great pictures. Carsten has an eye for unusual perspectives and intuitive picture composition skills. Great work! He absolutely deserves appreciation.

  2. KC Avatar
    KC

    Great images! Of all the fields of photography out there, I’ve rarely handled weddings. I’ll jump in as a second photographer, a project coordinator or image editor, but never the primary photographer. I prefer to make “the unexpected images” at these types of events. It’s an odd disconnection since I’ve handled a lot of event and photojournalism work.

    Looking at your work I think I may have gotten that wrong. You’ve gone brilliantly beyond the “expected images”. Now this has me thinking.

  3. Adam Santino Avatar
    Adam Santino

    Great work.

  4. Kelly Hogan Avatar
    Kelly Hogan

    Beautiful work and story

  5. Terry Fleming McMullen Avatar
    Terry Fleming McMullen

    Great stuff!

  6. TByte Avatar
    TByte

    Inspiring photos.
    Not much content.

  7. Jonathan Condit Avatar
    Jonathan Condit

    SUCH A FAKE. This guy merely worked as a B shooter for Alex Zyuzikov in the Bay Area. Check the link below. See any similarities? He’s promoting himself on stolen photos, stolen technique. He’s a straight up plagiarist.

    http://www.redspherestudios.com/blog/los-angeles-engagement-photos

    http://www.redspherestudios.com/blog/hong-kong-engagement-photos

    http://www.redspherestudios.com/testimonials/