BY SARAH HAMER
Where do I even begin? I guess this all started because of a boy, as all my favorite stories do. My husband and I met when we were just 15 years old, going to school in Wisconsin. He stole my heart, and we quickly became inseparable... maybe even a little too much so. We had big plans for the future, which all came to a screeching halt when we found out we were going to be teen parents. Not something I recommend.
There was a lot of doubt, judgement, and negativity that surrounded us as we were catapulted into adulthood. I thankfully had an awesome art teacher in high school, who already introduced me to my career path, graphic design. I graduated from high school early and went off to college with no time to waste.
Zach obviously proposed... which is an entirely different story. We had our first son a few months later while all our peers were walking at graduation, literally. Our friends were planning their future careers, and we were planning our wedding—which I was OBSESSED with! I love weddings, but obviously never planned one at nineteen. I didn't know what I was doing and as a bride on a budget, I made a few mistakes. Ones I really regret.
The worst mistake I made was not prioritizing my wedding photography. The thing that I didn't realize about the industry is that there are A LOT of photographers out there—all at different skill levels, with price tags that mimic their quality. My dumb ass thought I was getting a great deal. When I got the photos back, I was shocked THEY WERE MOSTLY BLURRY! Devastated. I could do better, I thought... so I did.
I had our second son while finishing up college, my focus being graphic design, web development, & photography. My love for photography grew as my family did. There was so much love to capture, document, and relive over and over. I didn't want to forget anything, so I just never stopped taking pictures. My hobby slowly started turning into a business, photographing couples, families, and eventually weddings.
Just as I was creating a foundation to my business, we decided it would be best for our family if we left some of that doubt, judgement, and negativity I was talking about earlier, and put it behind us for a while. A fresh start. So Zach joined the military and we moved to Colorado. We were broke. Like, selling our plasma on a sketchy corner three times a week to feed our kids broke. But we were on our own in a new city, and we were happy. Eventually, I was able to find work as a Graphic Designer just before Zach got new orders to move to Washington and start over yet again.
I worked remotely while we raised our family--flying home to photograph weddings on the weekends. By Washington, we had three beautiful sons, and I was in heaven. All I have ever wanted was to be a mother and have a super hot husband—the military uniform was a bonus! I was living the dream in one of the most picturesque places on the planet.
After that, Zach got new orders, but this time to South Korea! We packed up our family and flew 16 hours to our new home in Pyeongtaek. We explored, tried new food, attempted to learn a new language, and of course took a lot of pictures. We even welcomed our last and final son into the world while we lived overseas. It was fun, but not home—we were home sick and were counting down the days until we could return to Wisconsin.
I had every intention of starting up my business again in my hometown, but God had other plans. While visiting Zach's mom in North Georgia, we accidentally bought a house on HGTV! I wish I could explain it better than that, but that's what happened. We picked up everything again and drove to Georgia only seven months after moving home to start filming... Feel free to watch us find our happily ever after on Lakefront Bargain Hunt (season 11, episode 11).
While filming our episode, all I could think was, "Man, I could do this for a living." Video production was always something I wanted to learn more in depth... so I did. I started making videos and taking portraits again! As I was getting ready to start my business over in our new hometown, Covid began. I had a lot more free time on my hands, so I had time to practice. I fine-tuned my style and improved my techniques—I leveled up!
I've spent the last few years meeting some really amazing people, while documenting weddings, births, proposals, and all sorts of breathtaking moments. I've gotten pretty great at capturing the magic, which is much harder than it looks! But that's why my clients keep coming back to me, because they know I can see the magic and beauty in every moment.
That is how Hamer Visuals began and how I became a traveling wedding photographer. I have dedicated my life to capturing moments and creating memories for others. I'm constantly improving my client experience to best tailor everyone's wants, needs, and budgets as they plan the most important day(s) of their lives. No client of mine will have gallery disappointment, like I did. That is my mission.
So like I said, I am here because of a boy—well, he's a man now. He showed me what love really is. He grew up with me. Supported me. Encouraged me. Built a beautiful family with me. He gave me everything I ever wanted. Now we are building a business together with the intention of helping others nurture their love stories as well—from birth to weddings and everything in between. I am blessed to have a passion that can share with others and watch couples love each other and their families as much as I love mine. I love
love-stories, but ours will always be my favorite!