Photographer Lets Daughter, 9, Work Wedding with Him — and Is Shocked at Her Photos: 'Career Highlight' (Exclusive)

Jerome Cole found the perfect opportunity to share something special with his little girl

<p>Jerome Cole</p> Jerome and Aisha Cole (left), Aisha Cole photographing the bride and groom

Jerome Cole

Jerome and Aisha Cole (left), Aisha Cole photographing the bride and groom

Jerome Cole has been a wedding photographer for over 15 years. He's seen many beautiful moments unfold before his lens, but nothing quite like a recent experience.

Jerome's 9-year-old daughter, Aisha, has shown interest in her dad's work from a young age. When the dad found himself looking for a second shooter for an upcoming daytime wedding, it seemed like the perfect chance to let his little girl's interest shine.

"Aisha has always shown an interest in arts and crafts in school. She likes drawing and painting. She makes movies on her iPad. Whenever I'd go to a wedding, she tried asking me if she could come," Jerome tells PEOPLE.

"Every single time Dad would go to a wedding, I would ask, 'Can I come?' And then he would say every single time, 'Maybe when you're older — probably when you're 12,' " Aisha tells PEOPLE.

Aisha is proud "I didn't give up. I kept on asking and finally there was a wedding where it could come true because he needed a second shooter, and I was so excited."

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Jerome explains he first took Aisha to a shoot with him last year, where he showed her how to use his cameras.

"She did an amazing job, and it was like, 'Oh my gosh, you can shoot,' the proud dad says, which is how he knew she'd be up to the challenge of a wedding.

"When I had my final meeting with my couple for the wedding that Aisha accompanied me on, the bride — who is also a photographer, which helped — said, 'I'd love a shot of my dress from behind coming down the aisle. And I'd love a shot of me leaving the church from behind.' "

When Jerome informed her it would require a second shooter, the couple decided they wouldn't need one for the whole day. Later on, Jerome realized it could be an excellent opportunity to use Aisha's help.

"It seemed like a good opportunity since the wedding was early and a smaller one. Then I discussed it with my couple and they were thrilled to have Aisha come along."

<p>Aisha Cole</p> Jerome Cole photographing bride and groom

Aisha Cole

Jerome Cole photographing bride and groom

To get ready, Aisha had to go shopping for the perfect professional look. "I had to wear all black, but I don't really have that because I don't really wear much black. So we went to the shops to get black shorts and t-shirts," she says.

Also on deck? "Aisha's mom packed snacks for the day, because shooting weddings takes a lot of energy and concentration. We made sure to get there early so we could practice and walk through the main shots. We made some hand signals to communicate logistics about where we should be standing — and one was just to say I love you, for encouragement."

After the big day, Jerome went back to look at the photos — and they were "better than I was even expecting."

"I was just so proud of her and couldn't believe what she came up with. The other highlight for me, which was more reflection, was that Aisha was so keen and eager to work with me. She just had such a great work ethic and the work itself was the reward. She genuinely enjoyed taking photos of people."

<p>Jerome Cole</p> Aisha Cole photographing bride and groom

Jerome Cole

Aisha Cole photographing bride and groom

Aisha says she "enjoyed everything" about the day.

"It was so fun to take photos of people when they were all wearing fancy clothes and dancing. There were these two kids that were the daughters of the couple and they were so cute. I loved taking photos of them because they were hilarious and doing the most cute little things ever," the now 10-year-old says.

The special day meant everything to the proud dad, who called it, "my career highlight."

"It was really nice being at the wedding and watching Aisha work. She looked so professional. I could tell her photos were going to be good because of the way her feet were positioned. You could tell she was hungry for the photo and making sure she was getting into the right position for the action to happen before it happened."

<p>Jerome Cole</p> Jerome and Aisha Cole

Jerome Cole

Jerome and Aisha Cole

"My favorite was the first kiss," Jerome adds. "It's such a high-pressure shot for wedding photography, one of the must-haves. It's a great one to have a second shooter for, so you can get two different angles."

"I usually take about three or four photos, just to make sure I get it. She just took one photo, but she absolutely nailed it. It's a beautifully composed connection, so that's my favorite photo."

<p>Aisha Cole</p> Bride and groom exiting church

Aisha Cole

Bride and groom exiting church

Jerome was excited to share the experience with the photo community he's cultivated across social media.

"I share lot of behind-the-scenes action, as well as my own life and my kids. I knew Aisha's photos were going to be good, so I thought it'd definitely be a good story to share. I thought my community would enjoy it but I was not expecting it to go viral, that's for sure."

For Aisha, who isn't online much, she was excited about how "my principal from school and some of my teachers have seen it."

Jerome isn't sure when the next time the circumstances will be right to have Aisha join him, but he's looking forward to when that day comes.

"Because of this response, I was tempted to do another one together straight away. But then, when we thought about it, my wife and I really just wanted to be sure that she could just be a kid. It's great that she's got this advanced skill for her age, but we want to make sure she enjoys it and we move slowly."

Jerome continues, "For me, I think it has to be the right kind of wedding again, where the logistics allow me to concentrate on my job and keep an eye on Aisha doing hers. So she'll definitely come with me to a wedding again, but it won't be every weekend."

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