I have been to many many workshops, conferences, classes and educational events for professional photographers over the years. For the most part I learn technical things from these--things like lighting situations, posing, business methods, things photographers use in everyday business. All of the things I have learned do come into play at some point, but I attended a class this past winter at the National Professional Photographers Association Convention that really hit home. It had a lot to do with emotions, not the emotions of our clients, how to get a good expression, etc. but the emotions and reasoning behind why we as photographers do what we do. Why we choose this field of work, not just because we like taking photos, we like being creative, we like being our own boss (which are all great) but the real reason -- we all have a reason. As for most creative industries this is not the highest paying career choice-but to find within yourself the real reason why you do it and are passionate about it. To some of you I know this is a little far fetched and takes some deep thinking but I am finally at the point I have figured it out, my why, and am ready to share why I am so passionate about being a photographer.
If you know me well I'm not a super emotional person on the outside. I like to keep my private life off social media and well, private. You will probably never find me posting many photos of myself, what I ate for dinner, all the places I go, etc. When it comes to my business I try to be a bit more open but I know that doesn't always happen either. So I'm taking a real leap here with this blog post about my inner reasoning, taking my shields down and showing a bit more emotion. So hear goes it: Ever since that class I took this past winter I have had "my why" written on my daily to do list. It's been in the back of my mind as I try to sort it all out. Growing up in small town Arlington was great, (even tho I didn't always think so). I have many wonderful memories and as you get older you realize how very fortunate you really are. I was lucky enough to grow up with family all living in the same small town only a few miles from each other. I have so many memories that include my grandparents and this is one subject I will get emotional about, after so long trying to find my "why" it all makes sense. I didn't know my Grandpa as much as I wish I had, he was a very quite man, at least that I remember, and passed away when I was in the 7th grade. But my Grandma was someone extra special to me. She passed away just over 4 years go and it's hard to believe it's been that long already. I think about her everyday and am so thankful I knew her as long as I did. I can vividly remember her making bread and hot dish in the kitchen on the farm while watching her "soaps". I remember having sleep overs at the farm with my sister, her coming to Grandparents Day in grade school, and of course our basketball games. The list could go on and on-when it comes down to it, she was my person. She was a down to earth, caring and compassionate Grandma that could lay down the law if she needed to but was always there to support you. She was independent and tough, and one person I never wanted to disappoint. As I got older in high school and college I would go over-we'd sit, watch her "soaps" and I'd eat ice cream or candy (because she always had lots of goodies). If something wasn't right or I was just having a bad day she wouldn't pry, we could just sit but I knew she was there for me. She smoked for most of her life and was diagnosed with lung cancer, she outlived what those doctors said but we all knew eventually things would change. I am so thankful she was able to meet my husband-even tho it was just once it meant so much to me that she met him. By this time she was quite sick and slept a lot of the day. Adam and I were just dating and went over to see her, the first thing she said was "boy he's tall" Haha. That was her, telling it how it is (I'm 5'1", my husband is 6'). Anyways, she was my person even tho she might not have known it.
Ok--that was a long gushy part, getting back to my "why". When I look through our photo albums my favorites are always with family. We all know life goes by so fast, kids grow up, people die. Photographs give us so so much--memories and moments in time that might be forgotten. This is my workspace- I see these portraits above my computer everyday.
The black and white on the bottom left is one of my favorite images ever. When I see that photo I remember going through Grandma's closet picking out what she would wear, trying to convince her we should do this (if you knew her she didn't like her picture taken...at all). This was taken in 2010 and at that time it was a rare occurrence we were all together-I am so very glad I convinced her we need to do this at that time. I will forever cherish this photo. That smile, that expression, that twinkle in her eyes-this is her to me and how I will always remember her.
I know I'm getting long winded here and way too sentimental but as a photographer I have the knowledge, the tools, and the passion to give that to everyone of my clients. Everyone deserves to have cherished portraits of the people they love so much and mean the most to them. So brides-I will ask you in our final consultation before your wedding, would like to do a first look with your mom, dad, grandparents? I would love to have a photo with my Grandma at my wedding, the first time she would have seen me as a bride. Parents with newborns I will encourage you to do a few family photos at your newborn session, even if you don't think you are looking your best (you just had a baby...you look awesome!) if not for yourself do it for your kids, for your family. Give them something to cherish. To celebrate this time in your lives. During a wedding or any session I see so many moments, emotions, and interactions-to be able to capture that and give those moments to my clients is something I love to do. Everyone's story deserves to be told, everyone's memories deserve to be cherished. Things happen, life goes on, how will you remember your good times? Your loved ones? Please get your photos taken, if not by me by someone you trust, a professional that knows what they are doing, someday that may be all you have left.
Whew! Emotion overload! I just cried my eyes out, but that's it. That's my why. I am so blessed in many ways and am thankful for all my clients that trust me to create their cherished memories and tell their stories.