Do you ever have moments where you’re like, “this... this is what I’ve been put on this planet to do.” See, ever since officially putting myself out there about 2 years ago as a “real photographer,” I’ve had some moments where I questioned if I really belonged here... in the photography community that is. You see, I’m a natural born perfectionist. You know during a job interview when they ask, “what’s your biggest weakness?” Well being a perfectionist is seriously probably the most overused answer in any interview, but for me it’s is 100% the truth.
I’ve always loved taking photos. In middle school, I was the girl who always had the disposable camera and made my mom take me to the closest Rite Aid to have it developed as soon as it was done! I scrapbooked the majority of my teenage years, and I still have ALL of those albums. I love digging through them to embarrass my friends with an awesome throwback collage on Facebook on their birthday, too (lol).
I got a “nice” camera a few years before my daughter was born, and I mainly used it for taking pictures at my friends’ kids’ birthday parties. Birthday parties turned into Christmas card photos for my best friends and eventually they trusted me enough to capture huge milestones in their lives, including pregnancies and new babies. I was so nervous to put my work out into space for real though. Fearful my work wasn’t good enough. Worried I’d be criticized that my prices weren’t adequate. But I did it... slowly. And here I am, almost 6 years later with a growing photography business and my very first blog post ever (eeekkk).
So that moment I was talking about... the one where I knew I was exactly where I’m meant to be... well it happened just a few months ago, and it’s had a real impact on me. Sometime in like mid November, I was approached by a friend to shoot her in-law’s anniversary party. I honestly hadn’t done much work inside before as I am primarily a natural light photographer. My initial reaction was to say “no,” because I didn’t think I’d be able to deliver photos that were good enough to commemorate this family’s special event. But instead, I said “yes” and started studying up on indoor photography techniques, practicing on my kids and invested in some flash equipment.
Needless to say, the event went off without a hitch. The anniversary party was a beautiful celebration of a couple that was so in love, and I was so honored to be a part of it. I was pretty happy with how all of my photos turned out, too. But just days after this celebration, my friend’s family was struck with heartbreak - her father-in-law passed away unexpectedly on New Years Eve, just hours after I sent over their online gallery. For days I was consumed in the grief this family was feeling. I mean, just 5 days prior, everyone was toasting the example this couple set for so many for so many years.
Just a few weeks later, I was watching a webinar by two pretty awesome wedding photographers (Justin & Mary). Something they said hit me like a ton of bricks. They said, “We don’t take photos for the bride. We take them for her granddaughter to find one day.”
That’s it!! I’m taking photos not just for a client. I’m taking photos to freeze a moment in time. Photos that will be forever shared with children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren. Photos that will hang on a wall and watch on as other memories are being made. Photos that will serve as a reminder of a happy time.
I'm so thankful that I said "yes" to that opportunity last year, because it has brought so much clarity to why I do what I do. It's made me sit and think about my true love for this business.
Why do I still have all of those old scrapbooks filled with embarrassing pictures of me in the 1990's? Because it's so fun to show my daughter that I was a dancer, too, just like she is now. Why do I insist on having family photos taken at LEAST once a year? So that I can freeze my family in that exact moment - what my kids' little personalities were like or what my body looked like while I was pregnant. I have so many of these photos hanging in my home today and they make me smile every time I look at them. Why do I LOVE photos so much? Because when I look at them, I am taken back to that exact moment in time, and I can remember every single detail about what happened before that photo was taken or what happened right after.
"This is what I like about photographs. They're proof that once, even if just for a heartbeat, everything was perfect." - Jodi Picoult
So, do I have to be the "perfect photographer," absolutely not. Am I going to try to perfect my craft as best as I can, sure thing! But what I really want to do is to continue freezing moments in time for moms and dads and grand-moms and grand-dads for years to come.