It's been an incredibly busy year for me this year, and I've learned and grown so much as a photographer. Now that I have a few minutes to breathe, I wanted to share with you all some big changes you'll see beginning in 2017!
Starting in January, when you contact me to ask me to take your picture my response will be, "NO. No I will not take your picture." But don't worry, I'm not quitting photography! In fact, I'm doing the exact opposite of that. I'll be sharing with you all my passion for photography in an even more meaningful way than I ever have. Next year I won't just take your picture, I'll document your memories for you. I don't want to merely show that you existed, I want to show that you truly LIVED! If you ask me to go on an adventure with your family, the answer will be YES. If you ask me to join you in your home and photograph the love, laughter, and even the occasional sadness that lives there, the answer will be YES. If you ask me to meet you in your hospital room while you're giving birth and document the moment you meet your child for the first time, the answer is YES. Or meet you in your hospital room just hours after birth, to document all of those brand-new-baby details and the awe you feel now that your sweet one has finally arrived. YES. Or how you're giving every ounce of your heart and soul to be an amazing parent to your children. YES. Or how you spend every Sunday morning making waffles with your family and then exploring your favorite park. YES. You see, I don't just want to take your picture. I want to document your life. Because, to me, that's far more valuable to you, your family, and the generations to come.
If you're still wondering what all of this means, it just means that I'll no longer be offering posed portrait sessions starting next month. There are so many reasons I'm making this change, but I'll just list a few here for you so you'll understand my reasoning for this switch!
1. Probably the most important reason is that lifestyle and documentary photography is where my passion lies. My creativity and my art seem to be stifled when I'm doing regular portrait sessions. My best work always comes during real moments with raw emotion. Posed portrait sessions feel flat to me because they lack that rawness.
2. I've realized I don't really like following the "rules." It's taken me a few years of very hard work and tons of practice learn the rules of photography, like how to find or create even lighting. But, I actually LOVE to play with light. I like exploring pockets of light surrounded by deep shadows. I like playing with light rays and sun flare when the moment presents itself. I even like the challenge of exploring low light situations, and fully embrace the grain that comes with shooting in low light. I love all lighting really. Not just the even lighting most photographers are looking to achieve in their portraits. I also like to play with different angles and framing, so I sometimes break some composition rules. But when I'm breaking all of those rules, I'm creating a photograph that creates emotion. If a photograph doesn't contain emotion, and if you can't FEEL the memory you're capturing when you look at that photo, it can fall flat very quickly. A photograph that truly draws you in is one that touches your soul. When you look back at a session I've done with your family, I want it bring you right back to that moment. I want it to stir your soul. And when I sit down late at night to edit your photos, I don't want to worry about technicalities. I want to worry about emotion. I actually cry when I'm editing most of my documentary and lifestyle sessions. That has never once happened while I was editing a posed portrait session.
3. I don't want you to be stressed the entire time, and I don't want your children to be stressed either. I've had too many family portrait sessions where the parents are anxious because they want everything to go perfectly. I've had too many portrait sessions where the toddler is tired or hungry, or just not into it, and everyone is fighting and/or crying by the end of the session. A newly walking baby or excited toddler doesn't want to sit and smile at my camera for 45 minutes, and shouldn't be expected to. My heart breaks when the little ones get upset and then the parents end up angry. If you know me well personally, you know that I practice gentle, attachment parenting as much as I possibly can. Ending a portrait session with everyone mad at each other because a child with a busy body and growing mind wanted to explore rather than sit and say "Cheese!" just eats at me for days. Truly. I just can't stop thinking about it. I don't like doing that to the children, and I just can't make myself go against my own philosophy on parenting and child development any longer. What I'd much rather do if your child is shy, or tired, or having a bad day, is document it. I want to document what you would usually do to help soothe your child and help turn their sadness into smiles. I want to document how your daughter hides behind your leg when she's meeting a new person. I want to document that the only thing that will comfort your son when he's overwhelmed is nursing him while he plays with your hair. I don't want your family to turn against each other just to get the "perfect" shot. I'd much rather take photographs of you all supporting one another, even when you feel like everything is going all wrong that day.
4. And the last reason, if I'm going to be completely honest with you and myself, is I'm really not even that great at taking posed family portraits! Haha! Seriously. I CAN take them, but it's definitely not my strength! If you want emotional, real moments and memories photographed and preserved in an artistic, meaningful way, I'm your girl. In fact, I'm damn good at it if I do say so myself! But, if you're looking for the "perfect" family portrait of everyone impeccably dressed, perfectly posed, and looking right into my lens with smile, I'm not your photographer. I know SO many photographers who are INCREDIBLE at doing just that, but it's just not me! I don't want to want to give you "okay" photos anymore, so I'm only offering what I'm exceptionally good at.
So invite me to join you on an adventure! Let me capture your children exploring nature's beauty. Invite me into your homes and lives to document your most treasured family activities to look back on when your children are all grown. Take me with you to your favorite library, or coffee shop, or ice cream place. Ask me to spend a morning with you enjoying your very first home together. Or call me to come over to document dinner, bath time and bed time in your current home just before the movers come and you move on to the next state or country. But, please, don't ask me to just take your picture. Your family and your memories deserve so much more than that.
***Please note I've removed most of the content on my website temporarily, as my previous portfolio doesn't reflect my current style. I will have my portfolio and pricing updated soon! In the meantime, I AM still booking sessions for 2017. Spring is already filling up fast! I'm currently booking birth, Fresh 48, newborn, and family sessions in Hampton Roads, Virginia and all around the United States. Love to you all! Can't wait to get started next year!***