Thursday, December 15, 2011

Who you are

To be honest, I have been struggling in my photography business.  The business itself is doing very well, it was my busiest and most profitable year so far -- which isn't saying too much, but still worth saying.  But deep down inside I have been struggling.  I wanted to get into this art form because I love photographs of genuine moments!  I love images that bring the viewer emotion.  That move you.  That show you a little taste of who that person really is.  Hence my tagline, "just the way you are".  Hmm...

Fast forward two years and here I am, in the midst of a growing business that is bringing in more sessions than I anticipated doing so soon.  Yay!  That is so exciting, and I am truly honored to be chosen by so many families to document where they are right now.  

But, I am not feeling the passion I once experienced with photography.  I love meeting the families, getting to know them, watching them interact with each other.  I love people!  I really do.  Each one is like no other, each one created and loved by God, each one special to someone else.  That is the story I want to tell with my photography!  But, my clients and I aren't getting there.  Somehow, the mall portrait studios of the world have brainwashed us all to wear the same colors, line up, put our hands the same way, and smile at the camera.  There is nothing wrong with smiling and looking at the camera!  But, I would be so bold as to say that "smile" 90% of the time is... FAKE.  And not just at the camera... on a daily basis.  Yesterday, at the neighbor whose dog was barking at 6AM, or answering "good" to "how are you" when you have truly had a bad day.  We have all gotten very good at pretending to look happy!  And we are taught it from a very early age:

Photo "A" was the first of a series I took of Paige the morning of her birthday party.  Does she look happy to you?  Not really.  If you look at her mouth alone it looks like a smile.  Mostly.  And if I didn't know her, I might be convinced.  But, I have seen her real smile so many times that I know this is not it.  Photo "B" was taken playing at the beach.  She was looking up at Lauren running in the waves, and filthy with sand.  I had just asked her if she liked being at the ocean.  This is her real smile.  This is her joy, her sparkle, her life.  She is four.years.old.

How much better are we at faking a smile by thirty?!?

And what value do you place on a picture where you are pretending to smile, when you know in your heart of hearts nothing real or meaningful was happening at that moment?

I think this is why many people do not like having their picture taken... because they don't like the way they look?  Sort of.  I believe they don't like the way they look because they aren't feeling anything special.  If you are laughing, and feeling love toward your family, or glowing from the love of your spouse... you will look amazing.  It just happens!  Joy seeps though the pixels of that image to the eyes of the viewer and they are convinced.  They are moved by who you are, and they can really see you.  

Every person is special.  Amazing.  Remarkable.  A miracle.  Why do we want to document anything fake?!?

So, I am on a journey to figure out how to capture these real moments.  You'll probably hear a lot more from me about this topic in the near future.  I want to make some big changes, starting by including sessions recently named Beloved, to celebrate the love of married couples.  Not to say my clients won't get a traditional smile-at-the-camera image from our sessions, they WILL.  But, I hope to also give them so much more.  I hope to create an enjoyable experience.  I hope to document their real beauty, their real joy, and their real love.  

Because that is something worth remembering forever.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paige's Party

I am shocked that it has been two weeks since I last posted!

We had a birthday part for Paige three days after her birthday, and she was SO excited!  She chose a bug theme, had a few crafts, and all in all a wonderful day!

I love this girl!  She is wild and crazy, sweet and cuddly, loves to laugh, will eat everything, and is a girl after my own heart -- she is all about the quality time together!

I love these pictures on special days - they remind me that these girls do love each other underneath all the bickering.  ;)

We made bug hats - I loved Lauren's choice of one huge eye and one teeny-tiny eye!

The bug cake that I thought was bizarre, since the writing was on the front!  But, she was really happy... with the ladybugs in particular!

And then we scarfed it up!

Then the kids dug for bugs...

and swung at the pinata!  That "game" was Paige's only special request.  My kids will do anything to get some candy.

And I was so happy I actually caught this moment:

And apparently we need to find a bigger pinata, because there was not enough candy crammed into that little donkey's body.

Oh well!  

Happy Birthday, sweet Paige-a-riffic!  
We love you and all the light and laughter you bring to our family!  


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Paige is FOUR!

Okay, how did that happen?!?  I mean really?  She's four.years.old.  I have lost track of the last two years, badly!  Still seems like she should be little to me.  But, you can't stop them from growing, so I am choosing to be excited about the little girl she is becoming!  

Since her birthday was on a Wednesday, it wasn't anything to exciting... but she picked out what we would have for dinner, and was thrilled to open gifts - of course! 

This sweet face picked STEAK, bug-mac-n-cheese, cooked carrots, and bread for her dinner!

Then the frosted sprinkle cookies, much like what she had last year...

This girlie has always been into looking at her cards!  She was so intently watching how to open the envelopes.  Love that!

Her birthday haul!  Thanks Aunt Tamara, Aunt Jamie, Grandma and Grandpa Beeler, and Great Grandma Caroline!  She was thrilled with everything you sent!

Lauren was doing "only okay" (her words) with it all being about Paige yesterday.  Lucky for her she was at school for 90% of it!

Her gift from Daddy.  It is an awesome pump pop-gun with small foam balls.  The girls LOVE it!  

But somehow, I think I'm in trouble.