There comes a time in the life of a photographer that feels like a whole new world is opening up to give way to a new way of capturing who people truly are.
This special branding session with Jennifer a little over a week ago was a true inspiration for me. It meant so much. Like myself, Jennifer has gone through a lot in life. For her it meant among other things that she has had a very hard time having her portraits taken. Of the 500 images her last photographer sent her, she only liked three.
I really wanted her to see her beautiful self and put my best effort forward to make this experience as special as possible for her. We got the eyeCatchLight hair stylist Michaela Falk to help with hair and makeup, exactly the way that felt natural to Jennifer, and conquered difficult moments in front of the camera with grace and flow and, above all, a lot of nature.
I recently decided it was time to rebrand my business, and with that meant new photos. I typically can't handle family photos, or even casual pictures with my friends. My anxiety was at an all time high with my recent BDD relapse and stresses in life. But, I thought to myself, if I was working with a counselor, what would they suggest I do? They would challenge me to take steps towards facing my fears. I decided it was time to schedule a photo session with my new friend Simone at Eye Catch Light Photography. I warned her about my extreme photo anxiety (I left out the real details until photo day). I typically see myself as extremely deformed and overweight. As I opened up to her about what was really causing my anxiety, she did not judge me. She did not squirm or get uncomfortable. She provided a safe space for me to take these small steps towards tackling this debilitating monster that lives inside of my head. Simone talked me through the tough moments, held space as I cried, and patiently waited while I had to take (many) breaks to calm down. Her kind beautiful soul, and 11 years of photography experience (trust me- she had to pull out all of her knowledge to get me through this) created a therapeutic photography session for me. This is just one of many steps I have vowed to take for myself, and I am grateful that such a wonderful person was there to hold a safe space as I begin to work through it. I can not express enough gratitude for Simone being there for me.
Today Jennifer returned to view and select her portraits. She warned me that she'd only like a handful of photos if any. That she'd have a super hard time.
Instead, while we looked through them, Jennifer chose "yes" more and more often, which then turned into "super yes" for 26 photos. Of all the photos she chose ~80%, and even ordered an album and a nice piece of wooden wall art.
This meant the world to me. First, I share many of the struggles Jennifer went through, and it feels powerful to part ways with a similar past.
But more importantly, I did not realize that I might not fully believe in myself either. I didn't think that I could create art that truly makes someone happy. When photographer colleagues talk about creating that connection that results in images that come from the soul, I think to myself, deep inside, that I'm not the type that can create that sort of emotion in another.
And yet, in some way just that happened. All you have to do is be yourself, and others will peacefully start to find themselves. It's really pretty simple: open your heart to others, and most things will fall into place. Jennifer went on to purchase a beautiful album for her partner (see video above), as well as a piece of metal wall art for her mom. She hadn't given either any photos of herself in decades.
I hope to open my heart to many of you as future clients, because this day made me so happy, and I want to give this kind of experience to all of you.
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Thank you for reading my blog! Contact me here for any questions or to ask about the portrait experience! I am always here for you - especially now. We're in this together, even as the virus prevails.
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