Friday, February 24, 2017

Saturday Afternoon Coloring

My son and daughter are changing rapidly.  So rapidly in fact, that I know I am not even seeing it.  While sometimes I wish I could hit the pause button, I always remind myself that am grateful for my children growing because that means they are healthy.  When it all starts to sink in how the change has taken place, I want to be able to go back in time and remember the details.  So a lazy Saturday coloring session felt like a great slice of our life to keep in the memory box.

I want to remember my son's profile and the way he looks at things.  I want his sister to have memories of her brother and the way he loved her.  I want my children to see in their own children the looks and ways that they were at that age.  Most of all, I want to feel what our daily life was like.  This was real; this was US.  Saturday afternoon, with nothing to do with our day, lazy in our pj's, just being.  I can FEEL us, and I don't want to forget.

 I want to remember the joy.  I want to remember the giggles amidst the focus; the mix of serious and silly.  I want to bottle it all up and look back on it.  I want to show my future people what life was like for my children and I want to be able to recall the beautiful memories we experienced all the while.

I don't want to forget my daughter's current flashlight collection or my son's silly sense of humor - which is an overflow of his dad.  And one day, I fear, I will certainly forget.  So, while it is happening, before I can blink, I am holding it.

I am holding on with a story that won't forget.  It won't forget my children's interactions and fun little things that make them who they are.  It won't forget the beautiful stage of life we were in and will allow me to see each step we took through all the invisible changes.

Until next time,

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

The Cost of Documentary Photography

The conversation of pay is an uncomfortable one for me.  I seem to not be able to find a good landing place between not believing that I am worth being paid $30 an hour for my abilities as a photographer, and fighting to show people that I am.  I wish I knew where that sweet spot is, but as a new business owner, I am still finding my way.  Last week, I did some unofficial market research to find out what might hold people back from a documentary session.  A few brave friends were willing to say that the cost of photography is the biggest factor for them.  So, I went to a small business resource to help me find that sweet spot.  While we agreed that my rate is in line with, if not below, industry standards, when the conversation of my ideal client started, I quickly realized that I didn't know nearly enough.  It was then that I had to do a little soul searching and make a tough decision: am I my ideal client?

After I left, I thought a lot about this.  I fully understand that my mindset is different than most people when it comes to photography.  I have been living with it in my daily life for over 5 years now.  Even though my husband and I both know he isn't my client, I wondered if his feelings about documentary photography had changed because of having it around so much.  So, I asked him if, tomorrow, I decided to hang up my gear and never take another picture again, would he miss it?  I expected him to say of course, but pretty quickly, he said he didn't think he would.  It made my heart sink.  And then he paused.  He said, "But in 20 years, it will be different."  He surmised that at that point, he would miss them, and the kids would probably miss them too.  That time without them would make him realize how valuable they were and that he wanted them after all.

 My son praises my work constantly, so I know my husband is right that he would miss them.  He gets it like no one else and might even be my ideal client as an adult.  But of course, in 20 years, it's too late to decide you want pictures to be a priority when you were a kid.  You can't go back.  Anyone missing pictures of their childhood or their parents would tell you that.

 I know photography - all photography, but particularly photography that asks long hours of time on the 
back side - is expensive.  I could sit and list all of the business costs as to why that is.  But honestly, who cares?

After having this in my life for these last few years, I know that the real cost of documentary photography is what happens when you say yes to something else instead.  When you won't be able to go back and make a different decision because the time will have passed.  Your babies will have grown.  Your parents will have aged.  Your teenagers will have moved out.  Whatever stage of life you are in will have been replaced and it just won't be the same.

I am thankful I have said yes to this.  I know it means I have had to say no to a lot of other things in my life in order to buy the equipment, build the skills, and start my business legally, but that's ok.  For me, being able to holding on to this slice of life, and potentially do that for others too, is worth it.

Until next time,

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Date Nights

I'm not sure exactly when it happened, but at some point in my twenties, my "ideal" date night changed.  Mind you, I have never really been one for expensive restaurants or fancy things.  I do enjoy being spoiled every now and again, but with my main love languages being quality time and words of affirmation, my ideal date is simply hanging out and talking.  I guess that's why when my husband asked me on our first date, and he wanted to skip the movies to simply sit and talk over lunch at a park, I was kind of head over heals from the start.  So, with the big love day coming closer and closer on the calendar, I wanted to share a favorite date that I missed posting from the close of the summer.  Now that we have kids, we rather like spending time with them - and I know a lot of my mom friends that have that same thought.  So, when my husband wanted to return to the place of our first date with our kids and a picnic for his birthday, I was all on board.  And although you might not be able to head to the park or beach with your family this upcoming Valentine's Day, I hope this has you thinking about a meaningful way to spend time with the ones you care about the most.  Especially if that means celebrating family time together and building lifelong memories.  (And if it has you wishing that you could have a documentary photographer tag along with you to catch it all too, shoot me an email - I'm all on board for that as well!)

So glad to have these times and memories with my people.  Hope you enjoyed.

Until next time,

Sunday, February 5, 2017

February 5-on-5: Those Sweet Moments

Due to my grandpa's recent passing and services, my family and I got to spend a few days with my parents 1,000 miles away.  It's been interesting to watch how the loss of someone in my life since I made the official shift to documentary photography has shaped the way I view both life and death.  I now see even more things that I know I want to hold on to.  All those sweet moments that will bring back a flood of memories.

So, when my daughter asked my mom if she would dry her hair after her bath, and my mom, never getting to do it, jumped on the chance, I practically sprinted to get my camera.  When before I would have just enjoyed the 5 minutes of solitude, I now understand I need to hold on to those sweet things.

My mom complained about being photographed, just like so many other woman I know.  She complained about her appearance and her clutter and would have probably given me a laundry list of other things if I let her.  But, like any good daughter, I just ignored her.

Instead, I just shot.  I shot my daughter's little glances in the mirror.  I shot my mother's little smiles as she soaked it all in.  I told her I wasn't shooting her closet and that her clutter didn't matter.

 I shot my mother's hands.  I shot her familiar profile and her long silver-gray hair.  I shot as she gently dried my daughter's hair and talked to her about the comb she was playing with.

And I shot the sweet kiss on the head as my mom was all done.  Then I stopped.  And I told my mom that one day, my daughter would be SO very thankful to have these, even with all the things my mother wanted to complain about.  I made us both cry, but that was ok.  It needed to be said.

Our 5-on-5 circle is a beautiful way to support some amazing documentary photographers, so please make sure to hit all the stops.  Next up is my friend Stephanie Woodward, Utah Storytelling Photographer.

Until next time,