17 Jan Bay Area wedding photographer | What I learned in 2017
One of my (many many, far too many) goals for this year is to write more. This means journaling and creative writing, as well as writing more on this blog. Sometimes there are so many photos to share that I get caught up in sharing images but forget to share thoughts. So, in an effort to start strong on that front, I wanted to write down just a sampling of what I learned last year. As a photographer and business owner, I am always learning – improving posing, lighting, marketing, art direction and directing clients. I am trying to learn how to organize and focus and do the (dreaded) paperwork. But the *most* important things I have learned throughout my career have nothing to do with the technicalities and everything to do with life.
I struggle sometimes with feeling like I’m not doing enough to “give back”. Like I should love more, volunteer more of my time, like I should do more “productive” things (whatever that magical word even means). This may all still be true. But the more I hone in on what I do and why I do it, I have discovered this: taking pictures is how I love. What I mean is this – when I photograph something, I am noticing it. I am appreciating it. I am paying attention and deaming that thing worth keeping and holding on to. This, of course, extends to people. When I am photographing someone I am noticing, appreciating, and recognizing that person as worthwhile. Not only that person in general, but tiny things about them – a gesture, a laugh, a moment of interaction with someone they love. I am so so incredibly blessed to be able to do this for a living. With my camera, I *see* you. It is a blessing twice over – first because I get to do it, and second because people actually appreciate it enough to hire me. It’s not that I’ve never known this, but it’s been in the back of my mind. But this year, I think I *really* started seeing it – that I am given the gift of loving and serving through doing something I thoroughly enjoy. This first thing I’ve learned has to do with loving by keeping: moments in time are fleeting – disappearing as quickly as they occur. But with a photo I can keep that moment – for myself in my own life, for my family and friends, for my clients. I can take that moment in time and give it back to them to keep, and that is so so sweet.
The other thing I learned is about loving by letting go. From reading the previous paragraph you might have gathered that I’m a bit of a collector of moments. My memory is not great, and so photographing, even in my own life, is how I hold on to the things which are of value. The people I love, the places I visit, the bits of light slipping across the wall in the morning that I can’t bear to part with. This year I learned that while I can keep moments and people in photographs, some relationships are temporary and *that is ok*. It doesn’t mean there wasn’t a real connection there, it doesn’t mean you didn’t mean something to each other. This has opened me up to love more fully, with less reservation, with less expectation. One of the ways this shows up in my life commonly is with my clients. I like to build relationships, to get to know them, to invite them to know me. I love to connect. And with weddings, I then get to be there for this incredible event in their lives – I see their families loving them, I hear the toasts praising them and celebrating their union. I usually only get a few chances throughout the process to connect with my clients, but at the end of it all I truly do care for each one of them. This way in which our lives intersect is made no less meaningful by it’s brevity or temporary nature.
And so, to all my clients from this past year and the years before – thank you for letting me into your lives. However brief or long lasting our connection has been, I have enjoyed it and it has meant something to me. Thank you thank you thank you for allowing my to do what I love.