2017. What a year. I’m not going to lie to you guys… It was a harsh one. On a personal note more than professional. I realize that it’s not always what people want to hear when they come on a happy wedding blog but, I always feel that, as a professional photographer, it’s important, to be honest. That’s what I want from my clients and you have to give to receive.
I don’t know what it was about this year but it seemed like the universe wasn’t really on my side. Between heartbreak, doing a kitchen renovation that was MUCH more stressful than it needed to be, going to WAY too many funerals and spending half of my savings on vet bills, 2017 was filled with emotion. The stress was so intense that I fell out of remission with my graves disease. Ugh. Which makes emotions 100x worse let alone, makes my body attack itself. Having your own business is amazing on so many different levels but the bad side can be really bad in return. You are alone all the time (working from home, not having employees) which means that depression is often a few steps away waiting to creep in. But everything has balance. From all the “crap” that I’ve endured, I believe that there’s always a positive side… if you choose to see it. I’ve learned this year that having close friends (people who realllyyy know you) is extremely important. Being able to be open with them without fear of judgment is an essential part of getting older. And this year, I needed people. Being in your 30s, It’s so easy to lose those connections. Life gets in the way of EVERYTHING. So, I chose to swallow my pride and let go of grief that I was unnecessarily holding on to and I started talking to some old friends and some my family members more (specifically), some of which that I hadn’t spoken to in 3 years. The ride back from depression is way too hard on your own. It’s important to make time for the people you choose to have in your life. Am I being too honest? Maybe. Oh well.
Everything has balance. If you are going through a harsh time, that means that there must be a lesson in there, right? Some good will come from it. Personally, I learned that connection and emotion is a part of life that you shouldn’t ignore. Make it a part of your everyday. Don’t wait for it to explode all over the place.
I almost quit photography this year because of the way I was feeling. My happy bright photos didn’t resonate with me anymore and it was making me doubt my love for photography. I wasn’t happy so, happy photos… feltweird. As a last resort, I decided to book a trip to Portugal in April to go to a workshop. I gave myself an ultimatum. “Either you come back inspired… or you quit”. Well… I’m still here guys. I mean, the workshop itself was pretty basic. We had talks from big photographers in Europe and we went on shoots to fill our days. The photographers usually talk about their journeys, their struggles, their wins, their losses. Not sure I would say it was worth the 3k. But, it did give me some time away from life to reflect. Also, what I did learned is that everyone… and I mean everyone… struggled with their love for photography.
Our job is great. We are very lucky to be able to photograph people on their wedding days. But sometimes, it becomes a little … “showy”. Is that the right word? With Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram… there’s this weird need to want to be better than the next guy. Everything must be perfect, all the time. You know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, weddings these days tend to be less about the love and the emotion and more about the details, the flowers, the dress. As a photographer, it’s heartbreaking to see. Turns out, a lot of people felt this way at that workshop. And it made me change the way I see weddings. Made me realize what I wanted to focus on (get it… it’s a pun… I’m sorry). I decided that the way for me would be to shoot less BIG weddings and focus on smaller affairs. Events that allow me to connect with my clients (and their families) on a more intimate level. Weddings aren’t about how much stuff you have, it’s about the looks you give him without even realizing, the tears of happiness you cry, the hugs of appreciation you give, the overwhelming love you feel.
My state of mind was so frazzled during that time. I was feeling so much emotion myself that I needed it reflected in my own photography. I wanted to be able to show feelings. And I’m not talking about happiness or laughter. That one is easy. I wanted to be able to show my potential clients (you) that hard emotions, the ones that we tend to want to keep behind closed doors, are much more present than we tend to think. Everyone gets sad. Everyone gets lonely. And that’s ok. We shouldn’t be ashamed of that anymore. It’s useless to try to avoid feelings. This year, I learned to live with them and to stop keeping everything inside so much. It’s ok to be upset at the world at times. I want my work to reflect that: It’s ok to feel.
My photography suddenly became darker. Without even thinking about it. I started connecting with my photography more and more again. Because it was reflecting what I was/am feeling inside. I’m tired of always having a happy face on. Sometimes, I feel like not talking. Sometimes, I feel like letting go and crying for no reason. I shouldn’t have to be ashamed of that. You shouldn’t either.
When I first started shooting (7 years ago) I wanted to “show how beautiful people are”. That is still my goal. But somehow, I got lost along the way. Showing how beautiful people are became posed, with full faces of makeup. That’s not real life. I want my work to show how you REALLY are. I’m looking for people that want to let me in and show the world what they are really about. A messy house, messy hair… whatever it may be. Once they do, I make it my job to show them how beautiful that is.
This year, I started shooting in homes more too. Something that I avoided for years because I was always afraid of the lighting situations. When I came back from Portugal, I said “F*ck it” and told myself that whatever happened… happened. I want to show how great your life is, right now and what better place to do that then in your own home/backyard. I also started shooting fewer faces. More hands, more movement, more blur, more mess. Just like life is everyday. Turns out, I won’t be quitting anytime soon I guess. Thank goodness because I do love photography.
So, if you noticed how I disappeared a little this year and how dark my photography got, this is why. I’ve learned this year that it’s awesome to have fun, laughing, happy days but the darker, lonely, emotional days are the ones that make you stop and think about what you should be focusing your life on. It’s those moments that made you grow and turned you into the person you are today. That’s what I love to photograph. Enough with the “we are perfect all the time” staged photos. I guess the process is me getting older (and hopefully, wiser)
I’m a mess. Life, in general, is a mess. And you know what, it’s pretty great !
If you are reading this, I wanted to take a second to say thank you. You know, for being here. It’s because of people like you (who hopefully care) that I’m still doing this. If you still like my work and following my journey, I appreciate you. Keep sharing and refer me. And let yourself known! Comment and follow me on Instagram! Let’s go out for coffee! You are my people too! Thank you for supporting me again and again in these last 7 (soon 8) years.
Here are some of my favourite photos from 2017. This year, I met so many new people, I traveled to Portugal, Italy, Palm Springs, Florida to photograph couples. I found the courage to be ok with who I am and even did a personal boudoir session (which I will show you soon). I still have a little while to go to be able to feel 100% again but I can finally start seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I’m glad it’s finally 2018. Hope to see you in it.
*update* It’s been two days and tried to go through my photos and gave up. I’m sorry if you aren’t included here. There’s over 30 000 photos to go through.