There times I long to write what goes through my head as a photographer. It’s not the typical things photographers are known to write, like, why photography costs so much (taxes, yo!) or some other pedantic weirdness. But I think tonight, I’m simply going to be super brutally honest.
Sometimes, I want to quit.
I’m occasionally overcome by this intense desire to close my studio, sell my gear, take down my website, toss my gallery wall, turn my office into a play room, tell the IRS to peace out, and walk away from the 7 years of weddings, friendships, and tears and elation I’ve experienced. I have no idea what I would do, but I think about it at least once a month. I sometimes sit down in my office after school drop off and wonder if I have what it takes to move my studio from typical ho hum Raleigh wedding photography to an exceptional sought after wedding studio. Sometimes I think it’s not ever meant to be like that, and I’ve fallen victim to one too many dream peddlers that prowl instagram offering me 5 steps to Instagram Fame. No thanks, dream peddler, no thanks.
I also sometimes find myself caught up in the idea that if I just don a weird hat I would never wear in everyday life, a tulle skirt, and have head shots of me twirling on the middle of Fayetteville Street in Downtown Raleigh while drinking coffee and holding my camera in front of my face like everyone else, that it would do the trick and I’d have some sort of break through. But twirling, tulle skirts, hat doffing, coffee drinking and camera wearing for picture taking purposes aren’t me. So that’s out.
So I’m left to wonder what I keep doing this for.
The answer is you.
I do it for you. Because when I think back on my roughest moments of 2016, the ones where I spent way more time than necessary crying into my arms on my desk, I get emails from brides who love their images. It’s the emails from grateful parents, families who lost a wife and mother, where that one picture I don’t even remember taking was the last one they have of her healthy (cue the bawling in the car while at a gas station after a wedding!) is now one of their most treasured possessions. It’s the moment at a wedding in March where I had to stop shooting while I wiped tears from my eyes as the bride became the 5th generation bride in her family to wear a wedding headpiece brought over on a boat from Hungary over 100 years ago. Everytime I look at my gallery wall filled beautiful moments, the happiness and hope of so many people remind me that I do this for you. I love entering into your joy. It’s my highest honor.
The moments you experience now are ones I’m going to share with my children one day, and your most beautiful day helps me anticipate my own future moments. Your joy is a small foreshadowing of my own future joy. That’s exactly as it should be. It’s grace to me to see that and hope for it for my children. You amazing couples keep me grounded. You’re real, you’re raw, you’re killing it at life, at work, at marriage, and at parenting. Some of you overcame incredible odds to reach your wedding day. You inspire me to keep going, to keep documenting beautiful memories of greatest day anyone could ever have. This is what buoys me on the rough days, the long days, the days where there are so many NO’s and very few yeses.
And for that, I thank you all so very much.