I wasn’t always a photographer. Before opening my photography business I worked in study abroad, which I loved, however after the birth of my two little ones, I needed a more flexible schedule.
I didn’t want to miss them growing up and I am incredibly thankful that we had the resources to do this because I know that not everyone has this luxury. I am incredibly grateful for this opportunity to be involved in the everyday life of my girls.
I didn’t want to forget the details; you know, the teeny tiny toes, the curls in their hair, their adorable smile, their cute belly button. The way they look at you. All these moments fly by so fast and I just wanted to freeze them. That’s when the photography came in. I had always loved photography and had taken black and white film classes in high school and as an adult. But mostly I focused on landscapes, travel, and architecture. Fast forward to my babies arriving and it was all about them.
My subjects were little and so it only made sense to start out in newborn, baby and family photography. I practiced like crazy, read about photography until the wee hours of the morning and enrolled in class after class to advance my skills. After a lot of reflecting, I found my voice and realized that what I loved most was focusing on girls and women. My two most favorite subjects are mommas of all stages, girls, and high school seniors.
I love focusing on mommas because I get them. I know their story of late nights, no showers, endless piles of laundry, poopy diapers, crumbs and legos on the floor, locking yourself in the bathroom to get a minute to yourself and hiding in the pantry while scarfing down a piece of chocolate just so you don’t have to share. (yes, I am that mom) All the while, loving your littles like CRAZY even though the days are long – because you know it goes by so fast and yes, the years are short. And I know how sometimes you can feel invisible. And unappreciated. And lost. Who ARE you now? What are you contributing to this world while you are changing poopy diapers and wiping boogers off of adorable little faces?
While you sit and reflect on that, I’m here to tell you that YOU MATTER. What you are doing for your children matters. It is simply the MOST IMPORTANT JOB that a momma can be doing, if she has that luxury. You may not be paid in dollars, but you are paid in sloppy kisses, squeezy hugs, odd-shaped little cut-out hearts, misspelled notes, adorable, messy smiles, and belly laughs. I am incredibly grateful that I am paid in pink hearts and squeezy hugs and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Quite honestly, the rest is up to me. So when I have a day when I am feeling especially lost and unappreciated, I think about the squeezy hug I received earlier that morning. I think about how I GET to take my girlies to school, pick them up, make dinner for them and take them to their dance classes. What.an.honor.
And I will share with you what I have figured out in all of this reflecting I have done on being a momma and focusing on raising two loving, strong, independent girls. It is up to ME to value what I am doing and to truly grasp the immense importance of this privilege that is not always so glamorous. It DOES NOT MATTER if anyone else values what I am doing. It truly doesn’t. IT MATTERS THAT I VALUE focusing on raising my girls. No one can take that from me.
I absolutely love this quote from Mandy Arioto in her book, Starry-Eyed,
“Motherhood is your worthy calling for today—and you are significant. Just as a lighthouse beckons souls toward a safe harbor, the work of your day will woo your kids toward a light called home.”- Mandy Arioto
I am going to woo the heck out of my girls so they know that they are loved, so they can care for others in this not so kind world, so they know in all of their intricate uniqueness, God beautifully and intentionally created them. I will do my BEST to teach them to love their bodies, to speak their mind, to follow their dreams, and to both find and share their voices with this world. I will teach them to set boundaries and to know that many times, people are mean not because of us, but because of something inside themselves. I will teach them that if someone in their life does not value them or their interests – it is okay. It is not them and it is perfectly okay to move on with their life without that person.
I want the over-tired, underappreciated momma to feel loved, beautiful, important, appreciated, and pampered. I want her to see herself how I see her…how all of her loved ones see her and to see the most beautiful version of herself that she has not seen in awhile. And I want young girls and teenagers to feel comfortable in front of the camera, love what they see, and embrace all that is them. My way of doing this is taking the most beautiful picture they have ever seen of themselves. They get a day to be pampered, feel beautiful, and afterwards they walk away with gorgeous prints that will outlive all of us.
When boxes of client prints or gallery wraps arrive at my doorstep, it is like Christmas morning for me! I simply love seeing the finished product, these products that will be loved by their families, their children, and their children’s children. Seriously, how lucky am I to get to create a family legacy?! I have to pinch myself.
I feel so very blessed to be the person behind the camera capturing women’s beauty; it is my calling and I am so thankful I found it. Being able to show women a part of themselves they haven’t seen in awhile is one of the best things in the world – so much so that it sometimes brings me to tears.
And hopefully, as I am “wooing” my littles, they will see how much I love what I do, how I am following my dreams, and they will one day find their voices and their calling in this world and follow their dreams, too…..because they saw their momma do it.