Earlier this week I was chatting with a dear friend, who also happens to be a wedding photographer, on some business and life topics. The conversation ranged from branding, to stubborn children and back. We aimlessly chat often, and so one of the nuggets of wisdom that emerged from this conversation was her last piece of advice. She said, “show them your heart.”
So today I’m going to show you my heart, and why that matters.
It makes sense, after all. I talk about my desire to be seen as more than just a button pusher to my clients. I seek to earn trust and friendships…not just an income. Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t leave a stable and steady income to giveaway my time and talent for nothing. But this job is much more than just a paycheck to me.
One of my recent wedding inquiries showed me just how much it matters for your heart to be on the same page as your art. The bride wrote paragraphs about her wedding plans and visions, and then she told me that she loves my work…ESPECIALLY my lifestyle gallery. This immediately caught my attention. I had believed that the gallery is often ignored, it isn’t large or conventionally beautiful. However, it is without a doubt my heart. Most of the images are of my children, taken in stolen childhood moments in between the “big” moments. There are no birthday cakes, no princess crowns or bicycles. They are not posed moments or coerced expressions. The deepest part of my soul, and not to mention the reason why I pick up my camera is poured out on that page. But back to the part where this has something to do with why I’m a wedding photographer: to have a client notice that I put myself into my work, and for her to be drawn to the images that make ME smile…that is when I know I’ve met my match. Sure, I love ring shots and beautiful floral arrangements as much as the next girl…and I’m happy to photograph every pretty little thing I see. But MOMENTS, moments are what I live for. Those in between all of the pretty and perfect, the moments that have the potential to slip away forever if they aren’t documented. Although they are small and fleeting, I believe they are the basis of so many great things.
But what does that have to do with you? Well, nothing really unless you want to work with me. When I take on a new client, for me, I am gaining another piece to my heart. I pride myself in my ability to work for my clients as if they are my ONLY client, my ONLY focus. I am not neglecting others, nor am I neglecting my family. I am just spreading myself a little more thin to be able to love on one more new friend. So maybe that sounds silly or stupid to you, but it is my truth and how I look at things when sometimes I need a little more heart to remind myself of THE WHY.
Heart matters when you are spending Mother’s Day documenting the love two people share, and not the love you share with your children.
Heart matters when you can’t take your daughter to her friend’s birthday parties and share in that sacred mom-talk.
Heart matters when you work on your fall wedding anniversary, seemingly every year.
The minute my heart is no longer in it, believe me, that is when I will know this is no longer my calling. When I no longer get anxious with the anticipation of an upcoming wedding day, or the nervous excitement I feel the minutes before a session. When my heart doesn’t race as the guests begin to rise on first sight of a beautiful bride. When I don’t have to blink back tears during the father/daughter dance. When those moments don’t deeply affect me, that is when I will know my heart has moved on. For now, however, my heart is how I know I’m exactly where I should be.