“He doesn't really look like himself” - the email said.
She hated the pictures.
I was devastated.
It was 2012. At this point I was still fairly new to being in business for myself. Things were booming, word of mouth was amazing, Facebook didn't have all these crazy algorithms so people actually saw what I was posting.
Things should have been great.
It probably didn't look like him. How could I have known? At that time I was a studio photographer. Clients came to me and we shot in my environment. I never saw him being himself in his environment. I only got to see him being put on display so we could capture "perfect" milestone portraits of him.
Why has photography become about getting dressed in matching outfits and wearing perfect manufactured smiles?
Why did I think that that was how it had to be?
In 2013, I began learning about photojournalism in the home. I documented all the insane things my children did and as I sat and looked through those images, as I often do, I noticed they made me grin from ear to ear. It didn't matter that I couldn't control the light or the background. I felt back in the moment. I love those moments.
I still loved the portraits of my children taken in studio, I am a mommy, and I wear my mommy goggles proudly, but they didn't give me the same nostalgic happy feeling.
I slowly realized where my heart was. It wasn't in a studio.
But would people love this as much as I did, even though it isn’t “in style”? Would anyone else see the beauty I saw?
My client’s email, as painful as it was for me to read at the time, changed the course of my career. I struggled with it for a long time, and honestly, I still do sometimes, because posed photography is just what’s in - it’s what people look for when they look for a photographer, ESPECIALLY when looking for a newborn photographer.
Fast forward to summer 2013. I shut down all studio activities and began travelling to my clients’ homes. I lost a lot of clients. But many others connected with my vision.
Some people asked me why they would hire me when they could just DIY the pictures in their homes.
Some people asked me if was bringing backgrounds and an array of props.
Others told me they didn't want to see their house in the pictures.
I realized that i was no longer the right photographer for them.
My clients wants photographs that are perfectly imperfect. They want real laughter, and kids who always look, act and feel like themselves.
They want images that they will look back on in 20, 30, 40 years, and they can be back in their family home.
Images that bring you back to where you laughed together.
Where you cried.
Where you raised your children and watched as they took their first steps and said their first words. The place where they grew up, the home that made you mom and dad.
If those are the images you want, I hope you call me.
These moments we have with our children, right now, they're everything.
Today I see childhood entirely differently than when I first began taking professional portraits in 2010. I see the beauty in childhood, as it is. I know that family is everything. Through laughter and tears. Through struggle and happiness.
I see and capture family authentically and beautifully for myself, and for you.
If you are interested in working together, I specialize in lifestyle Baby, Newborn, Childhood, Maternity & Family Photography in and around Montreal. I would love to hear from you today.
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