Bronson + Desirée // Couples Session // Cuyahoga Valley National Park
Bronson + Desirée
couples session // cuyahoga valley national park
Fasten your seatbelts everyone - this post is a long one.
This shoot reminded me that in the face of social media pressures, of constant bookings and gigs and 2am editing, of trying to find the balance of personal and professional life… it is so important to create art for yourself. For too long, and I hate to say it, I felt like I was moving through the motions of photography. Scope out a location, meet the couple, start with a few basic poses and move into more emotional shots, come home, cull and edit, send out the gallery. While I ADORE the clients I work with for their passion and beautiful stories, I found myself in a rut of creating art for social media and galleries instead of creating art for me, for my heart and soul, and for the sake of creating beautiful art. My clients deserved better, and so did I.
This winter (and really, all winters) is difficult for me. I’m planning a move to South Dakota in June after our wedding. I’m trying to get my business and personal life in order for all the changes to come. Business has been slow because let’s face it - who wants to hire a photog for their wedding when the photog is moving 18+ hours away? It’s been a hell of a season. I’ve been feeling like I’m not enough: my portfolio is not enough, my talent is not enough, my business skills are not enough, my voice is not enough, my faith in the unknown is not enough. These cold Ohio winter winds mimic what my soul feels like - running low on empty. Like the wind, I am forceful, but I am frigid. I needed to get up from under my heated blanket (which is ALL KINDS OF HARD when there’s a frostbite warning every other day) and make something to remind me why I’m in the business of creation to begin with.
I took the plunge on pushing myself, and reached out to this GORGEOUS couple about shooting with me, in two days. I knew Bronson from high school, and had been internet-introduced to his girlfriend, Desirée a few months earlier (thanks, Twitter). I found a location a few hours away I had been dying to shoot at last week. In classic fashion, all my plans fell through the day before we were supposed to meet. The location had ice that was melting and becoming a dangerous location to shoot at. I didn’t know if the couple was going to make it. We changed our location the night before we met. Spontaneity was the only choice I had. The drive-thru lane at Taco Bell took FOREVER so I showed up to my shoot with no time to scout locations (totally my fault, but honestly, who can pass up cheesy quesadillas before a shoot). I had an anxiety attack in the parking lot - I’m talking not being able to breath, almost driving away, crying in the driver’s seat. But then everything fell into place. The weather was warm enough to shoot in without freezing, the snow and ice wasn’t melting, the location was secluded in a National Park, and above all, I felt ready for something new.
This shoot was the first time in forever that I created for no one but myself. I showed up with little prior knowledge about the location, I experimented with different methods and techniques, I took my time finding my vision, and I let my heart take the lead. I shot with a passion and a ferocity I hadn’t felt in months. When I left Bronson and Desirée after the shoot, I sat in my car and I cried. I cried because I finally felt like I was enough. I made something I was proud of, I connected with these clients that I hardly knew, and I believed that my work was worthy of praise.
If you’ve made it this far in my story, I want you to know I BELIEVE YOU ARE ENOUGH. Your work is enough. Your voice is enough. Your journey is enough. Your beliefs and your views are enough. Your creative vision is enough. EVERYTHING YOU ARE, IS ENOUGH. IT IS MORE, THAN ENOUGH.
Get out there and create something for you. You have a fire inside of your soul, or you wouldn’t be here today. Go reignite your flame. Light up your drive, your passion, your soul. Go. You’ve got this.