The Revelation

I shot a wedding at a beautiful location last weekend.  It was an old art deco theatre built in 1929.  It was almost overwhelmingly gorgeous.  My clients love to go to the theatre so the venue suited them perfectly.

Some of my clients get married in beautiful locations.  Some of them get married in just fine locations.  Whatever aesthetic the location may have, they chose it because it meant something to them.  This realization was an important one for me because when I shoot, I'm drawn to people and relationships, not the places they're in.  I want to see the way a groom looks at his bride for the first time.  I want to see the look on a mother's face when she hugs her newly-married son.  So a lot of my photos are focused on the people and their interactions rather than the space that surrounds them.

But the space that surrounds them can be just as important as those relationships.  It's an expression of who they are at that moment, whether it's an art deco theatre or they're childhood backyard.  Granted, there are times when a location is chosen more for budgetary reasons but doesn't that also speak to who you are at that point in your lives?  In thirty years, when you're looking back through your wedding album, you'll think fondly about where you began and how much your life has changed since.

I realized that, in addition to capturing the people and relationships at a wedding, I also needed to embrace the space.  The space is a key component in the story of a wedding day.  Rather than ignoring the location -or worse, fighting against it- I needed to embrace it.

And then, the revelation came.  I've written before about my insecurities in this little adventure.  I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to my work.  I constantly criticize myself and nit-pick every little thing that's less than perfect.  Only recently have I even thought about trying to make that criticism constructive.  Since photography has been a passion of mine for nearly 15 years, I expect myself to perform like a seasoned pro.  But the reality is, I've only been a wedding photographer for less than a year.

I need to embrace the space between where I am and where I aim to be.  Only then will I have room to grow.  If I'm constantly plagued with anxiety over meeting some unrealistic expectation, I won't be able to focus on strengthening my weaknesses in a positive way.  Every mistake or misstep is a learning opportunity but only if I'm able to see it as such.  By embracing the space, I can be fully present in where I am as a photographer and business owner and take positive strides to where I want to go.  Can't take a step forward if I'm constantly looking back, right?

Embrace the space.

Those three little words are my new life motto.


  1. What a beautiful post! I love the phrase too! A great message to focus on :)


  2. I realize it was probably not the intention of this post, but your words totally gave me a different perspective on our upcoming wedding. I thought about our venue and about my future MIL hugging my honey after we say our "I do"s, and it melted my heart. That insight and attention to detail is what is going to make you one of the best wedding photogs out there. You've got talent and take beautiful shots already, but your care and respect for the moment are what will continue to shape you as an artist and lend itself to precious memories for your clients. Keep up the beautiful work, girl!

  3. I so needed to read this today. I have been wanting to take my photography a step further, but am never sure exactly where to start.

    But I think the most important part is just to embrace the 'space' you're in now like you said. I need to stop with the crazy expectations that I impose on myself and just embrace where I am today.

    Thanks for the reminder. (:

  4. Stephanie - that's a brilliant motto to live by and one that applies to a multitude of different circumstances. Good on you for being able to recognize and capture it

  5. It is so funny how quotes like this can speak to us all in different ways. I just graduated and am in an in between space in my life- I'm really trying to embrace it. Thanks for sharing :)

  6. Stephanie. This is huge! The fact that you are actively trying and wanting to grow your passion and career ... Big steps! Sometimes it's that next step that is the hardest. You're heading exactly in the right direction. Congrats to you!

  7. Really enjoyed this post! Been following your blog for a few months now and have really enjoyed seeing how far in such a short time your venture into being a wedding photographer has come. Your photography is wonderful and the fact that you are growing with your passion is inspiring. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I am always so jealous and amazed you went from being a lawyer to a photographer. You are truly amazing. As are your pictures and philosophies.

  9. i love this idea. because just think - you'll look at the photos you take now 30 years from now, and realize all you've done and how far you traveled, and they will mean something to you, too. great post.

  10. such a beautiful revelation and great words to remember. i just love hearing how you are growing within this adventure - both in your work & in yourself. you truly are one of my biggest inspirations! keep it up... you are doing amazing things, lady :) XO brynn

  11. AHH! So appropriate! Thanks for sharing.. I must embrace the space.. After editing my beach wedding shoot, I pretty much swore I would never ever shoot a beach wedding again...But...you're so right.. The couple picks a location for a reason...and we must attempt to capture the loveliness they see in it.. (I'm not much of a beach fan.. maybe that's my problem..haha)


  12. I love this post, and that quote. :)


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