My Why for Photography

Something I hear a lot as a small creative business owner is that I’ve got to know or find my why. Why do I do what I do and when other stuff starts getting in the way, can I stop and remember my why? Y’all I didn’t really know my why for making photographs. There have been new whys added over the years that seemed a bit more obvious, but why did I start doing it in the first place? I’ve always had a need to create things I find visually pleasing (redecorating my room over and over as a kid, a tried scrapbooking for a bit, things like that), but it was more than that and I could never really put my finger on it.

So most family photographers’ why is their children or their family. They picked up a camera after becoming a mom. This isn’t how it worked for me. I picked up a camera long before becoming a mother. Yes my kids are now part of my why, but I got my first camera after graduating high school (it was a Sony point and shoot so nothing fancy, but I thought I was good).

I can analyze someone else’s life all day, but when it comes to mine I’m like “I don’t know. I just like taking pictures.” I have a hard time seeing why I do things. I’m getting better at recognizing these kinds of things in myself, but honestly it’s a slow process. As I figure them out though I’m embracing them the best I can.

My why hit me like a ton of bricks last week. The last few weeks I’ve hardly touched my camera. I’m obsessed with the future and the things we currently don’t have that I hope the future holds. Really dwelling on this made me realize not picking up my camera and trying to live in the future are not unrelated. They are very much related.

I use my camera to fully live in a moment. That’s my why. I pick it up and take pictures to better connect myself to whatever it is that is happening. It allows me to stop and appreciate a moment in a way that would otherwise pass me by without the full attention to it’s beauty it deserves. Sometimes it even allows me to see beauty in a place where most would overlook it. Holy Crap, how did it take me 15 years of taking photos to realize this.

I think this feeds into why I choose to do lifestyle photography. I don’t want to make fake Pinterest moments for my clients. If I’m going to do this for a job, I want to find the beauty in your real moments. I want to live in those moments for the short time we’re together and see the things others might miss; Those beautiful, yet underappreciated moments from your story that deserve our full attention. We can’t just set that up. It has to happen organically and it has to be true to you.

That is why I do things the way I do it and it feels good to be able to put it into words. I’ve been waiting for this moment. Now if I could just forget about the future for a hot minute and live in the right now, I’d be golden. Adulting is hard.

I’m sharing this photo because it’s one I took in 2005 (way before kids). This is from a camping trip with the future in-laws to Lost Maples Natural Area in Vanderpool, Texas. If you show up on the right weekend in the Fall, you actually get to see Fall leaves. They don’t just turn brown and fall off like everywhere else in Texas. The actually turn orange and yellow and red. I remember being blown away by the colors. I remember being in disbelief that this was Texas. I remember hiking down to this point and I remember exactly how I felt taking this picture with my little Sony point and shoot. I wasn’t that great of a photographer at this point, but my composition was good and that reflection in the water was killer.

I’m also sharing this photo because the thing I’m daydreaming about is taking our kids camping. There’s a gap between what we really really want for a camper and what we really feel like paying. So we sit and research and wait for the perfect deal on the perfect camper. I dying to live in that moment of watching my kids make memories in places like this. I think what I really need is my family, some cooler weather, and nature to inspire me to pick up my camera.

lostmaples-03800.jpg