One year ago I did a photo session that changed my entire outlook on what I was doing with my life. The subject: A tiny precious baby girl a mere ten days old.
Newborn photography is vastly different than any other type of photography. It requires a completely different technique, a great deal of education on safety and posing, not to mention infinitely more patience. Newborn photography is not for the faint of heart … but I have yet to find anything more rewarding.
As I get older I have come to realize that life is not a straight line from start to finish, but a twisty turny web of different paths, side roads and the occasional wrong turn … or ten.
When I look back at my road, one of my biggest regrets I have is not following my passion for photography much sooner. I let my overly cautious nature and fear of failure steer me down the safe but boring path where I lingered for far too long. I can only imagine how frustrated God was watching me stuck in a roundabout for years passing turn after turn, chance after chance to get back onto the path I was born to be on.
As children, we were repeatedly asked, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” We don’t all discover our passions early in life, but for the lucky few, we know early on what it is in this world that awakens our souls and gives us passion, joy and fulfillment. However, how many children actually grow up to follow their passions? At some point as we age reality sets in and we tell ourselves dreams are just for children.
Six days into 2016 my outlook drastically changed due to the birth of my son. I stopped making decisions based on what was the safest path and started looking at my choices in terms of how I could set the best example for him. How could I expect him to one day chase his own dreams if I didn’t live my life the same way. Becoming a parent made me reevaluate what my dreams were and how to give my son the best example possible by chasing them no matter how much hard work it took or what obstacles lay in my path.
After I made the decision to throw myself into my passion for photography things seemed to fall into place as if God was guiding me into that direction all along. The artist in me went, “Ahh, finally!” And suddenly I found myself becoming everything I wanted to be when I was younger. For a while I was chasing my dreams … that is until I wasn’t. Much to my surprise I soon found myself lost once again.
I once heard a mentor say, “In trying to be everything to everyone, you end up being nothing to no one.” In other words, I could either be a mediocre photographer in many areas or I could be a great photographer in just one niche. This idea resonated with me on a deep and profound level. I just knew that what success looked like to me was not doing any and every job that was offered to me, but seeking only the jobs God called me to do, the ones that were truly rewarding and would allow me to flex my creativity and skill. What could I do for years, that would always bring me joy and would never get old or boring? What could I do that would bring the most happiness to others? What would allow me to see God’s grace and love in the world?
While theses questions bounced around in my head for months, an opportunity came along that would answer them all for me. My best friend asked me to photograph her brand new baby girl. At this point in my career it was rare for me to book a newborn session but this little one’s mommy is not only my best friend but also one of my greatest supporters. Do you have anyone in your life that is so special to you that you would never say “no” to them if you could help it? This girl is my person. Despite having very little experience with newborn photography, I was happy to do this favor for her. I had no idea when I agreed to it what an impact it would have on my life. In order to do my absolute best for her I began learning everything I could about this amazing and beautiful type of photography. The more I learned the more I wanted to learn … which was eye opening to me because I do not make a good student unless I love the subject.
Suddenly all those questions I spent so long asking myself were finally answered …
I LOVE PHOTOGRAPHING BABIES!!! These tiny miracles that are born every day allow me to witness God’s love in ways no other kind of photography could ever come close to offering!
Newborn babies are the purest form of love on earth. Being able to capture that on camera is nothing short of a dream come true.
This baby girl, who helped me realize my purpose and gave me the courage to chase a new dream, will be one year old this month. Since her debut session I have photographed a dozen babies. Each session is better than the one before it. Each session sparks my creativity and feeds my motivation to improve. THIS will always bring me joy. THIS will never get old. THIS will bring happiness to others. THIS is where I see God’s love and grace the most.
I will only consider myself to be a failure in this profession if I ever say the words, “I’m done, I can’t do this. I give up.” I have finally found the kind of drive that will prevent me from ever admitting defeat.
November 1, 2018