The photo that changed me forever

It seems so long ago now, but I remember every detail.

I got there really early and walked the entire premise. Around the herb gardens, the white lined fences and laying stomach down on grass just to see what would be a good shot. My hands shook as I double, triple checked batteries and ran through the short list of things I knew about the DSLR camera I had rented at the time.

I remember it so clearly. It was my first shoot. The first time someone trusted me enough to not only get dressed up, pack their kids in the car and stand in front of me while I took their family photos, but pay me to do it. It felt absurd at the time. I had no confidence and met my first clients with shakey hands and what I'm sure was totally rushed speech as I usually talk to fast when I'm nervous.

The Finchers are the nicest family I have ever met. So patient as I felt like I fumbled around. Making up poses as I went, asking them to sit this way, and look that.  And they obliged as if I really was a photographer. Imagine that.

An hour and a half later I got in my car, knowing I would have to go to the mailbox the next day with their check in hand and return it to them witha  huge emberassing VOID through the middle of it. I felt sick driving, knowing I had failed and that none of my shots had turned out. I was embarrassed and flustered.

I drove home  fast, sped to the death if you will of my photography dreams that had been all but a flicker.

I got home and downloaded the 600 *literally* photos from the shoots and started going through them one by one. So many bad ones that were overexposed, or badly framed.... some okay ones.... but then I got to one. One where both little girls eyes were wide open and they were smiling. The pose I had set up in my mind before the Finchers even arrived.

I started editing, tweaking small things, brining out the sky a bit. And then... something happened...

I stepped back,  and looked at the photo...Their eyes came to life and their little personalities jumped right out of the picture. I imagined the joy of their parents as they saw this photo for the first time and saw their two littles, captured in this joyful, safe, playful moment.

And in that moment. I. Realized.
I want to do this.
I *can* do this.

I'm not sure if this is their favorite picture, but I  have a feeling it will forever be mine. Not that it will be the best picture I ever take, in fact I already see edits, crops and tweaks i would make. But I won't. Because this is  the one that started it all. The one frame from a moment in time that gave me confidence in myself and ignited some creative fire deep within me that I didn't know was smoldering.

I have this photo, printed out and hanging up in my office. It inspires me.

It brings me back to the moment I realized how much I love capturing the love and joy of others.

So thank you, Cheryl and Justin. For taking a chance on a girl with a camera. For trusting me with your time, your family, and your memories.

It has meant more than you will know.

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1 comment:

  1. The pics from that shoot are why we called you Jenn! You do capture personalities and dear moments. Thank you for sharing your gift with us too!