Compassion is often the solution.
Each person I have the honor of photographing teaches me a lesson. Sometimes it’s technical, sometimes it’s about what clothing styles photograph well. This one was a bit more personal.
It was a morning in March. It started out just like many other days, coffee, returning emails, editing and scheduling appointments. This day was a little different, as I was getting to give back a little to my friends at Honey.Hive Salon and work on a last minute ad campaign for them. I arrived at the salon and was happy to have a few minutes to chat and say hello to some of my favorite stylists as they were busy coloring, cutting, styling and let’s be honest….they were probably also giving some therapeutic and compassionate advice too. 🙂
I popped over to Karly’s station and met her client, Kara, who would be one of the models for the campaign. First impression, ummmm, she’s beautiful ( I haven’t met too many red heads that aren’t)! Kara was kind, humble and genuinely sweet. She told me that she was engaged and planning her wedding and that she would like to talk with me about wedding photography. We finished up the campaign session, and I gave Kara my information and left, hoping to hear from her soon.
A few weeks later, Kara reached out and scheduled a meeting for her fiancé, Kaleb, herself and I to sit down and chat about the specifics of their wedding, they were planning it for August in her small hometown just outside of Nashville. We met at a local coffee shop, enjoyed some warm lattes, talked and laughed as if we were all old friends.
As a photographer, or any one in the wedding industry, this is the moment when you know you were meant to work together, you know, when you meet someone new and it feels so natural and nothing is forced. Kara, Kaleb and I genuinely felt as though we were a team, all three working together. JACKPOT.
Fast forward a bit to their engagement session. We had the best time getting to know one another even better, having some laughs and celebrating the two of them. These two are avid outdoors “men” and we were able to incorporate rock climbing into their engagement session. That was a first and so fun. (You can check out their facebook album HERE).
KEEP YOUR HEAD UP, GOD GIVES HIS BIGGEST BATTLES TO HIS STRONGEST SOLDIERS
August 16th rolled around, it was a BIG day! Our son was starting his freshman year and I was beginning my part time return to the art classroom. Exciting, changing things happening in our family. Unfortunately, our family was also going through a bit of a “valley” and dealing with some hard things as well. So as I got into my car that afternoon to head to the airport, my heart was broken to be leaving my boys. It was 100% the second most difficult drive I have ever taken (the first being leaving Joey at the hospital as a newborn to get strong in the NICU).
I LOVE wedding weekends, like LOOOOOVEEEEEE, my friends. And having the opportunity to travel the country to photograph brides and grooms that have walked into my life is legit, a dream come true. I headed to Nashville that afternoon a bit exhausted, anxious, excited, overwhelmed, and great full…. a whole bunch of mixed emotions one doesn’t usually feel all at the same time. You see, we can’t reschedule weddings. We can’t ask for a postponement when we’re sick, having a bad day or going through a tough time. We put our big kid pants on, get in “the zone”, and do what we’ve been entrusted to do. AND THAT’S OK! It’s part of it and most wedding professionals get it. Photographers are hired for their work, their style, their personalities, etc. We can’t contract out our work!!! I was able to spend some time that evening with Kara, Kaleb and a few people from their bridal party for a few pictures in downtown Nashville. On a side note, who knew the streets of music city would be so crazy busy on a Thursday night?….. I hadn’t gotten the memo. After a good nights rest and a bit of meditation and yoga, I jumped in my rental car and headed to the small town where Kara’s maternal family has had a farm for over three generations.
YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH, SO BE NICE. IT’S THAT SIMPLE
I feel as though, it’s my job to arrive on wedding day and start out with “Hi” and double check if there is anything that I can do to help or make the day go better. ALWAYS. That’s not something you will find in a contract or on a timeline, it’s just one of those things that I do. On this wedding day, those words were barely out of my mouth before Kara was giving ME the pep talk! I was prepared, ready for the day, game face on and inspiration flowing (how could it not be, you should see how beautiful this part of Tennessee is)! But those few words changed the entire direction not only of the day, but of my outlook on so much.
BUT DO YOU LIVE IT?
If you have ever taken a look at my website, instagram or facebook pages, you’ll see that happiness and fun are the underlying tones to my work. And yes, I do believe I’m a happy person, goal oriented, love a good joke and live to make people laugh and smile. I’m sure I’ve used the quote “Worry less, smile more” too many times to count. But, if I’m being completely honest with you, Kara and Kaleb’s wedding day has changed the outlook on my business and my life. Those few moment of kind words and compassion, this bride chose to spend and say to me on HER wedding day. The way she showed compassion that was not necessary, showed genuine caring and grace me such grace will mean more to me than she will ever know. Even if she hadn’t taken those few minutes to just check on me, she would have had beautiful wedding images, things would have stayed on time and she would have had #theMEPexperience one hundred and ten percent. But the time she took to check on me, lifted my heart and cleared my head. I was 100% in the moment and it was awesome.
Each of us can remember our wedding day. It’s significance, importance and craziness too. For me, part of my art is looking at a wedding from a guests, brides, grooms, MOB, MOG, cousin, friend and venue aspect. It’s a lot! I’m also a mom, wife, friend, have a mortgage and car payment too, so being honest…..there’s always a lot going on. Once again, because of those few words Kara chose to say to me, I was able to let everything go and do my job even better than usual. She treated me as a person, a friend, not someone she hired for a day and would never talk to again until she needed something. And sorry ya’ll, that’s the kind of person I am. I’m not all about give and take. I’m about relationships.
THE WAY YOU SPEAK MATTERS
Since returning from Tennessee Kara has been on my mind a lot. I just wrapped up their final gallery images last week and was so excited to share them. But the bigger story is this. Kara and Kaleb’s wedding, or any other of my clients aren’t just “another wedding to check of the list” another paycheck or a goal. They are people, just like me. Each day since my weekend trip to Nashville, I’ve mad an effort to say “good morning” to each kiddo in the hall, even the ones that don’t say hi back. I’ve tried really hard to ask people about their day, and put in an effort to make it a better day than the one before. I make mistakes just like everyone else and live a busy life just like everyone else too. I’m putting in an extra effort to “live my best life” by being nice, even if it’s not returned, to just slow down a little bit, and literally “smell the roses”. I’m so thankful for that “average” day in March when Kara was placed into my life. Who knew how greatly I would need her on that warm Saturday afternoon in August.
Thank you Kara for an amazing life lesson.