Where’s the heart?
From a really young age, it was impressed upon me that I should pour my heart into whatever I was doing. I have so many examples, so many stories… all that helped me learn how important it was to be fully immersed in my passions.
When I was in elementary school, my parents were part of a country-rock band. They traveled and played and sang and had a great time doing it. My parents are both wicked talented musicians and singers, and I’m proud of them.
Today, my dad is the music minister at our church, and my mom sings often. The thing that impresses me most about Mama isn’t her voice… although seriously, my mother is an amazing singer. It’s that she sings with her whole spirit. The notes are there, and her talent is solid, but it’s the heart that makes the song.
That lesson was re-affirmed by my high school choir director… probably the most influential teacher I’ve ever had. (Hi Mrs. B!) She told us over and over again when practicing solos that it didn’t matter how good the notes were (although she expected them to be good). We needed to sing with our guts and with our hearts, and we needed to make the audience believe us. She wanted me to think about what I was singing, whether it was “Phantom of the Opera”, or an Italian aria, or Tracy Chapman (which I rocked, btw).
In my career as a journalist, that kept being true. The stories that I really invested in… really poured my heart into… were the ones that touched a nerve with the community and made a difference. It wasn’t always possible. Sometimes, I was burnt out, or didn’t care about the subject, or some other excuse. Sometimes, I just phoned it in.
But then, when I woke up again, or really got on fire about a story, I remembered why I loved it. I wasn’t just reaching my readers with my words… I was re-igniting the passion for journalism within myself.
It was struck me lately exactly how important this is in photography. I work really hard to make a connection with my clients… to capture something that’s going on underneath the surface. Do I get there every time? No. I’m not perfect. I’ve got a lot of growing to do, and even if I become the best I can possibly be, I still won’t knock it out of the park every single time.
But I try. Because to me, heart is what makes a picture. You can be technically proficient and have amazing equipment and the best poses and locations in the world. But if a picture is flat, it’s flat. There’s nothing you can do to fix that.
I have vowed that I’ll always try to remember to keep heart in my images. To shoot with my gut. I’ve said a number of times that when I stop crying at weddings, I’ll stop shooting them. It’s got to be emotional… you have to feel it deep down in your toes.
Because that’s how we feel love, isn’t it? Don’t you feel it all the way through?
If we don’t feel our images that way, we’ll never capture the emotion we’re trying to capture.
Photographers, I challenge you today. Think less about the “standard” shot. Stop worrying about technicalities. Put aside the business side of it, just for a little while. Shoot with heart. Shoot with your gut.
I promise you… what you’re going to capture is magic.
Alyssa & her sweet daughter Bella came highly recommended to me. Between that and Alyssa’s clear vision of the portraits she wanted, I knew we were going to be a good fit! We hooked up early one morning to drive out to one of my favorite locations for some organic “Mommy & Me” pictures. I hope I’ll always remember to take the time to have pictures like this made of Dorothy & I… the looks between Bella & her Mommy are so sweet!
Alyssa (like me) loves crying baby pictures. I certainly wouldn’t have made Bella cry just to get this shot, but luckily, she decided to help us out without any prompting.
It didn’t last long, though, and soon, we had a happy girl again.
Mommy hugs are the best.
Thank you girls so much for coming out to spend the morning with me! We’ll definitely need to do it again sometime.
Happy Friday, blogstalkers!
We’re rounding out our week with Part 2 of Simone & Garrett’s San Antonio wedding. Click here for Pt. 1.
We pick up today with a few portraits, some yummy details, and some dancing. Let’s get to it!
I adoooore these blue bridesmaids’ dresses. I want one, just to wear to fancy dinner or something. They’re gorgeous!
We had just a few minutes for portraits of the newlyweds before Garrett melted into a puddle in his tux. Despite the rush and the limited space, I think we caught some really beautiful moments of them!
This next shot isn’t a portrait, per say. It’s just a random whispery moment that I turned around and caught as we headed into the reception ahead of Simone & Garrett for them to be announced. Turns out, I really love it…
Now, it’s time for details. Lots. Mack completely ROCKED the detail shots at this wedding… so much so that this is now a permanent assignment for him.
The next two shots were experiments with our new fish-eye lens. Works well for tablescapes, huh?
Amusing cake topper…
The groom’s cake was to die for. I mean, I assume. I didn’t get to eat any (SAD DAY). But just looking at it… yum.
Simone & Garrett’s first dance was a little different than what we’re used to shooting… the couple was completely surrounded by a circle of friends holding hands and dancing around them! I managed to pop around, ninja style, and grab some pictures through the madness.
The next image is a misfire that turned out pretty wonderfully… I love it when my camera takes creative control away from me.
Bridesmaids fighting it out for position during the bouquet toss…
Garrett’s highly comical method of garter retrieval…
Bet these groomsmen thought I wouldn’t blog this… they were wrong:
Low lighting for a last dance…
Congratulations, Mr. & Mrs. Mabry! We’ve had such fun getting to know you. Hope you had a blast in Puerto Rico, despite all the rain.Much love!
Simone and Garrett were married last weekend in San Antonio at La Fontana Springs. They succeeded in doing what I pray ALL my brides and grooms are able to do… design and host a wedding that is 100% THEM. This wedding was a party, just like they wanted, laid-back and fun with the people that mattered most to them.
Garrett, particularly, was all about the party. The guy is non-stop action, for sure. But there was no doubt that he felt strongly about what was happening when he saw Simone walking down the aisle. Those tears were the kind of raw emotion that make a wedding so special. Sure, it was a party… but it was also the official coming together of a beloved couple, and the importance of the day was lost on no one.
Today, I’m going to show off some of my favorite moments of that ceremony, as well as some “getting ready” pictures and a few group portraits. Enjoy!!
Simone and bridesmaid Jessica are women after my own heart… LIST MAKERS!
One of the major decisions of the day… how to transport lipgloss.
We picked up with the guys during “Operation: DJ orientation”…
Garrett is KING of pulling faces at the camera. I have an overwhelming number of images of this groom making this face on his wedding day:
There’s a normal version of this next portrait, but the “caught ya” version is my favorite…
Right before show time, the girls put in the veil. I love these pictures because they’re so real! The look on Simone’s face in the second one is a perfect illustration of my veil motto : “If your scalp is bleeding, that means the veil is secure.”
Down the aisle we go!
Remember those tears I told you about? Here they are… and they were followed by laughter, which explains the upcoming picture of a bride giggling her way down the aisle!
A sweet moment just after the sand ceremony…
Curious flowergirls make good pictures…
Man and Wife!!
Garrett sang “Livin’ On A Prayer” on the way back up the aisle…. classic.
Come back tomorrow for some portraits, some details, and some reception fun!