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My First Film Scans & Practicing Vulnerability | New Orleans Wedding Photographer

Perfect and bulletproof are seductive, but they don’t exist in the human experience.” An excerpt from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown

Guys…GUYS. I’m going to admit something crazy. These photos you’re about to scroll through are photos I’ve had on an undeveloped roll of film for almost two years. Yes, T-W-O years. Two years of sitting on the shelf in my office where I could safely say, “Yeah, I shot film once,” conveniently not mentioning any further that I was too scared that I had failed at the attempt to have it developed. Too scared that I was in an industry where I just might not be good enough. Too scared to tackle learning a new faucet to my craft because, well, because I might not be the best at it. Because it was going to be hard. Because as the creative industry has shown me time and time again, there are SO very many talented minds among us–how in the world was I going to find a way to stand out. How? Especially when so many of my peers were seemingly SO far ahead of me in their business, income, and creative journey.

But maybe that’s not my calling. Who says that because my main source of income comes from photography that it has to define who I am? Who says that I have to be THE BEST in that particular craft. No one but me.

Recently, I’ve been really delving into the topic of vulnerability though. From my personal relationships to my business, it’s getting me out of a rut and teaching me BIG things that I think we all could use a dose of every once in a while.

Especially in our social-media-driven generation of picture perfect Instagram feeds and meticulously curated photo galleries, I think it’s SO easy to forget that we all are after the same goal here. Whether you’re a stay-at-home mom, a corporate CEO, a creative with a passion for creating beautiful things, a surgeon saving lives on the reg, or even a student, we are ALL simply trying to enjoy the moments of this pretty little life and make our own mark, whether big or small, on the world. More often than not, those who have made giant marks on the world did so by being vulnerable–by stepping out of their comfort zones and into realms that may have seemed quite scary and unknown.

I think what we so often sometimes forget is that we don’t need to be the next creator of a life-changing movement or founder of a Fortune 500 company to leave our mark on the world, we can simply do it by any old way that fills our cup. Because living a wholehearted life, well, I think that’s all that truly matters.

In another excerpt from Brene’s book she speaks on this so eloquently saying:

“We love seeing raw truth and openness in other people, but we’re afraid to let them see it in us. We’re afraid that  our truth isn’t enough–that what we have to offer isn’t enought without the bells and whistles, without editing, and impressing.”

Why am I telling you all of this and, more so, what in the heck does it have to do with film scans? Everything.

You see, I recently decided to develop these scans only after I was able to tell myself that whether they came out fabulously or terribly, it DIDN’T mean I needed to jump and pursue film offerings. I realized that although I love photography with my whole heart, my heart is multi-fauceted. Just because my peer has excelled in a certain area of photography, does not mean that it’s my calling to excel in the same way. At all.

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These scans filled my heart so much when I finally got them because I didn’t put ANY pressure on them. I didn’t expect a new branch of my career to come from them or a desire to run out and buy a film camera. Heck, I didn’t even expect to have any worth sharing on the blog. But, I was pleasantly surprised. And you know what? For today, that is enough.

Did you like this post? I’d love your feedback and your own personal experiences with things like this! Over the next few months, I’m looking to really hone in and cultivate a community that embraces imperfection and fear–a community that recognizes that life is NOT picture perfect.

What value is in our human experience if we don’t create community based on our findings? I have a ton more to share on the topic of vulnerability, comparison, and social media. Please tune in over the next few weeks as I delve into various aspects of these topics. Don’t worry, there will be pretty pictures too. (:

PS. If you’d like me to blog about a specific topic I’d love to hear from you! After all, if I’m not posting intentionally based on what you can relate to, what is this blog for anyhow? Feel free to comment here or on Instagram (@kalinorton) with your ideas!




Awaiting Little Sister | Swain Family: Mandeville Maternity Photographer

“You are my sun, my moon, and all of my stars.”         – E.E. Cummings

After meeting Hannah’s gentle soul, undoubtedly, I  know this is how she feels about her boys and her sweet girl on the way. Grace, elegance, and the most inviting Southern charm–these are the things I felt upon our first meeting. And to top it off, she was a calm, graceful natural in front of my camera.

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Hannah, Derrick, and Max, I cannot wait to watch as your family grows by one more, to a sweet family of four.Swain Maternity Swain MaternitySwain Maternity Swain Maternity Swain Maternity

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Happy Thursday, friends!


Let’s Meet Over Some Bubbly!

One of my main goals for this year was allowing for more growth, self reflection, and going where my heart leads me. My to-do list last year was much more rules, numbers, and business oriented, which was necessary and appropriate for growth, but now it’s back to following my heart for a little while–which truly is the brains of this whole operation. It’s been an interesting mix of crazy and calm all in one for me lately, as opportunity, contentment, and the pulling of heartstrings all have me evolving in the most beautifully imperfect way it seems. I’ve been keeping to myself a little more, but with that you should know, only means my wheels are spinning for my next steps in business, in life, and all things related. Once those thoughts begin to formulate into less of abstract dreams and more of tangible goals, I’ll be sure to to fill you in on this journey we’re headed. (:

In the meantime, and if you missed last week’s post about some local offerings, I will be at Imagine Boutique in downtown Hammond THIS FRIDAY, APRIL 4TH from 6pm til 10pm for Art in April.  Our little town is so great at putting on events to celebrate art and local business, all with the most festive atmosphere. So if you are a local and would like to meet me and see more of my work in person, come stop by, browse Imagine Boutique’s PERFECT new Spring arrivals, and have a glass of bubbly with me! I’d love to meet you!


I hope you have some daydreams of your own going through your head this week. And most of all, I hope you have the happiest of Tuesdays!SIGNATURE

Upcoming Gulf Coast Date

If you are located in the Fairhope/Gulf Shores/Mobile/Pensacola area and would like to book your Lifestyle Session, senior session, or annual family session, contact the studio at kali@kalinorton.com. I’ll see you then!

Connie + Mike {a surprise wedding}

A bubbly personality, an eye for detail and an appreciation for the beautiful things, a cup that overflows with a breathtaking fervor for life and for love. This is Connie. I met with Connie once before her wedding day, then spent that day with her and, yet, I feel like I’ve known her much longer. That is simply the radiance that embodies her — and undoubtedly, I know that it’s that precise radiance that gives Mike such desire to honor and cherish her for the rest of their lives. Mike is no different. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t meet a stranger. And it is with those irrevocable qualities these two have that left me after one day feeling like we could be great friends.

In case you’re wondering what the surprise wedding title is about — well, Connie and Mike’s beautiful lakefront wedding was just that. After sending out the invitations below, family and friends anticipated attending a Bon Voyage party, in which would precede Connie and Mike’s wedding alone in Jamaica. Once guests arrived, an announcement was made that the wedding would be held immediately. What a beautiful surprise! Fabulous reactions, love, and joyous tears were a common theme.

As a photographer, to know I had the pleasure to be paired up and witness a couple with such a fervor for life, love, family, and friends is truly what leaves me captivated by my job. I am not a portrait photographer to capture still, posed images — I am a lifestyle photographer, capturing life as true, raw, and beautiful as it happens. So, Connie and Mike, thank you sincerely for allowing me that opportunity. The opportunity to meet you, document you, and take a little of your love home with me. You two are radiant.