This is a post very near and dear to my heart. About what I’ve gained, besides just pretty photographs, from having regular photo sessions with Preston as a newly married couple. About the strength it’s given me in times when I thought I had none. About the beauty and pride it helped me find in myself.

All of the aforementioned are ways these sessions have truly enriched my life, helped me find beauty in what I HAVE instead of what else I want, and are priceless time capsules that I cannot wait to show my children someday.

All of this is just another reason why I feel that the documentation through photographs is ever so important. It is why I put it in our budget to make it happen every year.  Yes, taking professional photographs is an investment, but for me, it’s one that has given me value, insight, and priceless frozen moments in life that I just cannot live without. With that being said, I prepare myself for the cost of the photographer I want to document that time in our lives and I prepare myself for the investment. While we do take some of our own photographs of one another, we also pay other photographers to take our photos together at least once a year.

Let me clue you in on something that I don’t think I’ve ever told you on here: I don’t get sad or my feathers ruffled when someone who has inquired with me chooses another photographer. Why? Because it’s not about the sale for me. It’s about my client feeling comfortable with me, clicking with me, and trusting me enough to let go of picture perfect and show me a small glimpse of life as it really is for her. I believe in quality, not quantity and I’ve learned the hard way that trying to do it all and take every client, that it just simply isn’t for me. That’s not what photography is about for me. Photography is about the experience, about being able to soak in life and then having it right in front of you via photographs to reflect on later. It’s the time we take to plan and get to know one another all the way to the feeling those photographs give you twenty years down the road.

Wanna know something? You know which of my little tiny clients make for the best sessions? Oh, that’d be, 9 times out of 10, the trouble-makers—the little ones who, for the life of them, will not listen to momma. Coincidence that I’m preaching about the beauty in life’s breakdowns and the little ones somehow seem to ace the concept? Isn’t it funny how children, in their simplicity, always seem to execute tasks adults have the hardest times with?

With that being said…DO YOUR RESEARCH as you would anything else you’d invest in. Find a photographer whose work you’ve fallen in love with, that you connect with—and don’t stop there. Email them, call them, ask questions, feel them out. You will know when your soul connects with a photographer—and when your soul does connect with your photographer, they document your life as organically as it is and your investment is worth every penny. Even more so, they are able to document organically through the flaws because you trust them. They document it so that when you look back at those photographs, you remember the era of your life, you remember happiness, sadness, fear, excitement, anger. You remember it all, and you look at it with beautiful reminisce. Beautiful reminisce because they captured such beauty among the chaos your life may have been at the time. Because, let’s face it, life is chaos. You dreaded that shoot, you didn’t like your outfit 10 minutes before you left the house, you got in a huge fight the day before, the kids were doing anything but cooperating—life was happening.

Guess what? Before THIS session with the lovely Rachel Brooks I had a major outfit meltdown in the car, complete with crying and almost ruining makeup.

And this photo below from an entire session we did during our beach trip that you guys will see soon? I was drinking a beer to get me pumped about some creative shots because I had decided at the last minute that I just didn’t want to do the session anymore. Why am I telling you all of this? I don’t know. Because I’m a girl? Because I’m imperfect. Because everyone is imperfect. Because in the age of Pinterest and Facebook and Twitter, it becomes so easy to lose yourself in comparing to others and forget to step back and embrace your flaws and the things they’ve taught you. Because…this is life. Because life isn’t perfect, but it’s beautiful that way. Because I like to make pretty things from imperfection…