Dual Edge Photography | The Thing I Learned Most

The Thing I Learned Most

December 04, 2016  •  1 Comment



2016 was huge. I mean...it took my breath away. I made friendships and I laughed and I cried and I laughed UNTIL I cried. I held people close. I watched incredible things happen before my eyes. I grew. I fell. I grew even taller. I quit my job. I pursued photography full time. I learned. I adventured. I made mistakes. I did things right.

I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried.

And I saw what I did as a means to capture the things people would never want to forget. Then I attended a Fearless Photographers conference. And I learned, in a way, things I already knew but were hesitant to say out loud. Things like the fact that our job is to capture the real, the raw, the genuine. Those are the moments that people want and NEED to remember. Ok. Great. Makes perfect sense to me.

I continued my quest to make the most badass, unique, off the charts type photographs I possibly could. I took more classes, attended more seminars, invested in more gear. More education. More techniques. More workshops. More.

Every day that I went out to make more photographs, I was more and more proud of them. Every day that I sat at my computer until my legs fell asleep and the screen seemed blurry, I had more and more ideas brainstormed, brochures made, offerings offered, and edits edited.

I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried.

And then I was smacked across the face.

As a "fine art photographer", I love the epically posed, unique, wow-factor shot. Those types of shots truly give me life and make me feel so proud of my work. But by constantly shooting the fine art Vogue-like shoots, I (once in a while) put the importance of a photo on the back burner. I'm working, learning, educating myself on the perfect shot, the perfect technique, making the perfect photo. Perfect skin tones. Perfect light flare. Perfect camera settings. Perfect. I joined way too many Facebook groups for photographers. Everyone and their brother posts photos on there with the caption "Constructive Criticism please!". Then, hundreds of other photographers comment with things like "her skin has a slight hint of magenta...perhaps add a tiny touch of green" and "you should brighten up his face by the slightest bit". ...Really?...I became a machine. I soaked up everyones constructive criticism on everyones photo and I became a perfection machine. 

Be perfect. Take perfect photos. Edit perfectly. Color perfectly. Make sure everything is perfectly sharp OR ELSE I AM DOOMED, SO HELP ME GOD I SWEAR.

I laughed. I cried. I laughed until I cried.

A couple of weeks ago I discovered a giant storage bucket of 4x6 and 5x7 prints from my entire life in my garage. I always claimed to be that photographer that never knew I would grow up and love this art. That it just fell on my head one day - I picked up a camera and loved it and never looked back. Why, then, were there thousands...THOUSANDS of photos in this box, taken by me, from about 5 years old through college. Interesting. I put them in albums. I observed each photo. My childhood friends I would never talk to again. People I loved that have passed on. The bad clothes I used to wear. How happy my father has always been while decorating the Christmas tree with a house full of children. How inseparable I used to be from my brother.

Not long after, someone I know lost someone they love. I had taken photographs of that person not too long ago.

Those photos became wildly important.


I am so proud of my "try-to-be-perfect" photos. But, I learned that i also felt so much pride looking at my mountain of 5x7s from 20 years ago...the crap, disposable camera, grainy mess of photos in my storage bucket. It was a different type of pride. But pride nonetheless. Why? Because those moments mattered. They mattered a lot. I was watching my entire life in a box. Memories I forgot existed. I went back and looked at all my photos taken this year and my favorite shots of each album became the ones where I could see the story. I could see the relationship. The family. The importance. The moment.

This job is so important. It is larger than me. It is larger than perfect. It is the "so what" to the little grain and the "HOLY CRAP" to the look in their eyes when their grandfather sees them in their wedding dress. The tears in mom's eyes when her son has his first dance to his new wife. The silly things the flower girl does while she's still small. That's more important than perfect.

That's the thing I learned the most.

Thank you, 2016. Thank you all for an incredible year. You all make my dreams come true. 

2017 is going to be OUTRAGEOUS!!!!!!!

Below is a re-cap of some moments from 2016 that I hold near and dear to my heart. I hope you love them as much as I do.



Beautiful story and stunning pictures!
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