A Decade of Memories
It's been ten years since I hung out my shingle as a photographer. The very day I filed my paperwork and opened a bank account, Matt Davis of Bon Ton Room fame called and asked if I'd be house photographer for his upcoming production of "Sweeney Todd." I remember I was just pulling into my garage with an early version of a cell phone. Maybe a flip phone? And we chatted about the project. I couldn't believe I was seen as a photographer by others. I was in the throes of stay-at-home-momhood. My baby was three. I hadn't planned to go back to work until he was in kindergarten.
Before taking myself seriously enough to go into business, I had people encouraging me to "do something" with my photography. I just didn't know what that meant or what that would look like. I practiced. A LOT. I remember at a bookclub meeting a friend saying that she had a thousand digital images from the previous year to file. I almost choked. I had a thousand each month. I spent a couple of seasons assisting Elizabeth Walker Photography. I learned so much from Liz on how to handle clients and myself as a photographer. I still refer to what she taught me.
Once I got going, it was all about finding my voice. I've always loved business and customer service. I'm meticulously organized, so it's been really easy for me to stay on top of my work load and deliver what I've promised. But how would I distinguish myself from other photographers? In the digital age, so many people claim photography as their passion. Trends morph and change, even in photography. The popularity of filters surged and suddenly everyone was a master. There have been a few times that I've thought that perhaps it was quitting time.
I've stayed true to my brand. I named my company LAF Lines because it actually says a lot about me. 1) I have awesome initials: LAF. So appropriate because: 2) I love to laugh. 3) I believe that aging is a privilege to be celebrated. 4) You, as you are, are the absolute best version of you, laugh lines and all.
I like to tell stories in my images. But I want to tell your story. Not mine. (I'll save those for personal projects.) As a photographer for hire, I'm interested in knowing the essence of you and showcasing that in the photos. I don't feel that you need glamming up or airbrushing so hard that your face is unrecognizable. It's a tough road to take and I know I've not earned some clients because of it. I also find that the clients that come to me, get me.
I've been fortunate in the past ten years to travel with my camera. I've had clients bring me to Tiburon, California, Vero Beach, Florida, Traverse City, Michigan and a few places around Chicago-land. I got to photograph VP Joe Biden and his wife Jill Biden when they were in Detroit campaigning in 2012. I helped a friend realize a dream by providing all the photography in her book. My images are on websites and in brochures and on the backs of books.
It's been an incredible journey. I'm so honored to be present in the lives of my clients for just a little while; the time we share immortalized by the images that I can only hope are hung and cherished for a lifetime. I don't take my job lightly, but I approach it with a casual and easy attitude to help keep clients at ease since for some, being photographed isn't a favorite activity.
Thank you for ten years of memories, opportunities and encouragement. When you take your business as personally as I take mine, there are days that it feels entirely overwhelming. Then I'll get an email of gratitude or see someone on the street who recognizes me and says nice things, and I'm back on track again. (PSA- Be kind, you never know when someone really needs a dose of it!) I wouldn't have made it this long if it weren't for you. I never forget this.
I remain, humbly,
your photographer. xo
Keywords: Anniversary, Decade, family portraits, jackson, LAF Lines Photography, Michigan, portraits, senior portraits, Ten years
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