Exciting times | Florida Wedding Photography

So there has been a LOT going on pushing me closer and closer to finding the right path for my business.  This highly appropriate as this month marks my official one year anniversary as a small business owner.  So here are a list of some of the major things that have really influenced me over the last couple weeks:

Visiting Swallowtail Farm for a lovely picnic and tour
Listening to Jesh de Rox his concept of the 'Beloved' movement in photography
Attending a talk by Jeff Jochum, SmugMug Marketer extraordinaire
Having my photos included in the Citizens Co-op Kickstarter video

Ok... some random stuff, some clearly business-y stuff... some controversial stuff (yep, that's the Beloved stuff for those who are following the gossip)... how does it tie together?

So I visited the farm took some photos while I was there.  It was just a great day.  I loved hearing Noah speak about the farm... every detail for why they do exactly what they do.  Every single choice is made consciously and with the best intentions.  As with other shots I've done for them, I offered my photos freely for them to use in any way they can because I believe in what Swallowtail stands for.  I believe wholly in their endeavor.

A week or two later I started hearing rumblings about this whole Jesh de Rox talk.  I listened to a two hour talk he gave at WPPI about two years ago and was blown away by the raw emotion... the 'Beloved' movement believes that all people are beautiful, all people are loved.  As photographers, we can invite that beauty and love out of people by creating a space for a couple to really feel deep emotion for each other, and then THAT's what we capture.  Some people think the whole thing is a bunch of hooey, but I personally want to explore this idea.  I have always known that I wanted to capture authentic, honest moments... I am excited to walk down this new path with hundreds of other photographers and see where it leads.  It could be something really, really touching. 

The next day I travelled to Jacksonville to attend the monthly SMUG meeting organized by SmugMug.  Jeff Jochum was leading this meeting and discussing how to market yourself as a photographer. He said something that so many others have said but it didn't finally sink in until he said it. Be unique. Yes, we all know that everyone tells us that we need to find a way to stand out. For me, the thing that tipped it from 'generic piece of business advice that I can't really relate to' to 'holy cow, I get it!' was that I should imagine myself looking for a wedding photographer. I would want that photographer to be like me, right? Someone I could relate to...

I would want that photographer to really care about local businesses, the health of the planet, farms in our area and capturing a really authentic moment in the great outdoors rather than a pretty pose in a studio.... and you know what? That's me! I am that photographer! I had a little epiphany as I came to that realization. Re-enter Swallowtail farm.  Enter my previous work with Citizens Co-op.  Enter my work for East End Eatery.  Enter the Beloved movement and the desire to photograph something REAL.  Enter the eco-friendly printing options I offer. Enter the first wedding I shot back in 2009... a down-to-earth couple clearly in love - in that 'place' and so easy to shoot because of it, much of the material aspects of the wedding were hand-made, and the impact on the environment was part of their decision-making process.  

YES!  This is it!  This is the direction I want to go in!

Lastly, I attended a screening of "Dirt: The Movie" tonight, hosted by Citizens and the CMC.  After the movie, Gretchen showed the Citizens video on kickstarter... it had some of my images in it.  I was so touched that they chose to include them.  Afterwards, I talked to a radiantly pregnant Gretchen.  I thanked her for recommending my work to her brother and sister-in-law-to-be, whose intimate outdoor wedding I will be shooting next weekend.  She thanked me for helping out the Co-op.

Yes... this is where I want to be.  This is the community.  This is the approach.  This is the right direction for me.  I am so happy to have found it and even more excited to see where it leads.

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