For us "traveling for work" usually means something amazing. A few weeks ago a client flew us to London to capture his New Years Eve proposal and engagement portraits, so we stayed an extra week to explore. And I did something different than I usually do. What I'm about to say will probably surprise you: I actually took photos... for myself.
I fell in love with photography through black and white film in high school. There's something about monochrome that helps you see emotion, eliminate distractions, and capture a feeling. But over the years, as my photography career has bloomed, I've neglected film. I've neglected capturing the mundane parts of life -- MY life -- in general.
When we went to Paris last year, I had the honor of styling and photographing two incredible women in the most beautiful locations I could dream of. But now, a year and a half later, I wish I had taken more photos for me. Photos that weren't meant to be hung three feet wide on the wall - but photos that would later remind me of the food I ate and the flowers I sniffed and the way the kids played near the Seine. I'm realizing that there are so many valuable types of photos that aren't the two extremes of iPhone selfies and formal portraits.
So, for this trip to London, I gave myself four rolls of "film" (96 images). Rather than pack yet another camera and lug it around the city, I used my regular camera. However, to mimic the boundaries that film gives a photographer, I set up rules: Images could not be re-shot or deleted, even if they were blurry or too dark or light. I had to use my light meter and not rely on the photo popping up on the camera screen afterward. I also created one "film look" preset to edit the photos. The final rule was this:
Everything is worthy of being photographed.
This proved to be a much more powerful experience than I anticipated. And now I know why: I had to allow myself to do something for me. Not for a client, not for the ‘gram, not for Facebook, and not to try to prove anything to anyone. I had to believe that my own life and experience has the same value that I already believe everyone else's has.
Women, wrap your head around that for a minute. We are SO GOOD at doing things for others. For many of us this trait is so ingrained that we almost cannot conceive of spending time, money, or effort on anything that doesn't directly benefit someone else.
The worst part is that we get used to it. I hear these things from you all the time when you're trying to schedule a three hour makeover and photoshoot:
"I wish I could but my life revolves around my kids and I can't ever get away!"
"I would love to do something like this, but I just can't spend money on myself."
"I've been meaning to get with you for months but my job just takes everything out of me!"
And yes, there can be seasons of life that are truly "crazy" and we don't even have time for a bubble bath. But more often than not, I think it's an attitude and a belief system. I get it! I run a business, have a spouse and social life, have to cook every day due to food allergies, I volunteer, etc. But it always comes back to the old saying I learned from my dad, "You have time for what you have time for."
Friend, I get it. Sometimes it's easier to take care of everyone else and neglect yourself because then you don't have to LOOK at yourself. You can listen to harmful self-talk and you can hide. Sometimes, when you don't feel like you're pretty or worthy or important it's easier to decide you're none of those things, keep your head down, and trudge through life. But I want more than that for you. It's difficult to recognize your value, forgive people who have confirmed your worst fears, and decide to push forward. But it's always SO worth it.
Maybe today, working toward doing things for yourself means you ask for help. Maybe it means canceling that thing you didn't even want to go to and taking an hour to read that book you've been dying to finish. Maybe it means scheduling that photoshoot with me (because YOU want to do it), or maybe it means expressing yourself creatively for nobody but you!
Remember, you are worthy of the time, money, and gifts that you so eagerly give to others.
You are worthy.
I hope you enjoy some of my favorite frames from London! If you’d like to learn more about a Luxe Portrait shoot, reach out here.