shooting for the client | casual friday.

When I first started my business, I felt an immense pressure to "get published." It wasn't any one person who put the bug in my ear, but all of the photographers I admired were constantly posting their "Featured In..." stories that often included national publications. To me, these published weddings looked better than anything I've ever done, the clients seemed more glamorous, the details more deliberate.

So I started putting all my energy into shooting my weddings for publication. I tried to picture what the magazine editors would be looking for, what the current trends were, what colors were "too last season" so I could try and avoid working with anything that wouldn't end up on a wedding blog somewhere.

I was unhappy. I felt less creative. I felt boxed in to what "the editors" wanted instead of what made me feel satisfied as a photographer and made my clients happy. And it took me entirely too long to figure out why I was antsy shooting this way - I mean, it makes sense to want to have your work featured, right? It would bring me more referrals and more clients, right? So I started submitting anything and everything and with each rejection letter I felt crushed. Disappointed in my work. It wasn't fun.

A few months ago, a potential bride e-mailed me about shooting her wedding. We passed several e-mails back and forth and she described a beautiful, detailed wedding at a local venue that I know is just gorgeous. We made plans to meet a few weeks later and I asked about how they met, their love story, their families, etc. But the only thing they wanted to talk about was the possibility of getting published. She asked specifically about photo rights for her wedding coordinator who has "great connections in the publishing industry," and reiterated the need for tons of detail shots. She told me all about the speciality flowers that would be flown in and the rented, vintage furniture she snagged.

I assured her I would photograph all her details, but I really wanted to talk about their portrait time together and how we could make the most of it. They asked for "the soft, romantic kind you see in magazines" and I started to feel anxious. I do shoot soft, romantic portraits, but I do it because it shows the authentic, genuine affection of my couple and not because it was on the cover of The Knot.

The Monday after we ended our meeting, I sent a follow-up e-mail and never heard from them again. But after a few days, I felt relieved. I didn't want to shoot weddings just because they're beautiful or detailed or have the potential to get published somewhere. I love to shoot weddings because I love people, I love people in love with each other, I love being a part of such an incredible event that is filled to the brim with joy.

Getting published is just a bonus. It's a few extra sprinkles on the cake. I love beautiful weddings and I love brides who pour detail into their days. But getting published is not the main thing - that's what styled shoots are for. And after three years of shooting weddings, I've learned that the best way to love my clients is to shoot for them, not for an editor.

Clients, I love you. I love your stories. I love your weddings. Let's keep at it together.


waynesboro, pa renfrew park maternity photographer | the hails family.

I had it on my To-Do list to tell you about this sweet family/maternity/couples session yesterday, but I have a really good excuse. You see, my toddler has napped faithfully her entire life, give or take a day here and there. She loves to sleep and after 2:00 p.m., nothing stands between a Quinlan and her bed. Nothing. She will tell you she's going "nigh-night" and ask you to see yourself out. That's prime working time for me, I can knock out editing and culling and blogging and have something to show for myself by he time I hear, "MAAAAAHHH!!" from the nursery. Good people, yesterday, this was not so.

Perhaps it is those pesky two-year molars nudging through, or the fact that I tried to cook a steak in the middle of the day and it put off so much smoke the alarm went off and the monitoring service called and my husband had to tell them there was no emergency but "his wife was cooking." So now that same toddler is hysterical and the house is filling with smoke and alarms are wailing and phones ringing and HOW DID THE DOG GET IN THE HOUSE and yesterday's nap never, ever happened. And on days like that, it is good to have friends who are in the thick of it right along with you. Not that Zach and Colleen had fire trucks en route or anything, but if anyone could understand my frazzled state, it's them.

I met the two of them a few weeks after they got married - just a couple of kids! Then I had dinner with Colleen one night in their old apartment and, while she is normally very, very hospitable, she inhaled her food and seemed anxious to get me out the door. Like, Zach is coming home, stop lingering, you have to leave, thanks for coming. But the truth is she had a positive pregnancy test and Zach was driving from an out of town work training to celebrate and hey, you don't need a third wheel for that. And the next August I sat at her baby shower with my mind elsewhere, knowing I was pregnant, too, and wasn't ready to see those pink lines that would come just a few hours later.

And now they're just a few weeks away from Tiny Son #2, one of that I secretly hope will have orange (not red, Kaden will tell you) hair just like Kaden. I love you guys! I can't wait to meet your little darling in just a little while.