Most days, I feel incredibly lucky that I have been able to build my love of photography into a succcessful business. I feel so fortunate to have clients who I genuinely like and so honored that they put their trust in me to document some of the most special and important days of their lives; engagements, weddings, births, family celebrations and even intimate Boudoir sessions… Their stories, their connections to one another and the emotions of these events never fail to make a lasting impression on me. As I post-process the images from a session, I often find myself smiling wistfully at the way a man is beaming at his future wife as she walks down the aisle… or wiping a tear from my eye as I look at the father-of-the-bride making his toast and remember his heartfelt words… or even laughing out loud at some of the antics I catch when people are unaware they are being photographed. In these moments, I feel content. Fulfilled.
But while working in a creative field is a privilege, it can also be a challenge. When I’m paid to photograph an event, the clients have an expectation of receiving certain shots and I’m 100% responsible for making sure I deliver. I am often faced with conditions that are beyond my control; from locations with poor lighting to restrictive or limited schedules to unpredictable weather… and while these challenges are part of what I love about what I do because they force me to adapt, grow and improve… I often find myself thinking, “If only…. ”
If only I had complete control of the lighting. If only the weather was just right – not too sunny, not too rainy, not too hot/cold. If only I had the time to explore more interesting locations, poses and ideas. If only I could get out of the “safe zone” and explore more creative post-processing techniques… I fall into the trap of comparing my work to that of other creative artists… and I feel… deflated. Why don’t I have iconic images in my portfolio of a bride delicately poised on the edge of a waterfall, with her veil blowing in the wind just so? In these moments I sometimes lapse into the creativity doldrums.
That’s when I know I need a change of pace. Something to kick-start my creativity and recharge my batteries. An opportunity to experiment and lose myself in the pure artistry of creating something that is 100% my vision. A “day off” from pressures and expectations.
So when I saw a post on Facebook about a Workshop being offered in Montreal by Michel Feugeas, a photographer from Trois-Rivières whose work I admire because his style is so evocative and different from mine, I immediately signed up. Although I teach workshops myself, I knew that spending a relaxing day in studio, as a workshop participant rather than as a teacher, would be just what the doctor ordered. And it was!
Michel wisely limited the number of participants to just five photographers, giving each of us ample time and space to work with a wonderful and uninhibited model, in a large studio that had lots of available light. We spent the first hour or so getting to know each other and talking about the subtleties of creating artistic nude portraits. Then we started working with our model. Michel encouraged each of us to explore our creative vision with the only “restriction” being that we could only use the natural sunlight that was streaming in from the windows. No studio strobes or speed-lights. It was liberating.
I recently saw a quote on Pinterest that said:
“Be confident. Too many days are wasted comparing ourselves to others and wishing to be something we aren’t. Everybody has their own strengths and weaknesses, and it is only when you accept everything you are – and aren’t – that you will succeed.”
After a wonderful day with Michel, his wife and four other incredibly talented photographers I feel like I’m back on the road to accepting everything that I am – and am not… I hope you will enjoy the images I created on that day… but if you don’t, that’s OK too.