I had nearly nodded off a few times on the drive up to Cleveland, so I was sure to get coffee for the way back home. The super kind barista asked me all about my day, beyond the usual, “Hi, How are you?” We chatted about the weather and she asked what I was doing today. I told her I was up here for a session and she asked:
“So, what would be your dream photo shoot?”
Whoa. A cold brew served with universal questions of pondering.
I thought about it just for a minute. Thought about my session that very morning with an extended family. I first met them when I photographed one couple’s wedding a few years ago, am now in the middle of their daughter’s first year experience, and today was photographing the whole extended family together. It was marvelous to see them all: grandparents snuggling with toddlers, uncles and dads pulling out some crazy dance moves to make their nephew laugh, a niece touching her precious baby cousin’s tiny fingers.
I thought about the wedding I photographed last week, where my couple was so fun and loving and laid back, their videographer (the fabulous Light Parade Films) commented on how remarkable it was that they were so ready to be themselves in front of the camera. And I thought to myself that this is how it always is for my couples – I love getting to know them and hitting that point where they’re cool with just being themselves in front of me. I love that. I am so lucky to photograph such amazing couples who are just crazy full of love!
In this brief moment of time where I paused to consider what my dream shoot would be, a million little tiny moments during sessions and weddings shared with people who just really love life – they all sort of morphed into the great realization of how much I love my job.
I love what I do. I feel so insanely lucky to have found my people and to get to infuse all the tiny ways I love you guys into my work each day. And I feel your love right back.
I fog up my viewfinder with tears when I hear your vows. I laugh right out loud at my computer when I’m editing your pictures and I suddenly come across one of your toddler picking her nose. I marvel at the way you love one another. I feel incredible joy to watch you see your pictures for the first time, reliving the day, laughing together or tearing up together. I love bringing you your album: I picture you paging through it years from now and remembering. I smile when you send me a picture of your whole family in your heart sunglasses.
And I tell you all of this not to brag about how great my job is (but you guys, I sincerely feel like the luckiest) – but to thank you.
Thank you for trusting me time and time again. Thank you for being cool with being yourselves in front of me. Thank you.
By this point, my wake-up drink was ready, “Sarah on the road” printed on the side. I smiled at the barista and told her,
“You know, I get to do my dream shoot every day.”