2016 was a very difficult, life changing year for me. My life turned in a direction I didn’t see coming, and fortunately I had to re-invent myself. I had to find out who I really was and what I wanted to aspire to be. One thing that I did know was that I loved photography. Certainly there was a future for me if it was already a natural extension of who I was. But I knew I had a lot to learn.
I was visiting a friend for a special occasion and I was expressing to her my need to find purpose. I mentioned photography and her pretty face just lite up. She said “Of course, it’s who you are! Come, you have to meet Kelli Brewer!” Oh, fancy! And that she was- and is! She had this beautiful, flower maxi dress on, bomb beach curls, and a most gorgeous face. My friend told her I was interested in photography and she pretty much told Kelli she just had to let me work with her. I don’t know what made Kelli reach out to me because we only spoke for a few minutes, but I am sure glad she did.
Consequently, she invited me to shadow her during her Fall family mini sessions. I brought a notebook and took an insane amount of notes. I mean stick figures and everything. Then she invited me to shadow her on a wedding. Dead of winter in Maryland and smarty pants over here totally forgets her coat! Yikes! But I played it cool (see what I did there) and acted like I was totally fine. Which I was because I was so nervous I was sweating. We got along really well and the rest is history. For the last 2.5 years, I have been her second shooter in all but maybe 2 weddings. She taught me everything from camera settings to off camera flash. She taught me the etiquette of when we eat and how to say thank you when you get a tip. She taught me how to pose, how to edit in Lightroom and even convinced me to not be afraid of Photoshop. She helped me build my first website. She told me I had a creative eye and that was the boost in confidence I needed.
I am so grateful for Kelli Brewer. She helped me build my foundation and gave me: a stranger practically, the opportunity to find myself at a time when I had no idea who I was anymore. I am so grateful for that anonymous service she provided to me. She has no idea how much she impacted my life then, and still does now.
If you ever decide to attend a workshop, you HAVE to go to the Caroline Logan workshop in Lancaster, PA. Talk about life changing. I think I can confidently say that all 13 of us who attended left feeling different. We felt more confident, more hopeful in the business we were creating, more faithful that it would all work out. Last but not least, more determined to fulfill our dreams.
We spent 2 days learning from Caroline. Day one was my favorite. I mean who doesn’t love a styled shoot with a beautiful couple, with amazing vendors from table lines to macaroons. Everything was absolutely PERFECT! We photographed the couple for a couple of hours and they were such troopers. Poor Caroline: I interrupted her so many times! “What’s your camera setting now? Why did you make that decision? Kelvin? What is that? Really your ISO is that high? What about grain?” She was so so so patient with me! I was her little shadow and you can tell by the pictures. But she didn’t mind one bit. Every time she would answer with “Good question! Nope, the ISO will be fine, your camera can handle it” or whatever was appropriate.
Day 2 she taught us all business. From website builders to books she reads to stay motivated, to her workflow. And again: she was an honest, open book and we ate it all up! It was literally THE best thing I could have done for my business. I cried when I said goodbye to her. Not because I had to drive 2 hours home at night by myself. But because she touched my life for the better. She taught me that there was room for everyone. That I can follow my dreams and still be a woman of faith, a woman of family, and a good friend, and a business woman. She is one of my favorite humans and I hope our paths continue to cross.
Lainey reminds me to be creative. She reminds me to be light and airy and relax. Seriously! I am always on the go! Always thinking of what’s next and what I need to do. Lainey teaches me to slow down and get the details and soak it all in. Talk about Yin and Yang.
Lainey doesn’t know I consider her a mentor because she is my friend. But that’s the goal in life right: to have friends that help you to be better and say “Let’s do it!” Instead of “go do it!” Lainey was my neighbor for two years. I met her because she has the cutest porch swing. So every time I drove past her house, I stalked her to see if she was outside to see if she could tell me who made it. The day I finally succeeded, I knew I wanted to be her friend. I learned she was a photographer. My husband was returning home from Afghanistan. She was so gracious to photograph his arrival as he surprised my children at school. I still cry when I see those images. She captured all the details: tears, ugly cry, smiles, laughs, the gratitude we felt to have him home.
Since then we have picked each other’s brains over everything: presets, websites, locations. We compare each other’s feed and celebrate the progress of being cohesive and achieving the look we work so hard for. When I am with Lainey, I just want more. I want to be more creative. I want to photograph more and be more intentional. Did I just define the word inspiration? I did. Lainey inspires daily!
We are shooting our first wedding together in September for Dean and Torie. I say first because I hope for more. As she allows me to shoot with her, I hope I can give back in beautiful images what she has blessed me with.
“A mentor is someone who allows you to see the hope inside yourself.”