Why I Am Leaving Wedding Photography

It’s a new beginning.  Last Sunday, I shot my last wedding.  I knew in my heart as I lifted the camera to my eye and photographed the most stunning bride and her husband, that this would be the end of my journey as a wedding photographer.

In that moment, I also felt a hint of sadness as I watched the bride and groom so wrapped up in giddiness and excitement. They were now husband and wife.

When I reflect back on my last four years as a wedding photographer, I see the person I have become.

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Mindful Tools & Practices for Unblocking Creativity

Mindfulness means being present.

Now, what does that really mean for a creative?

Being mindful means being aware of what's happening around and inside you.  It means being in the moment so that you can fully experience the intersection of your intuition and creativity.

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Conversations In The Park | Personal Reflections

"Excuse me umm, are you a photographer”?  I heard this small voice say from behind me.  I was about 15 minutes into a portrait session with Pamela in Central Park when he approached me.  I turned around to see this adorable little boy.  His name was Avery; he was about 15 years old.  He had blonde hair, dark brown eyes, and a sweet polite innocence about him.  I happily replied “yes, I am” as I turned towards him.   He went on to ask “is there anything special about photography that I should know?”

What a loaded question!  There was so much I wanted to tell Avery; so much I wanted him to know about what I had discovered on my own journey in photography.  I told him that like any type of artistry, it all begins from within.   That anything in the world around him could be captured in the way he envisioned.  Landscapes, objects, animals, people could all be uniquely photographed just by seeing the world with his heart.  We talked about light and how this is the most important element that can be used to create something beautiful. Avery didn’t own a camera but I expressed to him that even the most simplest camera could be used to capture something creatively.  I told Avery to always keep shooting because with every click of the camera you learn a little bit more about yourself.

Little did he know, but Avery totally made my day when he walked up to me to introduced himself and ask about photography.  I appreciated his courage and humility.  My hope for him is that he always holds onto his childlike curiosity that prompted him to approach me that day.  And to always keep that spark he had in his eyes whenever he learns something new. 

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up." – Pablo Picasso

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90% Practice, 10% Experimentation

Photo shoots are all about having fun, right?  Gone are the days where photographers sit their clients on a stool with a background painted in white clouds and tell you to “say cheese”. Today’s photo shoots are about capturing lifestyle, celebrating personality, and freely expressing one’s creativity.  But part of what comes with creativity is experimentation; trying something completely new to expand your knowledge and grow as an artist. 

Typically, in photography, if we find a method that works whether it be the type of poses we use, locations we shoot, or lighting methods, chances are we stick to it because it’s a sure thing.  The problem with that is that we become stagnant and do not expand in our creativityI found this very thing happening to me in my photography.  Although I am usually clear on using a particular technique to produce the image I am going for, I like to think that my work is constantly evolving.  And to evolve, I must experiment with new techniques and conceive new out-of-the box visions to expand my body of work.  No matter how much it scares me. 

When we continue to do the same routine, things suddenly start to become boring, mundane, and no longer fun.  As soon as that feeling comes along, we know it’s time for a change.  That nasty word “change” scares us and keeps us locked in fear and comfortable with the status quo.

I for one am tired with the status quo so for now on, my photography will be 90% practice and 10% experimentation.  90% of the time I will continue to practice my techniques and methods for producing a great image and the other 10% will be used to experiment.  The 10% will be my time to go crazy and throw photography rules out of the window to create something new. 

Take this image of Fatima & Rizwan during their recent engagement shoot.  This is the first time I’ve ever produced a photograph like this.  The area was barely lit so it was time for some “off camera flash” as opposed to the natural light I use 100% of the time.  I sat them down in these two chairs, posed them and said “don’t smile”.  Don’t smile?!! I hardly ever take photos of an engaged couple when they’re not smiling!  But it was time to experiment.  I was pleased with the results and so were they!

And then this photo taken of Samontha.  The sun was shining brightly but I still used flash as an extra light source.  Totally unheard of in my world of photography.  But it was time to experiment.  

This is my goal; to use the 90/10 ratio in all of my photography.  I invite you to make room for a little experimentation in art and in life to grow and break out of the box.  I believe you can and I want to hear all about it when you do. Happy shooting!

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Art of the World

What lies beyond the world we live in?  The world right in front of us that we see every day.  How is it different from what the people halfway across the globe see on a daily basis? Last Friday, at the Rubin Museum of Art, I thought about the world beyond which I live.  The gallery exhibit was filled with statues, photos of Indian temples, and quilted fabrics with vibrant colors; I got to see a little piece of India, just for a moment. Rubin Museum Indian Statue I remember the story of this particular statue, the one with many hands.  He held fire in one of  his left hands and rain in his right, ready to destroy the land because of the ignorance brought on by the people of the land.  And when the people understood the error of their ways, the Vishnu would clear out the fire with rain to give them all another chance. Vishnu Every one of these statues represented a feeling, religion, or some spiritual aspect of the human mind.  I imagined all of the people from this land with different cultures and experiences; my perspective was deepened and it felt good.
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