My 2015 Photographic Journey | Jacksonville Documentary Family Photographer

Just before 2014 ended, I was ready for something new, a fresh focus to pursue what I loved. I received an email about a workshop on family storytelling photography taught by Kirsten Lewis. I was intrigued and was able to catch the last day.  Within the first few minutes, I became a little bleary-eyed. Kirsten was speaking about photos that move you, ones that make you feel something, ones that tell a story that resonates inside you.  Immediately, I thought “these are the kind of photos that I want to make” and the tears flowed.  I was so inspired by how Kirsten makes these documentary photographs for families, and I knew this was where I wanted to take my photography. 


For so long before this, I tried very hard to make photos that were like everyone else’s.  I was trying to be something I was not – making the perfect posed picture – but this wasn’t me.  There is definitely a place for those kinds of photos, but I wanted badly to create photos that people react to, the kind that I’ve always been drawn to, where the emotion wells up inside the viewer and helps them to really see the beauty of their everyday lives


So, my journey as a family documentary photographer began.  I purchased Kirsten’s full course, so I could go back and watch all 3 days. I took ridiculously detailed notes and started to implement what I was learning.  Then, I jumped out on a limb and emailed Kirsten about her One-Year Mentoring Program.  I wasn’t sure if she had any room left, and she told me that she had just decided to add 2 more spots. I got the last one and was thrilled!  I spent this past year learning from her and practicing every chance I got.  I found that I absolutely love these types of documentary-style photo sessions: day in the life shoots, vacations, births, and weddings.  Creating photos that make my clients feel something is where it’s at for me. Dr. Howard Thurman once said: Don't ask yourself what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”

I found what makes me come alive. 


One of the best compliments I received this year was when a mom speaking of a photo of her with her daughter said “I never saw myself as beautiful as I did when I saw how she looks at me.”  We sometimes miss those little moments because we are caught up in them (as we should be), but having someone document them can give us a fresh perspective and something timeless to hold on to


Over the next few weeks, I’ll share some more photos from specific shoots from 2015 with you. To get us started, here are a few that stand out when I think back over the past year: