Everyone is doing the #10YearChallenge on Facebook and Instagram so I went digging through my archives and found the first senior pictures I ever took for a few of my friends the summer before I started my own senior year of high school. I bought a used digital camera on Craigslist after my little point-and-shoot camera took one too many nose-dives off a windowsill. I had the inklings of a dream tucked in my back pocket. All I knew in the moment was that I loved taking pictures and wanted to try my hand at portraiture.
2009 was a year of beginnings. It was the year I started my OG 365 project. That Christmas, my dad bought me my first DSLR. I was filling out college apps for out of state art schools. I had two objectives when looking for colleges: I wanted to major in photography, and I wanted to be somewhere warm. (Wisco, I love you, but your winters are too much.) I started 2010 getting to know a new camera, realizing a new dream, and I was accepted into SCAD in Savannah, Georgia to start a new adventure that fall.
When I look back on all these pictures, the ones I took of my friends and my early 365 photos, I see the foundations and the building blocks of what got me to where I am today. Running around in grassy fields and back alleys downtown, taking photos of my friends got me accepted into art school. My 365 challenge and taking a photo every day made me comfortable with my new camera and forced me to teach myself how to use it. I had four senior picture clients that summer and I was over the moon that I got to run around with my camera and make cool pictures with my friends. Those senior pictures got me a job at a Lifetouch studio later on down the road. I would be nowhere if my friends hadn't asked, "Anna, you like photography, will you take my senior pictures?"
It's been ten years, and I still get that feeling of being over the moon on my way to a new session. Whether it's a wedding day, updating family photos, or taking senior pictures, every single time, like muscle memory, the butterflies build up in my stomach. They kiss my ribs and I say a prayer of thanks to be able to do what I love for a living. Every. Single. Time.
I still notice pockets of light and shadow and ask my friends to stand in those places and when they get the sun their eyes on purpose, I apologize profusely but promise them it was all for a good shot. I still feel inspired by wooden bridges and rolling green landscapes, fire escapes and old brick buildings. I still get the most excited opening up Lightroom to import a new memory card full of photos.
Your moments are special to me. Being able to capture your now means more than I can ever say. These are the moments that one day your kids will look back on and wonder how they were ever so tiny, or wonder how their parents were ever so young and different from version of you that they know.
To all my past clients: I cannot find the right words to express how much gratitude is in my heart for all of you that have allowed me to come into your lives and capture your memories over the years. Absolutely none of this would be possible without the love and support you have shown me.
To all my future clients: I want to hear your vision. Not the scary "Where do you see yourself in 5 years?" vision, but the how do you see yourself? kind of vision. What are your dreams? What makes you belly laugh? What are your favorite dance party songs? I can't wait to get to know you.
And don't forget...
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