A sun-drenched engagement session with a dreamy, long(er) drive contained a reminder we could all benefit from, perhaps. I was driving through the outskirts of some North Carolina suburbs recently – borderline rural…into rural farmland – for an engagement session. Maybe I was still a little physically tired, coming off of days at WPPI and a weekend of personal travel immediately following it. I had a lot to accomplish that day and my mind was racing with the usual never-ending to-do list.
A part of me was annoyed that I agreed to drive 45 minutes from my home for this session. Why didn’t I charge for this type of travel for a simple engagement session for a couple whose out of town wedding I wasn’t hired for? The angel and devil on my shoulders started to battle it out as I kept my hands on the steering wheel. Had I become so jaded over the years I lost my appreciation for shoots like this?
That’s when I gave myself a proverbial smack in the face. Perhaps you’re just starting out or you’re like me and have been at this wonderful profession going on eight years. Or maybe you can double that and say you’re pushing twenty years in the industry! That fire inside me is still there. So why did I let the flame diminish some that day? We all have our moments of reduced inspiration or motivation and I had hit that point…and was ashamed of myself.
The moral of this article is simple: don’t let the years or your racked up experience in photography jade you or lessen a fire you had within you at any point. When I arrived at the location – a wonderful horse farm with dreamy wooden fences and rolling hills – I smiled and silently said to myself, “Next time you will remember this and leave EARLY. You’ll be more grateful and go the extra distance. Next time you’ll drive even more miles and leave at least an hour earlier than you have to for exploration.” Isn’t it worth it if I’m driving anyway?
My punishment was a little tinge of regret I rarely feel. I passed some beautiful trees in full blossom with delicate white flowers covering every last branch and twig on my drive to the farm. On my way back to the highway it was already dark outside; I couldn’t stop to photograph them as I could have if I had just left home a bit earlier. I should have stopped editing or emailing for the day just awhile before I planned to grab my keys, hit the road and left time for happy inspirational stops along the way doing what I love: taking pictures. I should have gone the extra mile and left early for it.