Purple Lemon Photography

Lessons Learned

Thursday, July 22, 2010
About a month ago, I was at a conference put on by the network of which our church is a part. (We go to City Lights Church- check us out).  We get together once a year for about 3 days for teaching, worship, and loads of fun.  During the first session, several things stood out to me during the teaching and the prayer I received.  The reason I am blogging about this particular session is that is relates to myself as a photographer.  I wanted to wait until I finished my big wedding push to get all my thoughts down to really solidify it all.
The session's overarching theme is that God knows us completely and still loves us. Isn't that encouraging? He knows when our motives are less than pure, and he loves us. He knows when we mess up and lose patience with our spouses and children and parents and still loves us. He knows us when we lack integrity and still he loves us more than we can ever imagine. His grace extends to us in our darkest moments and even in the not-so-bad-yet-not-perfect moments, too. Psalm 139 describes how not only does he love and know us fully, but he made us, too. And he thinks we're wonderful! Here's a section.

1-6 God, investigate my life; get all the facts firsthand.

I'm an open book to you;

even from a distance, you know what I'm thinking.

You know when I leave and when I get back;

I'm never out of your sight.

You know everything I'm going to say

before I start the first sentence.

I look behind me and you're there,

then up ahead and you're there, too—

your reassuring presence, coming and going.

This is too much, too wonderful—

I can't take it all in!

13-16 Oh yes, you shaped me first inside, then out;

you formed me in my mother's womb.

I thank you, High God—you're breathtaking!

Body and soul, I am marvelously made!

I worship in adoration—what a creation!

You know me inside and out,

you know every bone in my body;

You know exactly how I was made, bit by bit,

how I was sculpted from nothing into something.

Like an open book, you watched me grow from conception to birth;

all the stages of my life were spread out before you,

The days of my life all prepared

before I'd even lived one day.

(Psalm 139: 1-6, 13-16, MSG)

I don't know if you ever struggle with insecurity, but I know that I do. My husband does. My friends do. I'm so thankful that the God of the entire universe thinks I'm great and wants to spend time with me. Doesn't that kick some insecurity in the pants?
At that session God worked in me to turn from the attitudes and behaviors that belittle the person that God made me to be in order to honor him, strengthen my marriage, and lift up my friendships. It's a lie for me to believe that I am not beautiful. I used to love being on the other side of the camera when I was little- always posing and hamming it up. I hadn't learned to dislike myself. So for my 25th birthday a few weeks ago, friend and fellow photographer, Casey, took some headshots for me. Her skills + my new attitude = something I'm more than happy to share!
So what does all of this have to do with photography?

Everything. How people look is a critical aspect of my occupation. Couple that with a client's personal insecurity and the result is easily a mess. But somehow- it's not.

I wrote this at the conference in the super-hip moleskine journals they gave us.

"I don't make people photogenic; they already are. God made them wonderful. I simply show it. I give him glory by showing his creation (the things that are already beautiful). He does not make ugly people. I have been challenged in my pattern of thinking to see clients as creations, wonderful reflections of God, created lovingly in his image."

I am not big on retouching. I don't airbrush. I use natural light to highlight and flatter what's best. I do not nit-pick at every loose strand of hair or encourage heavy make-up. I try to show who someone is more than what they simply look like. And more often than not- an image of someone beautiful emerges. There is personality and life. I'll praise God for that.

A few other highlights from the conference:

The young woman in the wheelchair is a friend of mine, and she hasn't had feeling in her lower back and legs for 5 years. As we prayed for her a number of times, she was able to feel tingling and pressure returning to her legs. I have faith that one day I'll get to see her walk again!
We stayed at a cabin, ironically named the Devil's Kitchen, with most of these folks and ate this dinner. I am the one on the couch in black with the seemingly tiny head. I made that rockin' watermelon basket in about 10 minutes while the steak was cooking. :)

Amy & David's Wedding

Monday, July 19, 2010
After photographing Amy & David's engagement session, I was looking forward to photographing this photogenic, sweet couple on their wedding day.  As was the case for many of my weddings this year, I was enjoyed knowing that they are solidly in God's hands and surrounded by good friends and family who lifted them up in a lot of prayer. David reminds me a lot of my brother, and it was encouraging to see his friends, who spent several years studying the Bible together, standing up in support of his marriage to Amy.  I was able to remember that when my brother seems so far away serving high school students in Britain, it's the faithfulness of the friends like David's that help him stay focused on the goal.

Beyond just the personal connection I felt to them, I fully enjoyed the wedding day.  It was so jam-packed full of fun photo highlights, I barely know where to begin.  I am not sure why exactly, but they just look great in black and white! 
I took a photograph inside the entry of the University City City Hall back when I lived there and frequented city hall to pay parking fines (see the picture of the sign about half way down this post), and quickly realized that I HAD to shoot a Friday wedding here. Hot day? Perfect indoor location with perfect natural light.

Also, when I updated some of my editing software (Yay, Lightroom 3!), I found a new editing style that rocked my world.  So Amy and David get the pleasure of enjoying this interesting color tone that I just fell in love with.
This is a truly candid moment that my second shooter caught. Great shot, Chase!
I know I've had a lot of people (including my mom- Hi Mom!!) that are anxiously awaiting some from this next set.  Back when we were planning, Amy was explaining that although they wanted some classic yet modern pictures, she wanted to do something exciting with her wedding party.  Having a wedding on Fourth of July weekend allowed for some unique wedding party adventures!  I did a little behind the scenes work and got them access to the Webster Groves 4th of July Carnival before it opened on Friday so they could ride the ferris wheel and kiss by the Sugar Shack! Couldn't have asked for anything better (unless it was about 20 degrees cooler).
Notice the pink 2.  They got married on the 2nd with pink as their color.  Happy accident.
Some veil action...
I love to show emotion and special moments during ceremonies.  I love how Amy doubled over laughing during the ring ceremony. Makes me smile.
The reception was at the beautiful Andre's West Banquet Facility in Fenton.  Their cake was so beautiful, I took countless pictures (as did Chase).

Jenna & Nick's Wedding

Friday, July 9, 2010
When I photographed Jenna & Nick's engagement pictures and had their wedding planning session, I was quickly able to see what part of their personality I was going to capture on their wedding day.  Some couples are full of tender, passionate moments, others are passionate about music, and others strive to capture a sense of artistry.  Though Nick is easily wearied by the camera (though I never saw a hint of it, to be honest), Jenna is high engery and loves to pose!  They had a lively bunch of friends in their rainbow-colored wedding party that perfectly echoed their energetic spirit! I had a few quiet moments early on with each of them, but that quickly led to excitement and often sheer silliness!

Gettin' down with grandpa...
And that last picture really shows Jenna!  She was just dancing her way around the dance floor all night long- her energy unmatched by any bride I've ever seen.

Congratulations, Jenna & Nick!