Last year, I completed my first 366 project. While I did want to throw in the towel at times, it was such a rewarding project and I am so thrilled that I finished! Yes, there were days when I dreaded bringing the camera everywhere I went. There were times when my children were less-than-cooperative. There were moments when my friends were annoyed. I get it, I really do. But, when all is said and done, it was one of the best things I could have done for my family and here are five reasons why.
1) Document the Memories.
This is by far the most important thing to me. My family had such a cool opportunity – how can I pass up documenting the heck out of it? Moving from Orlando, Florida, to Santa Ana, Costa Rica, came with lots of change and adventure – and several moments worth remembering forever.
Like this one right here. My sweet big girl, so excited to get on an airplane to move to a new country. There were certainly a few eye rolls when I pulled my “big” camera out to take pictures in a chaotic airport – heck, even I was a little embarrassed. But as I look back on this image more than one year later, I have an overwhelming feeling of joy. I’m happy that I have this moment to look back on forever – one of the last moments before the big “unknown” adventure. One of the final moments before we got on an airplane as a family of four for the first time. This image right here was the final chapter of our first story, as well as the first page of a new chapter in our lives.
2) Capture the Growth.
One of my favorite things to do in my free time (haha, free time?) is to look back at my old pictures of my kids. Before sitting down to write this blog, I came across a shot I took of Mackenzie at the beginning of this year. Look how tiny this chubby little bald baby in diapers was!! Madison has grown a lot too, but the baby – WOW. So I looked at this image and reminisced about this exact moment, and then wanted to see more. So I kept scrolling through my image collections and I was able to see her growth in a series of images. Mind blown.
3) It’s for the Family Too.
While I do shoot for myself, I would be lying if I said I didn’t do it for family too. I am VERY close with my family, and that was the absolute hardest part of leaving Oviedo. My in-laws lived in the neighborhood across from us, and we spent at least one weekend a month visiting my side of the family in Fort Lauderdale since it was just a quick drive down I-95. While Costa Rica isn’t far from a “miles” perspective, it’s certainly more challenging (and expensive) to see our loved ones on an impromptu basis. So I shoot for them too. So they don’t feel so far away. So they can also see the kids grow. So they get a glimpse of what our life in the Pura Vida is like.
4) Work Hard, Play Hard.
Before moving to Costa Rica, I worked in Internal Communications for one of the largest technology companies in the world. Writing, editing and building communications plans was my first “thing.” While some days at the office were tough for sure, I felt a large sense of satisfaction knowing that I was really good at what I did—I had a purpose.
Leaving Orlando meant I also had to leave that job – and gosh – that was SO scary. I’m a worker by nature. Don’t get me wrong, I love spending time with my kids, but I can only handle so much play-doh, puzzles and coloring.
So I switched gears and filled that work gap with my photography. I gave it my all, as I always did with my former job. It was a win-win! The frequent shooting encouraged me to do fun things with the girls that I knew would make for great photographs. And the evenings I spent editing often gave me such satisfaction. After the lovely (torturous) dinner, bath and bed routine, I was able to sit at my desk and reflect on the fun times we had throughout the day. I not only felt so thankful for the opportunity I have to be able to stay home with the girls now, but I also often felt proud of myself as an artist.
5) See Your Skills Soar!
Practice makes perfect, right? Do you have any idea how much you will improve as a photographer if you make it a point to shoot often – especially daily? I started this journey in 2014, when I got my first DSLR camera. I know it can be frustrating and easy to get discouraged when the pictures you are producing aren’t matching you vision, but nothing is mastered overnight. My journey with photography has taken a lot of practice, a lot of education and a lot of patience.
I was once a new mom with a nice DSLR camera and was disappointed with my pictures too, we’ve all been there! At the end of last year, I combined my passion for photography with my passion for communicating and I taught a four-week course on the basics of photography. I know first-hand that with a little bit of knowledge about the basics, you can take your photographs to the next level. If you’re interested in joining my February run of the class, head on over to my learn page to learn more, read reviews and sign up!
Oh, and little one. I'm sorry for the shirt your Auntie Kristen made you, but there is not a chance!