Learn to be still: Michigan Film Photographer

June 14, 2019

Learning to be still takes practice.  Honestly, in our busier than ever world, being still almost feels foreign.  But I’ve learned over the past year or so that learning to be still is one of my greatest treasures.  Being still and “doing” nothing doesn’t mean I “am” nothing.  It’s taken me most of my adult life to realize this.  I’ve learned that my value doesn’t rest solely in working and providing for my family & children.  My value lies in so many other things.  Things that aren’t necessarily attached to providing income, but things that make my life so much richer. Like my role as a mother, a wife, a daughter, a friend, an artist.  Are you still with me? I was raised by a very strong, providing father.  He taught me the value of working hard and the need to provide for myself and my family from a very young age.  He taught me this by example.  I feel very fortunate to have learned this from him, and it has carried me far.  I owe much of my workaholic tendencies to him.  Thanks, dad.  But what happened for me is that I fell into the mindset that unless I am working, providing and earning, I am not worthy.  I honestly feel like most of us are built this way and I see it in my peers and friends every day. It’s a tough mindset to get past.

I had a very slow winter.  A much slower winter in my business that at times left me feeling a little uncomfortable. Once my season came to a literal screeching halt from being in overdrive and shooting 28 incredible weddings and a season that started January 6th you’d think I’d be ready to sit still for awhile.  And as a wedding photographer,  business often time comes in waves. And I know this having been in the business of being creative over the past 12 years. The trick is trying to tell my Type 3w2 (yes, that’s another Enneagram reference) that I am still valuable even when I’m not actually producing something.  That I’m still valuable even when I’m sitting still.  That’s it’s ok to feel uncomfortable in that stillness.  It’s a new feeling.  It’s awkward at first. It feels so very foreign.

So that’s what I did. I learned to sit in the stillness. I sat, and read, and journaled and prayed and meditated my way though much of December, January, February and well into spring.  It felt so, so good.   As a family, we traveled to faraway tropical islands with with friends.  We met up with friends and neighbors for a simple dinner as often as we could.  We snuggled.  We battled colds.  We went to bed at 8pm most nights.  And in that stillness, something started to happen.

I had a creative burst.  

There’s just no other way to explain it.  All this creative energy came back to me ten fold in a very organic way.  My entire mindset shifted.  I felt very renewed.  It’s as if all of the stillness and quiet created more space for me.  My thoughts became more clear, my gratitude was deeper than ever before. I felt the need to expand this energy in different facets of my life.  I didn’t rush the ideas that were coming to me.  I followed my intuitions instead of chasing them.  I gave them time.  I knew it wouldn’t be a race, but more of a marathon to see these ideas come to life. I’d never done that before.  I’m a doer, so as soon as I have an idea … boom … done. This was an entirely different approach.

And so with that, I launched a podcast in Mid March. I picked up my film camera again in early April. I bought a few domains for a project that is years out. I signed a contract on a studio space and launched a new brand in late April. And I attended a life changing photography conference in May.  The stillness brought me to a creative burst.  I am forever grateful for the joy I found in the stillness, and that it brought me to the Hybrid Collective Conference in Nashville in early May.  I’ve always wanted to go. Some of my alll the favorite film & hybrid photographers were going to be there like Jonathan Canlas, Perry Vaile, Julie Paisley, Pim Yanaprsart, Eric Kelley, and Darcy Benincosa just to name a few. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t just a little bit of a fangirl when I met them for the first time. I met up with friends I’ve been connected with on social media and couldn’t wait to meet in real life.  I had a chance to meet up with local friends from Detroit and that felt great, too.    I learned so much about shooting film, about choosing the right film stocks and most importantly about stepping outside of my comfort zone and living this incredible life as a creative entrepreneur. What an incredible week it was in Nashville. It was so incredible I registered for next year in Southern California the minute I got home.

I took a few master classes and signed up for 2 styled shoots. One of the two styled shoots was with Eric Kelley for a modern color theory inspired shoot.  If only my cameras had th ability to not only see, but smell because those towers of flowers smelled just incredible.  But I know you came here for some images, and here are some of my favorites from that shoot.

Kodak Portra 800 / Hasselblad H1 / Scans by FIND Lab

Photographer host @erickelley 

Producer and Set designer @type_a_society 

Floral designer @melissabroadwell 

Wardrobe styling @lexfordays 

Hair @locksbyleslie 

Makeup @jordanbyers 

Cake @trouvaillebakery 

Jewelry @sarahojewelry 


Couture bag and jewelry @mindylamjewelry 

Shoes @badgleymischka 

Earrings @jenniferbehr 


Backdrops @telicialee styling mats @jrd_artshop 

Rentals @maykercreative 

Plates, silverware and glasses @greystonetable 

Stationary @yonderdesign @aerialistpress 

Ring boxes @voeu_du_coeur 

Floral pedestal columns @lavendersflowers 

Look out SoCal 2020.  We’re coming back for ya.

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