June 9, 2022
Zanna and Dijon are due to welcome their little boy any day now. And when it came time to capture their maternity portraits she messaged me THE most amazing message that any photographer is thrilled to hear.
Rewind to about a month ago. Our family was quickly uprooted from our home in Maryland and relocated to Charlottesville, Virginia. All of my clients were notified of our move and we’re extremely blessed to report that all of our weddings will not be affected by this change. But I was unsure about our portrait sessions.
Zanna decided that she and Dijon were going to make the drive to my area so we could create some gorgeous portraits to celebrate their first baby together. Her message read, “I would really love for you to capture this milestone for us. I couldn’t imagine anyone else capturing this special time in our lives.”
Many years ago I was there for their engagement and then their precious and emotion-filled wedding day, so it really did mean the world to me that she wanted me there to capture this part of their lives as well. I had to make this happen! So, after digging through Instagram and Pinterest, we decided to meet at Raven’s Roost Overlook.
The surprise that awaited us at Raven’s Roost Overlook for our portrait session was something I never would have guessed! The night before we met I spent a lot of time packing my camera bag and making sure that I had everything I needed. Camera (and backup camera) – check. Freshly charged batteries – check. Cleaned lenses of all focal lengths – check.
But when I got there, hugged them, and started taking out my camera to begin our session it hit me like a ton of bricks. My memory cards were at home, tucked into the card reader next to my laptop. Now – here I am trying my absolute best not to panic and deciding the best thing I can do at this point is, to be honest with them and try hard to find a solution. Of course, the closest stores to us don’t keep my kind of memory cards in stock. So the option I had left was to suck up my embarrassment and beg a stranger for help.
My prayers were answered that day, during a point when I felt a huge amount of panic. It came in the form of a man visiting from Miami, Florida with a group of his friends. He happened to use the same camera brand that I do and all of my lenses fit his camera. And having just welcomed his own first baby three months prior he knew personally how important these photos were to Zanna and Dijon. He happily handed over his camera and his memory card so I could capture these photos.
Zanna and Dijon trusted me to use a stranger’s camera to capture these images that they drove over 3 hours to document. I trusted this man to get safely home with these precious files and upload them to a file-sharing folder so I could edit them. And while the events that led up to us capturing these images were not anything I would have ever guessed to happen to me, I now have renewed faith in humanity.
Our move to Charlottesville hasn’t been a smooth one! Two months after selling our house in Maryland I can report that all of our belongings are still sitting in a storage unit. My little family of four is sharing a single bedroom and bathroom at my dad’s house in Central Virginia while we navigate the current housing market. I’m extremely thankful for my father’s generosity and patience with us. And I’m even more grateful for the help of a kind stranger and the unwavering trust of Zanna and Dijon throughout the years of photographing their growing family.
I’ll be the first to admit that being a business owner is not easy. The pressure to perform top-level, 100% of the time is a very real existence for us. (I’m secretly blaming my lack of organization on the fact that I don’t have an office, a routine, my own space, or even access to my things that are necessary to run said business!) But knowing that I have clients that show me grace during a time when I’m making mistakes has allowed me a second to breathe easy.
We captured some epic portraits for their family album, despite the rocky start to our session. And they certainly walked away with a memorable story!
Thank God for kind strangers! And thank God for loving clients who trust me – no matter what is thrown our way!!