The sun streamed in through my bedroom window and the fresh scent of lilacs filled the air. I felt as though the world could not get more beautiful in that moment.

And then my phone beeped, jolting me from this ethereal moment back into real time. One of my clients had just texted me.

“Camille,” it read, “my dad just passed away. Thank you for getting so many beautiful photos of him at our wedding. Now we have so many beautiful photos to remember him by.”

Canon Beach

I had an instant gut reaction; a mixture of empathy, sadness, & joy. I know what it’s like to go through life without a father, so I felt some of the pain I knew she was feeling. But I also felt a gentle, strong sense of joy, knowing she had beautiful photographs of him to keep forever. And I was immensely grateful to have played a small — yet important — role in her family narrative.

I used to question whether this is a meaningful career. I knew I loved photography and I loved being creative. But at the end of the day, I wondered whether I was doing something meaningful? Is there a deeper purpose behind all these pretty pictures, Instagram posts, and Facebook updates?

My bride’s text demolished my doubt. I realized, in that moment, that there is so much nuance to being a wedding photographer. It’s not about the pretty shoes and the flowers. It’s about creating beautiful artifacts for my clients. It’s about my role in their family narrative.

Canon Beach

Often, the only time people hire a professional photographer is for their wedding. Every other photo of their loved ones is a snapshot. An iPhone snap lost & forgotten in the digital black hole.

There is an immense responsibility to being a wedding photographer. This is about a couple’s family & life narrative. Their lives & memories must be captured with beauty, grace, & ease. And most importantly, we photographers cannot lose sight of the true meaning of photography — it’s not about “likes” & “followers” & competition. It’s about guarding our hearts against these very things so that it is open & full to be there for someone other than yourself.

May we move onward, knowing that our role as documentary photographers is among the most profound, most human, & most sacred of roles.

Thank you to all my clients for believing in the craft of photography & the meaningful act of documentary. I am honored to become a part of your lives.

Camille Stallings Photography

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Want to see more of my photography & daily thoughts? Let’s connect:

https://www.instagram.com/millascrossing/

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The True Meaning of Photography | Top Seattle Wedding Photographers