If you follow me regularly, you may have noticed that slight 11-month long break I took from photographing weddings. You may also have noticed sporadic portrait sessions, and a general lack of wedding photographs altogether! I know, I know. It makes me cringe to say, as much as I’ve been aching to dedicate 100% of my time toward growing my wedding photography business, it hasn’t happened.
Don’t get me wrong. I still scour bridal mags religiously and stay up late swooning over the latest styled shoots on wedding blogs. I still fantasize about living in a cute little cottage with off-white walls and lots of natural light in my office, a succulent or two and my cat sleeping on my bed as I edit away on last weekend’s wedding.
That’s been the dream.
The reality is that I spent a year sleeping on floors and in hostels while traveling from country to country. When I came back to the U.S. I spent a few months living back at home (thanks Mom). I’m now temporarily living across the country in Georgia, and in another couple of months I’ll be heading across the world again! Needless to say, I haven’t exactly been around much to book weddings and styled shoots back-to-back.
Let me explain: I went on my first-ever missions trip that took me to 11 different countries in 11 months. We literally travelled around the world, setting out west and coming home from the east, from Central America to Asia to Africa. To say it was life-changing would be an understatement. I traded sleeping with my down comforter in my cozy bed and getting coffee with friends–to waking up on a school floors and spending the day with beautiful dirt-caked orphans and people who are changing the world with Love.
I took thousands of photographs and thousands more in my mind. Moments became images and images became memories. I developed a passion for documenting strangers that would become friends through the process of photographing them. I practiced a photojournalistic approach toward my work, and have loved the way that my lens has allowed me to experience life through the camera. I see all life unfold in photographs.
While these images are a stark contrast toward weddings and engagements in the States, they share the same passion that I have toward everything I click my shutter toward. I love documenting dusky weddings in summery air as I witness my client’s happiest days of their lives. And I love documenting wide-eyed, barefoot children living on the mountainsides of Nepal whose smiles melt my heart. Point is: I Love documenting Love.
I have two big dreams. The first is to support myself through my wedding photography business and be able to do what I love every day, being a part of the wedding industry and documenting love. The second is to use my photography to document the lives of those who are often overlooked, and to share their beauty and stories with the world. In doing so, I want to raise awareness and support for their specific needs.
Who says I can’t do both?
Drumroll please… I’ve decided to add a new element to Carly Jean Photography, and I’m calling it Lenses and Love. It’s a place to share other people’s stories from my travels and something I hope to grow to a ministry that aids those in need. Right now, it’s only beginning, as I piece together different stories and memories I have from my most recent trip. The more I travel, the more I’m going to share with you.
Check out Lenses & Love and stay up to date with Carly Jean Photography via Facebook, Twitter & Instagram for the latest news (and my latest travels!) Thank you for everyone who has supported both my business and my missions work. It has literally meant the world to me <3