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Flagstaff Engagement Session: Kacey + Michael

Flagstaff Engagement Photographer

After at least a year and a half, I'm thrilled to share that we are back in action! Last week I had two photoshoots booked, one paid senior session and one redeemed giveaway session. In today's post, I wanted to share some of the experience from the redeemed giveaway session!

Kacey and Michael entered my November giveaway on Instagram and were eager to do their engagement photos on a snowy day up here in Flagstaff, Arizona. I was especially excited about this session because I love capturing active snowfall and I'm a sucker for a sweet engagement session. Combining the two was something new that I just knew would be a fun experiment no matter what.

Unfortunately, it's been a pretty dry winter... that is until now! After patiently waiting for the forecast to show snow we were finally gifted with a massive snow storm this past weekend and as soon as we saw snow projected in the forecast we pinned a date. We really did luck out on the day we met up. The snow wasn't too intense yet and the weather wasn't too cold. We had good intermittent snow throughout the session and were able to take cover under some trees when we needed a break.

I played with a couple different edit styles for this shoot because lord knows I get bored sticking with one. If we're being honest, something the left me feeling insecure in my work in the past was comparison to other photographer's edit styles. When I'd visit their Instagram pages I'd see they were consistent with editing and when I'd look at my shoots the edit style varied a bit -- not just from one shoot to the next but there would be variety within each session. It made me question if I was "doing it right". In this new season of my photography, I hope to be kinder to myself and to embrace my occasionally unorthodox and creative approaches. Part of what I love about photography is that I can express myself creatively through different edit styles, different shooting angles, lighting, and more -- and nobody can tell me I'm doing it "wrong" because it's my art and my creative decision. Having said that I do work with my clients during the edit process and make sure they are getting a product that they can love looking at long into their future.

For most of the images, Kacey and I agreed that a natural edit with a boost to contrast was enough to have the images pop. However there were a handful of images that just looked worse with that edit. I was still determined to find a way to include them in the final album because I really loved the change of location and backdrop. The images were still high quality and gave a lot of variety in posing, so I played with a moodier edit which you can see below.

Overall, my feelings coming out of this session were pure gratitude and pride in my work. Going into almost every photoshoot in the past I've experienced extreme anxiety. Eventually, the anxiety was high enough that I stepped away from photoshoots and photography completely. But in the time I've been away from photography I've developed a new appreciation and understanding for human nature. People aren't scary or mean or judgemental coming into a photoshoot, they are vulnerable, trusting in your guidance and grateful.

I've used the time away to get back in touch with what makes me feel good, and at the end of the day what makes me feel really good is having the opportunity to create. So yes, there's some anxiety involved when it comes to planning a session, meeting new people and directing them through the shoot and delivering a high quality final album. However, I'm at a point now where I trust my talents and stay grounded in the knowledge that taking photos and working with this medium ultimately brings me to a healthier place mentally. When I focus on that, the anxiety has much less power over me.

I'm looking forward to sharing more about these realizations in a future post, but for now I hope you enjoyed the images from this session and learning a little more about my creative and mental process during this session.

"Jess was super flexible helping us get a snowy engagement photo shoot we’d been dreaming of! She was friendly, professional, and the turn-around time with the photos was so fast!! A wonderful experience I would recommend her to all!" - Kasey's Review on Google

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