The truth about being a couple's photographer is that it fills the little cracks in your heart with gold of the purest form. When I first started realizing my interest in couple's photography, I was a little confused to be honest. I've joked before that in my family, "divorce is genetic" -- my parents are divorced (both happily remarried now), my grandparents on both sides were divorced, and even some of my great-grandparents were divorced.
"Why am I SO drawn to couples?", I wondered. Despite being in my own incredibly fulfilling relationship, I felt curious as to why these adventure sessions and intimate elopements felt so rewarding. I didn't feel like anything was missing from my romantic relationship, so I was very intrigued in why I left each session feeling so overcome with emotion and full of peace.
Whatever the reason was, I followed it. I listened to my intuition telling me that getting goosebumps and crying behind a camera lens as a couple exchanged vows isn't an everyday feeling. I leaned into it without question.
Recently, I was listening to an absolutely remarkable podcast: The Good Life Project with Jonathan Fields, interviewing Traci Ruble. Her story was riveting and resonated with me on a personal level as she talked about her parents' divorce. After several years deep into a career in tech, she changed directions. When Jonathan Fields asks what was her intention for returning to graduate school (from which she eventually became a therapist), she responded:
"I did this really weird thing, which is, I surrendered to needing to know."
Going off instinct alone, Traci continued school and the many strenuous years following, where she trained to become a therapist. She discovered that not only did she enjoy the work, but that she particularly liked working with couples. "That's probably not a surprise, I joke, because I think I've been a couples therapist since I was four," she said.
"I think It's healing for me, to be in process with folks that way..." she continues, "what seems to really make me come alive is to constantly have my perspective shifted... I really still feel shaken up when I work with folks because they make me think about my own life."
That shook me. I felt such a strike of clarity, as I realized so much of what was true for Traci rang true for me as well. I've been moving forward as a couples' photographer, capturing intimate moments between two people wholly dedicated to a relationship. I'm incredibly passionate about it, but couldn't pin point exactly why couples specifically - not maternity shoots or family sessions, senior graduates or newborns- light me up.
And now I know it's because on some level, it heals me. As an empath, I'm hypersensitive to the emotions of others - both negative and positive. For several years I've felt unaffected from my parents' divorce, but when diving deeper into my self reflection, I've become aware of deep-rooted insecurities about love, relationships, and self-worth. Being surrounded by these wholehearted, joyous people - these beautifully vulnerable people that invite me into their lives- feels pure and honest and real.
The truth about being a couple's photographer is that it's an emotional journey and a wild ride. I wouldn't have it any other way.
Original GLP podcast with Traci Ruble interview: http://www.goodlifeproject.com/traci-ruble/