Darby and I have a mutual friend who was kind enough to introduce us! Darby was SO SWEET and came bearing gifts to our photo session (literally a first). My love language was spoken to and I was actually really moved by the thoughtfulness. Needless to say, the shoot went very well and Darby’s genuine personality came through beautifully.
“My photography story started way back in 6th grade when Jennifer Sorenson’s parents bought her a camera for Christmas. Envy set in; I wanted one too! When I was in junior high I was at church camp and a camp mom let me take a few pictures of my friend with her SLR. They turned out great, and while she set it all up with the right settings she was sweet enough to say, “Wow, you take great pictures.” But I knew good pictures required good equipment and an understanding of how to use it. I just wasn’t sure how to get my hands on the good stuff and tackle that learning curve. I somehow landed the role of “photographer” for the high school yearbook, but most of what was required was learning how to run the dark room with the techie film guy. I think the fumes got to me, and I just figured this dream was a bit out of reach.
I loved pictures. But I was afraid to make a stink about it. My parents expected me to go to college for a traditional liberal arts degree. So, I did that….and then some. I earned a bachelor’s degree, then a master’s, then a doctorate and even worked in higher education for ten years. But then God gave me sweet babies (now age 6 and 8). To my frustration, my point and click’s green button never turned on in time for me to capture their funny smiles or giggles. That’s when I told my husband I wanted a “fast” camera, you know, one of those “cool” ones with that big lens thing on the front. I became one of those parents. You know, thousands of pictures loaded on the computer, snap snap snap snap. I was one step into my dream.
Two years later we made a move out of state and in our new church home I met Sara Goetz, owner of Sara Goetz Photography in Concord, CA. Not only did we have kids making us insane mommies at the same stages, but she was incredibly creative and articulate with a real gift for teaching and she taught me what all those dials and settings were on my “fast/cool” camera. I learned to look at photography through a story-telling lens as I watched her worked and learned from her. A few months before our move “back” home, she told me “Oh, you could totally do this. DO IT!” I took a breath then took the plunge.
I have an artistic bent to my soul. God just made me to work with my hands and create things. I’ve painted murals in all the bedrooms my kids have so far inhabited (six total now!). I paint them a new birthday plate every year for whatever theme they are into at the time and some coordinated-themed birthday snack to match their plate for their class is a must (o.k., neurotic mama). That’s why I can’t get upset when my six year old has glitter everywhere and has cut up my printer paper into the tiniest pieces all over my office floor. She’s making something amazing; trying to get what she has imagined in her head out into some actual form. Last week she was taking scissors to a pencil she found on the walk home from school. “Mama, how can I make this into something amazing that will impress someone?” I understand that struggle. I see light and laughter and I want to try to find a way to get that in a photograph so clients can see LIFE. I have in my mind who I think I am as a photographer and have struggled with how to portray that for my potential clients to see. This is why a professional headshot is so important to me. It is a representation of who I am creatively and who I will be as their photographer. It doesn’t matter that I didn’t take my own portrait. It’s about who I am, and how well that is portrayed, and Eldeen Annette has nailed it.”
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…because you never get a second chance to make a first impression…
UPDATE: Darby wrote me an email after seeing her photos for the first time (we got 12 final images for her). Such a heartwarming testimonial blesses and honors what I do. Thank you, Darby, for your kind words and encouragement.
“Oh Eldeen, YOU DID IT! THANK YOU! Wow. O.k., so seriously, there is in my head an image that I would love to have of myself. And I promise you it has been 20 years stuck back there in my brain. And now, sweet gifted woman, you’ve given that to me. And you’ve smoothed all of my wrinkles and helped me not to laugh too much where all I would see is my huge gum line. Daughter of light…..you are amazing. Thank you for using your gift to bless women. I really think you have that gift of making women look like their Creator intends them to see themselves…..like he sees them, beautiful, and perfect, and HIS! “