A New Season

Stylist: Studio Bicyclette

When your path as a photographer gets blurry, what if you saw it as an opportunity to adjust your focus? To be more intentional about how you curate your life? To get curious in your creative explorations? To find a narrative for meaningful work that summons your muse and lets you find new joy in your art? 

When I think back to the first wedding I captured—the current of excitement, the beauty of two lives joining, the inner knowing that this was my calling—I never imagined that one day, my passion would dim. 

For eight years, wedding photography satiated my soul. I planned my life a year in advance and waived weekends because I was committed to my art. When I realized I was missing precious moments with my own family while I was looking through the lens of everyone else’s lives, I knew I had to take pause and recognize the importance of making my own memories.

Like all creative pursuits, this one was easy to begin but challenging to complete. My roots in the wedding industry dug deep. I had planted and nurtured relationships with clients and peers over the years. I was proud of my portfolio of work and confident in the space I held. To let it all go and transition to lifestyle and branding photography, I had to be willing to evolve and transform.

Choosing a creative livelihood takes courage. It takes long hours, persistence, focus, consistency, and the self-assuredness to let negative feedback slide off your heart. But if you are honest with yourself and push conventions aside, you can explore uncharted territory and find where you truly belong. A place where art, life, and business can co-exist. A place to begin again.

With a new small studio space in an old downtown building, I rediscovered my footing and my voice. I attended workshops, approached my craft with a beginner’s mindset, and curated a photography portfolio that reflected the work I wanted to be known for.

It was a slow surrender of the brand identity I had once known. As my website and portfolio evolved, I continued to receive inquiries for weddings and family work, but I shared these referrals with my peers so I could concentrate on creating a new narrative for my life and career. Every time I graciously declined an opportunity, I worried about what my current clients would think. While there were days when I felt like I was flailing or failing the people who had supported my wedding photography business, in truth, I was creating my best life with the people who mattered most. 

So if you feel like your creative voice is getting lost in the noise of entrepreneurship or that your career path is no longer serving your life, I want you to know that it may be your true purpose calling. A new season inviting your ideas out to play. An opportunity to grow and evolve. 

While facing that truth and navigating the path ahead may seem daunting at first, based on my personal experience, here are some strategies you can use to successfully manage the transition…

LEARN OUTSIDE YOUR INDUSTRY

We find a sense of self-purpose when we learn something new and bridge a gap in our knowledge. Collecting different perspectives from individuals outside the photography industry can lead to exciting new discoveries and experimental strategies that you can incorporate into your own workflows, marketing efforts, and creative process. When we open our hearts and minds to the possibilities, they become more endless than we ever could have imagined.

FOLLOW YOUR FEAR

You will always find valid reasons for not wanting to venture beyond the comfort zone of your craft. You will face obstacles that feel insurmountable. Yes, taking a step without knowing what comes next can be daunting. Stretching your creativity can inspire fear. As creatures of habit, our brains reach for security nets and shy away from change. So start becoming mindful of your obstacles. Which obstacles do you need to remove? Do you need to value your skills more? Do you spend too much time on social media and bend your identity for your peers? How are these obstacles affecting you and what could you achieve if they no longer existed? 

CREATE FOR YOURSELF 

Sometimes to discover the work that is most meaningful to you, you need to get back to creating art purely for yourself. Remember when you held the weight of your first camera and learning your craft was an adventure? Revisit that place in your heart. When you begin exploring a new niche or style of photography, you may feel a flash of vulnerability at first or worry your work is not at the level you need it to be. Find joy in the journey, follow your curiosity, and rediscover that experimental spirit that inspired you to master your craft in the beginning.

FOSTER YOUR OWN COMMUNITY

Now more than ever, you may feel disengaged from the social and networking circles you previously found a home in. Be open to fostering new relationships with those who share your values and creative vision. Be intentional about who you choose to gather with or which activities you commit your time and energy to. Build a mastermind or peer accountability group to give yourself the strategy and structure to create more success in your business and more meaning in your life. Gathering with like-minded people can inspire you to expand into your potential and stay grounded through this time of transition.

HIRE PEOPLE WHO GIVE YOU ROOM TO GROW

You are an artist, adept at capturing the magic of a moment, but you may not be as self-assured in other areas of your career or life. Hiring the right support people can inspire more confidence and lend strength during this delicate time of transition. Invest in a marketing manager, stylist, copywriter, website designer, or even a financial planner. The expertise of professionals can give you room to organically grow your artistry into another form. 

My shift into my new niche of brand and lifestyle photography started a couple of years ago when I reduced my number of wedding clients, accepted more family portrait work, and offered to be a second shooter. All purposeful steps to help me gradually phase out weekend work. 

Bittersweet is the only word I can think of to describe the emotions I felt when I looking at that last wedding circled on my calendar in August. I know I will miss photographing weddings using medium format film at golden hour. I also know I will continue to create fine art images and offer a lifestyle lens for those who appreciate the process, style, aesthetics, and richness film can evoke. 

Even though my growing pains are still present as I enter a new season in my career and life, I know I am on the right path. So if you feel a yearning to try something new or change course in your photography career, listen to the call. Acknowledge the opportunity it presents. Ask yourself if now is the time to let go of the artist you thought you should be, so you can become the artist you know you were meant to be.

Images of the official last wedding booked for Haley Photography: Click Here

Living Sustainably, Consciously, Simply & Slow

Sustainable is defined as a resource or an activity that is able to be maintained at a certain rate or level. In the business world sustainability is known as a financial term, referring to how a company or business can continue their systems to keep making profits. Currently there is a shift, and sustainability is becoming more commonly known in the business world. That is, to help maintain the earth’s natural balance by avoiding depletion of natural resources and disruption of environment systems. We depend on natural resources such as growing food and clean drinking water to keep humans alive and healthy. Have you heard of the phrase ‘money makes the world go around?’ I think money is only good in the hands of the right people. The ones who care about their impact and how they will affect future generations. Sadly, our society has become disconnected from the source of the clothes we wear and the food we eat. It becomes harder and harder to really understand or know where things are being made, especially with companies who are marketing and selling products that are not truly sustainable (Greenwashing). Right now we are on the path of consuming the earth’s resources too quickly to maintain the lives of humans and all animals. Our buying behaviour needs to change and we need to start buying seasonally, simple and slow.

What does it mean to live a conscious, simple and slow lifestyle? It’s living intentionally and different from what is considered normal and how society usually tends to buy and consume. It’s about living day to day and finding your own way that works for you, while being mindful about what you bring into your home and the food you eat. I believe it is about choosing to live a simple and slow lifestyle which is organic, ethical and sustainable.

How will you leave your impact in this world? My hope is you leave a soft footprint. Try practising sustainable living by intentionally shopping with small businesses or repurposing things that are broken. Convenience buying over supporting hand made products has led our society to be less appreciative, and supportive of unethical business practices. Some of the worst effects are the people who suffer from modern day slavery. Listen to New York Times, ( Human Toll On Instant Delivery)

My goal with my business is to help inspire changes in peoples behaviour and to become more mindful of products we use, buy and consume everyday. Working with businesses who are rewiring their business approach to help create a world with less waste, treat animals and each other with dignity, and fair living wages.

Branding Photography Photo Shoot Design Examples

2013 was the first time I fell in love with creating a set design with prop details matching colour schemes and style. I would work with artists, designers and stylists to create a more interesting scenery to the story of images created. Each time a new project was booked it was exciting because all the ideas in my head could come to life with an email to my favourite creatives and a simple “Can you help me design or make this?” (I’ll add you to my Pinterest vision board). You may not find or see many of these photos posted on my social media or portfolio page, only because they work for my clients brands, so today I thought I would share with you some of my favourite styled photos. So much thought goes into the details. Already months in advance, a big project scheduled for the end of October beginning of November, I am pulling ideas, props and sourcing months in advance.

Vendor Credit:

House of Rue

Southern Charm Vintage Rentals

She’s Over the Moon (Victoria Mena)

Susanna’s Custom Cakes

Carol Anne Bespoke Flowers

The Hartman Gallery Venue

Instagram: @mrs_haley_photography

(905) 424-1223 | info@haleyphotography.ca

Located in Whitby ON, CAN.

Available For Travel