Shaking up the snow globe: From Orlando to NYC to Atlanta

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There is so much that I want to say about the last couple of weeks. As much as I’d like to say it eloquently, it’ll likely be a garbled mess. The last few weeks were full of plane rides, late nights, thousands upon thousands of photos, and two completely different sources of inspiration so far apart from each other on the inspiration spectrum that they may as well be in a different universe. 

Two weeks ago I – for the third time – was able to accompany a local charity called Bert’s Big Adventure to Disney world with a group of chronic and thermally ill children and their families. I’d like to think that by year three I would know what I was doing, but the trips vary so much from each other that I feel like I have to re-learn it every time. In speaking with various volunteers during and after the trip, our one consistent comment was that each one of these kids could be a personification of joy. The parents? Equally as joyful (though a bit more reserved about it, I didn’t see any dad’s squealing at Mickey Mouse). To these kids, every minute of the day was a welcomed surprise that they ran (or wheeled) straight in to. I think there is still confetti and fairy dust falling out of my backpack, but I love the constant reminder that it brings.

We are taught lessons every day if we can look for them, and I think we’re lucky to remember them from time to time. The lessons I learn from these kids and families could write a book. I took away inspiration for a full heart with great love for people, and a desire to see the tiniest of joys in my every day. 

bert's big adventure orlando florida 2015 sarah esther photography

On the opposite end of the spectrum (and in a completely different universe) was a trip to NYC that I took last week. While it initially started as a way for one of my makeup-artist girlfriends to have a shoot designed around a particularly beautiful gown she acquired, it turned into a week full of styled shooting and gigantic stretches for my business (and a personal conviction about my time management skills). 

Last week was to be my last ‘officially off week’ before I came back for the 2015 year. It turned into some of the hardest work I have done for my business and for others. For those of you that are imagining my Instagram post showing a glass of champagne at the Plaza…. I’ll have you know that it was REALLY HARD to sit there and watch it winter-wonderland all over Central Park :)

But seriously. 

With the help of a few creative minds we designed a set of shoots (three to be exact) that were to incorporate specific themes, named colors, individual models, countless florals, rented wardrobe, lent jewels, and the promise that it would be worth it for everyone involved. Throw all of those things into a snow globe (including the snow), and you get a mental picture of what it was like. For me, it was much harder shooting for myself than it has ever been shooting for my clients. When a model shows up there is no relationship, no history, no set goal or excitement. When a model shows up it is up to ME to perform... and if I don’t, then my money spent makes a really loud THUNK when it hits the garbage can. 

As hard as it is to design and dream up a successfully poetic shoot, it is the best thing to feel your brain untangling and the inspiration start to flow. It took me about 30 minutes into the first shoot to really begin to let my eyes wander and see creatively. I am so incredibly pleased with the result and feel confident in my return to my studio. Every shot felt fresh and every pose was something new to see. 

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Today was my first shoot back and I believe that ever image and pose that came out of my camera was something I’d never done before. I pulled from my two trips and welcomed the day with a deep breath. I was joyful and I saw.

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