Hi, we're Hunter and Sarah, a husband-and-wife, luxury wedding photography team. We’re also educators, helping other photographers build profitable and sustainable photography businesses.
From our first conversation with Heather, we knew this wasn’t going to be a typical photoshoot. You see, in our line of work, you tend to come across two kinds of late-teens or twenty-somethings: those who hate taking photos but have a parental mandate to do so, and those who already know they’re beautiful and just want to (borderline-obnoxiously) show the world.
However, when we first spoke with Heather, she told us that she had been going through some personal struggles and just wanted to get some photos taken to feel beautiful again.
This was something altogether new.
Heather and I met on the day of the photoshoot, alongside my fiancé Sarah, inside one of the University of Virginia’s historic Lawn Rooms. We spoke for a while before getting started, as Heather shared what she had been going through the last few months. It was certainly some difficult stuff. She had recently been made to feel worthless and unnatractive, and she had simply hired us to help her feel like her old self again.
In my mind, this raised the stakes by approximately one-billion percent. We weren’t just providing a useful service today, but our actions and skills were being put to use to affect someone’s mood, self-perception and confidence in themselves.
Like I said, this was new territory for us.
However, Sarah and I soon found that Heather’s confidence was in no short supply – her boldness was evident from the get-go. Despite the temperature being barely above freezing, she casually threw off her winter jacket and in some cases her cardigan, brushing off the cold as though it were barely noticeable. She also fearlessly posed for the camera in front of the inevitable crowd of students and tourists that are always crowding the Lawn, not caring what they saw or thought.
The most incredible thing was that she did it all with a smile on her face. She was dynamic and energetic throughout the entire shoot, and rolled with every suggestion Sarah and I had, as well as presenting several of her own.
As far as the whole “unattractive” thing goes, that myth was dispelled for her as soon as she saw her photos.
All in all, the three of us had a blast together on that chilly December afternoon, exploring the Lawn and Gardens together and getting to know each other. It was such a pleasure hanging out with Heather, through the photoshoot and the subsequent meetings at C’ville Coffee.
Oh, and for the record, she ended up purchasing several prints from the photoshoot as presents for friends and family that Christmas. We can only imagine that for her parents and grandparents, the only thing better than opening one of those framed prints on Christmas morning was the confident and smiling young woman who was handing them out.