Learning Love from Behind the Lens

I had this dream, vision if you will, of being a photographer that blogs, blogs and blogs about all things photography. Each week, a new and inspiring blog that would attract hundreds of budding clients my way. And, as I write this, my third post, with the average of two months in between posts, lol, I say to myself, “Leslie – what is up girl, get it together!”  So here I sit, 9:42p.m., with photography magazines splattered all around me on the bed, and Neftlix playing in the background, and I wonder what you – my readers (or reader – smile) might want to know about photography or maybe just me.

Why has it taken two months to write another blog posts you ask? Well, I’m a wife to an amazing husband, a working mother of an almost 10 month old baby girl, and a professional photographer and law professor. Two months in between posts isn’t looking so bad after all.


Today I received a heartwarming text from my friend and former wedding client who, when asked what she would want to hear about from a photographer, responded, “…one mom learning everything there is to know about love, from behind the lens.” I was totally inspired by that.


So back to my dream of being a photographer that blogs, blogs and blogs about all things photography. Well, I think I’m ready to change the dream or at least change the perspective. I’m a natural born teacher, the best gift that God has given me, and not only has photography taught me a lot about life and myself, but being a mother has increased my passion for photography, specifically in wanting to capture and treasure every moment and teaching others how to do the same.

What has photography taught me about life and myself?  Where to even begin?  It taught, continues to teach, me to see the world and people without judgment; to find the beauty – the good – in people.  My favorite part of every session, especially with total strangers is how intimately you get to know each other through a one or two hour session.  To capture the genuine smile, the depth of soul through the eyes, or to get a person to feel so at ease with you that they expose their vulnerabilities on camera – that is a beautiful thing.  3G5A2745EStewart-104-2EStewart-98-2EStewart-31-2

And honestly, I love how the images clients receive allow them to see me differently.  I have no doubt that as I show up to a session in my chucks, oversized khaki cargos and usually one of my husband’s t-shirt, I hardly give a sense of  Professional of the Year – but, as I live and learn, you can’t (or shouldn’t) judge a book by its cover.  Leslie

The reason for the chucks?  I could care less if they get dirty.  The khakis – easy to roll up when I run into the ocean with my clients.  The t-shirt – it’s not mine, so who cares what happens to it – LOL!  Don’t tell my husband I said that.  I’m willing to get in the trenches with my client – to take them out of their comfort zone (and go there with them).


And then there is the matter of how being a mother has increased my passion for photography.  The day my daughter was born, as the old cliche goes, “everything changed.”  What was once important, what I once cared about, what I once valued, all fell into the lap of this tiny 7lb 11oz perfect little being.  Capturing such innocence will be lifelong journey.  But more than anything, being a mother and photographer has given me an appreciation for the sweet moments, but also allowed me to realize that most  of these moments come with their own dose of chaos, which simply comes with the territory.  You take the good with the not so good and I’m pretty sure that’s the recipe for life [or the “Facts of Life”].  Below is my daughter’s newborn session that I photographed.  Perfect little nugget, right?  Well, what you don’t know about the images below is that I obtained about 10 good shots after at least 1.5 hours, where I and the blanket were peed on, and I had the put the camera down at least three times to nurse my own newborn in order to then photograph her.  I was a nine day postpartum, sweaty mess – but when I look at this picture – I see perfection and I smile.


I mean, that’s life, isn’t it?  Lol!  Its messy and beautiful all at the same time; it sprints by and if you don’t slow down to capture it – its gone.  I get it – well, I’m getting it.  My life before my daughter went 100 miles an hour; always on “Go.”  My life since my daughter, still goes 100 miles an hour, but not every day, not each moment.  I sprint when I need to, take advantage of her naps and daddy/daughter time, and I slow down to a snails pace when its our time together so I don’t miss her learning to hold a spoon, learning to crawl, or any other first that will only happen once.  If you see my life from a distance, you will only see my dust – but if you watch up close, there are purposeful pauses.  I enjoy cooking for my family, making my daughter’s homemade food, doing our laundry, taking walks with my husband.  I guess I am finally learning to stop.


I am not totally sure how this new season will continue to shape my photography, but I am definitely going to enjoy the ride.  My daughter has accompanied me on shoots already, although I’m not quite ready to hire her as a second shooter.  It would be one thing if she sat quietly and sucked on her pacifier or something, or could even attempt to hold a prop; but when my client, another mother, has to entertain my cranky baby so that i can photographer hers – – oh yeah, she is sooo not ready to be my assistant.   🙂  But, I’ll keep her.

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I’ve blabbed long enough.  Time to put the photography magazines away, return to my Netflix and my tea and enjoy the stillness of the night as the family sleeps.  I will certainly write again before two months passes, exploring some other lesson of love from behind the lens.



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