Cumberland Island, GA

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This fall I'll be 27 years old. When I was 22, I started True Grace Photography and began working around the clock to build a business that would be both authentic and worthwhile. (No one could have prepared me for the number of hours starting a business requires!) With 28 weddings booked in 2016 and 14 booked for 2017, I'm unbelievably happy with and thankful for the foundation that has been set for this life-long dream journey. 

This past year I opened a brick and mortar photo studio space just west of Chicago. My intention was to use the space to grow, to have a space to develop my personal creative interests and skills even in the middle of a Chicago winter. However, the opportunity taught me two things that I didn't expect:

I need rest. As a working artist, I demand my own personal best for my clients. By the time the initial and planning meetings are over and the engagement sessions are delivered, I've become personally invested in each and every wedding. However, if I don't allow myself some space and rest, my creative output and overall product quality suffers. When I had the studio, I didn't have the winter off-season to recover. 

I crave nature. My happy place (or in the business world, my "niche") is atmospheric, fine art natural light photography. I love watching light play. Often I feel like my life is lived remarkably in synchrony with Light. In the studio's four unchanging walls with the same light and forced air, I began to feel suffocated creatively. The spark that is my love for photography is rooted in my love of nature and improvisation. 

Knowing these things, I released the studio endeavor to pursue the naturally beautiful places on Earth. The first on my list: Cumberland Island National Seashore off the coast of Georgia. 

This island is about the size of Manhattan and only accessible by ferry. It is home to wild horses of Spanish descent and a host of wildlife as well as some of the most lovely beaches on the Atlantic coast. The last ferry departs with day-trippers in the late afternoon, so while planning this trip, my longtime college friend (Lauren) and I decided to reserve several nights at the Sea Camp campground. It turned out to be the perfect decision.

We had the island to ourselves, and because of this we saw more wildlife than we ever expected and the quietest nights in the campground. I slept better on a mat on the ground than I'd been sleeping at home. 

Getting outside and finding rest are wonderful things, especially together.  It allows the soul to breathe and the mind to clear and all things to gain perspective. For me, they're as essential to maintaining a balanced life and successful creative business as answering emails in a timely way or adjusting presets to fit each unique photograph. 

All of these photos were shot on Fuji 400H Pro, Ektar 100 or Kodak Portra 400 and processed by Indie Film Lab