This is an extra special post to me for two reasons. First: the people. These are my cousins Matthew and Christy and their children and I love them all dearly. Without going into a novel's worth of detail, Matthew is my second cousin, but growing up he was the older brother that I never had. When he started dating Christy, I immediately loved her too!
I remember talking to Christy about our mutual love of photography when I visited them in Atlanta in 2001, and not too long after that I watched from afar as she worked tirelessly to learn and grow a photography business. Up until that point, the only successful photographers I knew were older men, and I was completely in awe as I watched Christy succeed at turning our mutual hobby into a business. She wasn't good - she was great! I was blown away by her talent and she was a real-life hero to me. I would have given anything to possess an ounce of her talent!
Fast forward a few years, and I was a new mom with an entry level DSLR. I very quickly realized that a fancy camera wasn't going to make me a great photographer (or even a half-decent one), and I wanted nothing more than to take better photos of my own daughter. I knew that the journey wouldn't be easy, but I also knew that it was possible because I watched Christy do it. She put in the time and work and she succeeded, and I wanted to do it the same.
Now that we have established that Christy has been my greatest inspiration as a photographer (go see her work here - you won't be sorry!), you may understand how I felt when I received a message from her asking if I would be interested in trading family photo sessions when we were together at our family reunion. I was a mess of excitement, humility, and a little bit of terror, haha. This brings me to the second reason that this session was so special to me: it isn't every day that you get to photograph your photography idol!
I will be honest and say that I was nervous going in to this session - Christy had a specific vision in mind, and I didn't want to be the one to mess that up! Thankfully (for me) Matthew, Christy, and their kids are absolutely GORGEOUS and we were blessed with a picture-perfect location and golden hour light. Our family reunion was in Hutchinson, Kansas, so neither Christy or I was familiar with any good session locations. Luckily, we hit the jackpot when we happened upon the Dillon Nature Center because it was perfect!
Christy: Thank you for being you, and for being such an incredible role model in photography and in life. I am forever thankful for you, Matthew, and your entire family!