how do i even begin this post?

it’s literally impossible, but i shall try my best.

about six and half years ago, i hit “publish”.  never in a million years did i have any idea where it would take me.  i had no idea what it would teach me about others and myself.  but it goes to show what taking a chance and putting your heart into it can do. i was bored and complacent in my life so needed a creative outlet and took a risk.  by simply clicking  a button, it opened an entire world for me.  i also had no idea that i would make the decision to end it either.

over the past six and a half years, i’ve stared at over a gajillion images of couples in love.  i’ve seen this wedding community go through all sorts of phases.  some people started off as strangers and have now become family.  together with dear friends, i’ve helped to raise over $100,000 for survivors from natural disasters. it’s pretty neat to say that i can go anywhere in this world and connect with someone who has been featured on the blog.  it really is hard to put into words what this blog has given me so it wasn’t an easy decision to retire.

would i change a thing?  nope.  i’m proud to say that i did it my way and strayed away from what was popular.  my pride was with being able to tell beautiful stories and more importantly being able to feature incredibly talented people.  my pride was with the fact that they still wanted to be in the blog despite the fact that i don’t have a million followers.  my pride was with the fact that i kept this blog as a hobby, sponsorship-free and balanced a full time day job, life crisis, social life and family, not brilliantly, but with my best effort.  it’s not easy to juggle all of this at all.  in fact, it’s really hard and a lot of sacrifices had to be made.

this time last year, i had no idea i would make the decision to end it.  but over the span of a few months, it came to my realization that there is a time and place for everything.  this blog came at a time when i needed it and it has been such a labor of love for the past years.  i could tell i was wearing thin.  it was always about the community and connection i got to have with everyone.  i stopped loving every weekend because i had to work on the blog, answer emails, chase people down for their images after their submissions were accepted, and just rush through writing each post because other than their work being gorgeous, i didn’t really know the photographers anymore.  i didn’t feel like i could be genuine or authentic and the blog’s priority had always been to be real and honest.  after all, there’s no escaping what the camera captures.  those raw and pure emotions.

it is every blogger’s dream to become popular.  it’s their goal to get those likes and those followers.  i started to resent it.  while i wanted the followers, it wasn’t for me, i wanted them to follow the talent.  i was getting an overwhelming amount of submissions that  were exactly what the blog stood for.  the story.  the wedding photography.  but guys, let me tell you, you can’t do your best or justice when your heart isn’t in it and anxiety rolls in about not being able to do the community right.  i knew something had to give.  i don’t want to sound repetitive so you can read more about my decision to stop HERE.

i have to mention though, while the blog is bowing out, i’m not disappearing completely from the wedding community.  i don’t think i can completely shut the door on it since it has given me so much joy the past few years.  so while i’ve mentioned Utterly Engaged as a great option for submitting as she shares the same passion of telling heartfelt stories, there are so many others out there to think about.  i truly believe that smaller blogs will value your work just as much as the big popular ones.  i also believe there is a shift with the community and general public in that they are realizing the importance of storytelling.  as i have always believed, photographers are quite possibly the only eyewitnesses to the complete story of a couple.  from their proposal to their engagement to their wedding day to their anniversary to their family sessions, the photographer is there to capture it all.  they capture the pretty, the joy, the love and everything in between.  so i’m incredibly excited about the launch of

RECOLLECTION

a site whose mission is all about the story and showcasing the work of wedding photographers.  i’m honored to be helping behind the scenes and i truly hope you all keep an eye out for this site launching soon.   how it works is that there is a panel of wedding photographers, that will rotate every few months, that will help curate a collection of work that is all about telling the stories visually that inspire and motivate the community.  it’ll be a one stop shop for the wedding photography community to discover new work and first and foremost, come to celebrate the work you all do.  i can’t wait.  i wouldn’t be behind this if i didn’t really value what they’re trying to do and believe that it really is something this community needs.  so do me a favor and follow along.*throws confetti*

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i want to use this last post as a celebration of thanks.  if i could, i would list out the entire army of people that has helped make this blog run.  i’m going to try to keep this short and sweet mainly because i’ve cried enough tears and i’ve run out of tissues.  there is no way this blog could have run without you all.   if i hadn’t had anyone to email to ask permission to use images or if you had simply said no, there would be no posts.  i’ve been given the privilege of  featuring the best of the best, the cool kids, the under-the-radar, the complete unknowns, but bottom line is each and every one of you has contributed to making this blog what it is.

while the blog has always focused on wedding photography, there are quite a handful of people that aren’t photographers that have given so much support to this blog and to me.  thanks for sticking by me even though i wasn’t necessarily highlighting your work.  it has to be said that your contribution to this blog has just been as important.  i’m pretty sure others wouldn’t know about me if it hadn’t been for you all.  so thank you.

since i announced i was stopping the blog, i have gotten a chance to say this in person to quite a handful of photographers but i wanted to reiterate it again and to the ones i am unable to.

to you, the wedding photographers: 

i am incredibly grateful and no words will ever amount to how much i’ve loved this opportunity to shout from the mountaintops how important wedding photography is, to feature these visual stories day in and day out.  i’m so honored to have been part of it and to have had the chance to meet so many of you.  thank you for inviting me along to discover your work and to continually be in awe with what you all are capable of.  thank you for entrusting me with your work.  thank you for being there for me through all my losses and my grief.  thank you for reaching out to say i wasn’t alone and for being there for me.  thank you for inviting me into your lives and your homes.  thank you for allowing me to be myself in this digital space.  thank you all for the beautiful friendships online and in real life.  it’s been truly a privilege and my gratitude for you all is endless.

keep chasing and breaking those creative boundaries.  keep your heart and passion above all else.  don’t listen to the noise, only listen to it if you believe you can learn from it.  don’t be a cool kid.  stay under the radar- you’ll find it’s just as amazing.  it’s nice to be featured on a blog, but it’s not the end of the world if they don’t accept your work.  you’ll find that word of mouth gets you much further.  community over competition always.  don’t let comparison take your joy.  view it as motivation.  you are not alone in any of your struggles so seek out others that are in your boat.  lose your ego- your popularity goes away once people see your true colors.  be genuine.  empathize- you never know what the other person is going through.  be thankful.  be thankful you get to have a job that is so important to others.  be thankful you have a job that you love and can flex your creativity. make time for your loved ones.  life is too short.  don’t take anything for granted.  and most important and above all else, always and forever…

THROW CONFETTI

(or get the fuck out).

#tcogtfo

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and so i leave with you photos that have meant the most to me.  as much as i have loved blogging the most beautiful photos and emotions ever captured, the heart of this blog was always the wedding community and the people i’ve gotten the chance to meet and become dear friends.  so here are just some moments from the past six and a half years.

what an incredible run.

i shall miss this space bunches.

it’s been a blast.

thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart.

signing off one last time…

with love,

Lydia

*throws confetti*