Choosing my favorite images from the last 12 months is one of my favorite year end activities! (You can view the past years “Best of” Lists here) This year, I find myself looking through all the moments and just feeling so darn lucky that I get to do something I love so much for my job. It might surprise you to know that just a few short years ago, I was working full time as an analyst at an asset management firm in Boston. I had a challenging, stable career, but I could never shake the sense that I was put on this earth to do something very different.
My whole life I’ve loved taking pictures, but I wasn’t alwaysgood at it. One day, about eight years ago, I decided to start a ‘Project 365’ (take a photo every day for a year) so I could better learn to use my camera. Within the first couple of weeks I found I couldn’t stop thinking about photography. I began carrying my camera with me everywhere and practiced constantly. I took a class at New England School of Photography in Boston and during the very first session I remember being so captivated by the instructor, I had goose bumps all over. It was a pivotal moment in my life — I just knew right then I was going to be a photographer. For years I took photography classes and worked tirelessly at night and on weekends to build a business while continuing to work at my corporate job during the day. In 2015, after the birth of my third child, I decided to make the leap to running my photography business full time. It was terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And I wouldn’t change a thing.
Today I am proud to call myself a full time photographer and small business owner! I always thought this lifestyle would be easier than balancing a full time corporate job, a part time photography business, and a family, but it’s definitely not. In fact, I have never worked so hard in my life. My success (or failure) is based entirely on how much creativity and energy I put into my business each and every day. This is scary and stressful and also wildly exciting and fulfilling at the exact same time.
But do you know what is the very best part? The intimate, irreplaceable moments I am allowed to witness. The first days at home with your newborn, your toddler’s first step, a very special first birthday, a new puppy in the family, your last days in the house where you raised your babies, a woman’s struggle on her journey to beat cancer, and the list goes on. The beautiful, the difficult, the emotional and the amazing, and I get to capture it all. Sometimes, I truly have to pinch myself to believe this is my life’s work. I am so thankful to all of my amazing clients and friends for supporting me and trusting in me.
I hope you enjoy looking through my “Top 17 of 2017”. These are some of my favorite moments of the year. If you look closely, each one has a story to tell.
This year I am cheating a little on the ‘top 17’ and posting three extra photos from three amazing opportunities I had in 2017. These were all unrelated to my typical work of photographing children & families.
One Saturday in September, I spent the whole day and night working alongside one of my most favorite people doing one of my most favorite things. Olivia Gatti Photography and I documented the wedding day of a stunningly beautiful couple on the coast of Cape Cod. We captured all the love and emotion, all the details big and small, and we worked together like a well oiled machine, despite the fact we have never shot a wedding together before.
I don’t usually shoot weddings because, frankly, they are incredibly stressful and mentally and physically exhausting. ( I have enough stress in my life as a work at home mom to three kids! ) My whole body was aching for the days after, but the experience left my heart full and my mind is energized and inspired. The whole experience made me pause and think OK *maybe* I’ll shoot a wedding again someday. Just maybe.
In October, I tried my hand at some editorial photography! My good friend & client Chinyere Egbuta ( affectionately know as “Chichi” ) launched a new lifestyle blog: ChichiChic! Chichi is a true inspiration — she balances her role as a mother and wife, her career as a doctor and all the general ups and downs of life while always managing to look chic.
She has an amazing life story to tell and has lots of tips, tricks and life hacks to share. I hope you will check out and follow her blog!
I am so honored to be a part of her new venture and so proud of how the images from our fall fashion shoot turned out. As much as I love working with babies and young children, it was refreshing and so fun to do something so different for this project. I’m looking forward to next season’s shoot!
Lastly, I was honored to document one woman’s journey as she bravely fought Stage 4 Ovarian Cancer.
Lauren Corduck is an Ashkenazi Jew. After her diagnosis she discovered that most American Jews of eastern and central European descent are not aware that they have a one in forty chance of having a genetic mutation that puts them at a significant risk for developing certain types of cancer.
Lauren is no ordinary cancer patient. She is one of the smartest, strongest, and most determined women I know. While she was undergoing a very difficult treatment, she is also launched a nonprofit called oneInForty.org. The mission of the organization is to save lives by informing Jews of central and eastern European descent about their cancer risk. Lauren asked me to document her difficult journey with the goal of using the resulting images to raise awareness about oneinforty.org’s mission.
To be frank, when Lauren first approached me about working on this project I was nervous as hell. How often do we get so close to someone who is going through so much emotionally and physically while documenting every raw detail?
But this is one of the things I love so much about photography — the potential to tell powerful stories (happy or sad) and in this case, to save lives.
I hope you will take a moment to follow oneinforty.org and share the page and mission with others.
Cara Soulia is a Needham Family and Newborn Photographer who specializes in capturing real moments in a beautiful and artistic way. Please get in touch to find out more about scheduling a session with Cara!