For the past 12 years, I have photographed of some of the loveliest, most wonderful clients in the world. When I took my first step into photography, I was trained on film and laboring in the dark room. I had dabbled in portraiture, and a friend asked me to shoot her wedding. Wedding photography was different then. I brought the film (color AND some black and white to get more “creative”), spaced out the photos, staging them and trying to shoot as precisely as possible, knowing at the end of the (however many rolls of) film, there would be no way of shooting more. I had to understand the technique in order to shoot and calculate the shots. In hindsight, I am so grateful to begin on film. I loved the thrill of not knowing exactly what I shot until I developed it.


A couple years later, Drew and I married. My photographer had just recently bought a digital 35 mm, but his wife also shot on film, just in case. It makes me laugh when I remember the relief I felt knowing the film camera was there. A new, exciting digital era was on the horizon, but I was secure in the “comfortable,” in what I knew.


About a year later, I bought my first digital 35 mm, a Canon 20D. A huge shift in photography was going on. Posed portraits were replaced by candid. What I once believed was “candid” now looked cheesy. Also, in our student ministry, we could see a shift in the culture through our students. They were desperately craving authenticity. With MySpace, students were sharing the good, bad and ugly, (and that only paved the way for Facebook, Twitter, and every other social media outlet) where they could share even the meaningless details of their lives, hoping for their real life stories to mean something. With the cultural desire for authenticity, along with the technical ability to delete photos straight off the camera, photography shifted, and I shifted with it.


2 years ago, January, Drew turned a page in ministry. We had been in student ministry for about 8 years, and God was calling him to a senior pastor position. Though not what we had planned, and honestly the worst timing from an earthly perspective (our colicky Hadleigh was a newborn and causing lots of trouble refinement), we knew it was time. We followed God’s direction to Ovilla, and we have been so blessed by that step of faith.


Drew and I (and a team of ladies who pray for me) have prayed over my photography role with the same fervency we prayed over Drew’s pastorate. This time, however, the answer has not been as loud and clear, but rather a gradual process. Over time, God has changed my heart to burn for the people of Ovilla and for the ministry that we have at our church. I still adore photography but have felt a great tension in how to use my time. To be totally honest, I have literally prayed God would give me a fourth child so I would know without a doubt that I needed to end this role and move on.


But He hasn’t given me a baby. Instead, He’s taught me a lesson.


What I’ve come to realize is my photography business has been giving me the same kind of security I had in that film camera at my wedding. God has been pushing me to something else, to jump wholeheartedly into ministry with my husband, a change so exciting that I don’t realize the depth of it, but I’ve been clinging to the comfortable. Unfortunately, my reluctance in giving up the business has only slowed the process to get on with the thrilling new story God has been writing.


It’s time to turn page.


It’s a scary thought to try to do something new, especially when you feel led to release your grip on something you love, but it’s even scarier for a Believer of Jesus Christ to say, “Wait a minute!” when Christ says, “Follow Me!”


Photography has brought great opportunities for me. I am tearing up as I write. I have never marketed myself well. Every bit of business I have had has been God kindly bringing clients to me, and the best clients in the world, at that.


I can’t articulate exactly what my clients have meant to me, but let me say that there is nothing like seeing new parents with their newborn, getting acquainted with that baby for the first time. It makes me remember all the new changes surrounding my firstborn’s birth almost 9 years ago. There is nothing like a family dancing and laughing on a family shoot. It makes me think of my own family, with all of our unique quirks and inside jokes. There is nothing like photographing a senior, seeing potential and beauty. It makes me recall that sweet season of my own life. AND, there is absolutely nothing like being an insider when a groom sees his bride for the first time on his wedding day. It makes me reminisce about my own groom looking at me that way, and I just want to say, “Honey, the best is yet to come!”


Every. Time. Memories photographed. Memories recalled.


God gave us a great gift in our memory, and since the 17th century (arguably before), men have attempted to make a way to have permanent copies of memories through the photographic process. I have loved taking part in making those permanent copies. It has been my joy to help YOU remember, and you have ministered to me in helping ME remember!


BUT, I know you are wondering about specifics. So, for potential clients, this is what it looks like…I am stepping out of photography, but I am committing through the end of this year. However, if you have inquired about a wedding date outside of that range already, don’t you worry. I will not drop a 2015 wedding if you have already been in the process of booking it.  Also, I will continue writing on this blog, perhaps more about life, home renovations, and ministry, so for the 3 of you read this blog, please continue to visit me.


I won’t be divorcing the camera, either. For the sake of ministry and story-telling, the camera will continue as my steadfast friend. Who knows, I might even pull out my old film cameras just for fun.


With great anticipation and excitement…










4 thoughts on “Turning Page

  1. shelly coulter

    Hailey –you have no idea how much I needed to read these words of wisdom today. How perfectly worded your ideas were…a reflection of a similar journey, just different specifics. What my heart knows and has been avoiding. You are such a beautiful friend and I’m so thankful to stay in touch via technology even though we haven’t seen each other for almost 13 years!! Way to go, following where He is leading!! Love ya!


    1. Post author

      Oh sweet friend! I’m so glad God used those words to encourage you. I think there will always be seasons of doing new things and giving up old things. I’m thankful we get to see each other through the Internet and keep up with how God is leading us. Blessings on all YOUR ventures…photography, family, and ministry! Love you!


  2. Jess

    What a neat story and great connections between physical realities (photography/film/fear) and heart/spiritual ones. Thanks for sharing part of your journey. God is so good to teach us and challenge and constrain us through the journeys of others.


    1. Post author

      Thank you! I love learning from others’ stories! Blessings on your “newness,” as well! I’m sure I’ll be learning through your blog posts about Washington, too! :)


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