Pinterest Instagram

The Seven Things I Re-Learned From Walking a Day in Your Shoes

May 12, 2017
If you follow us on Instagram then you know that we recently went to Amsterdam. 
And, if you don't follow us, you should take a quick TV time out and go do that right now (click HERE). ;)  
While we were planning the trip, Pat and I decided to get our photos taken while we were there. We have some nice photos of us, but the great majority are selfies on our iphones. I joke that my phone is where my photos go to die. But, it's not a joke - it's true! I take them until my iphone tells me it's full, I upload them to the cloud (or wherever it is that they go), I delete them off my phone and I never go looking for them again. If they were all lost tomorrow, I don't even know if I would be sad, because they don't really mean that much to me. They are disposable.  
So, time for "real photos." Plus, while we have both been in front of the camera individually for headshots, we haven't really been on the other side of the camera as a couple - certainly never for an entire shoot dedicated to us! Since we are so often behind the camera, capturing memories for our #teamsuz couples and families, we thought it would be a good learning experience for us to put ourselves in your shoes. So now, when we say "we know how you feel"... we mean it. For real this time!  
I learned and re-learned so much doing this. And I'm 100% sure I felt a lot of the same things our couples do before, during and after their experience with us.  
So, in true Suz form, I made a list.  
The 7 things I learned walking a day in your shoes...  
Equal parts advice, do's, dont's, recommendations and one giant dose of pure unfiltered Suz. 
Okay, we were going to hire someone to photograph us... where to start!? 
I had never asked anyone to photograph us who wasn't a photographer friend of mine or one of my cousins on Christmas! Ultimately, we have Google image search to thank! I just scrolled through images until I found photos that I was drawn to. When I pulled up more than one image from the same photographer, I emailed them.  
Guys - it was so overwhelming! There are SO many photographers out there and I had to pick just one person sight unseen from hundreds of miles away. And then, I was supposed to just trust them to show up and do a kickass job for two random American tourists? I was nervous. But, that was just lesson one in "trust."  
I was looking to hire someone who was not solely a wedding photographer and who had a style of shooting slightly different than my own. And I knew it the second I saw it.  
Enter: Jaimie Peeters! He is a super talented fashion and lifestyle photographer in Amsterdam.  
Right away, Jaimie was great to communicate with. He was easy going, responsive, and super accommodating with our travel schedule and the fact that we didn't know the city at all. He actually chose the location for us and it couldn't have been more perfect. Basically, he put us at ease from the beginning. Once we started communicating with him, the nerves melted away.  
Whoever you shoot with - decide to trust them. It will make all the other things that much easier, trust me. ;) (see what I did there?) 
"What to wear?" 
< Stands in front of closet, staring blankly > 
"What. To. Wear." 
< Stands in front of closet, FULL of clothing, staring blankly > 
"I have NO clothes!" 
Is this you? Yea, it's me too! Wardrobe was actually a big source of anxiety for me. When we booked Jaimie, I thought I would Rent the Runway some EPIC dress. I pictured Pat in a suit and me in my imaginary EPIC dress, and it was going to be EPIC. EPIC! Well, then life happened. We had a million to-do's before we left and really just didn't have time to go shopping.  
But, here's the thing, if you know me at all, you know I am most comfortable in a pair of leggings, dunk sky hi's and a hoodie. If I hadn't already been over my sneaker limit, the dunks would have totally made the trip! So, I let go of my EPIC styled shoot idea and instead packed my favorite pair of jeans, a simple tank top, my Madewell leather jacket that I've had for years and the cutest heels I own that I could still walk in. The day before we left I realized all my hats were sort of tired and snagged a slouchy hat at Urban Outfitters on sale for $4.95. And on the day of the shoot, it was colder than expected and I ended up wearing a Lulu Lemon crew neck sweatshirt (that I work out in) under my jacket so I wouldn't be shivering the whole time. 
Maybe someday we'll do another shoot where we choose to dress up more and look like a styled shoot from one of my favorite fashion blogs. But for this one, we didn't need to be glamorous, we just needed to be us. It was perfect for the location and the day. AND.... Jaimie even told me I looked European! So, I'll take that as a win!  
Moral of the story: Do you. If you want to get dolled up and enjoy that.. DO IT! If you want to be comfy, DO IT! And if you know you get cranky when you're cold, don't wear a tank top in 50 degree weather. The better you feel the better the photographs will look!  
Okay wait, two morals: also, consider your location - clearly Pat and I might have looked a bit out of place on a beach in the cape in this outfit, know what I mean?  
Thing 3) HAIR & MAKEUP
I'm not going to dwell on this one too much, but here's the thing about me. Can I do makeup? Sure, yeah, for like everyday or as a wedding photographer or guest. I'll look nice. But, I can't DO makeup. At least not the kind that makes me feel special or confident or camera ready. A good makeup artist is never a bad idea. So, if you're at all like me - get your hair & makeup done for your shoot. I know, it's expensive and you could totally just do it yourself. But, for me, it made a difference in my confidence that day. Plus, you don't do this everyday, it's nice to feel kind of pampered. 
How did I find Georgina? Jaimie recommended her. So, if you're looking for a great hair/makeup artist - look no further than your photographer. We got you covered!
If you've ever been to Amsterdam, you know that it is a beautiful city. The canals are gorgeous and there are many, many popular parks and neighborhoods. As I mentioned in Thing 1, Jaimie actually chose our location for us. It was a location that inspired him as an artist. And you know what? There weren't crowds of tourists and not one canal in sight. I'm so glad we trusted him and didn't question his recommendation. We will always cherish these photos and be able to look back on them and remember exactly how we felt that day. They will always remind us of our time in Amsterdam - and we didn't need one canal for that!  
So, what I'm saying is - don't stress about location. We could shoot in an alleyway or a mansion, in the woods or on the beach. The point is, it's about you as a couple. Choose a location that inspires you and your photographer. One where you can be at your most comfortable and in your element. If you don't like crowds, definitely don't pick Grand Central Station during rush hour, ya know what I mean?  
In fact, just go ahead and delete that from your vocabulary entirely. Because here's the thing about that word. If you think you look awkward or you think the idea of the shoot itself is "awkward", you're going to look awkward in the photographs. And, sorry I'm not sorry, not even Mario Testino would be able to wipe the awkward off your face.  
Is it normal to be nervous? Sure. You're not in front of the camera everyday - why wouldn't you feel nervous? And maybe you have NEVER been photographed by a professional. But that's life, right? We're instinctively anxious or nervous when there is an element of "the unknown" and when getting photographed we can't see what the photographer is seeing. We're not sure what we look like or if they're getting "my good side" (spoiler: you have two good sides!). 
I was literally shaking a little bit with nerves when we started shooting. But, it was at this point that I referred back to Thing 1... we hired Jaimie because we loved his work and we trusted him to capture us at our best as a couple. And here's the biggest one... WE CHOSE to do this. I'm going to say that again.  
We chose to do this. 
Jaimie didn't force us to hire him, he wasn't there for his health and he can't create something that's not there already, you know what I'm saying? So, if we wanted photographs that reflected us as a couples, we had no choice but to let go, have fun, be us and hand the rest over to Jaimie!  
We focused on each other. Told silly stories. Laughed. Cuddled. Ran. I told Pat he looked handsome, he told me I looked beautiful. He did all of his best presidential impressions and I spoke mostly in my Australian accent (which is almost as good as Pat's impressions). We were just us. And I think it really showed through in the photographs. 
So, don't hesitate... jump in with both feet! Own it and have a little fun!
Thing 5) Say YES and go easy on yourself... seriously!
When I worked at Nike, I took a team building Improv class in Chicago. One of the only things that stuck with me from that class was that in improvisation you are trained not to be negative or say "no" in a scene. 
They replaced "no" with "yes and..." in order to redirect the scene or energy in a different direction without negativity. And as you might expect, saying "yes" was WAY harder than saying no. Negativity is easy. Positivity is HARD. Really hard.  
We all have hang ups and insecurities. That's what makes us human. But, try your best to let go of it. Try to look at your photographs and instead of identifying the first flaw you see, try to find the "Yes and" instead. Take yourself back to that moment and love yourself and your partner for who you are right now.  
Thing 6) DON'T WAIT
Pat and I are not engaged. We are not married. I am NOT pregnant (just incase you were curious). We don't have any kids.  
My point?  
You don't need a momentous life event to have an "excuse" to hire a professional to document your life. Do it now. Today. Do not wait until you find the perfect outfit to wear or until you lose 10 pounds or whatever other excuse you can think of. Plus, whoever you are with LOVES you just the way you look now. Having an experience like this together will be well worth it in the end, I can promise you that. 
Personally, this was the best possible souvenir we could have purchased for ourselves. I will cherish these photographs long after I've lost those little tiny wooden shoes or the stroop waffle bag clips I bought at the souvenir shop!  
You knew this was coming, right? < wink face > 
Print. Your. Photographs.  
I cannot say it enough. There is no such thing as a digital heirloom.  
Pat and I already have plans for this beautiful gift Jaimie has given us. They're going all over our house. Jaimie has created these beautiful little pieces of art that nobody else has. When I look at them, I'm reminded of how I felt on that day, how much fun we had, how much pat means to me and how much we love each other.  
Psychologists have long said that having visible family photographs in your home makes kids feel more valued and important and actually have higher self esteem. It's true, I did not make this shit up, SEE?  
But, I believe that that theory is not just for kids! Hang a photo of the two of you somewhere visible in your home. Not just any photo, but a photograph that embodies the two of you as a couple. A photograph that makes you smile every time you look at it. A photograph that makes you feel loved. Put it in a spot where you see it every single day and I dare you to go to bed mad or get disgruntled when the trash isn't taken out. Or at least you'll do it less... It's science people! 
As I sit here writing this, we have only been home for three full days and have already sent photographs off to print (less you think we don't practice what we preach)!  
(I'll be sure to update this section with photographs of how we chose to display these in our home once they arrive!) 
If you've made it this far - THANK YOU for reading and I hope this helps you get ready for your next session with us or whoever your photographer is!  
One last BIG BIG thank you to Jaimie for this gift. Okay who are we kidding, it won't be the last time we thank you for these. You are so talented. We sincerely hope to work with you again in the future!
All photographs courtesy of Jaimie Peeters
Please go check out his work and follow him on Instagram
Hair & makeup by the lovely Georgina Hoppen
Suz's Outfit
Jacket: Madewell
Sweat shirt: Lulu Lemon
Jeans: Madewell
Boots: Rag n Bone
Initial Necklace: Jennifer Zeuner
Pat's Outfit
Hoodie: American Apparel
Button Down: Denim & Supply
Jeans: Levi's
Shoes: Timberland