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BOND SESSION: Nicole, Lauren, Morocco, & All Liez (Water’s Edge Farm – Concord, NC)

August 8, 2023

I was nervous when I shot this session.

It sounds oddly brash to say I’m not typically nervous before a session, but after a certain number of years you become far more excited than you are nervous.

However, it was this shoot that I felt the familiar butterflies of my early shooting days, because all I could think about today was 2017 – when I knew absolutely nothing but wanted to learn absolutely everything.

In January 2017, I started Bethany P. I literally had no idea what I was doing. But I knew I wanted to do “it” (whatever “it” was) and I was hungry to learn how. So i cashed out my savings and hopped a plane in February to attend a workshop in Costa Rica all about just that.

That retreat – that education – became the foundation on which I built my entire business. I learned about the many hats a photographer has to wear and how to wear them. I learned what community meant as well as self motivation. And I learned what success looked like in the three amazing teachers I had throughout the week.

One of those teachers was Nicole Begley (Hair of the Dog Academy) – a positive, supportive, business savvy cheerleader who handed each of us the keys to success, blew our minds with her knowledge and generosity, as well as ignited a passion for technical excellence.

I still use many of her teachings in my business workflows and structures to this day.

So at this shoot I was nervous, because at this shoot I photographed Nicole.

I’m a firm believer that your biggest supporters are those that believe in you from the very start. The people that show up at your first marathon to cheer you on.

No one pours their heart into your first marathon mile if they don’t think you’ll finish the race strong. And today it felt like Nicole had met me at the finish line in placing her trust with me to capture her and her daughter with their horses.

By the time I started clicking, my nerves disappeared. It was another beautiful Fall session with another beautiful pair of horses and their people – my favorite combination. We laughed, we snuggled ponies, and we chatted a bit about the journey.

And in the end I realized that the knowledge and confidence Nicole generously gave me (as she does with all her students to this day) were both equal parts necessary to those few hours we spent together and who I am today.

What a gift it was for us both to see that generosity come full circle.

What an honor to call my mentors friends.

What a life I get to lead because of the confidence others have in me.

What a day.

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