Mason Jars and Melissa


Last night on our walk home from one of our favorite restaurants in our neighborhood (Crisp), I started to not feel well, which ended in a bedtime of 8pm.  Around the 1 o’clock hour, I bolted up due to a screaming baby.  After a quick diaper change and a “round up” of Boone’s 6 pacifiers that he sleeps with, he was back to sleep and I was back to bed.  Unfortunately, I lie there for quite sometime wide awake.  The answer to my insomnia?  Twitter.  

After 15ish minutes of scrolling through my feed to get caught up on the day (does anyone else get stressed when you are behind on life stalking?), I came across a re-tweet that led me to a blog post entitled “The Mason Jar Manifesto” by Australian photographer Jonas Peterson.  
After reading through it and skimming the 200+ comments, I put my phone down and tried to go back to sleep.  And yet still, I couldn’t manage it….this time, my mind racing about the post.  
The timing was impeccable, as just a few hours earlier – right before I crashed into bed – I received a facebook message from a past bride – Melissa.  The message:
Hi Cheyenne, I know you’ve shot a million weddings since ours and won’t remember our grandparents, but I wanted you to know that Tom’s amazing grandfather passed away last week, and a very special picture that you took of him at our wedding was the chosen shot for the front of his memorial service program.  They also blew up a picture of Charles and Leone from the anniversary dance at our reception….they ended up making it to 60 years before he passed away.  Yet another reason I’m so thankful we had amazing photographers to capture those special moments.  Thank you.

The following 2 images were attached.  
Of course, I was in tears when I read the message last night.  And, as I write this, I am in tears again.  
The mason jar post and Melissa’s message to me are particularly relevant.  Both really struck a chord with me as a photographer….specifically as a wedding photographer.  
Don’t get me wrong – I love shooting pretty details and getting featured in blogs/magazines just as much as the next photographer.  And yet, it is SO easy to get caught up in all of it that it distracts from the core of what a wedding is really all about…and sometimes, it is a distraction to my approach for how I photograph a wedding.  The outcome photographically is typically the same, but the degree to which I allow myself to truly be IN the happening of a wedding day – the degree to which I get sucked into the love and emotion of the day to where I can FEEL it in my soul – THAT is the difference.  The difference is in the meaning of our work.  
It’s so easy to forget that what we are capturing – beyond the details – is what is lasting.  Love.  Joy.  Commitment.  And on and on.  And that, truly, is more important to me than having a wedding full of great details being published in a magazine that will be read once and then tossed aside forever forgotten.  
What a special privilege we have as photographers for such an important day in the life of two people and their families.  I am so blessed to have a job that leaves me feeling so full of life and love.  

Cheyenne Schultz

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  1. Melissa Tuck says:

    Spot on! This post was straight to my heart. Well put, Chey. Love those photos!

  2. Heather K says:

    Beautiful Cheyenne! I’m choking back tears. Photographs are so incredibly important. I feel the same way about being a children’s photographer…. preserving the amazing dimensions of childhood and the beaming looks of proud parents for children to one day look back on and see how much they were/are adored. These are beautiful images of this sweet couple. Grandparents aren’t photographed often, what a treasure for this sweet widow and family to have recent (and beautiful) images of him.

  3. Nate says:

    good call. Hope you catch up on the sleep tonight 🙂

  4. Cheyenne, you don’t know me, but I am a huge fan of yours and your work for THIS reason. I love reading your blog and being inspired by your words, insight, goals, musings, or just whatever happens to be on your mind. Weddings, heck life for that matter, are a series of beautifully raw moments. Not a posing list or a slew of detail shots in order to get published. You are so right and I SO appreciate your willingness to always be so eloquently honest.

  5. clarivel.ann says:

    YES!!! Thank you SO much for this, Cheyenne!! Thank you for the reminder that we are being invited to be a part of and capture moments that will continue to move them twenty years from now. God is so awesome, and we are so blessed!!

  6. LOVE! I feel the same way… so blessed to be part of so many families lives! Thanks so much for posting!!!

  7. Jennifer says:

    Oh Cheyenne. This post made me want to hug you one moment and be you in the next! How wonderful & how blessed you are and how lucky all your readers are to enjoy it all!

  8. Lisa Edwards says:

    Oh Cheyenne, I know exactly how you feel. I had the opportunity to photograph an adorable toddler for his One and Two year pictures. Each time his grandmother was there. She had been battling cancer for years. The first session she was undergoing Chemo and I took some candid shots. The send session this past spring, she was doing well and I was able to get some shots with them. I just found out 2 weeks ago, she had passed. It warms my heart to know that I was able to capture those memories and that little Alex will have pictures of him and his grandma and know how much she loved him. This is the best part of being a photographer 🙂 I admire how you capture the emotion of each weddings and capture the details! You are awesome!

  9. Jackie says:

    Amen Cheyenne! I have to tell you as well, WAY back at my wedding, when you were just learning how to use a camera, you snapped a shot of me and my dad from behind us, and now that he is gone, it is one that I completely cherish…and it means a LOT! You have an amazing talent of catching those special moments – thank you, love you! xoxo

  10. Elizabeth says:

    So well timed … I’m anxious for the season to slow down so we can grab coffee.


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