December 28, 2020

Walking on Air in Springdale, Arkansas | A Cloud Themed Wedding Shoot at the Apollo on Emma

I’ve got a whole lot of beauty and light for y’all today!

A few months back, I really just felt like creating something super whimsical and soft while also bold and colorful. I wanted lots of light, lots of air (maybe fog?) and some gorgeous pastel colors complete with sparkles and a stunning flowers to give off a somewhat extra, super pretty feel. And on a hot August afternoon at the Apollo on Emma? All those things came together and I freaking loved it!

When you’re a new photographer, everything is exciting. The ideas are new.  The trends are new. The venues are new. The shooting techniques are new. The new cameras, the first publications, the first time you see your photographs at a magazine in a store, the first big ticket bookings, the first time you get on an airplane to go somewhere new and take photos (that someone paid you for!), the first time you’re asked to teach: all of these things are an absolute adrenaline rush. Over time, though, that excitement can dwindle. It’s not that it’s gone, of course, but, once a lot of those dream never-gonna-happen goals actually happen, you’re left with what you started with: a camera, a creative vision, and a portfolio screaming for more photographs.

Now that I’m closing in on a decade of nonstop shooting + five years of casual portrait work before that, I feel this in my soul. I’ve been able to shoot things I never thought possible and I’ve seen my work published in so many ways. I had years with multiple associate shooters, used an assistant + outsourced basic editing for years and then made the choice to scale back when I realized I wanted to be hands on with every aspect of all of the photographs I put out under my name. I’ve been really lucky and worked countless late nights and I’ve seen the industry shift and change and become more accepting and accessible. I’ve felt lost in the shuffle. I’ve been humbled beyond words. I’ve felt over the moon. I’ve felt guilty for working so much. I’ve felt guilty for stepping back to hang with my family. Over the past ten years, I have felt so much and put so much into my work, enojoyed so much success juxtaposed with a ton of rejection (head’s up: if you haven’t faced any rejection as a photographer, you are not putting yourself out there enough) and, still, I’m left with the drive I’ve always had and the drive is this: I just really want to take colorful photographs.

And this shoot? This was a rebirth of that! With my new baby haze settling + my calendar filled back to normal just as covid hit, I’ve felt really lost, disappointed, and tired this past year. I couldn’t find my voice and didn’t know where I’d displaced it and honestly didn’t even know if I wanted to go looking for it anymore. Like, I felt too tired to do so and really just wanted to wave a wand haphazardly through the clouds and have it all go back to pre-covid times where I felt like a camera was infused to my hand and heart.

It sucked so much but this is normal! I know this! I teach a class on it! All artists have years where their work ebbs and flows and some years are easier than others. But, when it happened to me after so many years of an awesome creative flow, I really just wanted to bang my fists on the wall and say “WHY?!” because I’ve worked so hard over so many years and I really just wanted my photographs to pour out of me like they did in the past. Some days, I still feel like I’m in this phase but, more often than not, I’m beginning to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel and I am so freaking pumped about the photographs I’ll be creating over the next year. With covid still lurking, it’s going to be different and there are days that’ll be harder than others but I am so looking forward to more days like this, more ideas like this, and more beautiful photographs to share with the world. And possibly even weirder? I’m just really jazzed to try some new techniques and possibly dislike some of the photographs I take in this newfound phase. So come on, 2021!! I’m ready for you!

And OMG. Let me introduce you to these killer vendors + models (look out for my sister’s name cause she did the makeup!) Venue: The Apollo on Emma // Flowers: Jules Design (those roses!!) // Wedding Dress: She Said Yes Bridal // Bridesmaid Gowns: Opal and June (see these dresses in past shoots here and here!) // HMUA: Anna Bogart // Models: Alexis, Ashley, and Lucille // Photography: Lissa Chandler

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Based in Fayetteville, Lissa Chandler is a traveling portrait and wedding photographer who shoots all over the US. Additionally, she is the co-founder and owner of Opal and June and the creator + instructor of The Hue of You, an online (and rad!) four week editing course offered through Click Photo School.

Inquire About Your Wedding Date + Book A Session With Lissa Chandler Here