A Big Decision For My Portrait Business

For those of you that have been following my journey and my love of animals, I thank you for spending your time with me…whether you are a client, a peer, a colleague, a friend or family member (Hi Mom!) or part of my online community, I am grateful to have you in my world. It’s why I want to catch you up on what has been going on in my world.

While I have been procrastinating putting these words out into the ether, it’s time I let you know that I will no longer be offering my custom private/personal animal portrait sessions at the end of this year. I will be booking my last session in Toronto/GTA on November 29, 2019, so I may fulfil orders before the end of the year. (Scroll down to the next section if you are ready to book your session.)

I started my business on personal portrait sessions and have loved the honest emotions that are expressed and the beautiful moments that are shared during these sessions. I have been extremely fortunate to have cultivated life-long friendships with many of my clients (thank you, amazing client-friends!). So this has not been an easy decision…but it has been many years in the making.

On this day, four years ago, I said goodbye to my Tichka…my amazing soul dog, best friend and muse. When we found each other in Morocco in 2002, she revived my love of photography, which eventually led me to start my photography business on the side…going full-time in 2008.

Since then I have met and photographed hundreds of animals and their people….and shared their stories with you. By doing that I created a community of loving, compassionate and all-around awesome people on my social media channels. Heck, we may not have a ridiculous amount of numbers like many others do, but I am grateful that I am surrounded by the best people out there. Quality over quantity…always! Thank you, to those of you who have participated with your kind words and supportive likes and loves over the years.

While I have never been one to follow trends, I have noticed, along with other portrait photographers, the massive shift in our profession since cell phones and Instagram have pulled focus from custom experiences and quality unique art and heirloom pieces.

But change will always happen and this year and it’s shown up in many heartbreaking ways. Since March, I have said goodbye to over 20 animals that I have photographed and loved…6 in one week alone. And almost double that number for other animals that I know (and haven’t photographed). Like I mentioned…it’s been a doozy of a year. I feel as I have been in a constant state of heartbreak with my friends, family and clients. But during this wave of sadness, I came to love that I am somebody who understands loss and that I am always willing to hold space for people navigating their grief. I love that I am someone that people feel they can reach out to talk to about their loss…to feel safe to cry with. I am touched to know that during their despair, clients think to reach out to me to let me know that their beloved dog or cat has passed…and that being surrounded by the photos we created together on our session day are bringing them comfort. I am thankful every time people think to include me in their lives. It makes me feel that I have done some good in the world and also reminds me that our session day is one of the most meaningful days ever.

I ended up falling into my professional path simply by fiercely loving my own animals and capturing our lives together. I had the awareness that one day they would be gone and I would have wonderful memories to look back on, rather than focusing on the day we said goodbye. Although a good cry is welcomed too. Just today I was looking through the last images me and Tichka together. All it took was one image and it made me feel so deeply, it was overwhelming…and yet I was grateful for the memory. I was grateful for the time we had together. I was grateful for what she taught me and all the adventures we had together. What can I say? As much as I practice living in the moment I’m still an unapologetically nostalgic person. To be able to help others experience their own wonderful moments over again will always be so special to me.

All the overwhelming loss this year was another reason that I stopped posting on social media. I felt I would just be sending out a tsunami of sorrow. Even with all the love and support I know you have shown over the years, it felt more aligned to reach out privately to people. But when I realized that I had sent out more condolence gifts than I had new orders this year, I knew these deaths were the biggest signs that it’s time to move on. Side note: My end-of-year memorial is going to be epic…so many incredible souls will be in it.

As far as my photography business goes, I will still be offering art collections for vet hospitals and I will continue to create those images in my own way. I will still be working with business…both human and pet brands. You may not know but I have always worked with people in business. From entrepreneurs, freelancers, small business to corporations…I love working with business of all sizes to help get their message out into the world through honest and quality imagery. Being able to give people the confidence to be their fabulous selves in front of the camera has always been something I loved doing. I always thought it was funny when people hired me to take their headshots based solely on my animal portraits. Eventually, it made sense that my animal portraits showed people that they could trust me to create a safe and loving space for them to fully express themselves. I have also been exploring videography and audio recording…I am even working on a podcast.

Photography has always been about two things that are incredibly important to me…connection and honest storytelling. I can easily translate both of those things to other mediums and everything else I do in life.

The biggest venture going on with me is that I’ve been working on a plan to take a break from Toronto for over a year now. I’ve had some financial setbacks but the plan is still in place to rent out my home and travel around in an RV with my animals – Dude and Archie. If you follow my stories on Instagram you’ll know these characters quite well by now. 🙂 Dude, my forever puppy, will be turning 13 in the spring. While I don’t know how long we have together, I plan to give him as many amazing walk adventures and snuggle sessions as possible. Some of the most joyful times in my life have been exploring new places and meeting new people…with my furry travel companions at my side, of course. As lovely as it is to connect with people through technology (hello, yes, I’m doing that right now), my favourite way to connect will always be in person (IRL, as the kids say). It’s another one of the reasons that I stepped back from posting regularly on my social media. I have been giving more time to the people around me. From quality time spent with loved ones to stopping to chat with the older lady walking down the street…whose day was made by petting Dude. Those little moments of connection, in this sometimes crazy world, are deeply precious to me.

Speaking of…over the past few years I have dedicated more time to my own inner connection…and this year I gave myself the freedom to step back from how I usually do…well…everything. Even though it was a challenge to make it happen with the “gotta pay the bills” way of thinking, I am happy to share that I have been awakened to a new way of being and showing up in the world. My purpose is clear…and even though I don’t know where things will take me next, I do it with a happy heart and an open mind.

Since I was a child, spending time with animals has always one of my purest joys. That will never change. I will always be the person who follows their passions. There are so many other things that I want to try and I always want to be in a place of being able to explore them. If you decide to come along with me for this new journey I would love to have you with me.

Love and light,

Marcia XO

3 comments on “A Big Decision For My Portrait Business”

  1. Jean Jamieson says:

    Wishing you the very best and great expectations for happiness right around the corner. Don’t forget to look up my friend Eva in Campbell River.

  2. Michelle Guest says:

    Wow Marcia, what a brave step! It takes a lot of courage to make such a major life change, but the results are usually spectacular. I am in awe of your spirit of adventure and you’re willingness to step out of your comfort zone. I look forward to seeing what the future holds, so excited for this next phase! You go girl!!

  3. Paula Harvey says:

    So much love and a huge squeeze! xo p

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *