Three Things about Following Your Dream

denise-balyoz-birthday-portraitThis week was my birthday. It was, in may ways, a normal day, made special by lots of little things:  A card through the door. Good wishes on Facebook. Long-distance phone calls. And hugs and more hugs from my daughter.

We made special cupcakes to celebrate. A treat and quite a feat with her wheat, gluten, dairy, egg and sugar-free requirements!

In process of turning over this new year, I’ve done some looking back at the last few.  As some of you know, two years ago, I left my career to follow my dream of being a photographer full-time.

I walked away from a hefty and secure salary to be creative with my camera. I wanted to run my own show and to capture women, children, babies, families…and most of all to capture that expression of what is inside of us that makes us…well…us.

In process of doing this, I’ve learned three things about following your dream:

1. There is nothing better than doing what you love. This doesn’t mean it will be easy to do.

I can’t tell you how much I LOVE what I do. I spend many hours and late nights doing it.  I sacrifice time with friends, time with my family and even, time for me. However, because I love what I do, I sacrifice this time without resentment.

2. Your joy will be tested, tempered and balanced with sorrow. 

Be prepared. With great joy, comes great sorrow. You may delight in following your dream, but you will be tested.  You child may fall ill, your partner may leave, your parents may get sick and your house may spring a leak. (In my case, all of the above happened in the space of a year.)

3. Your dreams may be enormous. They may be far-flung (perhaps you want to travel the world). But ultimately, they will lead you to one place, and one place only.  Inside yourself.  

In the last year, I have learned so much about myself. I continually have to face myself. The good, the bad, the strong, the weak. And I am having to embrace all of it. Slowly, I am learning that this is the dream. By turning inside, I become a better photographer. I become a better mother.  My dreams have brought me here and I know they will bring me here again. This is life….one year older.





Class of 2013 – Senior Photography Session

child-family-senior-photographer-henley-marlow-windsor egham-virginia-water-sunningdale-ascot-windsor-photographer family-photographer-windsor-ascot-sunnindale natural-senior-portraits-uk-virginia-water-egham-sunnindale-ascot portrait-photographer-windsor-egham-virgina-water-ascot-sunningdale senior-portraits-virginia-water-ascot-sunningdale-windsor uk-baby-child-family-senior-photographer-windsorWhat a pleasure it was to work with this young woman.  Time flew for us both. All of my best wishes to her as she heads off to university and into the world!!



Childhood. Wonder. Discovery. Do you remember when you fell in love with books?

Mother’s Day

I love what I do…and even more, I love that, in what I do, I get to meet lots and lots and lots of mothers.

I love seeing mothers who are just brand-new at mothering.  And I love meeting mothers who are about to send their not-so-little ones out of the nest.

But I have noticed that something strange happens to us, women, when we become mothers.  We put our children first. (Of course, we’re there to care for them!) But we also pull ourselves out of the picture (literally!). Most of my mum’s tell me that their portrait session is all about the kids. Many of them are reluctant to step in front of my lens.

I can’t point any fingers. I am describing who I used to be.  I have hard drives full of images of my daughter. Only a handful of those include me.  My excuse: I’m the photographer. I’m behind the camera.

This year, I decided to take on a personal self-portrait project. This project is the best thing I have ever done. Yes, I’m capturing me. But more so, I’m capturing my daughter and I together.  She loves nothing more than getting involved when I set up the tripod and the remote….and I…well, I adore these pictures of us together.

Happy Mother’s day to my mom and to all the moms out there.

Senior Session: Beautiful and Elegant

We had the most wonderful senior session today. Time flew. More to come…