Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chapter 2 – A Professional Journey

I’ve loved photography since I was a little girl…I was the always the one at the party wanting to capture the moment, the laughs, the fun, the feeling.  For almost my entire life I strived to take great photos of the people I loved and the places I was seeing, but I never committed to learning the “science” of what makes a great photograph and therefore had some success but also struck out on many occasion.

Before I had my first child I thought I should start paying more attention to what goes into taking a beautiful newborn portrait so that I could take photos of our baby.  My dad gave me a muslin backdrop and some portrait reference books for Christmas and that was the beginning of my growing curiosity and dedication to learning the craft.

After a few years of self-study, my husband gave me my first DSLR, a Canon 40D.  Shortly after that I enrolled in the SAIT Photography Certificate program, and started shooting on full manual, which, trust me, felt like a HUGE milestone (in school I was always the social butterfly and you’d rarely find me studying…regrets on that!).  After a few years, and the addition of another child, I was a stay at home mom and loving it; but I also realized that I wanted to ensure I had my own identity, beyond being ‘the mom’.  I decided that all the encouragement around me (major props to my dad here!) to live in the present, to follow your passion, and to be fully engaged in your own life were all shout-outs to each of us – including me!  I started to seriously ponder ‘hanging up a shingle’ and, lying in bed one night, the name Bella Faccia popped into my head…even now the name makes me smile when I say it!  I went downstairs quietly, searched the registry to see if the name was taken and promptly bought my URL!  And so it was, as scary as it felt (and still feels at times), I pulled the trigger.

Bella Faccia was registered as an incorporated company in October, 2009, and I attended BFP’s Edmonton workshop the following June.  The workshop attendees were equally warm, funny, talented, and kind…the experience was a perfect storm of wonderful!  Bryan was unable to teach the first few days and so Chris Hurtt came on his behalf, and we learned so much from each of these incredible teachers & photographers.  I came home feeling like there was a whole world out there of which I was just scratching the surface.  I felt a fire to build my business, to learn the trade and the art, to contribute to society by being a whole person –mom, wife, friend, entrepreneur, and more.  Of course this dream takes balance but that’s fodder for another blog!

Photo by Lori Maloney of Bella Faccia Photography
Last October I was referred to a fitness model by a co-worker and friend of my husband’s.  She had worked hard to prepare for a fitness competition and wanted to have a keepsake of how rockin’ she looked (my words, not necessarily hers!).  Her hard work, diet, water consumption, etc. were all critically planned for that ONE day and so I knew I needed to nail the shots for her.  The resulting photos were, we thought, beautiful and it planted a seed in me.  

Photo by Lori Maloney of Bella Faccia Photography

A few months later a close friend of mine approached me to take nude maternity photos for her, she hoped to give a book of images to her partner as a Valentine’s Day gift.  We laughed and had a great time while capturing this very meaningful time in her life.  It was an incredible experience for me and reinforced to me how much I like working with women.

During both of the above described shoots I told my clients how beautiful they looked (and they truly did), I promised that the shots would be classy and tasteful, and I tried to reassure them to feel comfortable with the promise that their security would show in the photos.  They both trusted me, their portraits are beautiful, and I was honoured to take them.  However, I now know that I subconsciously felt a little badly throughout because, even though I felt empathetic to what they must be feeling, I also knew that I didn’t actually know what it felt like to be on the other end of the lens, at your most vulnerable.  

Photo by B. F. Peterson

My shoot with Bryan (author of books such as "Understanding Exposure" and the founder of PPSOP - The Perfect Picture School of Photography) was booked last fall and so I’ve had the better part of the year to contemplate and experience what it feels like to hire the photographer, to decide what steps to personally take so that I could feel good in front of the camera (including everything from miracle wrinkle creams to positive self-talk!), to consider the many different styles of nude and boudoir photography, and to feel the jitters at the thought of disrobing in front of a MAN holding a CAMERA!  Throughout, I was motivated by the thought of being able to sincerely say to my women clients, “I know how it feels, and I know it’s difficult, but these photographs are going to be beautiful.”  Clearly, in life, business, and relationships, we can’t always know how everything feels for another and empathy is a wonderful trait; but, whenever possible, isn’t it so much nicer to say, “I’ve walked the walk, and I do understand.”

My knowledge level is increasing daily, my gear kit is growing, my experience as a mom and business owner is challenging me, my confidence in what I am able to provide my clients is strengthening, and I am a better person for all of it.  It’s amazing when we clearly see the positive impact of our decisions in our personal and professional lives…this has been an incredible journey and I am feeling so very grateful!

There will be one more in this series…I’d like to comment on why I think every woman should have this experience!  Stay tuned…

Life is good!


P.S. If you are interested in learning about photography I would recommend Bryan Peterson's international workshops, his books, and PPSOP with total confidence.  Chris Hurtt provides workshops, is an educator at PPSOP and, he too, I trust and admire as a teacher and photog! 


  1. Lori - you are an inspiration. So glad that I have met you.

    PS You look amazing!

    XO Candace

  2. It is so awesome to read all the background information.! I love how much you have put in and gained from this whole process! You are awesome inside and out!!!

  3. So sweet and generous of you both! So happy to have the two of you in my life! May each day and experience bring all of us closer and closer to our perfect lives!

    Hugs, Lori

  4. Lori - It was fantastic meeting you at the Chicago workshop. These pictures are PHENOMENAL. The day I'm ready to do something like this (and I shouldn't wait too much longer), I'd hire YOU to take my pictures. You have amazing talent. Stay in touch!

  5. Thanks, Cristina! Awesome hearing from you and I sincerely appreciate the kind words! This type of shoot is a super-fun experience and I'd love to be your photographer of choice! We'd have to find the recipe for those cucumber martinis (or was it cucumber-something else?!) that they served up at the Plaza! Keep in touch!