Experience Joy|Elkhart Family Photographer


One of the reasons I love photography is being able to capture the little things in life that we often forget.  It’s amazing what the camera sees and how it can just capture the rawness and the beauty of life.  

Twenty years from now, when our little children are all-grown, pictures are the only things that represent our memories and bring these memories back to life.

Material things may come and go… but memories are embedded in our hearts forever.

In twenty years, when we  go through that old pile of photographs, what do our hearts remember?  Do our hearts remember the joy we experienced even in imperfect times? Or do we choose to remember that perfectly staged photograph with everyone saying cheese and smiling perfectly for the camera?

To me, true beauty lies in pictures that show the rawness of the moment and often it is where we can capture that scattered joy.

Joy comes in many forms…

…it’s the memories of our kids blowing bubbles, representing love can be found in simplicity of life.

…it’s holding their little hand through treacherous water,  representing our gentle guidance in their time of needs. 

…it’s seeing how high they can climb up that tree, reflecting our vision for them in life.

…it’s bending over and helping them tie their shoes, showing our unconditional love.

… it’s in their eyes we see their purity and innocence, representing their souls.

These moments  happen every day but we often forget to truly enjoy being “in joy“.

When a dear friend of mine asked me to photograph her children as a surprise gift for Father’s Day, I was so honored she trusted me to capture a special moment like that. 

Deep down inside, I was a little nervous that she puts all that trust in a new photographer like me. Many evenings leading up to the photo session, I said a little prayer so that He opens my eyes to help me capture the true spirits of her beautiful children. I know this is what she wanted and I wanted to make sure I can truly capture her children the way she sees them.  She is such a dear friend to me and she holds such a special place in my heart. I prayed and asked Him to help me see what she sees that day. I know that’s a big order I just requested and placed in Him to fulfill.

I wanted the session to feel as natural as possible and so I followed the children’s lead to where they wanted their pictures captured. 

It had been raining around here quite a bit. The part of the park we were at was more in the “low land” area so this area was heavily flooded.  In some areas , the water came knee-deep and was marshy and almost swamp-like condition. Probably not very desirable to photograph family portraits  and would be the last place a new photographer would ever imagined to do one for her first family portrait session!!

Ofcourse, this area became the biggest attraction for these 5 children the moment they saw it!  And before we all knew it, they all took off their shoes and off to the swamp they investigated!!

As they took off to investigage, I am thinking…what happened to that vision I had of the perfect picture of the kids sitting by the waterfall and a picture standing by the bridge I promised their mommy???? What happened to that request I just placed in Him? A request for that perfect picture?  



It made me realized, when was the last time we as adults take off our shoes and just run free? 

When was the last time we truly experience joy and just live in the moment and feel blessed in that moment? 

Truly experience joy… even if our conditions are not perfect, even if sometimes we are in the midst of swampy and marshy land part of our lives?

Or do we  need to wait for that perfect moment, with our perfect smiles, and our perfect clothes to capture that perfect picture…? 

The spontaneity of that evening confirmed my love for photography.  I love that kids are so free-spirited and know how to stop and enjoy the world and most importantly how to find joy in every day’s ordinaries. Even if these ordinaries are all all swampy and marshy.

Children really teach us what life is all about….it’s these little moments, the “imperfect” moments, these are the ones that make life BIG and really count.

When we look back, these are the ones that truly capture the essence of who we are…natural and all imperfect!


The goal is not to change your subjects, but for the subject to change the photographer.  ~Author Unknown


D Family, thanks for opening my eyes that day and experience true joy with your family! It was what I needed to confirm that this is the part of photography that I love to capture and why I must open my heart to this new journey that He has placed in my path. 

4 Responses to Experience Joy|Elkhart Family Photographer

  1. Leslie Donnelly says:

    What beautiful pictures! Only you could show the beauty of an ordinary day in a flooded county park. YOU ARE AMAZING UYEN!!! The subjects aren’t too shabby either! :0)

  2. Lew says:

    I am thinking God may be guiding you to publish a book that combines your talent in photography with the beautiful sayings of your heart. So true that we need to embrace the marshy swamp instead of waiting for life to be perfect. Uyen, please keep trusting Him to lead you where He needs you…

  3. Theresa says:

    Two of my dearest friends creating such beauty, one behind the lens and one in front. Thank you both for sharing!

  4. Tera says:

    All I can say is WOW. These pictures are truly amazing. You definitely have a gift. I can’t imagine that you didn’t plan to have them trudge through the “swamp”! What a perfect Father’s Day gift.

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