A single phrase or line can take a conversation to a deeper level and lead to deeper connections. That "you to" moment is what we are all looking for when we engage with others and is something worth celebrating. Several months ago we had the opportunity to share a cup of coffee with Britt Latz and had our own "you to" moment. Keeping that moment to ourselves just seemed selfish, so we are thrilled to introduce you to Britt.
Heirloom: Do you have a set morning routine? If so, would you mind sharing what a typical morning looks like for you and how that sets you up for success.
Britt: To be completely honest with you, my morning routine has absolutely nothing to do with work. My husband and I are in a season of crazy schedules that never seem to intersect except for first thing in the morning. It is a bit of a sacred time for me because many days its the only quality time I get with him, and so I soak every second of it up! I typically wake up to coffee already made (because my husband is that awesome!) and spend a little bit of time catching up with him before all the craziness starts. I’m completely aware that I live in a bit of a dream in that regard. Most people can barely muster a high-five before their husband is out the door, so I consider myself incredibly lucky. I also know that this season, though sweet, will not last forever so I am trying my best to make the most of it.
I think in many regards this is exactly what sets me up for success. I love my job, my clients, and the fact that I get to create all day every day, but my job is not and never will be the most important thing in my life. So I start with what is most important, and then everything else gets put in perspective. When I take the time to fill myself up - spiritually, mentally, emotionally, physically - I have that much more to give to my clients. It makes me a better wife, friend, a better business owner, and creative.
Heirloom: Tell us your story. What led you to picking up your first camera?
Britt: There wasn’t really a set of events that lead me to picking up my first camera. It was actually just handed to me - by my dad. When I was a freshman in high school, he gave me a film camera that was given to him. I’m not even sure what prompted the gift, but it was the beginning of a fascination that turned into a passion. I was terrible - and I mean TERRIBLE at photography when I started. I really believed that I could just show up to a high school football game (at night nonetheless) and crank out 35 perfect images after reading the manual. ha! I’m pretty certain I got back a completely blank roll of film. It was incredibly defeating, humbling, but also challenging. For years I lived for that one in one hundred image…where by some miracle I happened to get every setting right and simultaneously nail the focus while shooting in manual. Let’s just say it was a season of refining - one I am incredibly grateful for. Somewhere in the middle of high school I started getting phone calls from parents asking if they could pay me to shoot their kids games. I was flattered, but still didn’t ever think of it as a career option. It was just a hobby I happened to get paid for.
After high school I didn’t pick up a camera for almost four years. I was really focused on finishing school at Texas A&M and starting a “real career”. I moved out to San Diego and started my first job with an event planning company and quickly realized two things - A. I was bored out of my mind and B. I was probably never meant to work for someone else. About two months into that job I got a phone call from a non-profit based in Houston, TX called Heart4Children asking me to come to Honduras to document what they were doing through their organization. Call that luck, or coincidence, or whatever you will - I call that a really gracious, loving, and faithful Father giving me an opportunity that I absolutely did not deserve. I had no idea what I was walking into when I left for Honduras, but God did something insane in my heart over the course of my time there. I had a sudden understanding of how incredibly powerful visual communication was, and the opportunity to bridge a communication gap that had existed for far to long. I felt a responsibility to represent people well, preserve their dignity, and share the tremendous joy that existed in desolate places and very trying situations. That season of life ignited a flame in me to understand people in a way that I hadn’t before. It gave me a new awareness of the resilience, and strength that people have and a desire to document it in whatever capacity God would let me.
It took me about ten years to completely commit to photography. I really appreciated the benefits that corporate America offered - consistent pay, insurance, and the ability to walk away from work at the end of the day (yes, that is actually a challenge when you work from home), but I was always missing something. In January of this year I finally made the leap and haven’t looked back!
Heirloom: You have been married for a little while now, what do you love most about married life? How has being married changed you and your photography?
Britt: My husband and I got married in October 2014, so in the world of married folks we are very new to this. Nine months has absolutely flown by, and we are learning a bit more everyday about the things we love about being married. I would say that one of those things is the freedom and joy that comes with being fully known and fully loved. The best way I’ve ever heard it put was in a book we read together called The Meaning of Marriage by Timothy Keller.
“When over the years someone has seen you at your worst, and knows you with all your strengths and flaws, yet commits him- or herself to you wholly, it is a consummate experience. To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything. It liberates us from pretense, humbles us out of our self-righteousness, and fortifies us for any difficulty life can throw at us.”
There is no one on earth that knows me like my husband does. He has literally witnessed every significant season of life since seventh grade. He knows my greatest strengths, but he also knows the most flawed parts of my heart, yet he chooses me every single day! I consider myself one lucky gal to have a man that exemplifies that kind of love in everything he does.
I don’t know that marriage has changed my approach to photography as much as the journey to marriage has. It was not this whirlwind fairytale that most people seem to experience. When my husband started pursuing me, I was a couple years out of an engagement that ended after a 1 1/2 year battle with cancer. I would never wish that kind of loss on anyone, but it taught me so much about myself and about others which has in turn impacted my approach to photography.
I intentionally did not document much of that season of my life - partly because I wasn’t sure how to, but mostly because I had allowed myself to believe that people didn’t want to see reality. They didn’t want to see what was hard, and painful. They wanted an Instagram worthy version of my life - a perfectly curated collection of only the most joyful moments. Looking back I wish I would have recognized what beauty existed in that suffering. I wish I would have captured so many of the moments that only exist in my memory now. I believe that those lessons have had tremendous influence on my life and my business. There is immense power in an authentic story; in sharing your reality - no matter how messy, painful, or joyful it may be. That is my hearts desire for my clients - that they would be comfortable enough, and courageous enough to allow me to document truth, no matter what that looks like.
Heirloom: Where do you look for inspiration?
Britt: There is just nothing like a few days in the middle of nowhere that inspires me. I’m not even really that picky about where it’s at - the lake, mountains, beach, you name it! I have learned that when I have no access to technology, I am forced to actually stop and pay attention to the world around me. It’s then that I am reminded of how incredibly small I am, and how fortunate I am to get to do what I do - and that alone offers inspiration.
Heirloom: What is your favorite aspect of working with couples?
Britt: I honestly think I’m probably one of the luckiest creatives on the planet when it comes to this. I believe that is partly because I’m pretty selective about who I work with, but also because I’ve just been really blessed. One of my favorite aspects of working with couples is the relationship that is built. As a photographer I get a front row seat to a really unique season of a couples life - one that is filled with so much joy and stress all at once. I believe that sometimes we miss the opportunity that is sitting right in front of us in regards to our relationships with clients. I’ll be the first to admit that I really appreciate a couple that has excellent style and is super creative - because it makes my job so easy, but there is a desperate need for couples to be reminded of what is most important while they are engaged. For a short window of time I get the opportunity to be a voice of truth - to remind couples that the goal isn’t to plan a wedding that gets published, but to prepare their hearts for marriage. Everything else comes second to that.