The Light House

Who we choose to marry is one of the most important decisions we make. In marriage we find a great mirror to show us who we are, reveal our need for grace and to shape us into the person we will become. No other person will have such a shaping influence on us and our children as our spouse. 

This could not be more true than in the story of Chris from The Light House. From encouraging him to pick up his first camera to setting him on the path to finding his calling, his wife has served as his encourager, guide and more. What started as a husband and wife photography team has grown, along with their family, into a budding business investing in couples. Gather round as he shares part of their journey.

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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. 

Chis:I love mornings. I usually try to wake up at least an hour before my two-year old son starts calling for mommy and daddy. That gives me some time to start the day on my own terms, with a cup of strong, black coffee, some worship music, and my journal/bible. I love to write, and I do it almost every day. The personality profiles have me pinned as an extroverted feeler, but I cherish this morning time to be alone and think/sing/pray before the day begins. Before long, I start to hear my son, Caleb, doing some of his own singing, and I get the extreme joy of being the first one to welcome him to the new day. We eat breakfast together with my wife, and then I head out to the office for the day. It's pretty amazing to start the day with your heart full. It frees you to go out and work from a place of security and joy, not from a place of striving or discontent. I'm also a huge fan of NOT working from home, although I'm sure it works great for some people. I need to keep the compartments separate so that I can devote myself fully to each responsibility.

Heirloom: Tell us your story. How did you discover your love for photography? 

Chris: About 5 years ago, my wife's outgrown photography hobby turned into a business. It was mostly families and kids at first, but she booked her first wedding in 2011. Somehow she talked me in to coming along to that first wedding as her assistant/second shooter. I had no background in photography and had never used a professional camera. It's a long story, but it turns out that I had a natural eye for photography -- it's always a good thing when you can still impress your spouse :) The next year, we booked 13 weddings, and we shot all of them together. It was a blast to learn more about photography, but I "fell in love" with the people, the relationships, and the experience of being a part of these amazingly special occasions in the lives of other people.

Heirloom: How do you strike the balance between work and family?  

Chris: Balance is simple if you have boundaries. I've learned that from a couple of years of having no boundaries and watching it almost ruin our marriage. Most people know that family is first -- they aren't trying to be workaholics and neglect their spouse or kids -- but if you aren't intentional about creating boundaries to protect your family, then it will inevitably take the back seat and start to suffer, probably long before you even realize it. That's why I'm an advocate of not working from home if you can afford it. A few hundred bucks a month on an office space is well worth it if it helps you have good boundaries, a thriving marriage, and a peaceful home. My wife and I have gotten serious about boundaries -- balance was the natural result. 

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Heirloom: Where do you look for inspiration? 

Chris: I don't really look for inspiration, honestly. I see it naturally in the lives and the love of the people I get to work with. People are amazing! No two are ever the same, and every couple has a unique story and personality that I find fascinating. If I'm in a creative rut with the technical elements of photography, I will spend some time looking at the work of photographers who are better than I'll ever be. Then after wanting to quit, I pick up camera again and try to stretch myself to get better. 

Heirloom:  What is your favorite aspect of working with couples? 

Chris: This may be somewhat repetitive from my last answer, but every love story is different and every couple has their own personality. Marriage is about stepping into "oneness," and I love getting to see this unique oneness start to emerge in the couples that I get to work with and photograph. I'm always amazed that in the thousands of photographs I have taken, none of them "feel" the same. That's because the couples are different and each have their own unique story and personality. Getting to share in their story is my favorite part. I had the mother-of-the-bride say to me last week, "Thank you so much for becoming part of our family this weekend and capturing such special memories for us!" In my book, it doesn't get much better than that.

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