Stumbling into New Friendships + an Amazing Photographer

Last week Nick Hwang mentioned that he wanted to send out a Christmas card to our friends and family with a photo of us in it. Adorable, right? Trouble was that we were less than 20 days away from Christmas. How in the world would we find a photographer  with availability that we could afford who could get us images in time to have cards printed and mailed?

I sent a few photographer friends messages to see if they had any immediate availability. There are so many talented people in Baton Rouge and I’m lucky to know many of them. On a whim, I also sent a message to a photographer who is dating a former coworker and friend of mine. I’d been stalking her photos on Instagram and Facebook for months. Natalie Mancuso captures stunning images that are more than pretty pictures, they tell a story.

Fate must have aligned in our favor that day, Natalie emailed me back quickly and said she had a cancelation for the coming weekend. We picked a time and met up in an empty field off of Highland Road on Saturday.

Maybe it was all that Instagram stalking, but I felt totally comfortable with her as soon as the shoot began. She was kind, easy going and so energetic. I LOVE the first few images she shared with us on Facebook and can’t wait to see the rest.

Walking with Nick

The most incredible part of the day was how much we synced instantly. After the shoot, Natalie, Nick and I sat down for coffee and talked about everything from photography to fracking  in West Virginia. Needless to say, I’m new-friend smitten.

Talking with Natalie also reminded me how difficult it was to find folks that I felt I could be myself with in Baton Rouge. This city is wonderful for its hospitality and sense of community, but that sense of community can also make it difficult to be an outsider. It can also be tricky to find your niche in a city that is dominated by higher ed, oil and gas, and government jobs. Being a writer, artist or photographer can be tricky. There are networks of creative types here, but they can be tough to find and infiltrate.

That being said, I’m so glad to have made a new friend in Natalie and I’m looking forward to sharing the rest of the photos she took for us this weekend. If you’re looking for a photographer in the Baton Rouge area, I highly recommend checking out her work.