Hilary Spencer Creative Photography » Creative photographer specializing in weddings, engagements, and family photography. I'd like to make you smile.

Category Archives: Personal

Screen Shot 2014-08-11 at 12.07.10 AM

Woah woah woah.

You are on a diet? Diets are bad. Haven’t you heard?

  • Everything in moderation.
  • You are lovely just the way you are, don’t change to fit a standard!
  • You look fine!!!

Let me dispel some confusion here, folks.

Yep, I’m on a “diet”. Because my regimen isn’t going to be forever, I hesitate to call it a lifestyle, but really, it has become a lifestyle and I didn’t even realize.

Let’s get a few things straight:

Q: What is an “elimination diet”? What are you eliminating?

A: An elimination diet is basically kickstarting your system back to basics. You’re taking out processed foods, and any and all major potential allergens in order to reboot your system and get all the gunk out. You’re starting from square one, and reintroducing those potential allergens to have a very clear indicator of how they affect your body and mind. This process can take a long time or a little time, depending on the symptoms you’re looking to find causes for. I have digestive issues, and skin troubles. Because skin takes such a long time to regenerate, it’s taking me a lot longer than most would need in order to properly see what is flaring up my rosacea.

View full post »



This “Soul Stuff” is catching on… and guess what? I’m liking it. Also, my dog is gorgeous and this photo has nothing to do with anything. Hurray!

I’ve had another one of those brain itches that just won’t go away until I proverbially scratch at it. I’ve resisted bringing up this topic because it’s still a tender one for me, and while I’m totally a work in progress, I’m at a place now that I can understand myself enough to talk about it. I hope it will help at least one person out there struggling with the same invisible monster.  View full post »


Wow, April went by fast. Like in a heartbeat. Can’t even believe it.

I just had to post about something I came across recently. It’s been bugging my brain for days and I can’t shake that feeling of “I need to tell someone this”. So I’m telling you, dear readers, if you’re still around since my last post ages ago!

The story is this: I was in a department store, shooting for a promotional day they were having, which featured a DJ. A great DJ. Playing all the right mixes and hits. Everyone had a little mamba in their step that day, and you could watch people trying to resist the sway of their hips as they browsed through the beauty department. This guy was good. There was one particular woman who had the most beautiful curves, and had a shake to go with them, if you catch my drift. She was sashaying and swaying, bouncing and grooving, until… she saw me. I’ll admit, I was watching her. Not in a creepy voyeur kind of a way, but in a fascinated, jovial, gosh she’s so happy! thought kind of way. And immediately she stopped, giggled for a second, and said, “Sorry, sorry…” and slunk behind the counter.

I immediately raced over and said “No! No! It’s ok!” and did a little jive of my own, but the moment had passed.

What I’ve taken from this moment, friends, is this: do not, DO NOT apologize for your joy. Whatever that may be. Whatever may bring that to you. Do not apologize for having a great time in a moment that is fleeting.

Watching my beauty department dancer made me smile, and she was embarrassed, I could tell. But don’t you for a second think that you have to apologize for being yourself when no one is watching (or when they are, for that matter!)

Dance your dance, jive your jive, and live your joy. xo



Screen Shot 2014-02-17 at 9.05.35 PMScreen Shot 2014-02-17 at 10.33.39 PM

There are some people you keep around in your life, in your back pocket when you don’t see face to face and barely speak outside a quick “It’s been so long!” on Facebook Chat. As it happens, some of these people are well worth the pocket space and small talk. From awkward braces/glasses combos to nervous bus rides and some brutal, brutal MSN conversations I hope to never see again, somehow we’ve made it to the other side and manage to reconnect when the timing is just right. I feel like this character knows me inside and out, good ways and bad, never failing to lend an ear to my somewhat trivial trials and tribulations of life. I had an absolutely hilarious time taking a ‘few’ portraits of Ian, a friend of many many years and hopefully many years to come.


This is going to be a rambler, I can feel it.

New Sara Barielles playing in the background, the dog is asleep, nothing is in my way, so I’m gonna ramble. Hold onto your knickers.

I need to talk about waking up.

Quick story for you, before things get too profound. I don’t know about you, but I’m not a morning person. I’m not a bright, bubbly, “Oh the birds are singing!” kind of a person. I’m a “shoot the birds and close the blinds, I’ll see you next week” if you’re lucky enough to get more out of me than a muffled groan in protest. I have to, have to set an alarm. Two alarms. Three alarms. It’s alarming how many alarms I actually set (har har). These are alarms on my phone, and I usually leave my phone far away from my bed to ensure my zombie self gets up and at’em to turn them off, hopefully and optimistically assuming that at some point in my journey I will WAKE UP. This… doesn’t always happen. I’ll bolt out of bed at the most undecent hour, turn off the alarm (snooze), and crash back into bed. Cue: the dance of the thousand snooze buttons.

Now. The sleeping wonder that (unfortunately) shares the bed with me does not appreciate this morning routine. I want to say that I’ve gotten better lately, but he’ll protest otherwise I’m sure. It’s as though I don’t have any conscious thoughts about actually staying awake after getting out of bed; I autopilot back under the sheets and have no conscious choice but to obey my body. It’s ridiculous. It’s not normal. Is it? Let a sister know.

The connection for this morning-glory story to the aformentioned profoundness is that… in recent weeks…

I’ve woken up.

This… is profound. I’ve woken up… creatively, business-wise, idea-wise, ambition-wise; I’ve woken up wanting to push again. Push? At what? Oh, that little thing that I forgot I love to do. That, my friends, is as sincere as I can get with a snoring dog drooling on my toes: I FORGOT I loved photography. Totally forgot that the subtle focus of rain drops on kittens (wait, what?) and toothy, gleeful grins that get my heart racing and eyes shining. I love what I do. And I do it, because I love it.

So where have I been before this revelation of epic proportions? Drowning in self-pity, in my negative levels of self-assuredness, drowning in the complete disbelief in myself and my talent. I decided that because I’m not making a million dollars and taking photographs of Miley Cyrus twerking, I’m not worth a single penny of anyone’s thoughts or business. This is just insane thinking, folks (much like the a fore-mentioned performance of the fallen Disney star). Insane.

If you can’t believe in yourself, WHO CAN?!

I can assure you: caps were needed in that last sentence.

So lets flash forward: how did I wake up? It was a normal day, totally unexpected; out of nowhere, my heart filled with something other than self-hate. I suddenly went OH. Weddings. Love. Light. Love. Photography… love? Love.

A friend has been diligently tweeting and posting over at her wedding planning blog, and I had read a tweet or two that morning. My head got thinking, my heart got beating, and I made a plan to get off the train and buy a wedding magazine. I had a wedding to shoot in the next week or so at this point, so I figured, inspiration is needed anyways. Magazines: expensive! But am I really prepared to say that my inspiration, my love and pride in myself, isn’t really worth $6? If there were any moment in which to spend some cash, this was it. I bought my shiny, beautifully-bound WeddingBells and hugged it like a bomb that would explode if I let go.

As I skimmed slowly through those slick pages, my heart opened up again. I kid you not, it’s as though I had closed a door inside me somewhere, locked it up, and hung up a sign that said “Given up; try again later”. Down goes the sign, and I’m off running through pages and pages of glossy, gorgeous inspiration. It was a real Grinch moment: heart growing so big, it was bound to burst out in a rowdy rendition of Here Comes The Sun.

And that was it.

I went home and blogged (hence the sudden re-appearance, I’m sure you noticed that). I blogged and I edited and I planned. I emailed clients that I hadn’t scheduled yet. I emailed old friends and made plans. I organized. I fantasized. I woke up.

I shot the wedding that I had been nervous about, and it was amazing. So inspirational and wonderful. I’ve since had several shoots, and two more coming up this weekend. I’ve got new projects planned. I’ve got ideas. I’ve got aspirations. I may not be where I want to be yet, but I am closer now with my heart open and my eyes focused. I don’t know what made me suddenly snap that morning (the wedding tweets, a bad batch of coffee? Who’s to say, really.) but I am so thankful for my change of heart. This, I feel, is what I’m meant to do. One way or another… I will inspire others, and continue to amaze myself with the possibilities ahead of me.

Profound, right? I told you so.

NOW: The homework.
I normally don’t care about this side of the blogging business, but I would love love love if you would leave a comment about a struggle you’ve had lately. About a great morning of triumph over your bad thoughts. A quip about some bad coffee. Don’t care; comment. It would mean the world to my tiny brain and over-sized heart that is now full of love, love, love.