I'm an American expat, writer. photographer. and old-fashioned romantic in love with celebrating the simple joys of daily life. I appreciate timelessness, the natural world, and a slow life lived with simplicity and intention. When I'm not photographing families or  slowly traveling the world and writing about it in a little notebook, I'm happily grounding myself in nature and cozying up with my sweet husband.

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“The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.” –  Albert Einstein

My heart urges me to retreat. To reflect, to go inward, to seek privacy.

After a recent realization, I’ve finally admitted to myself what is not working in terms of my business and my time and what is working. 

Instagram and Personal Blog Posts

We have a limited amount of time, money and resources, so it’s important to focus on what you love and less of what feels forces.

What I Am Focusing on Going Forward

I will now be sharing more “evergreen content” or blog posts that live longer on the internet and are a constant resource for my photography clients. Posts like guides for mom and dad about prepping for portrait sessions, my favorite locations for sessions, sneak peeks at my family and newborn client work, photography tips for new moms, etc.

I’m only logging onto Instagram when I feel inspired by it, setting stricter time limits and will be using it more for sharing my work.

I also want the focus to be less on me, my personality and my personal life and more on the joyful and emotional connection of the families I photograph. Less on me, and more on the art. 

Seeking Privacy After A Season of Vulnerability Online

I am naturally an open book, someone who wears her heart proudly on her sleeve and loves to share, give, and help in any and every way.

But I have noticed my heart and body feeling a bit empty using Instagram. 

I have been deeply vulnerable online these past two years, and while many people have reached out telling me they enjoy my blog, what I share, etc, etc, I am now seeking a little bit more privacy and setting up more boundaries.

In a nutshell: I am choosing to be more intentional with what I share online. 

Sharing Your Truth Online

There is immense power in sharing your truth online. People immediately relate to you when you express your vulnerability, your flaws – when you are 100% unapologetically yourself with the online world, as I have been these past years on Instagram and my blog. And as someone who naturally loves to openly share what is happening in my life with everyone, I truly enjoy it!

But I’ve recently felt a shift in my heart. In this season of my life, I seek even more personal contemplation, privacy and less connection with the online world. It’s striking that balance between wanting to be of service to others and knowing when the line needs to be drawn. It’s doing what comes naturally to me (sharing) but also being intentional of what I put out there. 

I suppose I’ve realized how unimportant the internet really is in the grand scheme of things. 

And when it comes down to it, I am just a simple girl who enjoys reading books, writing letters, snapping Polaroids and spending my days with the natural elements. I don’t need much, and I don’t enjoy having too much on my plate. And I also don’t want to remember my twenties as a time I was spent focusing on building a presence online. 

Realizing that I Have a Social Media Problem

I have a problem: when something great or funny happens in my life – even if it is the smallest thing – I want to share it online.

….How unhealthy is that?

I want to share my life with the internet world, in order to connect, connect, connect. But how deep is online connection really?

I feel empty from sharing online.

Maybe that will change in the coming months or years, maybe this is just a funk, but lately, I’ve been feeling overwhelmed by the internet world. By the screaming match.

So, I conduct a thorough online spring cleaning. 

How I Conduct an Online Spring Cleaning 

Currently, I’m undergoing a deep clean.

I’m cleaning up my friends list on Facebook.

I’m taking the time to unsubscribe from those newsletters and podcasts I don’t feel completely lit up by. (Seriously – if something doesn’t 100% light you up in your life, it’s not worth it. Life is far too precious and fleeting for that.)

I’m slowly backing away from people that don’t jive with me on my wavelength. And that absolutely includes not responding to people’s messages. 

I focus more on what I do want. And move on from things that I no longer desire in my new season. Like being glued to my laptop. 

It felt strange last week: not sharing all the things I thought might bring people joy just as it did myself. But it felt so right and true to my internal compass…and also a great reminder to take my personal life off of social media.

Internet Friends or IRL Friends?

I presently seek in-person friendships (despite it being so hard in France), long hugs after saying hello, and people to spend longs hours laughing on the telephone. I want to write more letters to friends, I want more direct, open-book, straight-shooter types like myself.

On the internet, it’s easy to forge a quick connection with someone….but not see the whole person. And I’ve had to walk on eggshells for sensitive internet friends (let’s be real:  I’ve never been one to walk on eggshells around people in real life. I am way too open and flowy for that!)

But there are warning signs, there are red flags, there are crazy people on the internet who are different from how they are in real life.

And it can be hard to spot them, unless you know them personally, for the internet masks and filters who a person really is. 

Who and what I invest time in has been a central lesson for my spirit this season.

If you’ve been following the blog, thank you for reading. I’ll continue to share my portrait photography work and my travel photographs, and I’ll sprinkle a spiritual post here or there, but I’m choosing to be much more intentional going forward. 

I am looking forward to the new chapter.

 

Seeking Privacy After A Season of Vulnerability Online

June 27, 2019

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I'm Helena! As a creative storyteller, I document magical, emotionally honest family and children's portraiture. A lover of childhood, fairytales and natural light, I photograph families across the world. I'm the ultimate Disney nerd, and I'm obsessed with cats and expressing my love for the simple joys of slow, daily life.

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Helena Woods is a destination newborn and family photographer based in France and New England and travels worldwide. She is known for her natural light, modern classic, and emotive photography style.

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