Image Credit: Cassidy Parker Smith Photography
Today we’d like to introduce you to Brooke Van Groningen.
Brooke, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I’d love to! In college, I was aiming for a minor in photography but I ended up being one class shy of receiving it. That class was film, which I chose to opt out of since I didn’t have the right equipment, but I’m still so glad I took the other courses because they encouraged me to get out, take photos, and discover my passion for photography.
This was around 2011 and wedding photography was really booming. I have scoliosis, which made standing on my feet for 8-12 hours at a time pretty impossible, so I felt stuck on how to apply my photography skills to a different career path. For the next few years, I simply enjoyed capturing personal experiences and work events, but then the photography industry began to shift beyond just weddings to things like family photography and portraits. Eleven years later, I really feel like I’ve found where I fit as a photographer and I’ve honed my passion to focus on family photography, branding, and interiors.
We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has felt anything but smooth but I’m now grateful for the bumpy road. If I had followed the crowd, I have no doubt I would have burnt out on weddings and could have lost my passion for photography altogether. This path has allowed me to find where my passion is and know myself better, and I believe my work and my clients are better for it.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
Above all, I am a family and portrait photographer. The name of my company is See Things Closer, and I believe in leaning into those beautiful “in-between” moments that families often share with each other. These are less of the “Christmas card”-style shots and more natural, heirloom photos. Some of the most cherished pictures I have of my own family are of us engaging with one another, and I love capturing similar photos for the families I’m honored to have in front of my camera.
I’m also most proud of how I didn’t rush into this line of work; instead, I allowed my path to unfold in front of me. This journey let me lean into what really matters to me, which is the simple joy of being together with those we love and creating lasting memories that extend far past ourselves. I’m so proud to help capture the memories you’ll treasure forever.
What does success mean to you?
For me, success is putting my family and friends first, and not overextending myself while serving my clients well. It is so hard to find that perfect work-life balance, but I do my best to never have that order the wrong way around. I find that checking in with myself and how I feel on a daily basis helps me stay grounded and not burn out.