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My Photography Journey

I wanted to first share with you a little about my photography background.
I’ve been married for 10 years and have 4 children. Here is a family picture taken just a few weeks ago:

 I love a good party, and it’s a party every day at my house!  I enjoy being a stay at home mom for my full time job, but love that I can still be creative and have fun with my photography business part time. I love meeting new people and traveling (Alaska, anyone?) for portrait work from time to time.

I do feel lucky that way back when I was in high school, I was on the yearbook staff as a photographer. I learned how to develop my own film, and printed in a darkroom. It was so fun!!!!

 I was taught ISO/fstop/shutter speed, but it mostly flew over my head. I had a little notebook, and I remember writing down the image number and my settings so that when I developed I would know how to adjust accordingly! It is SO much easier with digital!!!

Here is an image I took of my best friends’ baby sister back in the 90′s and developed the print myself. I left the wear alone to get that true vintage feel:)

 I had to rip it out of my scrapbook (sealed with rubber cement) to scan it.  Can I just say that this cutie is now 16 and asking me photography advice on facebook–wow!

I originally planned to study photography in college, but was turned off by my 101 teacher who wanted me to shoot things and I wanted to photograph people….and he wasn’t going to tell me what to do! I should have stretched myself then, but I’m working on that now in seeing the beauty through design, color, and texture. I got my degree in Child Development, and as a mother that has come in QUITE handy!

In 2004 I got the Canon Rebel—the original—no x,s, or i’s added to it. It was a big investment for our family, but everything else I’ve purchased has paid for itself with my business.

From 2004-2006, I found online resources as I took clients for low cost. Looking back, I should have done it differently, but there just wasn’t a big photography community, blogs weren’t popular yet, I was doing this all on my own with few to ask advice. There were many tear filled nights as I struggled to figure it all out. I knew what I wanted, I just wasn’t sure how to get there. I started seeing other photographers’ work and feeling really low that I wasn’t as good. I still shot a bunch in auto and was TERRIFIED to go manual, but when I did, it was the best thing I ever did. Why was I so afraid?  I don’t know, but I’m sure many of you feel the same.  Do you want to see a peek at my images 6 years ago?

 It’s a cute image of my boys, but the lighting is only ok, I shot it on auto.  It’s good…but not great. There are some client images I’d like to show, but won’t because I don’t want them to know that I look back and cringe when I view them.  They were happy, but the quality of work wasn’t there.

 I truly learned through lots of trial and error how my camera worked. That and figuring out photoshop (the hard way—I am a terrible book learner) is what has led me to the art I create today.

Just a few years ago I would have laughed at my current self calling me an “artist” but I have embraced the phrase because art is so subjectively beautiful. I see many great photographers with a style that just isn’t to my liking. So my advice to those of you wanting to be better, do it your own way, and don’t get too discouraged that you bought your Dslr last year and you still aren’t where you want to be. Keep working. It will come…I promise!

For my clients, I love mixing lifestyle candid moments with the cohesive posed shots that each mother really wants. I think many people don’t realize how much they will love those candid moments until they see them. Those are the moments they really want frozen in time.

I think I love photographing families the most. It is challenging getting everyone to cooperate in a family, but as a mother, I realize the importance of documenting that family interaction, the togetherness. I think it makes a statement to children of family love that builds security far more than we can understand.

I’ve recently started a photographic series on my blog in encouraging clients and others to decorate their home with portraits. And I’m talking bigger than an 8×10. I will regularly feature how different people display portraits in their homes, to give idea’s to readers on how to decorate your home with images of the people you love most.

To see more, go to the section on my blog, Decorating with Portraits.
To me, being a great photographer entails these 4 things (in no particular order):

1) Engage your subjects— give them something to think or laugh about.

2) Know your camera WELL.

3) Learn Photoshop or Lightroom to bring your well exposed images to life.

4) Think Creativity (so general, isn’t it?)

So there you have it.

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