Welcome to the 4th installment of Letters to our Children! Don’t forget to follow our little circle by clicking on the link at the bottom of my page that will take you to another story. Thanks so much 🙂 To my boys, … Continue reading
I went back down to Rawlins a few weeks ago for an adorable young man’s 1st birthday party. While there, Miss Slater’s mom asked if I could do her 3 year portraits. Umm, yeah! I have wanted to take her photos for so long, but things just never seemed to work out. Slater has the most beautiful eyes…mesmerizing is the only word that I can think to describe them.
I asked Mom if she wouldn’t mind doing an in home, lifestyle session. She was up for whatever I suggested, as long as we could get some posed shots for the grandparents. And boy, did we! I delivered one of my largest galleries to date. Miss Slater rocked in front of my camera.
That’s what I love about in home sessions. Slater was so relaxed and eager to show me around her home, her favorite games, and how she loved walking up the mountain in their backyard. Kids are much more laid back when in their own environment and their true personalities just shine.
One of the boys’ favorite activities is to visit the hardware store downtown. They, of course, don’t know it’s a hardware store. To them, it’s the animal store. Every time we go it’s the same routine. During warm weather months, we hit the lawn mowers first. The fish, lizards, and spiders next. From there, the next stop varies, but our last stop is always to stare at the miniature animals and vehicles. For some reason, Sean has been drawn to the lizard terrariums. He doesn’t understand why we can’t bring one home. He wasn’t, however, in love with Connor’s idea of setting out lawn chairs for a little break time. I often take the kids there on a lazy summer day when we have nothing else to do. To them, it’s a special trip, an event, even if it’s just a reason to get out of the house for me!
Sometimes it’s the ordinary moment, one you live every day, that turns into a cherished memory. A family photo session doesn’t necessarily involve a pretty field, blanket, and coordinated outfits. I asked a friend if she would volunteer her family for a little project of mine, and she bravely invited me into her home to photograph their Sunday breakfast.
We kept it simple, pancakes and bacon. Pajamas, bed head, a cuddle on the couch. These things are every day occurrences that I was able to make into lasting memories. Big brother often helps the little guy out of the crib right after he and Mom spend a few minutes watching cartoons and chatting while everyone else sleeps. Dad got to sleep in a little bit, so I hung out in the kitchen while Mom and the boys whipped up some pancakes. After the session, Mom mentioned that I was there to witness the first pancake flip for both boys! Big bro handled that spatula like a pro.
With breakfast cooked, it was time to wake Dad up (as usual) by a shout from the stairs, and then it was family time. Little boys always love their Mommy, but it feels so special to see the bonds with their Dad. They don’t stay little for long, so I’m glad I was there to save that moment for them. After lots of laughs, a few strawberry stems ingested, and many funny faces made, it was time for Jenga and some books. I love how every family turns an event that occurs in most homes into a comedy routine. And yes, the 2-year-old knows what the fox says 😉 A pillow fight rounded out the morning. Everyone had a blast tossing pillows at each other. I think…the little guy wasn’t quite sure what was going on!
It was a relaxed photo session where I was able to just sit back and let the family be themselves. We are already making plans to capture the everyday beauty of their backyard when Spring decides to visit Wyoming. I’m excited to see what fun activities they do in their own backyard and to document the everyday beauty!
Two days ago I was given one of THE biggest compliments I’ve ever had since I started this little photography journey. A sweet girl asked me what advice I’d give to somebody starting out. I felt so honored. I am usually the one asking for help, so that somebody would come to me? Wowza! I told her I hoped I didn’t overwhelm her. I LOVE to share!
While I am nowhere near where I want to be (is anyone ever, really?) I have made huge growth. A lot of that happening just recently. So, my advice? Read, read, read. Read everything about photography you can get your hands on. Learn about your camera, manual mode, light (natural or flash), posing, metering, processing (don’t depend on actions in your editing workflow. Learn the why, something I’m working on). Read other photographers blogs, read tutorials, read EVERYTHING. And then practice. Keep your camera out and within reach. Use it every day.
Look at other photographer’s work to inspire your creativity, not to measure yourself against them. Love their photos? Try to figure out why. Don’t copy their shot, their style, but do try to copy the part about the photo you love. The technique.
DON’T GIVE UP. I think that’s my biggest advice. Nobody is a natural. Ansel Adams didn’t pick up his camera for the first time and produce a masterpiece. Despite what people say, there isn’t a thing called overnight success. There are years of work behind the scenes that people don’t often see. Or, didn’t prior to Facebook, rather. When you get frustrated and want to give up (and you will), don’t give up. Take a break. Put your camera down and step away for a few days. Maybe a week. You’ll come back refreshed and ready to take on something new.
Don’t try to become a professional photographer in a month. There are so many aspects of photography, so many things to think about, nobody ever learns them all. Just strive to make each session better. Learn something every day.
See what I mean? I over share! Hope that’s not too much to process 😉 Here’s an example of progress. These photos are about 2 years apart. I love them both, since they’re of my boy, but…I thought the first one was amazing work. Now I look at it…white balance is nonexistent as are focal points and framing. The second isn’t perfect, I know that, but the growth I’ve made. I feel like I can be proud of the growth!
Many Moons Ago…..
Less Than One Moon Ago….
I recently advertised for Summer Mini Sessions here in Powell. 30 minutes, 5-7 digital files, $150. I thought it was a heck of deal. I got zero bites. Nobody called, nobody emailed me, nobody messaged me. I advertised on all the Facebook classifieds pages, put up fliers, tried to tell everyone I could think of about the sessions. Still, nada. Disappointing? Slightly. Learning experience? Exactly.
I did some soul searching during an 8 hour road trip with my 2 boys. 8 hours. Each way. Lots of goldfish and thoughts running through my head. I advertised, I shared, I talked…I was hurt. But then I thought, maybe people didn’t understand what a mini session was. And didn’t know how to ask. I never know what questions to ask, until someone else does.
So, here we go. A chance to ask questions. Any questions are fair game. What should you wear for your session? Are there any colors to stay away from? What makes a good session location? How are you going to get my kids to smile? What type of coffee is my (jill’s) favorite?
Post your questions to my wall and I’ll answer them every Wednesday. I can’t guarantee a time that I’ll get to them~I do have 2 rugrats, one that won’t let me out of his site for the majority of his day. BUT, I will get to them.
I’m excited to see what kind of things you want to know! Seriously, ask me any questions. Well, school appropriate questions, of course 😉 (once a teacher always a teacher!)
You’d never know it to look at them, but this family has been through too many challenges to imagine. More than any family should. They were nominated for a session by Mom’s sweet sister. We had to reschedule a few times…rain and a tire swing to a young face got in the way…but these photos were so worth the wait. I feel lucky to be able to share this wonderful group with you. Enjoy!