Friday, February 23, 2007

Ah, New Beginnings

Hey everybody! Since a lot of people I admire in one form or fashion are on here, I decided to join the fun...I was blogging on Myspace and probably still will...I guess I have to figure out how to post a link to this one on there....I'm sure it's not too difficult, but I haven't learned to be web saavy when it comes to website stuff, but I'm ready to learn :)

I had a gal email me the other day asking about apprenticeship opportunities. It was totally flattering, considering I still am far from an established photography studio. I told her I may not have the most knowledge to share, but I'd bet I'm the most fun. I love talking about what I've learned in the past five years as an accidental photographer. I always felt that my composition was good but I was totally irrationally avoidant of most technical aspects of photography. I'm a big believer that all good portraits are taken of subjects who trust the photographer. Okay, if the subject doesn't know you're photographing them, then that's different. I'm talking about when they do. Wait. I don't even like calling people "subjects." They are people.

My secret goal when I started doing photography is now still a big part of my business philosophy: I never wanted any excuses for why my images weren't great. I never wanted to have to rely on a "great" camera or the right lense or the perfect whatever. My secret goal was to be able to tip the lamp on it's side, thumbtack a big shirt on the wall, and get a rad portrait of my kid. I did all natural light photography for several years, and did small low-budget weddings, about 4 a year, for the first 3 years. I love senior portraits and engagement portraits and kids, especially on location where I can play off of whatever is there. I do family portraits when asked but I don't think it's what I do best. I am more comfortable interacting with people one at a time or two at a time. When the family is together and maybe a little nervous about finally getting a family picture, I feel like sometimes it's too emotionally complicated. Does that make sense? Moms (myself included) really want to look good. Dads either want to have a good time and go with it, or get it over with. Kids of all ages are all over the map emotionally, so I won't EVEN try to pigeonhole them. I like being creative and when it comes to family pictures, the PRIMARY goal I think is just to get a good photo of all of them, and if you can be creative, too, then great. But sometimes the dynamics of the family are such that you'll make it not fun if you try too hard to be creative. And I don't want to create just average family portraits (or any portraits)....

Does anybody else feel this way? I mean, I have a husband and two kids...I LOVE family. Family portraits are cool. They are treasures. But I want to make my client happy and if they look at it and all they see is their own flaws, no matter how beautiful I think the portrait is, then that's dissappointing. I have a family portrait of my own family from a couple of years back. Techinally, it's great. As far as the pose, it's fine. But I hate my hair, what I chose to wear, and how stiff I look. I don't think I ever put it on the wall. My own experience with family portraiture was a great tool to understand my own clients' experiences. Here are the principles I swear by and believe in 100%

-the experience clients have with me is as important as the images
-my purpose in being a photographer during this lifetime is critical
-what impresses other photographers is not the same thing that impresses clients
-I don't have to create technically perfect images all of the time
-Clients are investing in the experience of having ME as their photographer, which is something I love and am so humbled by. I am in my element when I am in the position of capturing once-in-a-lifetime hugs, tears, glances, SMILES, laughs...

The pivotal moment for me this year, was going to a workshop in Santa Barbara by world renowned wedding photographer, David Jay.( ) I was pretty nervous, and looking back, so unsure of myself going into the 2 day workshop. I was afraid I'd be one of the least experienced photogs there; I KNEW I'd be asked something I didn't know; you should have seen me googling different lenses! I was cramming for this workshop and reading my camera manual on the plane...just in case.

What happened between then and the plane ride home was priceless. Turns out, I had been a lot more experienced than most of my fellow collegues. Inexperience didn't scare them away from a workshop like this, as it had me for such a long time...

...and I learned that SO much of what I was intimidated by, was ordinary, easy, and only seemed complicated. I felt the weight lifting off of my shoulders more and more as he covered topic after topic....

He validated what my gut was telling me all along, this SUPER pro whom I respected and looked up to. It was indescribable, leaving that workshop and flying home. I KNEW I had everything I needed to do what I wanted to do in life with my photography. I just felt incredible. I couldn't wait to start. I immediately quit worrying about all of these things I had kept my mind cluttered with, and I was able to FOCUS. And in the end, I want to be a success for my KIDS. I want to show them, by example, that they were put on this Earth to discover what their purpose is, and to GO FOR IT, whatever IT is. . .

I've heard it said "My kids are my life" or "My family is my life." I always feel weird hearing that. What happens when your kids grow up? When they create families of their own? I think that in a lot of cases, people give up in their lives, being too afraid to going after their own dreams. They live vicariously through their children's achievements. There are things I wanted to do when I had my kids. I wanted to show them that the world is an incredibly beautiful and mysterious wonder, I wanted them to know that whether it's God or Jesus or a Higher Power, that there really truly is an amazing, good Force at work and that we should live in accordance with it and think about it, ponder it, and thank it. And to do that, we cannot take for granted that each one of us are vessels for creating more LOVE and positivity in the world and we are here to grow and evolve, not to be complacent. For me, I always had this burning feeling inside that I was supposed to strive for something. I knew I couldn't be a 9-5 employee somewhere. It was a terrifying thought, as a teenager. I didn't really know what I was supposed to do, then. I didn't know any entrepreneurs. I didn't know any self-employed people. Long story short, when it occurred to me that I could REALLY be a photographer, and do what I absolutely LOVE for a career, and be home with my kids at the same time as modeling for them what it's like to not be complacent but to go for it, it made me feel like I have accomplished something amazing already.

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