Thursday, March 17, 2011

Oh I Wish....

No, I'm not going to break out in an Oscar Meyer song-although I did think about it!
What I wish is I didn't always have to learn lessons the hard way. That I had paid attention when someone who knew what they were talking about and had been where I was gave me advice. 
I had a girl email me asking for advice on photography. Me. I was so incredibly humbled! I still consider myself a 'hobby-ist' photog. I have so much to learn and a long way to go before I will feel like I have the right to call myself a 'professional photographer.' 
I've learned so much in the past 9 months due mostly to those amazing photographers that took their time and replied to my silly little questions about photography. They gave me critiques when I asked and told me what they had learned. I don't think they will ever know how much I appreciate them-I think you know who you are.
Now here's the point of this blog post. I know there aren't many people that read this little blog of mine, but if there is just one would be photographer that reads this and feels empowered to go out there and pursue his or her dreams I'll be so incredibly happy.
This is a reply to the sweet girl that wrote me for advice. Copy and pasted from my email with a few modifications to make it a little more blog worthy[aka personal info omitted]

To the new kid,
Wow! Advice! There's so much I could give{most of it I've learned the hard way}and I'm positive I'm not done learning.
I'll stick to the basics though.
First: Equipment: If you haven't yet, invest in a good camera{a D-SLR} My suggestion if you're just starting out is a Canon Rebel XS or T1i. I don't know much about Nikon or I'd suggest one of their cameras. Canon or Nikon is probably the best way to go. You can be sure they are gonna perform well.
 Do your research before you buy ANYTHING! One of my biggest mistakes was running to Best Buy and recklessly buying the first camera and lens I saw that was in my price range. There are a lot of websites out there that have good equipment cheaper than Best Buy.
 Always get the warranty! Always.
Shooting techniques: Shade is your best friend. You'll usually get pretty good exposure on your subjects if you place them in the shade. That being said, avoid dappled sunlight on your subjects. Your eye is automatically attracted to the brightest spot on your picture. You don't want that spot to be about 5 places of your subjects face.
 My general rule of thumb is to either shoot at sun rise or sun set.{about 9am or 4pm}
 Keep the sun to your subjects back. It gives a really pretty glow to their hair and gets rid that yucky squinty look they get when looking directly  into the sun.
 My biggest piece of advice when you're actually shooting is slow down. Take your time. Notice the details and pay attention to the sun and its reflections. These are all things you really have to train yourself to do. Usually at shoots I get these HUGE adrenaline rushes{i know, sounds weird, but it's true}I'll  find myself getting distracted. I'll be working on one idea, think of something else I want to try and hurry through what I'm working on. It's an awful habit I'm having to break myself of now.
 People: This is a hard one. I'll start with posing. Keep it natural. You don't HAVE to have people sitting up super straight and always looking at the camera. Find a few photographers{via blogs, facebook, pinterest, etc...}that you can study and you respect and pay attention to their work. I'm not saying copy it. I'm saying watch how they pose people. The angles they choose and the way they light their pictures. Note what you do like and what you don't then make it your own. Be careful with looking at other photographers work. Sometimes people like to tear others that may not be as good as them down. Don't let that discourage you.  I don't know how serious you are into photography, but really pray about what God wants you to do. I had no idea I was going to like photography so much, but God really gave me a passion for it. 
Much love,                                                        

I could be wrong on some things I said. I don't claim to be perfect. Neither do I pretend to. I'm just a human being trying to learn this beautiful art we call photography.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Changing Me.

Have you ever had a moment where you knew your life just changed drastically? 
I don't care if it was a good thing or a bad thing. If it was a tiny thing or a huge thing. You just knew it changed you. Changed your perspective. I did. I still can't get over it. My heart is beating in my throat. My stomach is filled with butterflies. My head is spinning. I can't figure out how reading one thing can change my outlook on everything I do so quickly. 
What caused my vision to change so drastically? Clayton Austin . He is an incredibly talented photographer. His work will have you weak in the knees. I promise. 
Now how could one photographer I've never met in my life change my idea of photography so drastically? I read his bio-page. No joke. His clear, honest take on love and the way he views the world had me in tears. "Lets face it. Love is an animal. Though my grandfather told me once that love is more like a bird, if you hold it tightly it dies, if you hold it slightly, it flies. People often ask me how I capture such intimacy in the couples I have the honor of photographing. The key is looking from a different perspective. I don’t see them as who they are that day, happy and carefree. I see them as they will be tomorrow. I see them in the road ahead, in both the good times and the bad and all that they will endure. Together. "  
Wow right? My heart clenched when I read that. I realized I've been photographing my clients, not how they will be, but how they are now. Which-I admit-is okay, but that is all it is. Okay. Cookie cutter-if you will. No. I won't be copying his work if that is what your thinking. I am going to be making my own. It is going to be a lot of hard work. That kind of vision doesn't come as easily as people like to think. You have to train yourself to see it. Make yourself pay attention to those tiny little details. Most importantly you have to let your clients feel it. I think too often we photographers are so focused on getting our names out there that we forget about our clients. We are so focused on getting that pose just right that we smother the them in them. From this point on this business will stop being about me and my"name". It will be about my clients. Photographing them in the good and the bad. Caring about them. Being there for them. Seeing them. 
I know, some may say I am being overly dramatic. I might be, but better I be overly dramatic and be right than ignore it and going on like I am. Honestly. I don't expect this to be easy. I don't expect me to be able to pick it all up right away. I don't expect me not to become depressed and discontent with myself, but that is okay. It is how you know you are ready to learn. How you know you are about to move to the next level. I am expecting a lot of levels. Most of them steep. I know only the Lord will be able to help me through this. I won't be able to do it with out Him.
I want to invite you to join me. I don't care if you are a photographer or not. I think this applies to all of life. Don't be afraid of the right kind of change. Never lose that ability to learn. It is so important.