I’ve been meaning to write up this post for a while now but, as you know how things go, I got sidetracked just a bit.
I wanted to share how it was that I got started in my photography journey. I’m sure my beginnings resonate with all the other momma with a camera-turned photographers out there: I had a baby. New parents are joyously obsessed with their fresh little offspring, and rightfully so. They take to their cameras to capture all the precious little milestones: first smile, first spit bubble, first sideways glance. I was no exception. The problem was that I was using my dslr, given to me by my loving husband when I was undergoing chemotherapy (total other post for another time!) as a point and shoot. I wasn’t really getting the images I wanted out of my camera because I was shooting on auto. I had some technical training in photography and post processing in college within my Journalism bachelors, but refrained from implementing any of the knowledge learned in my personal photography (maybe laziness?). I relied on other photographers for the important milestone images. First came our newborn session, which was beautifully done by a professional, whose work was (and is!) very inspiring. It was a large investment we were happy to make because we knew we wanted quality imagery for this important life event. After a few months, I wanted more images of my sweet girl, done professionally of course. We didn’t have the budget to go back to a pro, so I did what I know so many do – I turned to the coupon I had for a national big box chain studio.
We went there for Gabriella’s 3 month pictures, and our disappointment was profound. Props were filthy, the photographer was unprofessional (I do believe she cussed at one point), and posing was rushed and unimaginative. When our images were presented to us, many were out of focus, underexposed and at best, snapshot-like. We selected the smallest available package and paid out $30 for a couple of images we were not impressed with (but of course, had to purchase because they were of our sweet baby girl!). The costs surprised us as well – what we thought we were going to receive turned out to be a bait and switch. Purchasing digital files at big box chains surprisingly costs in the hundreds of dollars. We left frustrated, though having learned a lesson. That afternoon, on our bed I was struck with a sudden burst of inspiration. I placed Gabriella on a pillow, picked up my camera and fired off several frames. This is one of those images:
I’m certain many may think it isn’t the most impressive photograph, but the feeling I had knowing I captured an image that I loved so much and that was technically much better than what I had just paid a “professional” studio to produce was addictive. What I had suspected was right, I could do better. I had to learn more. Do more. My camera remained on manual mode ever since that day. I got the image I wanted, exactly as I envisioned it, and I just couldn’t go back. I bought books, joined forums and message boards, gleaned as much knowledge as I could online, invested in more gear, and most importantly practiced. My daughter turned out to be a very ready and willing model for me, and I truly have her to thank for allowing me to harvest my skills and hone them to where they are today. Of course I’m still growing as a photographer, and can only imagine that I should never want to give up this desire to keep growing and progressing in my style. At the encouragement of several friends and family members I began to entertain the idea of doing what I loved professionally. I held the idea close to my heart for some time, yet wanted to be sure of myself, sure that I was truly ready and at the level of what I expected out of myself. I finally turned this ambition of mine into reality last fall and it has really started to take off to a place that I am so proud of. I cherish this business of mine dearly, and will continually strive to give my clients the very best fine art images and customer service they deserve, the kind that I would want from a professional.
Please make no mistake, I do not intend to steer you away or bash chain store photography. There is a customer for every kind of photographer out there. I cannot make everyone out there value custom portrait photography the same way I do. For some people, pictures are just pictures, and I can respect that. But if you value being able to turn a creative idea of yours into an amazing custom series of images, having the freedom to take your session anywhere, and working with the advice and guidance of someone who is passionately and gratefully obsessed with their profession, I’m looking forward to chatting with you about our fabulous shoot in the near future.