I have been doing a lot of cleaning lately.
I am so anxious for Spring to come.
So, I have been going through the house . . . room by room . . . cleaning and throwing stuff out! (I am not telling anyone – just tossing it! If I haven’t used it – or seen my kids using it – out it goes!) Freedom.
While cleaning in the laundry room, I came across my first camera. My first good camera. It is one of those old ones – you know the ones that you open up in the back and put the film in. It doesn’t work anymore, but I couldn’t throw it out. It is a reminder . . . I put it in the “memories” box.
I remember my husband bought it for me for Christmas. We were super young, super poor, super in love! It was simple. He bought me this camera, and I took pictures of my kids . . . their pudgy fingers, their shoes, their toes, their smiles . . . I didn’t want to forget anything.
I just got an email from a friend – she is writing a paper, and wanted to ask a few questions about how I got into photography as a business. She just had a couple questions, and I was happy to help. Unfortunately the questions are proving harder to answer than what I had anticipated. Simple questions, like my philosophy on photography, how I got started, what my thoughts on digital editing were.
I was having a difficult time – until I came across my first camera.
I was having a hard time putting into words the answers to her questions – until I met Hayley.
My friend asked these questions.
My time talking with Hayley while taking her senior pictures, and walking through the creative process from start to finish has helped me articulate the answers.
What are your thoughts on photography?
This is too broad of a question.
I can tell you that photography – over the years – has come to mean a lot of different things. If I were to continue to think on a broad scale, though, photography, in a general sense means to paint with light. (That is what I tell my kids anyway.)
Photography is this amazing opportunity for everyone to have a chance to become an artist – documenting their lives in their own unique way.
Personally, photography is an ever-changing medium in which I have the opportunity to explore this creative part of my soul. Painting my memories with light – the expressions, the habits, the routines, the dreams of our family. Photography is a way to keep things still. Photography is a way to remember – FOREVER – where we have come from.
Professionally, it is the same. My job is to understand light – the way it falls and surrounds my subject – understand it and know how to use it to capture the essence of the person, persons, or objects that are on the other side of my lens.
What is your photography philosophy?
Again, my philosophy on photography is quite different when I look at photography as a mom – in a personal sense – versus photography as a profession. In fact, I have a camera that I keep at home or in my purse, that I use when I am just trying to record the “snapshots” of life. Although it is a good camera, when I am taking pictures at home, I am not thinking so much about angles, backgrounds, or having perfect light. I am merely using photography as a way to not forget.
Here is Micah – chopping wood using a REAL axe! This is a moment I never want to forget!
I am much more conscientious of these elements when I am taking pictures for a client. I am using the things around me to bring out the beauty of whom or what they are.
I guess the more that I think about it, my personal philosophy helps to create the way I see things when I am with my clients.
When I was in high school, I thought time was going so slow.
I wanted to grow up. I wanted to grow up faster than fast.
Now. I just want time to breathe.
I want time to STOP – to stand still, so that I can breathe in my children. I want time to stand still so that I can really see them for who they are.
I want time to STOP – to stand still, so that I can breathe in the air around me. I want time to stand still so that I can really see the beauty in the mountains around me . . . in the rivers, and the trees. I want to soak in every second.
It is impossible, though.
Time keeps going.
The only way that I know – the only way that I know how to keep these things close to me – is through photography.
I am not with my clients all the time! I have two hours . . .or one day . . . or a weekend with them. I have to use what is around me to help tell their story. When I am at home – the story is already all around us.
So, I guess that the underlying reason, my philosophy on photography, is the same, both personally and professionally. The avenue of creating the final image, on the other hand, is much different. At the end of the day, the reason why I pick up my camera, is to tell a story . . .
What is your philosophy on using editing software?
OH!!! Good question!
Again, Hayley, was so helpful in helping me answer this question!
I think Hayley was the first female high school senior that did NOT wear any make-up to her session. I didn’t even think twice about it until I was taking a close up of her eyes. She has amazing eyes. Actually, Hayley has amazing features across the board. As I took the picture, though, I said, “You’re killing me! You’re eyes are amazing! Why aren’t you wearing any mascara?” As the words came out of my mouth, I realized how ridiculous they sounded, and I hoped (QUICKLY) that she was not going to take it the wrong way. It was her lashes! Man! I knew how much more her eyes would have popped out in the image had she worn mascara. Please, don’t get me wrong, Hayley was perfectly beautiful in and of herself . . . but my job – as her photographer – was to show how exceptionally beautiful she was on a piece of paper.
This is the same philosophy I have with digital editing.
I want my images to look real.
I only want to use editing programs to show what I see and feel when I am taking the picture. The purpose of the editing software, for me, is only used to help tell the story. I soften baby’s skin, because I want the image to remind the mama of how soft that baby was when it was first born. I edit skin and blemishes when my client wants me to – when it could distract from the story of the person. I sharpen eyes, when the person I am taking pictures of has a sparkling personality.
I want who they are to show up through the ink. Sometimes I will even change colors to fully capture the tone of the person or family.
My job is to paint a picture of a person, of a time, of a statement – with my camera, with light, with backgrounds and textures . . .
We live a crazy-amzing world – with some amazingly talented people that have created tools to enhance our work – to add to the beauty of our story. That is my “philosophy” on digital editing software – I will use it when it adds to the beauty of the story.
There are several more questions to answer, but for now . . . here is Hayley. She is an amazing young woman, whom I am ever so grateful to have met.