Sometimes we are called on to do things which are difficult, yet meaningful. I had one of those days this past Sunday.
He was a good man who loved his family and worked hard. As a young man he went into the Army and served our country with pride. A couple of years ago at work we had recognized him for his service and sacrifice and I had designed a banner and hung it up in our break room without telling him. I asked his long time girlfriend for some photos of him in uniform, which she provided so I put my creative touch to work and made a nice collage and laminated it; I made a copy for him to take home too.
This past Sunday I had the privilege of photographing him for the very last time as he was honored by Hope Hospice and the DAV for his service to the United States of America. He was presented with a beautiful certificate, a handmade lap quilt and bear, a star from a retired flag, lapel pin and letter. The former soldiers saluted him for his service and dedication to our country. It was beautiful. Unfortunately early Monday morning he lost his battle with cancer and passed.
I have been seriously at this photography thing for several years now, and decided I needed to come up with a mission statement of what I am about and what I want to provide to clients. It took me several months to think about it and to actually put pen to paper and to develop it exactly how I feel; finally I wrote it out; so here it is:
“I aspire through my photography to empower my clients to look and feel incredible, to create beautiful images, and to build lasting relationships with those who step in front of my camera.”
I feel this statement really epitomizes who I am as a human and what I want to portray as a photographer. I realize I will not get every client who inquires about my services and I’m ok with that, because it only means they were not the client for me. My style is easy going, yet in control of my environment and can handle the most stressful of situations. I know how to make people feel comfortable around me and in doing so I get the responses I’m looking for through my lens. My belief is you reap what you sow and if you are comfortable, your client(s) will be as well.
You have to genuinely love people and they have to feel this about you to be completely comfortable. I see beauty in each of my clients (male & female) and I get so excited when I know I have taken beautiful images.
I’ve seen photographers take on projects they should have never jumped into, because either they have not developed enough skills or the right attitude or they simply are not aware of what it takes to provide great customer service to the client. I have actually seen client bashing and that is unacceptable to me. My clients are incredible and I love each and every one of them. I treat them with respect and give them more than they expected. I know what it takes to be in front of a camera, it’s not easy because you expose your entire self to the world. The photographer’s job is to capture the beauty that is truly you. Be it bride, groom, families, or individual portrait; male or female.
To those I have had the privilege of photographing, thank you and to those who have yet stepped before my camera, I look forward to meeting you and thank you for trusting me enough to show the world your beauty.
Recently I have been attending and photographing a local venue for concerts. Our local Harley Davidson has a beautiful facility complete with an area for large stage concerts and another more intimate area called The Pit for smaller concerts. The dealership along with Classic Rock radio station 94.5 The Arrow has brought in some great tribute bands. The first was a Journey Tribute band: Never Stop Believing
Then a Led Zeppelin Tribute: Led Hed
And tonight’s Tribute: Alter Eagle an Eagles Tribute band
The crowds have been increasing with each band and it’s incredible to see all the beautiful motorcycles roaring in.
On July 4, 2015 I had a dream come true. I photographed a moving full sailed tall ship!
The day began with me heading to the dock not really knowing what to expect, I didn’t know the client I was working for as I was hired by someone to do this for advertisement photos for a pirate festival event in 2016. I didn’t really know what kind of boat I would be on. I arrived at the dock and knowing a bit about tides and “draw” of sailboats I knew it would be a while before we could head out, we had to wait for the tide to rise so we could disembark from the marina. I met Captain Troy and his crewman Jonathan and two other passengers that were part of the “pirate” look for the shoot. I also met a most lovely lady named Sandy and spent a good amount of the time talking to her and finding out more about my day. Sandy and I went to the grocery store to pick up a few items for the trip and got to know one another. She and the Captain were dating and she had never been out on the sail boat and wasn’t sure if she would today or not because of the storms. However, she climbed aboard and even took over the helm a few times.
As we began to get under full sail in the beautiful Gulf of Mexico, I transferred to a chase boat where I would actually be getting my photos from. This is not an easy task, but my lack of fear and knowledge of boating made the transfer quick and easy. I was more concerned with making sure my gear arrived safely in the boat.
I will stop here and say, I am very much at home on the water I grew up boating and always in the water and had friends who sailed so this was not new for me.
The images I got were incredible and it’s not easy to do when the subject you are photographing is moving AND you are in a moving boat and hitting wake from other vessels. Below is a compilation slide show complete with music and cinemagraphic effects and music. Please enjoy.
Do you ever have one of those “random” days? You know when you are on a mission, but there aren’t any real plans, and you just do whatever pops in front of you. I sometimes find myself in total randomness, whether it’s my photography or my writing, I can’t seem to pull anything together and what I shoot and what I write is all over the place. When I have these types of days I just tend to go with it, I don’t try to make something out of chaos, but instead I enjoy the fact that I am doing what I truly love.
Here’s an example of one of my typical journeys in photography. I prepare my gear by cleaning it, making sure I have everything I need, decide what lenses I will want to use to shoot with. Decide if I am going all black & white or mix it up, do I want to shoot with wide angle or am I looking for things that will require a longer lens? And finally what am I going to be shooting? Most days when I have no plans or formal sessions I simply head to a park or someplace I know I can find wildlife. Again it’s somewhat planned out and I hop in my car and drive. But then there are days when I grab my bag and head to the beach or park without any clear plans of what I want to do. I am pointing my camera in many different directions and embrace the randomness. This type of photography clears my mind and helps me to focus on what’s before me, such as a portrait, concert or some large event. I often do this sort of shooting after long, difficult, and tiring events such as weddings or festival type concerts. I love shooting them, but my need for being outdoors and simply shooting what’s in front of me has this way of totally revitalizing my mind and body and prepares me mentally for the work that comes after a large event. This was my Sunday, I went to a park and then to the beach. I knew I wanted to try a new technique (to me) using my 50mm inverted for macro and I wanted to achieve a dramatic fine art feel to my captures. Arriving at the beach I knew I wanted to shoot wide and in black & white; the images were stunning.
As for my writing some if is never seen because it’s simply rambling and I journal it for my own pleasure; I normally attack my writing the same way I do planned events, with preparation and a clear message. Many times I will even record my adventure outdoors and simply transcribe it into my blog, but more often an idea will pop into my head and I begin to write.
I know this weekend coming up is going to be incredibly busy with two large concerts, photo sessions and blogging, but come Monday I will spend the day being totally random, no set plan, just me and my camera out finding whatever jumps in front of my lens. Just be prepared for my randomness…
The week prior to the Fourth of July holiday weekend began as any, I really didn’t have any plans to celebrate and that’s normally when I get slammed with work. I received a message from a client that stated he wanted me to be on board a “pirate ship” to photograph it for an upcoming event website. I wasn’t sure what I would be doing or even where the boat was located. Once I received my instructions, my excitement built and I realized I would be getting to photograph a beautiful two-mast tall ship. I love tall ships as they epitomize a time when things were slower and so much calmer.
I arrived at the marina and simply waited for the Captain to tell me when we would be sailing, as we had to wait on the tide. Finally it was time to board and we headed into the Gulf of Mexico. Once we were out in the water, I transferred my gear and myself onto a chaser boat. we circled around and I was able to capture this beautiful ship in full sail. I heard from the owner/captain of the sail boat a few days later and he was extremely moved by the beautiful images of his beautiful Black Pearl. I was told this was the first time he had ever seen his vessel in full sail, and it was breath-taking. I’ll let you be the judge.
YES bassist Chris Squires (1948-2015)
First let me say the title of this blog post is a bit misleading. You see I am not in competition with anyone, I am a photographer who is confident in her work and who is constantly taking classes and being mentored by pro’s who have been doing it for a lot longer than I have. I feel this is a key element to my growth, I must continue learning; I also enjoy sharing my knowledge to those just beginning too.
Interestingly enough I recently was “accosted” on a facebook concert photography group because I stated I shoot so I don’t have to edit and was told that it was impossible to do, well I’m here to tell you 95% of my concert photos are straight out of camera. I do try to get it right in camera which saves editing time and I am able to get the photos placed in a gallery before the concert is a “past thought” and out of the mind of the fans. I am also a Twitter, Instagram, Google+ and various other social media user and it’s imperative that I follow the subject I am photographing. More than once this has paid off with my photo being shared and used within the social media world of the artist; this is a success to me.
Back to competition, I’m not speaking about online competitions which have no bearing to my photography or my over-all self-esteem. I don’t need to “prove” I am worthy to the general public, I receive that often with simply posting my photographs in social media. Nothing beats having artist management contact you to use your photos within their social media page! One day I am sure to venture in the world of photographic competition, but when I do it will be for something a lot more prestigious than a simply “attaboy” in an online gallery. The competition I am writing about is that which something deep inside says “I must be better than everyone else” or I am a failure. You see I had this mindset for a few years, thinking that everyone was so much better than I am. This sort of self-talk degrades a person’s self-esteem, trust me I have been the queen of negative self-talk. A couple of years ago it finally dawned on me, I don’t need to be in competition with anyone except myself; to challenge myself to become better and grow in knowledge of my camera and all aspects of photography. As soon as I changed this mindset I began to draw clients and create opportunities that few will ever realize in their life. I competed with myself and I am winning! I am in more venues that I could have ever imagined. I have been privileged to photographed rock bands, country artists and met some incredible people along the way. I have photographed happy brides and ladies diagnosed with cancer in their most vulnerable moments, and I have photographed some incredibly beautiful women who would not allow just anyone to take their photo; to me this is success and to think I didn’t have to enter any competitions to do any of this. Keeping a positive attitude and a smile on my face is my way of life. It’s amazing how many incredible people you draw into your life when you are positive and upbeat. Every single day I look at how far I have come in just a few short years and I am really excited about where my future will take me, I know it’s going to be somewhere great! Why do I know this? Because I am in competition with no one, but mysef.