Feeling the need to talk photography because it’s been on my brain all weekend. The one question I get asked a lot is about me making pictures. Why don’t you do it anymore? And so on. I never quit photography. I take pictures weekly and daily. I just haven’t done “business” photography in a while. There are a lot of reasons, in my head, why I haven’t. I got to a place where I felt I wasn’t where I wanted to be. Areas needed to be polished. I was bored in some areas. I never want to be cookie-cutter. And the day it feels like a robotic job, I don’t want any part of it. A photographer is their own worst enemy and critic anyways but I think… I should be better in this area before I go taking someone’s time and money. That was a struggle. I want to be creative and challenged in all aspects of anything I do related to photography. I stepped back and really thought about what I personally wanted with photography too. I know I have the skill and talent and the crazy passion for it. It’s just figuring out which directions I want to go and making sure I’m comfortable there.
Over the past month, I have found a new mentor in my life for photography. She reached out and I grabbed ahold. She is a photographer I HIGHLY respect. I came across her a year ago. I try not to follow a lot of photographers online because after a while it all becomes saturated and too much the same. But her work sticks out.. like I told her. I thought if there is a photog out there I feel like I can get or get inspired from.. she is one. I even let her critique my work. How many are willing to do that? Crazy! She isn’t here to teach me how to use a camera. She is there for me to ask advice, polish some areas… to be open and honest about her experiences. She is a springboard for conversations. I like her style and attitude. I connect with her and what she does. It is finding someone who does the same craft as you and being able to identify with them.
She turned me onto an online photography workshop a few days ago. Again, something I never really pictured myself doing. I’m self-taught in all areas of my photography. I did take a home course on photography many years ago. Tests and all that jazz but that was long before digital photography hit the world. I have always believed in trial and error. Taking this huge world and my camera and learning it all on my own. It has worked so far for me. I do like to read books but outside of that… that’s it. So for the last 3 days I have done this class online. It was done live for 3 days online by a photographer named Kirsten Lewis. It was cool as well because it was free. Normally a $129 class but it worked out to where I could do it for free and then after the live part was over… I could go back and re-watch. Her classes were from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm each day. That is a LOT of information and a lot to process…yes but so worth it. Her segments weren’t really about aperture or what your shutter speed should be but more about the styles and where your heart is. A lot of learning about business and internet topics too. Learning about the people who you will forever change their lives with simple photographs. Reminding me of the power of photographs. I never thought I would be crying while in the middle of a photography workshop but I did! Very emotional at times. I feel like getting to be a part of it was perfect timing for me especially since I made the decision to get “back into” photography about a month or so ago. Kirsten was very helpful for me to see who I am and what I want. She was the kind of teacher that says.. hey this is what is out there. This is what this photographer does or that one does but hey.. what about this though? She had a great attitude of being who you are and not a trend. That SPOKE to me so much.
This year has been a lot of thought process of what I want out of photography. Photography at the core for me will always be heart over business. I remain passionate about wildlife/animals, equine and outdoor photography. A field I want to get so much better at and want to grab ahold of as many opportunities and experiences as I can. Animals just touch in a way nothing else can. I would love to use my skills to help out animal shelters and things like that in the future. That goes back to the heart over business comment.
I do want to get back with people photography and offering my services though. I have never been a fan of the business side of it because I’m a photographer and nothing more. I struggle with something I love to do all the time and taking someones money. Crazy! But I have lots of ideas and wants. Slowly trying to make that happen again.. along with the help with my best friend and partner Kelley. (enter the business side of it, he can take care of that now!) He has always been in my corner about my photography. Always been VERY supportive. Taking the steps though – ordered a new lens to add to my gear this week and sent one of my other lenses I haven’t used in 4 years because it was messed up. A lens I have dearly missed and a good one. Finally bit the bullet and it’s at the manufacturer getting fixed now. Worrying about lenses before camera body because I truly believe and always have… good glass triumphs camera. Good skills, good glass.. you can kill it.
I have a lot work to do with all my sites. This blog and my website are getting all new make-overs. I’m sticking with my Smugmug account. I just celebrated 6 years with them. They have been awesome. Anytime I’ve needed a problem fixed or whatever, they are an email away to do it. Plus I love that they are still family owned and run. And love their story of how they started out. Kirsten talked about them in the workshop as well.
Between my absolute love for photography (something that started in December 1999) and having a mentor… to this photography workshop I did and have a few more I’m gonna do in the coming weeks… my passion is kickin’ again. Not just hanging out and around but kickin’! It’s awesome. And cool to reach for inspiration and guidance. Telling myself it’s okay and it doesn’t take away from my simplicity and who I am. I want to grow. And that’s all that matters.
“The power to illicit a human response.” One of the comments I wrote down in my notebook that Kirsten said about photographs. Yeah, I feel that.
These were a few moments from the workshop and Kirsten. She rocks!
My girl. She pretty much wasn’t interested in learning. Ha! But she is one of my favorite subjects – with big girl camera and iPhone camera.