Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Zoe




"It's one thing to make a picture of what a person looks like, it's another thing to make a portrait of who they are.' - Paul Caponigro 

Paul could not have said it more perfectly when it comes to my approach to portrait photography. I had a session with Zoe Claire a few weeks back and it never ceases to amaze me the difference it makes just by having a portrait session in an environment that someone is passionate about. 
I have photographed Zoe on multiple occasions and every session with her has turned out beautifully.  
Her big blue eyes, long blonde hair and perfect features helps to dress up any photo.. but something magical happened when we decided to have her portrait session with her pet horse. It is like a part of her was awakened and she was in a whole new world.

I think, by far, these recent photographs of her are my favorite because I feel these images truly represent who she is at this time in her life.. and that is what a photo should do.. it documents not only your appearance but who you are as well.


Honest Photography



I think the greatest challenge for any photographer out there is having the courage and strength to grow into themselves and their own skin without the pressures from approving clients and trending styles. This has been a large part of my anxiety from being a professional within the industry. When it becomes more about approval from others, how honest is the photograph you are taking?

Chances are people will more than likely prefer the standard norm of portrait photography with smiles, bright colors, smooth skin and flattering poses; to be honest with you, I cannot seem to bear another perfectly posed photograph and I am more than fine with that. They are a dime a dozen out there. I am in search for something that intrigues me, makes me think.. a photo that has some sort of honesty to it, a photo that is vulnerable and real.

This is what I seek out in a sea of moments.. so as the final week to the year 2015 comes to an end, I do believe a part of me has come to a closing as well.  I want to see things brand new again and I feel the best way for me to do this is through new directions and ideas, new challenges and new perspectives.

Monday, December 28, 2015

Photo Concepts





One thing that I have really been getting into lately for my photo sessions are the at home, lifestyle portrait sessions. These sessions tend to have a more organic and moody approach, with often rendering grainy black and white images of realistic poses and expressions.  My lifestyle sessions tend to emphasize more so on the energy of the moment, impromptu expressions and interaction of the family dynamic.

These sessions work great for younger children because they are already in a comfortable and familiar environment and it requires little to no posing! This concept allows for some really nice, natural images between loved ones and it also helps each individual's personality shine through.

I don't want my memories to be like everyone else's and I don't expect you to want your memories to be like everyone else's either with the same location, same props an set up or same pose.

For 2016, I really, really am excited and passionate about focusing on the raw, uncut side to my photography.


Looking into a Photo


Ansel Adam's once said “A photograph is usually looked at- seldom looked into.” After reading  this brilliant observation, it has always struck a core to me. So many times I can remember walking into the home of others and notice a nice collection of family photos on their wall.  Of course the majority I notice are of posed, studio school photos or a family portrait of all dressed up looking and smiling at the camera. You can see all their faces perfectly and the lighting shows every bit of lint on their sweaters as well as every detail of their face. 

The lighting is perfect, the pose is stiff and there is no interaction or emotion within any of the photographs.  I look at them and that is that, I don't ponder long or try to analyze the connections or moment that was not attempted to be captured or expressed in the photograph. It is a photo that you take at face value.

If a landscape photographer believes that photographs of mountains and lakes should be more than looked at but rather looked into, I surely hope that people can start recognizing and appreciating more than a posed and formal photo of their loved ones in hopes to remember them by.

It doesn't matter if I have been photographing people a month or 20 years.. people will always request posed formal photos where everyone looks at the camera and smiles. 

I can understand this way of thinking as it has always been and more than likely always be what a good photograph is to most people..  but lets be honest folks.. If you have seen one posed photo , chances are you have seen all posed photos.

As a photographer, it is so hard for me to photograph posed photos because it is something that I honestly am not passionate about. It may be a good photo but that is just really surface value and every bone in my body wants my images to be more than just surface value.  

I hope that my viewers will share a similar passion about wanting to look into their photos when they hang on the walls and not just at them.  There is so much more life to be found on the walls of your home when you start to notice the difference between looking at your photographs versus looking into your photographs. 


Saturday, December 26, 2015

Christmas Day









The downfall to being a professional photographer is that you often are so busy documenting other people's lives that you sometimes forget or don't always feel like documenting your own.  This is something that I decided I needed to do more of for the new year and now that I have more of a flexible schedule to shoot more of what I want to shoot, it is fun again for me and I find myself wanting to bring my camera out for fun again once more.

So this year, I decided to document our family's Christmas at my Grandmother's house.  It has been a childhood tradition for as long as I can remember and I have many, many years of Christmas mornings when we would run the halls with our new toys Santa had brought for us that year.

 Now that my cousins and I are all grown up and there are no small ones to run around, we enjoy sitting around her living room sharing stories and helping ourselves to seconds.

 My grandmother is the queen of her famous chicken and dressing and this is one of her most prized possessions at the dinner table.  My husband Gary always looks forward to a helping or two of this particular dish and I can guarantee that he will clean his plate.

This Christmas was another great reminder that time spent with your loved ones is forever fleeting and I didn't want another year to go by and not document our traditions spent with the family.  It almost makes me wish that I do this more often.

I want to selfishly use my photography for myself; to remember things by, not to make people look perfect or staged. These moments are what I want to keep alive.  Their laughter and joy, the odd stance and candid expressions that make them who they are.. all of these things are important to me.

So as I post a handful of candids from my Christmas Day, I do hope it somehow helps you understand the power of a realistic photograph.  These are photos of the ones I love and it is through these photos that helps keep the memory alive for many Christmas's to come!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Merry Christmas!!


This Christmas, despite the unseasonable warm temps, I have found myself feeling very festive.  This time of year I enjoy decorating, burning scented candles, baking more than normal, attending holiday parties and lots of gold and sequined dresses and tops.

It's literally the only year I can dress gaudy and get away with it!

My hope and wish to everyone is that you will find Christmas through simple living.  It can be found in traditions, in your family and in knowing that you have surrounded yourself around people that truly love and care for your well being.

I feel this time of year is easy to be overwhelmed and distracted with all the white noise of focusing on what we need and want when in actuality, many of us already have everything we could possibly need.

My Christmas Wish List for this year is to have my family and loved ones near, to live a modest and simple life, I want to focus on what I have not what I want and most importantly be happy with where I am in life.

When you are happy where you are in life, this is when you can enjoy it... so this Christmas I want to remind myself and others to please realize what you have today in your life because today while you are worried about what you don't have.. what you do have may be gone tomorrow.. Then you will focus on what you did have but don't have now.

If you just enjoy what you are given in the now and you won't have to worry what you don't have tomorrow.

Merry Christmas from the girl who wants to enjoy what she has today!


Monday, December 21, 2015

Just Shoot





I find that with the resurgence of my photography blog it will help give my audience a better idea on where I am with my work and vision. My hopes are to post daily words of wisdom and inspiration.. thoughts, ideas, stories, musings and any other image that may help you relate to my work and perspective.

Resurfacing my blog will allow me to focus on certain aspects of my photographic goals.  After shooting for so long it is safe to say that it is easy to feel on 'repeat' with my work.  The scariest part about being a photographer is not wondering if I will make ends meet but rather the feeling of being stuck, trapped, or worse.. put in a bubble!

I do not know of any creative individual who wants to feel limited with their work and style.  They might as well put us in an office job if that is the case.  At least office work includes steady pay, hours and benefits.

I'm a firm believer if you voice what you want in life, write it down and remember what you want it gives you a point of reference.  You have a vision to work towards.  It gives your life purpose.

With the New Year looming around in just over a week's time, I find myself analyzing my work, wondering what I want to do with myself for the new year.  There is so much life out there! So many photos to pick and choose to capture from the daily grind. So much beauty to be found despite the evil and ugly world we live in,

A professor of mine once told me to just shoot because there you will find an underlying pattern in your work.  I think that is what I'm going to do.. I'm just going to shoot..


Eady & Hood Promo


Back in a small, dimly lit room with the sound of a creaking ceiling fan.. I waited on the arrival of Adam Hood and Jason Eady in the back room of Zydeco, Birmingham. The room had a lingering smell of sweat, stale cigarettes and moth balls. While waiting, I found myself looking at all the stickers and logos placed on the wall from bands that had once graced their presence in that very same room.. Some I knew, some I heard of and some I had no clue at all.

The room was barely lit, so I prepared to use my flash and set up shop. Oh, how I hate flash! Fifteen minutes passed, thirty minutes passed.. 45 minutes passed.. FINALLY the door flung open and in came a very rushed and apologetic Hood along with Eady.  They had sound check in literally 5 minutes so we had to make this fast!

I told them to sit down, get comfortable and tell me about the tour.

There, finished, done.. Maybe we got something you can use as I know I did!

There is never a dull moment with these guys.  Not only do they have a very personable and approachable presence  about them but their music and song writing abilities are amazing! They have already received very much recognition within the music industry with the press, fans and other big name talents.

I am always honored to have them in front of my camera and looking forward to following their very promising career.

Interpretation







One of my favorite things about documenting live music performances is the energy, emotion, and the often colorful and impromptu moments of every event.  If you think about it,  the structure is almost like wedding photography.  You have the pre-show preps and details and then the performance time where the audience comes to take part in and see it all come together.. Then you have the after party, where the band gathers around, mingles with the people who came to see them perform.  

My husband, Gary is one of the guitarist in the Elijah Butler Band. They are a southern rock and blues band that can be seen performing 3 to 4 nights a week.  It just so happens that through a chance meeting with Gary, I discovered my interest with music photography where as before him, I had never photographed or had any association with live music and entertainment.

At the time, I was shooting a large number of weddings a year so when it came time for me to snap some shots of Gary, it was almost like I had been doing this all along.  One show turned to networking with other musicians which turned to promo shots turned to album covers and before long, one thing led to another to where I started receiving recognition and referrals from other talents.

After having been in the wedding industry for well over 10 years, I soon found myself wondering if I should take on new challenges. Over time, as I grew into myself as a photographer, I discovered that I am drawn to uncut, raw, impromptu, and oftentimes imperfect lighting and other natural elements with images. All these expressions draw me in like a moth to a flame.

I've learned real quickly that not everyone wants a dark, grungy photo of natural and unguarded expressions to display.  There is always a fine line of keeping true to your own personal style and appeasing your client.. so this is why I feel it is important that every photographer find their niche within this large industry of talent.

I honestly feel that photography is always going to be in its purist form when I photograph from the heart.. from a place that awakens and inspires me. 

Keeping this concept as my focus has allowed me to follow the different stages with my photography as I discover new genres and ideas.  I've learned to never put myself in a box because if I do, this is when I stop learning, evolving and growing!


Holly Jolly


One of my favorite things about Christmas and the holidays are a chance to take part with all the fun photo opps. This one image in particular seemed to be a great hit with everyone, myself included.

Kristen and I have become friends through my husband and her boyfriend, Adam.  They are both musicians, so when Kristen and I were introduced we instantly bonded over our similarities.  We are kindred spirits when it comes to our love of animals.  She has an awesome Irish Wolfhound and parrot.. I myself have an awesome French Bulldog and English Budgie. That was all it took and we were like OMG!

Some of my favorite images come from dealing with innovative clients who have unique ideas and let me take the reigns.  I couldn't have been happier with their ideas and willingness to make this year's Christmas Card a very memorable and festive one indeed.


Sunday, December 20, 2015

New Ventures


So after much contemplation and giving much thought and consideration, I have decided to take on a bold move and focus more on the uncut, raw and rugged side to my photography. I feel that the photography bubble has burst. Perfection and plastic skin is abundant and easy to find and it has become boring and very redundant. The digital age has allowed for expectations of unrealistic perfection to rain down. This is everything that I am against and am constantly fighting a battle to find a compromise for clients to feel beautiful at the same time it be 'real'.

Ten years in the wedding industry has allowed me to take part in so many wonderful moments and memories.  I was introduced to some of the finest staff and vendors and met some of the most beautiful and fun loving clients.  The second shooters that I worked with closely have become what I consider great friends and I was honored to have them work alongside me for all these years.

There will be things that I will miss about the wedding industry such as the love between a new bride and her groom, the art of capturing the wedding day with moments and details, I will miss working with my talented colleagues, I will miss wedding cake every weekend and exploring some of the most beautiful wedding venues out there.

On the flipside.. I will not miss the long working weekends that involve Friday through Sunday of prepping, shooting and recovering. I will not miss my tacky long black slacks and awful orthopedic shoes that helped me get through the long work day.  I am not going to miss all day edit sessions for months on end and the demanding deadlines required to keep on schedule that comes along with intense shooting.

It is a give and take, pro and con world with wedding photography and I feel that after 10 years it is time for me to challenge my work and myself to new ventures.

As a photographer it is never about the money but rather about the fulfillment you receive when you capture that image. It is about sharing with others what you enjoy and about showing others how you see life.  Photography is about challenges, about growth and about  most importantly about change.

So as we venture into my final year of wedding photography, I do hope you continue to follow my work as I focus on new concepts and ideas as I will now have more free time to do so.