It's 2014. When did you last pop a card or letter in the mail? Aside from the odd birthday card, I would answer; "Last Christmas". Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Instagram and even the almost archaic "Email" have taken over our traditional methods of keeping in touch. We send out group messages, invite our friends to exciting events and spread Birthday cheer using various social media platforms on a daily basis.
Here is where I take my stand. I LOVE Holiday Cards. Yes, I get a little giddy to check my mail during the month of December. It's the only time I expect something interesting and not the slightest bit depressing to enter my mailbox. Receiving Christmas cards puts a smile on my face and helps me forget about the handful of bills safely stowed beneath my small envelopes of joy. I must admit that the number of cards my family receives is getting smaller and smaller with each passing year, but receiving even a few still puts a smile on my face.
Every year I do our family card. I suppose being in my profession that might sound like an easy task. It's not, believe me. No family is harder to shoot than the family of the photographer! The simple task of making time for us to all be together a few months ahead of the holidays can sometimes be the most overwhelming part! Getting the dog in on it comes in as a close second. My kids seem to get incredibly goofy when they know I'm trying to get a particular shot. The word "cooperation" is as foreign to them as the Italian language. Usually our mini family session ends up with two frustrated parents, two spastic kids and a wild pooch! So I have opted to take a different approach. I don't try to get photos at any specific time throughout the year. I choose shots from our Summer holiday, or a photo from a walk along our many trails. One year, my son was scheduled for heart surgery and we quickly had a random eleven year old boy snap a shot of our family as we picked our kids up from school on my husband's cell phone. Bam... it made the front of the card!
I've seen Christmas Cards made from groups of someone's favourite Instagram shots. I've seen quick snapshots duplicated more than 50 times at the local printer for pennies each. It really doesn't matter how you do it, the recipient of your card will be thrilled. Let's face it, getting a personalized photo of a family or group of kids you love is so much better than a random card with an impersonal snowy scene from the local five and dime.
If you don't choose to send cards because of the postage price or you just feel like you can't find the time, remember that there are very few traditions left in our cyber world. Cards don't have to be bought, they can be made. Make it a family event. Put the kids to work with some glue, construction paper and some photos from your year. What ever the method it will be worth it. You'll make someone smile and hopefully your cheer will be returned!
I write this for the second time! I had it all ready over a week ago, and then poof! Internet Explorer wasn't responding and needed to close. Ever have that happen? It seems to happen to me more often than I'd like it to, and I am forever guilty of not saving my work every five to ten minutes!
As a Photographer, and I say that sometimes feeling slightly embarrassed, I find myself constantly learning and evolving. I am always watching photographic trends and trying my best to not emulate them. Yes I have a Pinterest account - No I don't spend much time wading through the millions of pinned photographs. I don't want to become someone else. I want to shoot the way I love to shoot. I want each client to surprise me. I want the finished product to be natural and beautiful, not "just like that shot on Pinterest".
As for feeling embarrassed about calling myself a Photographer? Well that's a whole other can of worms, so to speak. It seems that the loosely used term "Photographer" has lost it's sense of professionalism over the years of digital takeover. A camera used to need it's operator to know how to work it, how to find the light, dial in the F-stop, shutter speed, and film ISO. You had to know about depth of field, composition and how to get a good shot without previewing it on your 3" LCD screen.
Today photography has become a huge part of our lives. Facebook Instagram, Snapchat, etc have made sharing our photos an everyday thing. We all thrive on seeing photos or ourselves posted to the world wide web.We can edit on our iPhones and Androids. We can buy a semi-pro camera and dial in the presets to get a fairly decent shot. We can use one of the hundreds of easy editing downloads to make that selfie look amazing. Lately I have noticed one or two new photographers crop up each week with a new Facebook page - inviting everyone to "Please Like My Page". My question, I suppose is - What makes a Professional Photographer? Is it the fancy camera and the ability to watermark your images? Or is it years of practice, experience and the ability to get it right every time?
I prefer to "Keep it Real" all the time. My own style, my own finishes and my own ways of interacting with my clients. I shoot the silliness and the seriousness of my subjects. I edit them realistically. Eyes should never glow. Skin should never look radioactive. That is unless the client is from another planet! I save the ultra creative edits for commercial or fashion shoots. I love to shoot playful families that are comfortable knowing that I am working away in the background, capturing their moments.
Here are a few recent shots of some great people. Thanks for helping me "Keep it Real!"
Well things are heating up and I am finding my pace in yet another busy Fall Season. I have been shooting for Style Trend Clothiers, Jumping Jacks Preschool and I have had five private clients in the last two weeks. I am trying to get caught up because this week looks just as crazy! I always wonder how I'll find time to stay on top of it and somehow I manage to find the zone. If you've never had any experience with photography you wouldn't know how much goes on after the initial session. There's sifting, saving, renaming, batch editing, fine tune editing, resaving, uploading and backup for each and every client. Some of it feels repetitive, but that is okay. Every session I shoot makes me giddy with excitement. Getting that "Money Shot" literally puts me over the top! Strange? Yes. I suppose that is why I am so passionate about what I do.
It's not about sitting my clients in front of my camera and asking them to pose. It's about working hard to capture who they really are. I want everyone to feel comfortable and relaxed so that I can create the perfect image. I have been seen singing to little ones, throwing rocks while looking through my lens, and yes I have even danced to get the attention of those tough little souls.
For now I will leave you with a few recent favourites. A couple of wee ones, young love times two, and a family that shines so brightly that they take your breath away. Wish me luck this week, I might just need a set of wings!
This is Gunnar.
He endured the set up of my portable studio equipment and only peed on his mama once. We ended the session across the street at the old Drive-in grounds where he tried several times to eat a leaf or two!
.... and then there is Bria. She's no stranger to being in front of my camera! We shot this and it worked out perfectly. It's destined to become a beautiful canvas with a home next to the canvas I did of her brother when he was close to the same age.
After a short break and a quick trip to Vancouver, I met Enma and Mitchell for the first time. We walked some canopied trails and found some beautiful backdrops in places you wouldn't normally expect!
Later that same afternoon I met with Jenelle and Andrew. Of course the Chevy came along and played into many of our shots. It ended up being the perfect mix of light and rolling clouds. I fell in love with so many of their finished images!
Last but not least I recently met with a bright and shiny young family. They are close to my heart because of hearts (small special amazing hearts). We didn't have to go far to get amazing shots of the whole family.
Until my next post
Well it's officially Fall here in our small town of Revelstoke. It seems like the change in the air happened overnight. One day I am swimming in the chilly Arrow Lakes with my family and the next I am wrapped in a cozy sweater and lighting the woodstove! With the change in season comes a very busy time of year for me. Fall family sessions are underway and I have been busy scheduling pre-school portraits, the local Judo Club, and Revelstoke Minor Hockey. Yes, I dabble in many areas of photography. I fell into it really, but that story can be for another time. For now, I will post about a beautiful family that I have crossed paths with more than once in my ten years living in Revelstoke. I have watched their boys grow through years of team sports photos and I am so happy that we finally found a day that we could get together for something a little more creative!
This final shot is my favourite. Boys will be boys!
It's already closing in on the end of September! The kids here in BC have finally returned to school, and all of us
work from home parents can finally get back to work!
This will be my third year working with a local boutique clothing company, "Style Trend Clothiers".
Close to three years ago I was approached by the owners with an idea. That idea started out simple and
blossomed into something much bigger and greater than I had expected. Years ago, not long after I first fell in love with
photography I had the opportunity to both develop prospective models and model myself. Being in front
of the camera helped me to understand what a photographer needs to achieve a great shot. Style Trend Clothiers has
built a successful e-commerce website featuring catalogue style studio work and lifestyle "Look Book" photos that I have
taken. If you are curious, check out their website at www.styletrendclothiers.com . You'll also find links to
amazing behind the scenes video footage, shot by the talented Jordan Eadie. Our models are often local, however
we have brought a few models from as far as Kelowna and Alberta for our studio sessions.
~The lovely Emilee from Dejavu Modeling in Kelowna~
~Beautiful Heather of Shine Models in Kelowna~
Until my next post.... cheers!