"Capturing Life" was going to be the title of this post. It sounds cheesy and cliché. Almost every photographer will advertise or say they capture special moments, or capture life, or capture time blah blah blah. They say that because damn it it's true, but the phrase sounds so fake. So overly sentimental and ooey gooey squishy feelings. Probably because it's over used. Just like "I have a passion for photography." It's true, but every photographer has some degree of passion for photography, so...duh right? Now to run off and see if my bio contains that phrase..one sec.
Ok, I'm back, nope I didn't add that in this time. I must confess, I did on my last website. The one I had when I owned a business. I told you "I am not a professional."
So, let's get on with it. I have noticed more and more that trying to catch candid moments was getting difficult with my big cameras. Even with no battery grip and a short lens it was distracting and somewhat of a pain to carry around. I'm not saying a full frame DSLR has no place in candid/lifestyle photography, but when my family and I are just going for a quick trip down town or a small event it gets a little tiresome to carry the extra weight and people don't seem to act as natural when someone is holding a brick to their face.
My solution...get another camera. A smaller camera, but one that still gives me control over the settings. I picked up an Olympus OM-D E-M10 and a couple lenses. It's small, lightweight, and looks like a pretty point and shoot. I still get the "cheese" expression when I'm noticed, but I'm not as noticed. Or maybe my family is being nice and pretending not to notice because I've rambled on about this topic for at least a month.
I can easily do what most everyone else does and use my cell phone. I'm not saying everyone should go out and get a pricey point and shoot or a micro 4/3 (<-----that's what my little camera is). Here's another confession...I suck at cell phone photography. Flat out I am not good at taking photos with my phone and it frustrated me.
What I'm trying to say is, use what you have and "capture life". Your life, don't go stalking people. We take more pictures than any other point in time put together. Don't live behind your phone or camera, which is something I need to remind myself of, but don't forget to take the pictures. My kids are getting older and more grown up. My pets won't be with us forever. Be cheesy, be cliché, be whatever you need to be and make it meaningful. One more thing, PRINT! You'll thank me when you loose all your images when your micro SD card finally fails after being in it's 5th cell phone. Or you can't find that photo you posted on Facebook 3 years ago.
My son just turned 13 a couple of months ago. He's about to enter the 8th grade; his last year of middle school. He's grown several inches, and his voice is dropping. The boy is really becoming a man.
This little man child still needs to be told to do his laundry, clean his room, and when to take a shower. Then he'll walk up to me and give me a ton of information of something he just learned about...on his own. It could be an animal, a game, a type of technology...a couple of times even politics. As we are preparing for my daughter to graduate in 2018 we also need to prepare for our youngest to enter high school.
Everything seems to be happening so fast. I'm not sure how I will feel when my oldest leaves the nest, I just know I won't be ready for it. Neither will I be prepared when it's time for this guy to fly on his own. Generations upon generations birth, raise, and release their young in to the world across thousands of species on this Earth. Is it hard for everyone?
For some reason yesterday I was under the impression that we were going to go an evening with out rain this week. Still I packed a rain coat and my rain cover for my camera. Sure enough we get down to our first spot and it starts to sprinkle. We played around for a few minutes, grabbing as many shots as we could.
The skies opened up and then came the thunder and lightening. So, we ducked for cover. We goofed around and waited for the lightening to let up. Eventually the rain let up as well. The kids picked and poked at each other. At times, it was challenging to get my kids to focus.
I am trying to get as many photos of my kids as I can. My daughter is graduating in 2018, and my son will be going to high school next fall. Their innocent ignorance of the world is fading. My daughter is thinking more and more of her future. It's so hard to believe she'll be a legal adult in seven months. My son's voice is getting deeper and deeper and he's going to be taller than me soon. I'm excited, nervous, happy and sad all at the same time. Is this whirlwind of emotion normal at this stage of parenthood?
One of my sister-in-laws came to visit with her boys. I had to get them out to shoot because I only see them once a year or so. She lives out west, and as we all know kids grow up fast.
My family isn't unusual, but it isn't normal either. Like most married couples we have my side and my husband's side. My side of the family consists of my mother, aunt, brother, cousin and two sisters (we share the same biological father) that I don't talk to often enough. [On a side note, I do have to include my sisters' mom, her husband, and brother, because they are just that awesome, and always have made me feel like blood to them]. That's it. My husband on the other hand has his mom, dad, step mom, a few sisters, a brother, nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, several cousins....grandmothers...the list goes on!
Since his family is so big compared to mine I have grown pretty close to his side of the family because I don't have to divide up time so much. I love them dearly, and I can't imagine my life with out them.
Technically we don't get to choose our family...but we can choose to make a family. We can let in-laws, steps, halves, close friends, 4th cousin's wife twice removed, or whatever in to our lives, hearts, and homes and call them family because they have earned it. Not everyone in our lives earn that title. Some are born in to it while others have shown they are more family than our own blood at times. People take family for granted. They fight, complain, and avoid. Sometimes for good reasons...sometimes for reasons that don't seem all that important from an outsider.
I can say that the vast majority of my family is in no way shape or form related to me by blood, and that doesn't make them any less than one of my loved ones. Hold them all close to you. You will suffer loss and heart ache, you may fight, but you can also experience love, loyalty, and an unbreakable bond that only family can have.
Lifestyle photography is described as "... a kind of photography which mainly aims to capture portrait/people in situations, real-life events or milestones in an artistic manner and the art of the everyday."
It is a genre of photography that has really sprung up the last several years or so. It's been around for much much longer, but when I look back at old works from photographers it wasn't something that one was hired to do regularly, but armature and professional alike had albums filled with special moments from their own lives. Celebrities and presidents would call someone in to have photos to release to the public, but in general the average Joe did not hire a professional to come follow them for a few hours in their day.
I am not a professional lifestyle photographer. In fact, I rarely do it. However, when I do take those candid just for fun moments in my life I become a lifestyle photographer. Just for a few moments. This is because what I do fits the definition of lifestyle photographer because as a photographer I am an artist. So I "aim to capture people or milestones in an artistic manner." with the little bit of knowledge of photography I have. You know what though? With the invention of cell phone cameras and even better point and shoots we can all capture those special random moments.
"The best camera is the one you have with you." I don't know who said it first, but it's true. Your shots don't have to be perfect, or professional, sometimes they don't even have to be in focus. As long as it evoke an emotion or memory.
This year kicked off with a new feel for my photography. December I officially closed my photography business. Say what? Yup. The client work I have now is much more selective. I'm not going to get in to the nitty gritty of the "Why?" right now, but it boils down to this "I'm more of an artist than an entrepreneur." So with the marketing, client qualifying, accounting, and all that goes with a business out of the way I am able to shoot what I want when I want.
So for fun, I have jumped in to Macro Photography. Shooting small things up close and personal. I still do and LOVE my portrait work. That will never change. People are interesting. We all look, act, and feel different; so I expect boredom will never peek it's ugly head with that.
Just like with portraits I have successes and failures, trials and errors. I miss things. I'm so focused on one thing, that I lose the bigger picture... Like the one below..I did not see the spider in this shot when I shot it. My focus was the spikey ball of the plant.
I know what you're thinking "How could you miss that?" It's easier than you think. I was concentrating on nailing focus where I wanted it. Lesson learned.. you would think. Nope! I missed this one too. I was curious as to why the bee was dangling. I knew he was dead, but figured his leg was caught on the petal somehow.
So, here I am, learning, seeing, and not seeing apparently. I never get sick of learning this craft. There's always something that I never heard of before, tried, or achieved yet. Whatever is burning inside you, feed that fire. Don't go on and on dreaming about the dream and just live it already. Why does everyone think you have to get famous or make a lot of money doing what you love? You know that saying "Do what you love and you'll never work another day in your life." Let's face it, we just don't want to work. I kid, if you can make a living doing what you love go for it! If you can't or really don't want to at this point in your life at least still do it. Remember what Dr. Who said "Some people live more in 20 years than others do in 80. It's not the time that matters, it's the person."
My friend makes the Arkham Knight Harley Quinn inspired baseball bat. She asked me for some product shots, and had a model already. I had to do this shoot, there was no way around it. Wicked awesome cosplayers. Let me tell you what, I had a blast. I got to play with angles and light in a whole new way. You should check out her Etsy store here.
I was worried when they were running behind, but it worked out perfectly. The lighting was awesome and the colors popped. If we were shooting earlier, I would not have gotten the look out of The Polk Theater marquee that I got.
I put a bare speed light behind her, because I knew the marquee would not illuminate her, but I wanted it to look like it did. I got some nice rim light and the effect I was after. I lit her from the front right with a speed light in a softbox umbrella. This allowed me to expose everything in the frame.
It was a good night, I think everyone enjoyed themselves.
Saturday I got to shoot an event called Play It Forward. It's a charity event of music to raise funds for our local public school music programs. Local artists came out to donate their time and talent for the cause. There was an auction for a fiddle signed by Charlie Daniels that went for $1000, two 50/50 raffles (which ended with both winners giving back their winnings), and support from sponsors such as The Polk Theater, Fresco's, The George Jenkins Foundation, and more found here: Play It Forward.
The music was awesome, among the bands were performances from local schools.
When next year rolls around, consider making a night of it, enjoy music in a great venue, and support your local schools!
My daughter is 17. She's witty, smart, and gorgeous. She has more of my husband's personality than mine, but she has my sweet tooth and favors me more in appearance. She shares my eye in photography, but can draw like my husband. My husband and her butt heads...a lot. They both are not quick to forgive, and when they do, they don't forget. They can spout off a witty comeback without missing a beat. They also can find the humor in life. Right now, they don't get along very well most times, but I think that's the nature of the beast when two people in one household are a lot a like. I think she can do whatever she puts her mind to as long as she stays confident in her self. I hope she continues to grow up strong, values herself, and not let the world beat her down.
My son is 12, he's going to be the big 13 in a couple of months. He favors my husband in appearance and is kind of dorky like me, but his personality is all his own. He's wicked intelligent and gets along better with adults than he does his peers. He keeps to himself, but when he opens up...it's hard to get him to stop. It's been a joke between us and some past teachers of his that he's the next Steve Jobs. I don't know yet how dedicated he can be, but the ability could be there. I hope we are raising him to be a good man. A man that will take care of his family and stay honorable.
I'm not a writer, or even a real blogger. So this little pile of words will not do justice to what this event was about. My hope is that I can convey the love that was felt February 19th 2017 through my craft.
In case you were under a rock last summer, on June 12th 2016 there was a shooting in an Orlando nightclub called The Pulse. I'm not going to go in to details about the tragic event. I was not there, I did not lose anyone, nor was I directly affected in any way. You can use Google or go here for more information.
However, I was in attendance to the benefit Makeup and Creative Arts LLC hosted to raise funds for The Pulse Memorial.
The other night I got to see a community of people come together to show support. Straight men put on dresses and wigs. They let professional make up artists put make up and eyelashes on them, they glitter bombed beards and pranced around in high heels.
Money was donated at the door, shoved in breastless bras, buckets...a leprechaun came around with a green pot. It was a crazy night, it was fun, it was full of love.
There was laughter, singing, dancing, and playful banter between the hilarious host, Dustin, the audience, and performers.
I don't know what kind of response I'm going to get from this little blurb..if anything. I could get a pat on the back, or I could get some passive aggressive note in my newsfeed of what a horrible person I am to support this cause. Heck, maybe both, maybe none. It doesn't matter. People's lives were stolen, families were torn apart and I got to witness LOVE come out through it...despite it. People gathered to support those affected, that is a great show of humanity, and I hope I captured it.