OH HEY! Me again, I'm back with a lot of content and new insight to share! Ready to dive in?
So, first of all, I have been SO busy and no that's not a virtue just a fact. Since my last blog post I have learned so much in my business and personal life. I'll share a bit of both and try to keep it in balance.
On the personal side, turns out the imposter syndrome from a previous post is tied into some other mental health struggles I have including anxiety and PTSD from 6 years of deployments, separations, back to back babies and oh yeah, living overseas through the craziest last few years any of us have seen. There's a lot more to it and I'm happy to share if it'll help you to know a little more of my story, just let me know in the comments. For now i'll leave it there. I am getting help, I see a therapist each week sometimes on my own and sometimes with Aaron. I have also started supplementing with magnesium and CBD to help with the insomnia and anxiety and I am working out at the crossfit gym again to help me work through stress in a healthier way. Shout out to Conroe Fitness for being a wonderful place to build muscle, resilience, mental fortitude and community. Also, the endorphin boost can't be downplayed. I was formally diagnosed and prescribed a medication for these conditions but I have opted to pursue more holistic methods of care first and will pivot should it become necessary. Don't worry, God has been there for me through it all and my husband has been a real life hero dealing with all of my insecurities and moods as I navigate healing. If there is interest in learning more alongside me as I do about all of this, again, I am happy to share.
For spring break my family spent some much needed "unplug and recharge our souls" time at the lake with friends and I cannot emphasize enough how regenerative it was for all of us. I hardly took any photos and I wasn't on my phone 99% of the time we were there. God has given me some wonderful friends who have poured into me these last few months. From there I went to a bridal shower for my dearest friend Allyson and took photos of her event while in attendance to put into an album and gift her with at her bachelorette weekend. Don't worry, I already spoiled it if it was ever even going to be a surprise. I am terrible at keeping secrets. Kind-of your typical oversharer, obviously.
On the business side of things we're rocking and rolling! I collaborated with a local boutique owner who is just getting her own business up and running and we took some amazing product and branding photos! I'll attach some below for you to take a look at. GO CHECK OUT HER BOUTIQUE: https://charlielouiseboutique.com and be sure to follow her socials! She's a momma of two and has a bit of a spicy side as you'll see from her style. I'm all about helping out and collaborating with another mommaprenuer so you'll see more from the two of us in the coming weeks! May even be adding styling and a boutique discount to my photography services if I get enough interest! What do you think? This was my first session in my CONTINUOUS LIGHT STUDIO! That's right, I have backdrops and lighting and props and chairs and so many things to do in studio sessions now right out of my beautiful sunroom. You seriously have to come check it out! I'm in love with it and loving using it. Someone need to come model for me though because I can only take so many self portraits or pictures of my kids. Lets get your next project on the schedule asap! I have been experimenting with batch editing, masking and creating presets to include with my branding and product photography sessions. Once I have a set of presets for Kayla I'm going to batch them out to her to use on her social media so she can maintain a consistent brand image and I can add it as another service I provide in my business. When I've got all of those steps figured out I'll be sure to share. One tip I learned from this photo-session is keeping the edits super simple to replicate from photo to photo so the whole can be seamless, this meant overlapping subject masking instead of using the brush so that all I had to do was recompute the subject when copying my settings from one photo to another. It was also very important for the clothing to be true to color and texture so that customers know what they're getting so my approach to editing overall was slightly different. If you'd like to see a tutorial of this just let me know! Ok now for the pictures!
I have so much more to fill you in on, renovations, more travel plans, more photo sessions, and a ton of the back end of this business stuff that I've been learning in heaps. There will be several more blog posts in the coming days. If you want more of this content I'd sure appreciate feedback so I know someone out there in the world is reading this and enjoying it. Thanks friends!
All my love,
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Jaedyn Stone: Senior Session
In my experience, everyone shows up to a photo session uncomfortable in their own skin but showing it in different ways. Low confidence, high confidence, shy or extroverted, no one shows up "natural" and it's my job to help both of us find that place together. The thing is, I'm not shooting for a magazine, a designer, a stylist, I'm shooting you, FOR YOU. And it's totally ok to be uncomfortable. You're standing in front of a camera not knowing what the photographer is zooming in on on their end. Let me let you in on a little secret, we're all naturally uneasy in new situations and if you've never been in front of my camera it's totally reasonable to be a bit out of sorts at first. I am going to talk to you, say some silly things, do things for a reaction and put you in poses and situations that are going to get you out of your head. Then, I'm going to do my best to capture that exact moment. The genuine laughs, the slightly awkward smolder face, when the wind catches your hair and you're feeling yourself, these are the photos that you're going to look back on and love, because they're real and they're you and no one else can be you.
Once upon a time, I was a "model", and I can tell you from my experience that when I look at those photos they're not fond memory reminders, they're awkward and they make me feel self-conscious. It's not me in those photos. It's just my body, my face, someone else's clothes, someone else's posing, someone else's idea of what they wanted to portray me as. When I look at candid photos it's so much more than smooth skin or rough skin or the perfect outfit or the perfect smile. There's a person there, a whole personality, a whole story, a beautifully flawed and interesting human, perfectly perfect just as they are. They're a natural when they're just being themselves. It is my passion to capture people being themselves. That's what I try to give each of my beautiful clients. Something real and something that gives them confidence and hopefully brings a smile to their face as they look back and remember the experience.
I've been a makeup artist off and on for my entire professional career. I LOVE it! That's why I keep coming back to it. There is beauty in every face, I believe that whole heartedly, and I love being able to highlight those special little details that make each woman or girl unique. God really doesn't make mistakes. I show her and tell her what I see that's beautiful. As a photographer now I get to take that process a step further by taking photographs of that beauty and framing it and composing it and telling a story of it that does justice to her. There is nothing that brings me more joy than knowing that I helped a woman or girl feel beautiful and confident and comfortable and excited and giddy. The same goes for my guys that I work with. They're not getting their makeup done but I can help them pick out the colors and styles from their wardrobe that will photograph well and bring out their best features, I find their "good sides" and "good angles" and get them to loosen up and relax into their true selves so I can get those golden moment photos.
Jaedyn is shy and reserved until she opens up. I know she is witty and intelligent and firey and passionate and so many more things because I didn't just pose her and take some headshots and posed full body shots. I made her laugh, and captured the real thing. I made her think and captured that in her eyes. I made her move to get her out of her head and into her body and captured her energy and youth. I had her play with her hair and caught the coy side of her. Afterwards, I went fishing, (as I often do), for feedback and was elated that her moms first comment was, "They are amazing!! You did such a great job capturing her personality!..." That is THE MUSIC playing on repeat in my mind assuring me I've chosen the right career path. I think there are a lot of people out there that can take pretty pictures. I think it takes a unique skill-set and personality to capture people being themselves. That's what I offer. That's why I'm different. I hope you enjoy this album. I so enjoyed spending that time with Jaedyn and capturing her in this season of her life.
I so look forward to working with you!
All my love,
OK! Senior Portraiture might be a new favorite for me. I mean come on, these two are JUST PRECIOUS! Did I say precious? I can feel them cringing as I write this. I guess I'm officially at the age where I look at 18 year olds and my inner narrator goes, "Awwwwww". I'm going to reminisce and reflect a bit here before I go into the more photography specific content so humor me a moment, if you will. As a woman who just turned 30 last year, my mind and my heart still remember the barrage feelings that envelope senior year but, even more, the next 5-10 years that come after. When you graduate from high school you think you know everything, and well, you do. I mean it's a universal truth that 18 year old think they have it all figured out. You were once that 18 year old too. They've "seen enough things" to know what’s coming next, (you definitely remember this), bring yourself back there for a moment. They have successfully navigated through 18 years of childhood and 12 years of grade school and they are ready to face what comes next. Truly. They have a pretty great track record of getting through it. Even if they don’t have a plan yet. We "adults" mistake this confidence for arrogance instead of recognizing where it comes from. Now the next stage of life, as you now know, (and they soon will), is a season of unlearning and relearning and will, no doubt, take jabs at that confidence along the way. If we've belittled the fresh "real worlders" instead of understanding the angst and excitement of this evolutionary time, we're going to miss the opportunity for them to share with us as they butterfly into this new phase of their lives. It's a refinement. I'll share a little of what that was like for me. My 20's was a self-exploratory season where I really discovered things about myself that had been hidden away, put on a shelf, repressed or criticized into obscurity. I also had to unlearn parts of myself that became my personality that, simply put, weren't me at all. When you're no longer held to the standards of living in your parents house or going to school with the teachers that taught your siblings or watched you grow up from a young age and now have no expectations placed upon you by outside forces, it's a new found freedom where you feel like you get to "decide" who you can be. That just a passing feeling though. What you're doing during this time is shedding all the excess and trying on new "clothes", and shedding some more until you get closer and closer to finding out who you are beneath all of that. It is HARD. It is SCARY. It is FREEING. It is UNCOMFORTABLE. I was baptized at the age of 29, 8 months pregnant with my 4th child. I now, finally, feel like me. I found myself in Christ after YEARS of looking for myself in the world. (I can't write a post without giving Glory to The Father). Seeing these seniors about to embark on this new adventure made me feel so hopeful. These kids are SMART. They have so much ahead of them and so much to TEACH us about themselves as they learn it. No matter how much we think we know them, the version of themselves that will emerge in a few years will be totally different. *Reminder to self* re-read this when my own kids are 18. I want to journey with them when they let me in instead of interjecting or projecting or assuming or instructing... I want to watch them traverse the highs and the lows of the 20's and be a friend and confidant if they'll allow. But what I need to remember, is that this season is theirs. It's no longer about the parents or the teachers or the friends they had before, it's about them, going out and making their way and discovering themselves. Let them! *Note to self*.
On to the things I learned from my models in this session. This generation of "kids" grew up with the facade that the internet can create if we're not intentional about being "filter free". They've seen fake and they reject it. The pinterest perfect houses don't match their real experiences and they are drawn, magnetically, to raw and real content and interactions as a result. They wrestle at times with crippling anxiety as they see the generations directly before them trying to curate perfection (perceived or real) and recognize they never will fit that mold. They want to be talked to and listened to, not in a feigned interest kind of way, in a real, silly, just be yourself because my BS detector is STRONG kind of way. They grew up with youtube teaching them more than they ever learned in school and now theres tiktok and fast paced video content revolutionizing the way they absorb information and learn. They crave concise information without all the fluff in a way that is uniquely theirs. It's altering their information processing in ways we won't keep up with unless we engage with them, regularly, genuinely. These kids are smart. They're quick witted. They're more knowledgeable in so many diverse ways we just weren't. Yeah but... yeah yeah I know, there are always downsides, but you've gotta look at the positives and engage with them on their terf. They WANT to show you. They appreciate when you try. They wanna pick and poke fun of you mispronouncing their new trendy verbiage but not in a mean-spirited way. They want real. IT IS UNBELIEVABLY REFRESHING!
OK OK! You've stuck with me this far! Let's talk about what I've learned about photography lately. After spending some time researching portraiture and depth of field, I got a new lens for this shoot. Not an expensive one, I'm still holding off on any major investments until I've booked a few paying clients. (Hint, Hint!) What I'm learning about depth of field told me I needed what is called a macro lens. These lenses give you that beautiful foreground/subject in focus, background blur that makes your subject pop and your photo so appealing. The detail shots were taken using this lens and HI! I'm obsessed! The lense I bought is a refurbished Canon EFS 24mm that I picked up for a little over $100. Worth every penny. Some of my frustration has been achieving the correct exposure for my photographs to get that super sharp image quality. To that end I memorized the exposure triangle only to let go of those numbers and specifics, later in the week. I came across a brilliant blog post that helped me learn to lean more into my own creativity as I grow in my understanding of the science of capturing light. This concept really appealed to me and so I'll link the blog post below for anyone interested in learning alongside me. I'm very much still learning and growing and I know you'll see that just in the progression of these photos. Some are incredibly sharp others have room for improvement. I'm not embarrassed or prideful either way and I genuinely crave feedback that I can learn from. This little side business is giving me so much confidence and growth and I'm loving taking you all on the journey with me. If you've read to this point, thank you SO much for taking the time. If you're a budding photographer, like me, I encourage you to reach out if you want and we can learn together.
My Camera: Canon REbel T6i https://www.usa.canon.com/internet/portal/us/home/products/details/cameras/eos-dslr-and-mirrorless-cameras/dslr/eos-rebel-t6i-ef-s-18-55mm-is-stm