For those who know me best, they’ve learned that from a very young age that there have rarely been moments that I haven’t been in love with taking photos. Over the last two years this love of taking photos has turned into a passion for photography and my desire to explore my personal and professional interests in photography much more closely than ever before. Though I’ve always grown up feeling as though I’ve had “artistic” interests, never once had I considered telling someone I wanted to “be a photographer when I grew up”. Even now, as much as I enjoy it I don’t see how it could ever take the place of my love for design, art and teaching. In fact, I find it to compliment all those creative outlets I have taken over the years quite well.
My photography interests definitely grew as my children where born and I found myself even more interested in trying to capture all of the priceless moments I was experiencing. As much as I hate it, I have come to realize that I can’t quite hold the hands of time still, but I can through my photography capture memories that have come to help me appreciate lifethat much more. After my son was born in October 2007 and I was challenged those first few weeks in how I could I keep time from escaping me, I began to record his life more closely and fell in love with baby photography through the photos his first few months of his life. Many complimented my photos and asked “where” I went to take my children for such great photos, when the photos were taken by me. As the months passed after my son’s birth I studied photography independently more intensely than ever before.
As I began to hear of friends and family, and friends of friends and family having little ones I began to offer to photograph little ones just for the opportunity to gain experience and build my photography portfolio. Originally I was unsure how seriously I would pursue photography, feeling as though it was more of a personal interest but being nudged to pursue it professionally by so many friends and family. As the months passed and I photographed baby after baby I began to fall in love with the art of newbornphotography. I felt so blessed to have a few short hours to help remind me of some of the most special moments I had in my own children’s lives. Those first few days and weeks after a baby arrives are by far the most memorable as they change so rapidly and I strive to help capture some of the most memorable moments that the parents may take with them. The sleepy, curly, cuddly and even crying moments – they all have so much value to me as I remember those moments in the lives of my own children. And though I can’t hold still the hands of time, through my photography I can capture those moments that most parents are thankful to have with them to reflect on years from now and to help remind them of the gift the have blessed the world with.
Newborn photography is certainly not as easy as it looks. I’ve come to learn that it takes far more patience than I had imagined when I first began. I now realize that some of my most creative newborn photography has been a result of lots of patience and care on both my and the parents part. I’ve come to learn that each and every baby is so unique and different and often have their own individual needs that must be met in order to take the most memorable shots. I often tell parents that for me, positioning babies reminds me alot like sculpting, as I spend time molding them into some of the memorable poses to help remind parents of how curly and sleepy they were those first few days after being born. As my portfolio has grown I have begun to challenge myself to push the limits of creativity with how the babies are positioned in photos, which sometimes requires even more patience on the part of both myself and the parents.
For me one of the biggest factors in how a newborn photoshoot ends relies a lot also on the parents patience and cooperation. The first few weeks are so demanding and for many new parents its easy to feel helpless because many newborns arrive at a photoshoot not necessarily ready for their close up moments with me. Most newborn photoshoots last 1-2 hours and it’s not unusual to take many breaks in order to let Mom’s and Dad’s tend to the babies needs. The most important factor is always making them feel comfortable, whether that means giving time for feedings, diaper changes, or even just a little cuddle time to help them feel comforted. Because I’ve had my own children and have been through the same moments that can at times seem stressful to a new parent, I find that I’m able to work even more patientlyknowing that with patience most babies will be comforted to a state to take the memorable photos parents enjoy seeing.
For me, learning photography has been something I have explored on my own terms. I consider myself to be a self taught photographer. I’ve read countless books and online resources to make it to the point I am now. Until the last year, I had never taken a formal photography course. In fall 2008 I took a 6 week basic digital photography course at Crealde School of Art which reaffirmed many of the things I had been learning on my own. In fall 2009 I was approved to take my first college level photography course after a review of my work ensured I had appropriate experience. I feel fortunate to be able to now study photography at a Master’s level at Savannah College of Art & Design, despite never taking any other formal photography courses at a college level. I’ve learned that it’s not my nikon that makes my pictures better, it’s how I use it in conjunction with my collection of lenses along with how I control all the various setting on mycamera that give me more creative options than a typical camera. I’ve learned photography is far more than just clicking a button on a camera, but it involves composing a photo, appropriately lighting a shot, finding a way to capture the emotive value in what I’m taking a photograph of.
Though newborn photography is by far my favorite, I equally enjoy photographing my family, children, families, locations, and even macro photography. I am such a detail oriented person that I find true enjoyment in taking photos up close of such simple things like flowers, legos, and just about anything small that deserves a closer look.
Many of my closest friends and family over the years have always referred to me as the “paparazzi” over the years, even before I ever owned my own digital SLR camera. I suppose I have always taken that many pictures over the years. Now it’s not unusual to find me with my camera about 90% of the places I go. I’ve found life is full of such memorable moments and so valuable that I try to capture even the simplest of moments. It’s not unusual to find me at a grocery store, home depot, a park, at the kids events (swim meets, gymnastics lessons, school events, etc), and even in classes I teach with my camera. This past year I began exploring photography even more intensely by challenging myself with a family 365 photo challenge. Some may think it’s crazy, but I’ve challenged myself to take a photo EVERY day of my family. It has helped me capture moments I never even imagined possible. And now, I have an even greater appreciation for photography and life.