At the end of each year, I use the time to reflect on my growth. I think I am my worst enemy and somedays I am so hard on myself and my work. I think all artist at one point in time are too hard on themselves. It takes reflection to really appreciate where you are and where you are going. So, since I was reflecting on where I started and where I am going, I wanted to take you on this ride because it has blown my mind looking back.
These pictures are from April 2014, my first, "photo session" with my daughter, Bella. When I took the pictures I loved them, still do, it's my baby girl. When I took them, I knew I liked taking pictures of her but never really thought about taking pictures for anyone else.
Now, I can see all the technical stuff that I did. I didn't know about lighting or photoshop or ironing a backdrop lol. But when I look at them, I see my precious child and how much joy it brought me to make these images. The image on the right, I still have in my home, in a picture frame. She was just so adorable.
These next images are from December 2015. I loved these images and was so proud. I think I already started taking pictures for friends and was thinking about charging for my work. I don't think these pictures are bad at all, but they were basic images of a child. I wanted more out of an image, but I did not know how to do it. I wanted the wow factor but was so new, I didn't know how to get it.
I had basic lights that I got off of Ebay for I think $100. I was using a Canon Rebel T3I, which I still have for sentimental value. Everyone starts some where. All the technical stuff wasn't there but any mom would adore these pictures.
September 2016, I found a mentor that I loved her work, (Sue Bryce if you are wondering), and started studying different technics that she used and studied lightings and posing. So much stuff to learn. These next images were taken in October 2016, with my bestie Jen who is also a photographer.
In December of 2016, I started dabbling in composite work by changing out skies and fixing little things in a photo. I started to look on youtube at composite work and watched videos on how they were done. I watched some educational video by Brooke Shaden, (She does awesome composite work). My last wedding was this year. It was not what a truly enjoyed doing. I had the best brides, but I didn't want to spend all the time away from my family, every weekend. I think 2016 is when I started working with BARC. BARC is an animal rescue in Valdosta, GA. I donated for their BARC Ball and took pictures of the pets to raise money for them during their Wag-O-Ween. Oh I almost forgot, I got a professional camera this year.
2017, I started taking pictures of woman and children. I was taking on clients and trying to figure out my style. I started working on complex composites and started to realize I really enjoyed taking pictures of children. In 2017, I also started taking pictures of pets and fell in love with it. I started entering my images in photography competitions. In November of 2017, I received my first image award by receiving a bronze merit for one of my composites.
I started to realize in my work that I loved rich and moody images. I started to see a pattern with the images that I loved. I loved images that told stories. I think every photographer is trying to tell a story, but posing images wasn't really what I enjoyed. I think I realized I did not particularly want my images to be light and airy. Not that there was anything wrong with them, they are beautiful but they didn't speak to me. I found Meg Bitton, and loved the way her outdoor images looked. I started taking classes and learning from her techniques
I think in 2018, I grew a lot more than I had in the previous years. I knew the basics but it was really a year to fine tune what I wanted my photography looked like. I invested in great lighting and went away from natural lighting. I started to realize I loved the way my images looked with strobes. I still dabbled in lighter colors but never found anything that spoke to me like rich and moody colors. I entered more print competitions, I have become addicted to them. They are the best photographers in the world and thousands of images are entered. One of my images placed 12th out of 6,000 images and I received silver merits for two of my pet photography images.
I knew by 2018 that I loved children, Tweens, (children between 8 to 12), Teens and pets. I did not know how popular pet photography was until I found Nicole Begley and took several of her courses. I still did a lot of composite work in 2018 and enjoyed doing the composites. I started working with Hearts to Home, an animal rescue in Nashville Georgia. I worked with BARC again on their Wag-O-Ween event and donated to their BARC Ball silent auction.
2019, I met many pet businesses and started putting my name out more. I was proud of how far I had come and wanted to start working with others in the community. I spread my distance on where I would go and went to Palm Coast Florida and Hilton Head South Carolina. I worked a lot on my images outdoors trying to find my style that was true to what my images looked like in studio. I worked with, Children, lots of 4 legged children, Tweens, Teens, families and women. I got to work with Annie, a rescue pup with three legs, that Amanda with Southern Hound Club adopted to train and help find her perfect family. Annie was a star for sure. She had a rough start being shot and losing her leg, but it was turned into a Cinderella story when she found her perfect home.
By the end of this year, I realized that I am in my right lane. I defiantly want to keep working with children and pets. I enjoy my teens and tweens as well. I am really drawn to in studio pictures and what can be created. I started to say I was a fine art photographer because my images were more about the person than what category they fell under. I realized that I am different from other photographers and I really have my own style. I learned this year that it is okay to be different in what I do and that not every person is a right fit for me and I am not the right fit for everyone either.
So, here is where I started in 2015 and here is where I am ending 2019. Such a drastic difference in 4 years, but it was determination and not giving up. I saw where I wanted to go and I worked at it for countless hours. Wow, you don't know how far you have come until it is sitting side-by-side.
Where do I go from here in 2020? Every where! But I will start out in January heading to Savannah Georgia to take some cute 4 legged kid pictures and later on in January some Tween pictures of sweet Emma who has been with me since the beginning. I am gearing up for my next print competition. It will be here before I know it. I am off to a great start and I am hoping to add more merits and I dream of a category win to my accomplishments. I will be working on some composite work this year. I have several ideas in my head and this year is the year to do it. I am taking the time for the images this year!
As I prep for 2020, I want to keep fine tuning my photography. I am ending 2019 where I have wanted to be with my photography since the beginning, which is pretty awesome. I want to be in front of the camera a little more this year. I have mixed emotions about that lol, but I will be. I have a few things in my head so we will see which pan out. I have asked questions to my fans and clients to understand what they are wanting more of.
So, that is it for my reflection. I hope all of you are finishing your year with lots of hopes and dreams in 2020. Happy New Year to all of you and I will see you in the New Year!