Ok, here I am! Again. With yet another project. I've been a painter, a printmaker, a graphic designer, a digital artist, a game designer, a videographer, a corporate designer, a crafter, a sculpture, an illustrator and now - look - a Photographer!
I find it to be most difficult telling people (especially those who have not known me that long) that I've taken up Children's Photography. "Oh, good for you!" "That's so great!" are the type of comments most often received. The meaning behind these words, in my opinion, is more "oh that's so nice you found yourself a mom-hobby." And I don't think that's an odd response. As a matter of fact it might be the same response I'd have upon hearing this information, especially given my current standing as a new mom who got a camera as her first Mother's Day gift. And I won't even deny that it is partially that. I love taking pictures of my son. He's a great subject and I think he's pretty darn cute.
But what I wish I could explain in that same moment is that I have been involved and interested in some aspect of visual arts my entire life. It's been my passion since as far back as my brain will go. I entered (and won!) coloring contests in elementary school, took numerous after school art classes, received awards in high school, was granted scholarships for college, participated in art internships, received my bachelor of fine arts, studied art abroad in Italy, took additional courses for graphic design after college, worked as a freelance artist and got paid as a corporate designer. I've owned a successful Etsy shop, designed CD covers, tee shirts, posters, brochures, and more. I created and held a successful wedding fair focused on highlighting independent artists and designers. So when my husband put a camera in my hand it wasn't too surprising that I'd latch right on and try to figure out a way I could push things to make them my own.
I began by taking a course to teach me more about my camera and basic theories. I'd taken photography in high school, but that was back in the days of 35mm film and darkrooms and I never really had the patience for the whole thing. I did, however, learn the basics of aperture, f-stop, focus etc at the time, and it all came back to me pretty quickly. So at least I didn't have to start from no where. And, as you may have gathered by now, I have a pretty trained eye when it comes to framing and composing an image - at least I should, I've sure paid for one!
After that it comes down to practice. And I won't pretend to be any sort of expert at this point. But I do think I have a leg up. I'm very lucky to have a great circle of mom friends who are more than willing to volunteer their children as models. There are some obvious challenges to deal with when photographing babies. They're nothing like the bowl of fruit I practiced with in high school. But I quickly found that I especially love capturing moments where children are interacting with their world. Some call them candids, but I think they're more than that. It allows the viewer to see a great deal of personality shine through when there is no pressure to smile or look directly at the camera, and the moments captured are authentic.
But my wandering brain would never allow me to stop there. I have to push things further. Something else to mention is that I have been using Photoshop since it became a common household program. We got our first version in 1999. And what I immediately decided it was for was compositing (not that I knew that's what I was doing at the time, or that it had the immense potential that it's used for today). I made some very rough composites at that time, which I proudly printed out on our ink jet printer and framed in a mat bought at the Christmas Tree Shop. I came across one recently, where the ink has faded over the years, but I still think was a pretty solid attempt considering the lack of "everything" I had at the time.
So, that being said, of course I'd want to figure out a way to use my interest in Photoshop and compositing here. And since nothing excites me more than making art, thinking about a single piece of art created for an individual that they'll be able to keep and talk about forever seems to me like an amazing thing to offer!
So here we are. I hope that when people look at my work and consider hiring me they'll take advantage of my unique offerings. It’s so much fun for me to create something inspired and truly original. You might say it's my mom-hobby.