Can't a Picture Just be a Picture?

Jul 24, 2014

As I was perusing my Facebook feed this morning, I came across a post from Creative Live. Now, I like Creative Live. I've learned many great things on Creative Live, but there was something about this post that irked me a bit. Well,that's not true. I think it pissed me off. The photographer didn't piss me off (she's just doing her thing and trying to make a buck) but this concept is something that's been on my mind a lot lately and it's a concept that I've been shying away from for sometime now.

Read on...

" Step away from those run-of-the-mill front porch shots or the classic running to catch the bus shots! Instead, think about every year as a unique, equally important chapter or your child’s life. Get creative" 

First I take offense to this statement. Why?


 BOOM! That's why!

For the most part, I'd like to consider myself a creative. I like to think that I can add a little something, something to my images when I have my sessions, but running to the bus? Really? I LOVE this image. This image was a huge part of this day. THIS image makes us laugh. This image was the BEST part of their first day of school. We had no time for formalities when we left the house that morning. There were no creative outfits. No fun Pinterst ideas. We just grabbed our stuff, saw the bus...and RAN! Unique chapter?? You don't have to shoot staged pictures to capture a unique chapter in someone's life? Not every picture has to have meaning, be well thought out or be thought provoking. Sometimes a picture can be just that. A picture.

I get that we're in the Pinterest age and everything that we do has to be cute and creative. I mean, we're slapped in the face with inspiration everyday. All day. And night. Every. Single. Day. But I'm here to tell you that it's OK to not buy into all of this incredibly time consuming creative stuff. I bought into it for a while, and let me tell you, it was stressful. I spent more time being pissed off at my kids for not letting me get that "creative pose" than I did just enjoying the moment and snapping a pic. And tell me...what images do you like best from your childhood? Exactly! The Polaroid snapshots of you wearing a healthtex turtleneck sporting a bowl cut. That's what defined our childhood. That's what defined you. I love pulling out those early pics and laughing with my brother and sister about how absolutely ridiculous we looked and THEN mocking our parents for choosing such crappy clothes and taking crappy pictures. It's entertainment! It's fun and it's US! And I can't wait for my kids to do it with me!

Heck, I know I should be one to talk about this, I love me a beautiful photo of my kids, but I can tell you right here and right now I've stopped stalking them to get that perfect shot. I've stopped posing them. I've stopped dressing them up. I've stopped taking them to scenic locations in my selfish attempt to snap that golden shot that will go viral. I've just stopped. I work full time, I have two small kids, I run a part time photography business and I simply don't have time for that. And when I do, bad things happen. Really. Bad. Things.

Can't a picture just be a picture? 

What do you all think about this? Is this too much? How creative do we really need to be when it comes to photographing our children?


Barking Up the Wrong Tree

Apr 11, 2014


I've been frustrated. Hell, I'm always frustrated. This whole photography business has got me frustrated for one reason or another.  But, instead of talking about what frustrates me (because it's seriously the same ole, same ole) I'll talk about my revelation as to why I'm frustrated and what I'm going to do about it.  And, it's no one's fault but my own.

Just a few months ago I decided that I wanted to focus the direction of my business to high school seniors. While I'm still open to taking pictures of children and families, it's no longer my main focus. Why does this frustrate me? Because I'm still barking up the wrong tree. How so? I'll break it down for you.

Social Media

I still follow many children and family photographers on Facebook and Google+ and they're awesome and they're amazing and I want my photographs to be just as good as theirs. This train of thought is damaging for two reasons.
  1. The Comparison Trap - I've talked about it before and I'll say it again. It's a killer.  
  2. This steals from my main focus. I don't want to be a lifestyle photographer. I do not want to be a children's portrait photographer. I do not want the main focus of my photography to be family photography. I want to be a high school senior photographer.
Time Stealer

It's a time stealer. Don't get me wrong. I love the images that I see. They're freakin' amazing, but the time I get to spend with my kids is very limited because I still work full time. Those hours that I spend taking pics of my kids just doing what they do are hours that I'm wasting in my desperate attempt to create images that are share-worthy for different sites and pages. And again, this is not the photographer that I want to be. Sure, I love to take pics of my kids, but I no longer want my camera to be tethered to my side just so I can capture that one perfect shot. Yes, that may work for some people, but it no longer works for me.

Jack of All Trades, Master of None

My focus is not taking pics of kids anymore. My focus is not lifestyle photography. My focus is taking pictures of high school seniors. Spending hours trying to capture that perfect shot of my kids doing whatever it is that they do isn't going to help me pose a high school senior. It's only taking time away from perfecting my craft. "Jack of all trades, Master of none." For once in my life, I want to be a master of my craft. 

Now what?

I'm redirecting who I follow on social media. Sure, I'll still follow a few family and children's portrait pages, but I'm starting to shift my social media circles to include photographers that are mastering the same area as I am; high school seniors. Will I still take pics of my kids? Heck yeah! But just not at the frantic pace that I once did. Capturing their every . single . day .  just isn't as important to me anymore. I have a business that I want to get off the ground and I have to focus my energies, and the time spent behind my camera, on what will make me a successful photographer.

 

I Feel Pretty?

Feb 28, 2014

It's something that I haven't really felt in a long time. (Pretty) I've been told I was pretty since I was about 10 years old.  I always looked at least 2-3 years older than I was, so getting hit on at the age of 12 was a common happening where ever I went. My dad said that he needed to make a sign with my age and hang it around my neck. I never went far without him or my mom in public places for fear that someone might make an inappropriate comment about my looks. To which they replied, "She is 12!".

I felt pretty.

While my wardrobe was, usually, much to be desired, I always felt pretty. DNA was on my side (for the most part). I have high cheek bones.  Long lashes. Green eyes.  A decent nose. I'm shorter.  5'3".  I have a small waist and big hips. I had a solid petite figure. But there was always the wants. I wanted long legs. I wanted longer arms. I wanted a tighter bum. But even with the unattainable wishlist I still, for the most part, felt pretty.

I felt pretty when we lived in Brooklyn. I felt pretty when we lived in LA. I stopped feeling pretty when we moved the MD. It's not Maryland's fault.  It has nothing to do with the state, but a lot changed when we moved to MD. Enter baby #2. Enter a longer commute. Enter 2 drop offs every morning. Enter a boy at age 3 and a girl at age 7. Enter fighting. Enter bickering. Entering climbing the counters. Enter homework. Enter very little time to myself. 

I had, in a sense, become everything that I vowed to never become.  I wear my sneakers to work. I wear my jeans to work. I'm unpressed. I leave the house with no make-up. My hair's not done. I shy away from mirrors. I walk with my head down. My brows go unplucked. I make my showers quick and my post shower even quicker. I don't want to see my weight gain. I'm stressed.  The word "mom" can send chills down my spine. I lock myself in the bathroom for quiet time. I stare at walls. Feeling pretty doesn't fit my mood on most occasions.      

I feel guilty when I feel pretty. It means that I took too much time for myself when I should be taking time to do something else. Wash dishes. Cook. Fold laundry. Vacuum. Clean. Grocery shop. Make the beds.     

But, this is wrong. There is nothing wrong with feeling pretty. 

For my selfie's in this post, I decided to try something that I haven't tried in a long time.  I decided I wanted to try to feel pretty.  I did my make-up. I did my hair. I assembled a few pieces of clothing that still fit. And I shot my session.  And it worked.  I felt good. I felt pretty. I still do.

What I'm trying to say here is that there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling pretty (or good).  There is nothing wrong with taking some time to yourself to do something that makes you feel good. Go for a run. Go for a walk. Get a massage. Get a facial. Get your eyebrows waxed (hello!). Do your hair. Being a mom is tough business. It's a mental drain.  Rewarding, yes. Draining, yes. I still look like crap today (no make-up, hair all stringy and yuck), but I can still know that in some way shape or form, weather it happens every day or not, that I can still feel good about myself.  So go on. Go forth and every once in a while, dress like you're a princess. Do you're make-up like you're a rock star. Don those 5 inch heals collecting dust in your closet. Make yourself feel good.  The effects will last you;).

If you want to see the rest of the images from this session, be sure to check out my album on Google+ ---> https://plus.google.com/106560261002478710918/posts/dJwwuWMYD3g

PPS - These images are a part of a Google+ Community I'm involved with.  It's called Style It! Masterpiece Project 2014 .  Be sure to check it out if you're on Google+!

PPPS - If you're NOT of Google+, then you need to get over there now.  Amazing things are happening!
   
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Hello, Hello!

Hello, Hello!
Welcome to Callia's Corner! Hi! I'm Michelle. I'm a photography obsessed mother to two little ones (ages 3 and 7)! When I'm not taking pictures of life, I'm hanging with my husband, family and friends. And I love martinis. Dirty, spicy martinis. And, wine. And, chocolate. And, really, really short hair.

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