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A Letter to My Past Self {A Photography Journey}

A Letter to My Past Self {A Photography Journey}

Dear 2011 Courtney,

Girl, you don’t know this yet, but you are about to find one of the greatest, most fulfilling hobbies of your life.

As soon as you get your first iPhone, you will jump into the Instagram craze to document your life.  You will slap any kind of vintage looking filter on your poorly lit photo of you darling children.   Perfect!  Though these photos aren’t much to look at as far as well exposed and composed images, you are started on your photography journey and this is right where you should be.  Trust me.

These early photos, though not perfect, will be cherished dearly by your 2018 self when she realizes how much your family has changed in 7 years. As you see other’s photos on Instagram, you be inspired to take better photos of your family.  You will start taking billions of photos of everything and you will start to get a little better every day.

A dear friend will notice your budding desire to take nice pictures and give you book that will introduce you to the basics of photography.  This book will pretty much change your life as you know it.   You will learn important fundamentals of photography, like the rule of thirds, and you will play around heavily with that one.  It will make your photos more interesting for sure.  But there will be so much more to learn.
Your awareness of the beautiful things in your life will increase as you strive to make the most interesting images of your every day.  This awareness will make you see everything differently and increase your gratitude for the amazing world that God has created for you.  Every sunset will take your breath away.  You will notice more than ever fields of flowers, interesting rock formations, the way the light falls delicately on your child’s face, the way colors compliment each other.  A tender moment between siblings.  This will be one of the greatest blessings of your photography journey. For Christmas in 2012, your inspired husband will give you your first DSLR camera for Christmas.  A Canon Rebel T3.  You will be instantly dazzled the way the subject stands out from the background.
Look for inspiration on Instagram.  There you will find a treasure trove of artists and friends that you look up to and admire.  They will help you stretch and grow.  You will feel frustrated many times with your work as you compare your artistry to other’s.  Stop that.  Instead, look at it as a learning experience.  As an alternate to beating yourself up, say to yourself, “well this is a good learning experience!  What can I do better next time?”  Don’t stop trying, keep doing what you love.  Each experience will help you to improve.  You will get better, I promise.

A word of warning…your kids will get super-duper sick of the camera.  Make taking pictures of them as fun for them as possible with great activities, interesting prompts and maybe tiny rewards.  Better yet, sneak the camera out and take the photos when they don’t know you are doing it.  If you ask them to pose, or direct them too much, they will oblige at first, but after a year of it, they will start to heavily resist.

You will admire artists who seem to have a consistent style of photos.  When you look at their work, you know immediately who posted the photo without even seeing the name beneath it.  You will have a LONG journey finding your style.  YEARS and YEARS!  You will experiment with many different presets and lighting.  You will take classes, and ask advice from many different artists.  You work will be a mish-mash of many different styles as you try desperately to find a look that just feels right.  I wish I could help you find your style sooner, but I feel like that experience of trial and error is extremely valuable to you.  You will learn SO MUCH.   Plus, the journey will be amazing.

An amazing part in your photography journey is that people will start asking you to take pictures for them.  You will start your own business!  I know you can’t imagine it now, but it’s TRUE.  This fun turn of events will be so fulfilling.  It will stretch you and you will grow as a person and as an artist.  It won’t even feel like a job because you will enjoy it so much.  Remember to keep your family top priority.  Limit the amount of sessions you do.  I suggest 2 – 3 sessions a month.  Or you will be crazy….and you and I both know what happens when we get too busy.

Remember, you need to know the rules of photography.  I know you don’t like to read books at this time in your life, but take the time to study the rules of composition and exposure.  The best pictures you take will be properly exposed, with beautiful creamy skin tone in fantastic light.  You will love pictures with lots of movement so study up about shutter speed.

Friend, look at where we started, and where we are now.  We have found our style.  We like bright and clean photos with rich colors and contrast.  We have a more consistent look to our photos that our customers actually seek us out for.   We have come to the point where we understand the rules of photography and can teach and mentor others.  We have spent countless hours with our families and documented their life.  We have captured memories for other people.  We have had many, many opportunities to serve and brighten the world with our skills.  We seek out and see the beauty in the world and our daily activities.  Friend, grab a hold of that new iPhone camera of yours,  get that photography journey started.  You’re in for an amazing ride.

Love your 2018 self,

Court



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