11.03.2008

The Sun is our Friend

Seven years ago when I started my photography biz (very slowly and very cautiously), I was working for a company called For Every Body. I was employed as the Catalog Designer, Photographer, Marketing Director, Customer Service Rep, Saleswoman and Personal Assistant to the Pres and V.P. There were probably more titles but I can't remember them all.. Anyway, I learned A LOT from working there and when I quit For Every Body after having my first baby, I knew that I still wanted to work in Photography somehow. I was, after all, on the yearbook staff in high school, I had taken as many photography classes as UVSC offered 12 years ago and I knew how to work a camera.. I could do this! Wow.. it didn't work out like that. I started taking pics of friends/family with my 15 year old FILM Canon Rebel camera until I got one of the very first digital cameras that came out, which was a piece of shiz.. I think it was an Olympus something or another. My pics were the worst things you'd ever seen.. really. I kept at it though and thought my bad pics were from poor lighting or my stupid camera.. I would lay awake at night and think about all the things I could do to improve and websites to visit.. (there were no blogs back in the olden days) I finally bought my first "nice" camera, the Canon 10D and a few lenses and SLOWLY learned more and more from working and working and practicing and practicing. I was just thinking about how I used to be so afraid of taking pictures in the sun and I would pray for cloudy days.. I would never do anything different because I was afraid of messing things up - I stayed in open shade ALWAYS and stayed in my comfort zone. Well, I'm here to tell you that working that way won't get you anywhere.. the second I began to notice a difference in my photography was when I decided that it didn't matter if my photos were completely in focus or if there was a bit of shadow on someone's cheek or if the sun made the photo a bit hazy.. I was taking pictures the way I wanted to - not worrying about anything else... trying different things and really trying to freeze what I saw through my viewfider exactly as I saw it, good or bad. I never used a flash and still rarely do, unless it is absolutely necessary. True, real lighting is gorgeous, not scary. I guess the point to all of this is that I get so many emails asking advice on cameras and photoshop and technique and I wanted to just say that we all have been in the "just starting out" phase and it's scary and hard and stressful and it will pass. Now I'm not saying that I know it all.. I am still totally learning everyday.. I try and learn something from each session or wedding that I photograph. The best advice I can give, really, is to not be afraid.. of lighting, focus, style, whatever. Just do what you like and you'll develop your style and get comfortable in all sorts of lighting situations. I hope this helps. :)
I've put a few photos below from a recent wedding of shots that aren't perfect or posed or totally in focus, but still get the point across and are full of emotion.
Feel free to leave a question or comment, I won't bite.

















27 comments:

The Hunters said...

Thank you for this! I love your pictures so much, I hope to be just as great of a photographer as you are some day...

Sarah said...

What great advice! And awesome photos of course...

Nicki said...

Hello there! I am frequently on your blog and actually use you as a guide and inspiration for my own photography business. I am a mother and have decided to become a photographer as well. I have been struggling a little (with confidence and such) and have been praying as to if it's right for me. And I want to say thank you for your inspiring words and encouragement...an answer to my prayers. I acutally have my first real photo session this weekend with a family i don't know, so thanks for helping me to remember why I'm doing this! I love you work, you truly have a gift!
Nicole

berrymom said...

Haley...thank you so much for this post. It is so nice to hear some encouragement for "just starting out" photographers. I am definitely in that afraid stage...maybe I will branch out a bit.

Thanks again!
Jen

Celeste said...

I am your blog stalker...(man, that's creepy!) But I LOVE these pictures. I totally agree with you about trying to get everything perfect. These pictures, while they may not be 'technically'(who even made these 'technical rules' anyways?) perfect, ARE perfect! They capture so much raw emotion! I feel like I was there with you, and that's what we should strive to capture - life! I think these are amazing - and yes....I'm pretty sure I'll continue to stalk you...tee hee!
Celeste

Rachel said...

And that is why we love you, Hayley. I can totally tell from your pictures and style that you know what you are doing with lighting and posing, etc. but then you let go and still have fun with it. It gives a lot of life to your pictures. Thanks for helping out the struggling, stressed, lying awake at night ones of us. Can it pass now, please?

Ashlee Raubach said...

Thank you so much for being so great to help other struggling photographers like myself! You really have an amazing talent, you know your technical stuff, your AMAZING with light, you know your processing, but most of all, you are incredibly creative and artistic, your images ALWAYS capture emotion, and that's why I love your work so much! Not too mention how chill you are in shoots, I really admire that. Thank you so much for sharing your talent with all of us!!! I do hope someday to see you do families again!

Haley said...

Nicki, Thanks for your sweet comments.. Don't be nervous.. (easier said than done)- just have fun! I recognized Kerry Kinateder (I don't know her married name) on your blog.. :)

Peramore Photography said...

You are seriously wonderful. Thanks for this post.

Nicki said...

Thanks for your words of encouragement. I found your blog through Kerry. I LOVE what you did with her sister's bridals. You definitely set the bar high and I love that!

Deb Lamb said...

Haley,
I'm another of your "blog stalkers". I love photography, and although I don't do it for a living, I photograph my friends and family as a service to them. Because I am not being paid, you would think it would not be as stressful, but it is stressful almost every single time for me, because I want them to be pleased with their pictures! I related to what you said in your post. It was like listening to my own voice. I have been terrified of sunlight recently and what you said gave me some confidence to just keep trying. Thank you for thinking of all of us who are trying!

Jared and Jen said...

I so appreciate this post. I'm just starting a photo biz, and I'm feeling just like you said you did in the beginning. You are definitely inspiring! Your work is just beautiful!

Amanda said...

Thank you for this post! It is so easy to get stuck in a rut and do the same thing over and over. Your work is so amazing and you are always such an inspiration to me! THANKS!

Emily said...

Thanks so much for your encouraging words and advice! I've only recently discovered your blog and I love your talent!

brit said...

they said it all! you're the bomb dot com!!!! love your guts & can't wait till the 15th!

Betina said...

I love your photography and I really appretiate when you share tips with the blogosphere. I am timid of taking photos in anything but full shade. Mostly because I don't understand shutter speed and apeture as much as I should.

Andy technical tips you have will always be lapped up by me.

Thanks for your encouragement to push my comfort zone.

Haley said...

Berrymom, Do it! Branch out! You won't regret it. :)

Celeste, Thanks my dear.. keep stalking!

Rachel, I don't always know what I'm doing, but those are the times when I learn something new.. it will pass! :)

Ashlee, you da bomb. :) I love to have to tag along.. great company.

Deb, Keep trying.. keep trying.. U Can Do It!

Betina, How are you? When's baby coming?

Angela Fielding said...

ok- can I be your friend!?!:)You are just a sweet, genuine person Haley! And a rockin photographer!!

The Ducketts said...

Haley....let me just say that every time I look at your blog I want to get new wedding pictures. Just when I think you can't get any better you pull something new off. You are seriously so good at what you do. So about this belly of mine...we probably should schedule something before you are too crazy with the holidays and such...there is a belly shot on my blog right now...check er out...www.auntboosblog.blogspot.com and let me know what you think...

Heather Telford said...

these pictures are beautiful.. I agree the sun can create such beautiful pictures that a flash could never do..

Cassie Tassie said...

Haley

We love your work!! I swear I am addicted to your blog. I check it out all the time to see what's new.

Thanks again for our beautiful wedding pictures. I think that I look at them everyday. Well almost everyday.

You're awesome!!

Cassie Tassie :)

Lindsey said...

Love your work! You're awesome! Thanks for the tips. Maybe it will help cool my nerves a little.

Anonymous said...

What a great blog. Thank you so much for encouraging the rest of us out there, wishing we were as good as you are. Now we know, go with your heart and practice, practice and practice a bit more.

Kind Regards,
Gezina Shaw-Butler.

Jody said...

Haley, you're too cute. Jody

ddphotography said...

thank you thank you thank you...

im afraid of the light, and i want desperately not to be..I know its the biggest thing holding me back!

your photography is beautiful..it inspires me!

just the words i needed to read this morning...

Kristen said...

hi haley, i've started to frequent your blog after falling in love with your pictures. what great advice! your perspective has helped me look at my photographs in a whole other view. thank you so much. :)
and good luck with those twins!

Three and Counting said...

Ok Haley- you are going to think this is weird- but this is Carrie Warner- I was a year older than you in high school and we were friends with the same people- I'm sure we were never friends because (as I have realized in my older and wiser years) I was very insecure and intimidated by your unbelievable beauty and grace. Anyway for the past 2 years I have been pursuing my love of photography. Not professionally as I have absolutely no confidence. Recently family and a few friends have asked me to do some for them and I have been so conflicted by the time it has taken and will take to learn what I need to to get to the point when I can do this with confidence and expertise. Anyway, I have had a very rough couple of days tyring to edit a baby session I did recently and feeling like I don't have time patience, or skill for everything let alone anything! AAGGGHH. SOrry to write a novel, butI really just wanted to say, thank you so much for your post. I have been to hundreds of sites and I have never come across one mother/photographer who has let on that she is anything but practically perfect in every way! (it seems) I just came home from COstco where I picked up some prints that didn't turn out exactly like I wanted and my kids were going nuts and I was feeling like there is no way I could do this and then literally I read your post and I know gag- I got teary. Thank you so much for your honesty. I think this is the most I have ever said to you.- Funny, only took me 15 years. YOu are amazing..