REDEFINE | EMOTIONAL STORYTELLING featuring Jessica Lutz Photography


“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “

Why are you passionate about this topic?

Somewhere along the way we learn to silence the voice within us. We’re too often told that sharing our feelings/ emotions/experiences/ourselves openly is anything from weak to whining to attention seeking to just not talked about or too much or too dark and or boastful & so on. And so we learn to stuff it down a little further. We say we’re fine when we aren’t. We might downplay when we feel proud. We pretend something didn’t hurt us when it did. We worry they’ll say our passions are silly or impossible. We fear putting it out there because people will judge us. We let fears hold us hostage.We feel things deeply so they brand us sensitive. We let the opinions of others stand in our way.  Until we decide that we don’t live for them & we want our voice back, we want to make our dreams a reality, we want to be real with and for ourselves and that what others think truly doesn’t matter. I believe in exploring all that is within. The deep rooted & the temporary feelings.  Everything your soul lives and aches for. That which brings you the utmost peace. That which overwhelms and exhausts you. That which haunts you. Those things that get your heart racing with excitement or with anxiety. What gets you up in the morning and what keep you up at night. Every bit of it. The good and the bad- everything in between. It’s all your story to tell. One individual human being is a story containing more stories than we have time to tell. But telling them, sharing your real, your soul, your heart, your art for yourself and sharing it with the world and healing yourself while simultaneously and probably totally unknowingly inspiring others to push past their own fears and tell their own, it’s pretty amazing.

I always had art right there with me through everything. Expressing myself , telling my truth through art is what art is all about to me. I need it. Through art I have learned so much about myself and taught myself how to get through everything life has thrown at me. Art has saved me, it continues to save me. It’s impossible not to be passionate about something that gives you so much.

When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?

When I was a young girl I would  write and paint but more so when I was consumed with feeling something,  which made my anxiety worse, and I quickly  began to realize that art/creating was my therapy. I need it to get through it all. So, eventually I began using writing and self-portraiture to tell my stories and often now I cast others to be in my storytelling images. When I would put off writing it out/creating from what I was going through I felt more anxiety. And when I sat down and wrote out what I was feeling then shot an image to go with those words/feelings, I felt relief.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)

  1.  Let yourself feel. Keep a journal. Write it all down. It will inspire you.
  2. Get in front of the camera. Feel whatever you’re feeling in that moment and use a remote/timer to shoot. So often inspiration comes while shooting. Notice the expressions and poses you’re making that show your emotions through body language.
  3.  Allow yourself to fail. If you set out to shoot a story and it doesn’t go as you planned and doesn’t turn into something more while you’re shooting you’re allowed to walk away and revisit it later. This is your art. Take breaks when you need them, they are good for the mind, body and soul. They are also good for your art- keep writing those thoughts and feelings down- they can inspire you later when you’re ready
  4. Think about how location, light, tones and even props can strength your story
  5. Create what YOU feel & don’t apologize for it.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

In the beginning, I struggled with putting my personal art out there. Sharing so much of myself and for it to be judged. That fear was without a doubt my biggest challenge because I was sharing so much of myself with each image and a lot of what I would talk about people felt were taboo subjects (parental estrangement, alcoholism, anxiety, depression, therapy and so forth) And I absolutely experienced people loving it, feeling it, relating to it and hating it. I got the “overshare” comment often. People told me my work was “too dark/emotional/depressing”. And I spent far too much time and energy  wondering if I should share my images but keep the stories behind them to myself. But I felt the need to talk about it all was not only incredibly overdue but necessary if I was ever going to move on, heal, grow. I had more messages from people that felt the same, went through something similar, felt something from it or also live with a need to get so much out from within themselves. I reminded myself I make this art for me. If people love it great. If they don’t that’s fine. I don’t make it for them. I promise you’ll stop caring what others think. I promise your art will resonate with the people. Some who will tell you and so many more that won’t- but it will. But most importantly sharing your work, it helps you grow, it helps you heal, it connects you with amazing people and artists- you  just have to push past your fears and keep making the art only you can make.

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About the photographer:

Jessica Lutz is a self taught photographer living in Southwestern, Ontario with her husband raising two daughters. She is represented by  The Norman Felix Gallery of Toronto & specializes in Emotional Storytelling Imagery. She is passionate about coffee drinking, written word, the story within and vintage dresses.

WebsiteFacebook. Instagram.

10 Facts with Facebook Guest Judge 8/22-8/28|Mary Beth Photography

Hi I’m Mary Beth Johnson from Mary Beth Photography. I am a digital/film family photographer based in Northwest Indiana who travels. I have been doing photography for 7 years. My art is my passion. I am excited to be the guest judge this week on Dear Photographer Facebook page and I hope you will join me this week!

10 Fun Facts about Me
1. I have three children. They are my heart my whole life.
2. I am a very passionate person. I love photography and consider it art.
3. I am from the south originally. I talk slow, live/breathe Bama football, and think sweet tea goes with everything.
4. Car karaoke is my fave. If I don’t know the words I make them up.
5.Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. I feel like if you’re not hustling you’re not doing something right.
6.Bright running shoes make me happy.
7. I hate watermelon, and no you can’t convince me to try it with sugar. Still gross.
8. Reading and people watching are two things I like to do in my free time, if I have any.
9. I don’t take myself or life too seriously.
10. I am so blessed you are here to read this and share your images with me.

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I love shooting film and I hope you’ll share your heart with me this week. 💗
Mary Beth Profile


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Mary Beth Johnson, of Mary Beth Photography, located in northwest Indiana, is a natural light digital & film family photographer. Mary Beth loves Jesus, her babies, Alabama football, bright running shoes, sweet tea, and a good book. She just started her film journey this spring and has fallen in love all over again with color. Mary Beth truly believes that if you love what you do, you’ll never have to work a day in your life.

Shooting Outside the Box featuring Momma Got Soul Photography


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As a photographer I can find myself shooting the same locations over and over. The same favorite spot year after year, so when I have clients that want something a little out of the ordinary, I fall in love. I am a family photographer, but that doesn’t mean all family sessions need to take place in the green grass or on a couch in a field. While those places are fine, shooting somewhere different brings a lot of fun and memories to a family session.

I recently had a family session at IKEA, yes you read that right, IKEA. It was a blast. The colors, the kids jumping on the bed the busyness of the background, but still being able to bring out my subjects, the framing, the lights, I can’t stop raving about it.

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So how does a session like this work? Well, it takes the right client. I recognize that not everyone wants a session like this and that is where consultations come in handy. Sitting down with my clients and talking about some of their favorite places, where do the have fun at, what is attractive to them, where do the spend a lot of time at? Are they beach goers? What about the local ice cream shop or pizza parlor? What is a favorite place that they like to go after school on Friday afternoons, or Sunday brunch? Maybe the local farmer’s market or outdoor Bistro? What makes life special to them? Then go shoot there.

Some places I recommend talking with the staff or management first, especially small businesses. I have never had one tell me no, and I like to tag them in my social media posts, which many will share, so hey free advertising! For big places like IKEA, the grocery store or Target, I don’t ask. I have shot my own children and others in these places often and I have never had any issues or been asked to stop. I also tend to go with the ask for forgiveness instead of permission with most aspects in my life.😉

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So don’t be afraid to shoot outside the box, to do things a little unconventional, to take a risk. Move out of your rut of shooting the same scene in the same place and add some variety to your portfolio. Above all have some fun! Feel free to check out my blog to see more images from this awesome session.


Dear Photographer featuring Something Beautiful Photography


The photo was taken in 2010 when I began shooting in manual mode on my big camera after years of having it and being afraid to take it off auto.  I had no idea how to edit at this point. I still love this photo because it was my oldest and she was so little then.

Dear Current Self,

Your path leading to photography began so long ago when you were but a child, dreaming of what you could do and be but so unsure of where you were going.  Through life’s tragedies of loss and deep heartache to better times of bliss and happiness, your experiences have shaped you. Each and every one had helped you become the person, photographer and artist you are now.  For, as you know, taking a photograph is far more then picking up a camera and pushing a button.

“You don’t make a photograph just with a camera.  You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.”  Ansel Adams

Your photography journey has been full of ups and downs both personally and professionally. Don’t forget the many years you spent practicing how to take an ordinary moment and, with the use of light, understanding your camera and your lens and having a vision, make it into something beautiful.  Yes there have been lessons learned: get your photos right in camera, know the light, shoot with intention and most important believe in who you are and your voice. Don’t fear the possibility of being different and never compromise those things in an attempt to please others.

As far as goals, there are many but they are simple. Stay humble and appreciate every moment you are given to do this thing you love so much. Learn film, wander more, fall in love with new places, music, and life.  Stay inspired.  Print more photos and keep up with those childhood photo books.  Balance personal and professional life as best you can and give yourself a break when you can’t.  Meet more photographers who see the world as you do.  Last of all, for the day when you are no longer here on earth, leave those who never knew you with photographs that tell them the kind of person you were, the life you lived and the desire that they wished they had.

Your friend,



About the photographer:
I am a natural light lifestyle photographer living in the mountains of western Colorado with my firefighter husband and two sweet girls.  I am a lover of light, movement and details.  My favorite thing to shoot are my daughters and I shoot them everyday.  Other places you can find me besides behind the camera are: in the mountains, the gym, the coffee shop, or listening to music (currently listening to Andrew Belle and The Lumineers).


BE INSPIRED Session featuring Di Main Photography


Is this personal work or client work?

Client work – The Shaw family hired me to photograph a documentary session during the legal adoption of their daughter.

What about this session was most memorable?

The whole session was filled with so much raw emotion that made it very memorable. There was lots of smiles, hugs, nerves, and happy tears in a short amount of time. The Shaw’s had shared with me their story of struggling with infertility before they had started the adoption journey and were blessed with their daughter. Knowing the background of their story and being included in these special moments, I caught myself getting teary eyed and emotional along with the family.

Were there any hurdles?

There was several hurdles; the uncertainty of what to expect and where I was allowed to photograph in this particular building,  the constant variation in lighting as we moved from room to room in the courthouse, and the fast pace through it all. Once we went in to the courthouse the entire process was only about 20 minutes, so there wasn’t any time to scope things out.

Give us your best photographer/session advice.

For this type of fast paced documentary session, I would suggest a wide angle lens because the court rooms and hallways can be tight spaces. I would also suggest having your flash ready to go on your camera, even if you don’t use it. It is best to be prepared and on your toes.

What gear was used to achieve these?

Canon 5D Mark III, Sigma Art 35 mm lens, and flash was used for some shots

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About the photographer:

Diane is an on- location lifestyle and documentary photographer who lives in Southern California. She’s drawn to human connection, emotion, and telling an authentic story through her images. She mostly photographs families, children and couples, but recently has found a love for the art of intimate lifestyle that shows the natural beauty of women. Her husband works as a Food & Beverage Director for a golf course community and together they have a blended family of five children. Between their busy schedules, they make time to enjoy family dates that usually include a day of bowling and frozen yogurt.



REDEFINE | BOUDOIR PHOTOGRAPHY featuring Dollhouse Boudoir


Why are you passionate about this topic?

I have been given the opportunity to help women fall in love with themselves again. As a woman and mother I know how easy it is to lose ourselves in the everyday.  With boudoir I am able to meet women during every walk of their lives: brides to be, new moms, recently divorced, expecting mothers, 40 somethings, survivors. I get to watch them almost transform in front of me. From sitting down in the make up chair nervous not sure of themselves, to getting in front of the camera still shy, to the last set naked and fully exposed and totally feeling it, and then the image reveal, OY! Its always my favorite, I never thought it would feel good to make grown women cry but it is. It is so rewarding and empowering for myself to be able to be apart of someones story and rediscoverance (is that even a word?) its almost hard to put into words what a boudoir session does for 90% of my clients and myself. Empowering that is all.

When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?

When I shot my first boudoir session, I instantly fell in love. I was stuck in the photography world of having to do it all. Shooting weddings and kids started feeling like a job I dreaded going to and I lost myself in the mix. I had shot a few boudoir sessions but not any that I felt like were fully me. So I asked a few friends to get nakey for me and it all went crazy from there, I was hooked! My first really emotional shoot was conformation I was where I needed to be, we shared our personal experiences, we cried together, and she has been a repeat client (5 sessions under her belt to date) since. With boudoir I feel like I have a purpose, likes its my duty to show women how truly beautiful and badass they are.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?

Do your own boudoir shoot! Know what it feels like, to be raw, open, vulnerable. It will help you be able to relate to what they are feeling.

Talk, a lot. I prefer to be there during hair and make up so I can get to know my clients I mean they are going to be butt nakey in front of me which is super uncomfortable period for anyone! I will tell you my clients who get all the awkward nervousness out while in the stylist chair come into their session swinging!😉

Keep it real. I am blunt, I have the biggest sailor mouth(which I warn clients about in my contract) like f bombs just fall out when I’m shooting but I cant help it when I’m so exciting with the magic happening! When you are shooting don’t be a robot, we honestly spend more time laughing our butts off then actually taking pictures I swear, but it is the easiest way to make clients comfortable, seriously most of the time they forget they’re naked as we laugh about the 3am getting pooped on stories or all the douche bags that lost out on the hotness that is us. Be relatable. Some of my closest friends started as out in front of my camera.

Find what you love and marry the shit out of it.

Seriously when I stopped trying to do it all,  I found my place in the world. If you don’t like doing something, don’t do it.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

Making them 100% comfortable, my first two years of shooting I only shot boudoir outdoors, which made things harder for sure.

Getting girls naked, I mean my man didn’t see me naked until like month 6 and here I am some random, expecting women to come to me, drop their drawers, AND let me photograph the most intimate parts of them!

Oh and the worst struggle, model releases, nothing is more heartbreaking then shooting an AMAZING set and not being able to share it with the world!



About the photographer:

Meranda Olson is a natural light photographer located in Bakersfield, CA specializing in Boudoir and reminding women how truly beautiful they are. She is a mother to 3 amazing littles, a bulldog, tortoise, and hanky the snake. She runs on coffee, red bulls and brownie batter. In her free time you can find her cruising her favorite local thrift stores, trying to be a pinterest DIYer, or adding to her tattoo collection!

Website. FacebookInstagram.

Maternity Sessions featuring Rachel K Photo LLC


This weekend, I’ll be having my own maternity session done by a fellow photographer/friend! While I’m used to being behind the camera, like most people, I get a little nervous when it comes to being in front of it. As I’m preparing to be on the other side of the camera, and figuring out what to wear, I thought it would be helpful to share some of my tips for those of you that might be in the same situation as me, or maybe just need help giving suggestions to your clients!


The first question people always ask, is when should I have my maternity photos done. It’s a hard question to answer, because really that all depends on you, and how big you want your belly to be! I generally suggest between 28-34 weeks though. You want to find that sweet spot where you’re showing really well, but also not so big that you’re miserable. I’m personally doing my maternity photos at 31 weeks, but I’ve photographed moms to be from 24 weeks, all the the way to a last minute session at 39 weeks! Second time moms, and those carrying twins also tend to show quicker, so keep that in mind too. 


General session tips:

Bring whatever you need to be comfortable! If you plan on wearing heels or wedges, that might include some comfortable walking shoes for in-between locations. I also suggest water, and for longer shoots, or ones that require a longer drive time to get to, even a snack! And if you’re anything like me, requesting a location with restrooms isn’t a bad idea either!


I’m not a big prop photographer, so if you show up to one of my sessions with baby shoes and signs, I might cringe a little on the inside.. however, I have had clients bring props that were meaningful to the family that I loved! The one that always stands out to me the most, is a quilt that the father’s grandmother had made. They took engagement photos with it, maternity, and once the baby was here, newborn, 3 mo, 6 mo, 9 mo, and one year. So if you’re thinking about bringing a prop to your session, I suggest that you choose something that is meaningful, rather than trendy.


What to wear:

I always suggest at least one of your outfits for maternity photos be a dress. To me there is just something so elegant, romantic and feminine about showing off the bump in a pretty dress. Maxi dresses tend to work best, but shorter dresses also look great. Just keep the length in mind, if you plan on doing any poses that involve sitting down.

I also suggest that you wear something form fitting to really show off the bump, that’s the whole point of the photos right?

And last but not least, I think everyone should bare the bump for at least a couple of photos. You may have stretch marks, a dark line down your belly, or just feel “huge”, but someday you will miss all of it. They may not be the photos you share with all your friends and family, or post all over social media, but I truly believe, that someday when that little baby growing in your belly isn’t so little any more, you love being able to look back and see what amazing things your body was capable.

Even though I love dresses, and bare bellies, you should ultimately wear what you feel good in! If you aren’t comfortable in what you’ve chosen for pictures, it will show. If you can’t find a dress you feel good in, but you rock a good pair of skinny jeans do that. If you can barely walk in heels, then wear some cute and comfy flat boots or pretty sandals.

RachelKPhoto-1-14RachelKPhoto-2More style tips:

Steer clear of fluorescents. They tend to color cast on faces, necks and hair and can be harsh sometimes. I recommend versions of primary colors. Yellow (mustard), red (maroon, brick), and blue (navy, royal).

Stay away from wearing a lot of green when having photos taken in grassy or wooded areas. You want to stand out amongst all the greenery you’re surrounded by, not blend in!

Layers add dimension and depth. So in the summer consider layering your outfit with a cute belt or statement necklace. In the fall and winter,  think cardigans, scarves, and hats.

And for your significant other, and other little ones, don’t be matchy-matchy, but coordinate. Wearing the same colored shirt and pants can look a bit awkward. Coordinating color is what really brings a wardrobe together. I suggest choosing two or three main colors of wardrobe, and maybe one accent pop of color. Pinterest is a great resource for finding wardrobe inspiration!RachelKPhoto-1-17RachelKPhoto-1-11RachelKPhoto-1-10

What about you, have any must share maternity session tips? Leave them in the comments! And to see more of my maternity photography head over to my website, or connect with me on Facebook or Instagram!