Dear Photographer featuring Monica Hart Photography

Hey 1999 Monica,
So you want to be an artist? You think photography is going to help you express all those crazy feelings you have swirling around inside you? Let me tell you a thing or two about what you’re in for. This will be a journey riddled with self-doubt and anxiety. You are going to somehow lose your artistic voice along the way. Your heart will break a few times and you’ll feel like ripping it out. Throwing in the towel will sound like a good option and you do that for a little while. But little by little you will start to find it again, that little spark you thought you lost. It will ignite again! A fire will burn in you and you’ll come full circle back to the reason you embarked on this journey in the first place. Don’t get me wrong there is still plenty of self -doubt and anxiety but now its just more fuel for your fire.
Do you still want to embark on this crazy ride? Pretty sure I know the answer.
Much Love,
2016 Monica
0528_0214 0612_0106 0625_0142 0628_0062 beautiful-light_hartm week-6 week-28

About the photographer:

I am passionate about finding the splendor in the seemingly mundane details of everyday life and I love to document my girls in a beautiful yet honest way. Beautiful light and shadows make my heart flutter.

Dear Photographer Featuring Bethadilly Photography

Oh sweet lady,
My how far you have come in the past three years. From that very first moment you picked up your first DSLR you have been on the go. Wanting nothing small for yourself, you decided to ignore all of those little nervous voices in your head that were placing doubt and plunged into business confidently. To this day, it was one of the best decisions that you’ve made for your photography. And to this day, that moment of
trusting and believing in yourself is one of the bravest things you have ever done.
You will always remember that very first outing with your very first camera. The Cherry Blossom festival in DC. You had your new fancy camera bag, a barely worn in camera strap, and your fingers were fumbling like crazy over all of those tiny buttons. You were so worried about exposure and lighting, the rule of thirds and limb chops. You were so focused on not breaking any of the photography composition rules, because goodness knows you weren’t a rule breaker.
Since that day you have gotten wiser about a few things. That lady who never broke any photography rules now craves breaking them and your most eye catching photographs are the ones where you threw the rules out the window and did what you wanted. And while you are still learning not to worry too much about how others view your work, you are shooting for yourself and being authentic to who you truly are as an artist.
Being unique and authentic is kind of your thing, these days. Instead of taking photographs that simply capture people, you are creating art that expresses honest moments and genuine emotion. Where you once stressed over having others look at the camera, you now beg your clients to pretend you aren’t even present, to ignore you. You haven’t let go of your need for perfection, but you have redefined what perfection looks like. Perfect is no longer everyone looking at the camera all at the same time.
Perfect is having a little one stick their tongue out just as you click the shutter, capturing not only their young and silly personality but the emotion and reaction it elicited from their surrounding family. Perfect is no longer that perfect baby sleeping quietly in the crib, but instead the honest cry that documents what true newborns do in their first days.
I guess you could say you are not a photographer. Nope, you aren’t. You are a storyteller. You use your camera to tell, and sometimes to create, a story. You thrive in situations where you can be a fly on the wall, documenting families and situations as they unfold. Portraying everyday life in a beautiful way is one of your greatest passions and has taught you so many life lessons along the way.
You’ve learned that there is so much beauty in the everyday. In the endless baskets of laundry, the messy kitchen, and those trips to the market. Beauty is everywhere, whether it is portrayed through the composition or the light. And simply being patient and giving the situation a chance to prove it’s beauty to you has taken your photography places you never would have gone before. And, through your photography, you have been blessed with some great relationships.
Your passion to encourage other photographers instead of compete against them has taken you much farther in your journey with photography. Your willingness to teach and educate others to take a leap with their photography has encouraged you to meet so many wonderful artists who have, in turn, inspired you and your skill.
If there is one thing that I want to see you continue to do, it’s demonstrate kindness and encouragement towards others. Continue to show others that we are all photographers together, going on similar journeys and living the same passion. Help others on their journey with photography, just as you’ve been helped along the way.
Just seeing all that you have done in three years, I cannot wait to see where you go next. While your list of things to learn is always growing and, from time to time, you need a little motivation to pick up your camera, your thirst to learn and to, in turn, teach others will be what takes you far with your photography.
And while I love the moments that you capture with your camera, be sure to set it down every once in awhile and don’t forget to live in the moment. While pictures of your family will always be your most cherished artifact, your memories are just as important. I am proud of you. You are brave. You are kind. You are encouraging to others and genuinely want them to succeed. You are curious to know and do more, everyday. You are the type of lady you want your daughter to be and, for that, I am proud of you.
current-1 current-2 current-3 current-4 current-5
About the photographer:
Bethany Deschamp of Bethadilly Photography is a lifestyle family and newborn photographer in Washington DC.  She is a mama to one and a wife to her high schoolsweetheart.  Known to have one of the most recognizable photography styles on Instagram, Bethany loves educating other photographers and encouraging them to improve their photography skill through her photo a day project, The Bethadilly Challenge. Her favorite thing about photography is that it has taught her to see the beauty in ordinary everyday situations, a lesson she will always be grateful for.

BE INSPIRED Session featuring Elise Meader Photography

Is this personal work or client work?
This is client work!
What about this session was most memorable?
This session was with a sweet family who just recently moved here from California. I was so floored when she emailed me saying she found my work online and wanted to book a session with me. She told me she loved the lifestyle feel, and I instantly knew this was a client who chose me for ME, which is always the best kind of client.
When I arrived I was greeted by a beautiful mama and her husband, a sleeping newborn and two amazing little girls.
The apartment was filled with light and my favorite… they were wearing NEUTRALS! haha, I know… sounds like a funny thing to deem your “favorite”, but I can’t express how much of an impact neutral colors make on an indoor lifestyle session like this. They were so natural, they listened and cooperated when I told them they need not look at me during our session, they can just look at their baby, talk, cuddle and be in the moment. I truly believe that is why these photos came out looking so authentic. It was all them. They did natural perfectly.
Where there any hurdles?
The girls were so amazing with their baby brother and other than the space being a little tight, there weren’t any hurdles. The mother set everything up perfectly, the apartment was warm, the baby had just eaten before my arrival, and she had swaddle and white onesies out ready to go.
Your best photographer/session advice?
My best advice for photographing clients would be to make them feel comfortable. Give them as much heads up as you can prior to the session, letting them know what makes the session flow nicely so they are prepared, and then let them take the reigns. This allows them to relax, feel comfortable and confident in the session and open up on more of a personal level. I try never to take myself too seriously, and in turn, they loosen up and feel at ease in front of the camera.
What gear was used to achieve these?
I used my Nikon D750, my sigma 35 ART and my sigma 24 ART.
blog -1-2 blog -1-3 blog -1-4 blog -1-6 blog -1-7 blog -1-9 blog -1-11 blog -1-12 blog -1-13 blog -1-14 blog -1-15
About the photographer:
Elise is a natural light photographer specializing in lifestyle newborn, family, couples and maternity.
She also runs a wedding business with her partner, Sarah Driscoll, and together they are Root & Bud Weddings.
She is a mother of two boys, Grant and Dean, a wife of a Navy SEAL Veteran, a patriot through and through.

REDEFINE | SELF PORTRAITS featuring Chelsea Marie 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?

Us as photographers spend all of our time behind the camera, capturing memories for other families as well as our own. But how often are we in those pictures? Never. Unless we hand the camera off to someone else and half the time the pictures don’t turn out because not everyone knows their way around a DSLR and quick snapshots or selfies with a phone just don’t cut it. It’s important for everyone to get in the frame, but it’s extremely important for parents to get in the frame with their kids. Step out from your comfort zone behind the camera and get in front of it as often as you can. Show your kids that you existed and were present with them in the moment. Don’t worry about the things that you may not like about yourself. When your kids see photos of you, they aren’t going to be pointing out that spit-up stain on your shirt, your messy hair, the lack of makeup on your face, or that extra baby weight. They are going to remember the the moments; a trip to the beach, reading a bedtime story, snuggling on the couch, going for a walk, or baking cookies. We do so many things with our children, make sure they have pictures of you doing those things with them.

When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
I started experimenting with self portraits from the moment I got my first DSLR in 2011, after my first son was born. Since then, I’ve felt the desire to be in photos with my kids and I’m constantly practicing and perfecting different techniques.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
1.) Practice, practice, practice! Self portraits involve a lot of trial and error, believe me. If your portraits aren’t turning out how you’d like, don’t get discouraged. I used to go through a whole memory card and end up with only a few usable ones.
2.) Use a stand-in. This helps me out big time because one of the hardest things to do when taking self portraits is nailing the focus. Use an inanimate object like a chair, vacuum, laundry basket, or use your kids. Focus where you want, then (this step is important) switch to manual focus, once your focus is where you want it and your settings are good, get in the frame and move the inanimate object if need be, but make sure you stand/sit in that same focal plane or the focus will be off.
3.) Invest in a tripod and wireless remote shutter release. When I first started I didn’t have either and utilized what I had. I propped my camera on top of tables, chairs, whatever was available, set the self timer and ran into place. Once I got a tripod, it made things a lot easier. And for five years I used the self timer setting on my camera to take ALL of my self portraits because I was constantly misplacing my wireless remote or never bothered to figure it out. The photos that are posted along with this blog are all photos from my ‘A Day in the Life’ project and that was the first day that I had ever used my wireless remote for self portraits. And let me tell you… TOTAL. GAME. CHANGER.
4.) Take your self portraits as if you were doing a session for a client. Visualize where you are going to be in the photo and set up your camera accordingly. Be creative with different angles and focal points, just like you would while taking photos of someone else. Experiment with different types of light as well.
5.) Commit to a project. Whether that’s a 365 days, 52 weeks, 12 months, or a Day in the Life project, that’s up to you! By committing to a project, you hold yourself accountable to get in the frame more often. It’s also a great way to practice.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

One of the challenges I had in the beginning was not having the right equipment. When I didn’t have a tripod or remote, I had to make due with what I had and it was really difficult to get the shots I wanted. But I feel like I proved to myself that all I need is a camera and a bit of creativity in order to get the job done. Just because you don’t have the right equipment, isn’t an excuse to avoid getting in the frame.

Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-1Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-2Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-3Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-4Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-5Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-6Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-7Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-8Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-9Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-10Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-11Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-12Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-13Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-14Chelsea Marie Photography_Self Portrait-15

About the photographer:

Chelsea is a stay-at-home-mom and Lifestyle Photographer located in the Houston, Texas area. She’s lived there for the past 3 years with her husband, their two boys, and two cats. She finds the beauty in the everyday moments, while documenting the lives of her two littles. She’s recently taken a hiatus from client work, to refine her focus and once again find the reason she fell in love with photography.

WebsiteFacebookInstagram (1).  Instagram (2).

Food for Thought Top Honor and Features | Chosen by Facebook Guest Judge Moments by Mancuso


Ok, so who gained about 5 pounds after looking at all the yummy “food for thought” images?  I know, I did!  Each and every submission was beautiful and there were so many different interpretations on the theme.  I appreciate the time and vision of every artist that submitted. The talent was super amazing and I could have picked many more for my favorites! Seriously, though! Thank you for your involvement and for sharing your art with everyone! I thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Dear Photographer! 

This first image gave me a good laugh!  This little one’s expression is so honest and real and with the smeared food all in his face, who could not smile at this?  I love how Ashley turned an ordinary moment into extraordinary by putting her own artistic touch into the edit! Well done, Ashely!   Ashley Shope Photography


This capture is just precious! I love the softness and tones of this image! Those tiny, chipped-polish fingernails gently holding the treat, mirrors the softness of the edit and it’s just beautiful! Even though the eating is the focus here, I love that those OOF eyes still make a bold statement!  Wonderful job, Mari!  Mari Sierra Photography


I really adore this image and appreciate the interpretation for the theme! The mood and the tones are just perfect!  The small details are my favorite part though-the focus on those dirty nails, the soft cup hands surrounded by nature, the implied position of the subject as if he were saying, “Look at the berries that I just picked!”  Awesome capture, Iva!  Iva Dahan Photography


I love looking at this next image!  It’s such a real and ordinary moment, which is what my heart loves!  However, the timing of the moment and the conversion take this ordinary moment and make it extraordinary!  If this little one handles life like he’s handling that sandwich, he’s going to conquer big things! Fantastic capture! Treelines Photography


This next image is such a sweet capture and is nicely executed.  The POV and close proximity to the boy allows me to be in the moment with him. I could just hear the knife slicing through those strawberries and quietly banging the chopping board after each cut.  His clenched hand and locked gaze tells us that he is focused and cautious.  Well done, Lisa!  Lisa J Photography 


This stunning image below was the first submission for the theme and I was wowed from the second I saw it!  It reminds me of a painting that could be displayed just about anywhere.  I love everything about it! The dirty fingernails, clenching hard to the apple.  The well planned crop of the eyes.  The mood and tones! Just amazing!  Congratulations, Sahsha! Rubylee Photography



10 Facts with Facebook Guest Judge 10/17-10/23 | Di Main Photography


Hi. This is Diane of Di Main Photography. I live in Southern California with my husband and our blended family of five children. Like many others, my interest in photography started when I was a child. I was always the one with a camera and back then it was film. I didn’t make more of this interest until I was a young adult and enlisted in the Military. I was trained and served in the Air Force as a Military Photographer. After 13 years of service, I separated from the Military to stay home with my family.

I feel like I have re-invented myself many times and my photography journey is no different. I am always evolving, my interests and style changes as well. But my passion for photography will always be there. I mostly photograph families, children, and couples. I like to take a very lifestyle approach with little coaching for poses. In my camera bag I have a Canon 5D Mark iii and a Sigma Art 35 mm lens that almost never leaves my camera. I also have a Sigma Art 50 mm and a Canon 85 mm. I love the primes!

I am thrilled to be your guest host this week. I have seen Dear Photographer grow and make so much progress, it’s so exciting to see. The amount of talent that is a part of this community truly humbles me and makes it an honor to be a part of !

Facebook.  Instagram.

10 Fun Facts About Me

  1. I was born in Oregon, raised in Alaska, and have lived the majority of my adult life in Southern California

  2. My favorite scent is vanilla

  3. I’m not a fan of Cinnamon or anything spice related

  4. I don’t know how to swim and I hope to take lessons someday

  5. There are 10 years between the birth of my first child and my second; and only 18 months between my second and third

  6. My daughter’s middle names are Star & Skye

  7. Mediterranean Cuisine is my favorite to eat
  8. I daydream of traveling and photographing the world

  9. My husband is an amazing Chef and manages a golf course clubhouse
  10. I love having fresh flowers and candles around my house



When my husband and I got married on October 27, 2012,we had our wedding in Las Vegas and it was the weekend before Halloween. I wanted to make it fun for my bridesmaids, so instead of them carrying bouquets of flowers, I had them use Masquerade masks of their choice. That way they would have something to carry around Vegas for Halloween. This gave me the idea for the theme this week.  As always, it is open to interpretation. It can be literal or figurative. I can’t wait to see what you guys create.

Dear Photographer featuring Four Dots Photography


This image was taken on October 5th, 2014.  I used my dad’s Nikon d7100 on auto, and I knew absolutely nothing about photography – but when I saw this, I knew I wanted to learn how to take images like this on purpose. Eleven days later, I started my first blog as I began my journey into the world of photography.

Dear Photographer,

Right now, you are standing on the precipice of something new, and something exciting, and something that has the power to fill you up so full you won’t know what to do with all your extra.  But it’s scary, doing something new, and so you’re drawing all your courage together to take the first step.  Once you start, the fear will fade away a little bit.  You don’t think you’ll need quite so much courage anymore as your confidence builds, but please hang onto it, because you know what?  You know that courage that you needed to step out and start this journey?  You’re going to need it to face what i’m about to tell you, to follow through on this big truth.

 As you fall deeper into this journey, you will realize something.  It will occur to you that at some point along the path of growing up, you were taught that part of being a woman, a mother, a person, is not liking yourself all that much.  And because fitting in mattered, because others were doing it, because you wanted to be liked and the same and embraced, you decided to do it too.  You brushed off complements.  You pretended you hated what you saw in the mirror.  You talked down about your joys and your accomplishments and all the things God had given you that made you who you are.   And, eventually, you stopped doing it because you thought you had to, and you started to do it because suddenly you believed it.  What began as a way to gain acceptance became a new truth, a new frame of reference, a new lens through which you saw the world- the lens of “you’re not good enough” was permanently set before your eyes.

But let me tell you something- it’s not real, that lens.  The negative self talk, the refusal to acknowledge your own worth, none of that is what you were created to be or how you were designed to feel.  This journey you’ve started is going to do something incredible, something important and life changing and necessary. It’s going to start to remove that lens and erase those beliefs. It’s going to bring back those feelings of rightness and feeling comfortable and happy with you that you felt when you were young, and you’re going to realize that you shouldn’t have to live in a place of self hatred just to fit in.When you wake up feeling good in your own skin, you should wear that in your walk and in your smile, not hide it so that maybe others won’t dislike you for loving you.  When you create an image that makes your soul sing, you should let your soul sing, because it comes from a place that’s so much bigger than yourself.

That confidence you feel? That joy?  That deep contentment with what you’ve created and who you’re becoming and who you already are? That’s not conceit. That’s not a good reason for the world to reject you.  That’s you accepting this gift God has given you- your life, your uniqueness, your beautiful, perfect purpose for this world. Stop hiding it. Stop pretending it’s not real. Take a deep breath and use your courage to own who and what you are and to show world that it’s ok to feel beautiful and to know you are good at what you do. Never stop learning. Never stop working to improve, to be the best version of yourself you were created to be. Never think there isn’t more work to be done (because there is always more work to be done). But don’t ever, not for a second, be afraid to admit that you are in possession of talents that are worth working for.

Be humble. Be gracious. Be constantly aware that your successes, your failures, your journey are not just for you- they are all gifts for you to use as a way to bless this world. But do yourself the greatest favor you ever could, and stop believing the lie that to be welcomed, acknowledged, or included among others that you first need to stop loving yourself. You are a gift to this world, and you have things to give and work to do, but you will never be able to do it if you aren’t willing to embrace their inherent goodness.  There are enough things in this life you aren’t good at; there is no reason why you shouldn’t be grateful for the things that you are.  You have a lot of work ahead of you, and in 2 years, you still won’t really know where this whole thing is going- but you will know that you aren’t ready for it to stop.  So push forward.  Love yourself on the hard days, give your joy to others on the good days, and know that there is so much more to this whole thing than learning how to make beautiful photos.  You are learning how to make a beautiful life.


DSC_5306DSC_7870DSC_5364DSC_8383DSC_6342 (2)DSC_9876

About the photographer:

Liz is a teacher-turned-stay-at-home-mom to two boys in south eastern Pennsylvania.  She is married to her college sweetheart, attached to her camera, and almost always has a cup of (decaf) coffee in her hand.  This is the blog post she wrote when she first started down the road to becoming a photographer, even though she still considers herself to be a serious hobbyist.

facebookinstagramnew blog.