Dear photographer feature by moss and myrrh photography

dearphotographerblog_mossandmyrrh2014 (1)Dear (Past) Ashton,

Ah, you’re in such a weird place. You’re finally happy in the new state you’re calling home (Alaska) but you’re still absolutely miserable with where you call “work”. I know, I know, you’ve finally figured out manual mode on your camera and you think you’re ready to dive head first into this whole self employed world. My dear, slow down. You still have so much to learn, there’s no need to rush. Take your time and enjoy every bit of growth that WILL come. Step away from the computer and stop comparing yourself to others. Find yourself, not someone else. Listen to your gut and run with anything that gives you joy, even if it’s not what everyone else is doing. Little do you know, in just a few short years you’ll be taking a completely different route with your work. It’ll become so much more than a job. It’ll become so much more than pleasing someone else. It will become an art form and you’ll continue to push your boundaries until you aren’t sure just how far you can go. Breathe. Everything will work out and you’ll get where you need to be when you’re supposed to be there.




Ashton lives in the beautifully freezing state of Alaska. She’s been married to her best friend for 8 years and has way too many fur kids (seriously, too many). When she’s not shooting beautiful mamas and their littles, she’s doing a really epic job of being an introvert..aka enjoying quiet time at home.




REDEFINE | Dare to Bare feature by Joanna Crichton Photography

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“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?

JCP : I have always had a passion for creating and expressing myself through art. It’s something I’m attracted to without thinking too much about why. I am driven to capture simple, emotional, and thought provoking images. I have become obsessed with light so much I will stop and stare to appreciate a golden glow on a building or shadow covering my son’s cheek. If I’m with someone I’ll make sure they appreciate it too! haha
Transforming moments into art is extremely satisfying and powerful.

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

JCP: My love for photography blossomed in my high school photography class shooting film and developing it in the blackroom. There is something magical about bringing a creative vision to life.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique? 
-envision what you want to accomplish before you begin your session. take the time you need to thoughtfully prepare your shot. keep in mind the lighting, composition, body language etc., background, and mood
-connect with other photographers
-don’t be afraid to screw up. Some of my “mistakes” have transformed my work into something beautiful
-be inspired by the world around you. For me it’s nature, music, movie scenes, and other photographers
-don’t be afraid to ask your clients to do weird things if you have a vision… they will thank you for it

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
JCP: I was a supply teacher for 7 years before starting
Joanna Crichton Photography, so I struggled with the business side of things. Managing my time has been difficult for me. Being a mama and running a business has been a huge learning experience. The Blissful Maven posted something on her instragram that really resonated with me. “The obligation for working mothers is a very precise one: the feeling that one ought to work as if one did not have children, while raising one’s children as if one did not have a job.” It’s a balancing act I am working on everyday.

Gosh, my job is so easy! I just click a button all day! said no photographer, ever.


How do you prepare for a dare to bare session?

JCP: The most important thing is that my clients are comfortable in their session. Mind you if they have committed to a dare to bare session with me they are likely open and free spirited which works to both of our advantages to create beautiful art. Before a session I visualize the angles, light, poses, and mood for the shoot but ultimately a huge part of how my shots turn out is the partnership created between my client and me. Sometimes my visions are derailed by stumbling into some beautiful light or getting inspired by a curve in the body and we run with it throwing the plans out the window for something unexpected.

How does it compare to other boudoir sessions?

JCP: I’m not sure how it compares to other boudoir sessions because this is all I know. That would be better answered by others.

How do I feel about censorship?

JCP:I hate it. Being comfortable and proud of our bodies is something I believe is so powerful. Bodies are bodies, we all have them, there is nothing to be gained by hiding them. My three year old son knows all of his body parts including female body parts. Teaching children to know and respect themselves and others is necessary. Censoring body parts is not.




I am a 33 year old mama to my three year old son, living in Ontario Canada, with my partner and extraordinarily large dog. I enjoy outdoor adventures, being near the water, traveling, and a challenge. Oh and music and wine are fun too! I am so happy to be able to do what I love.


BE INSPIRED Session featuring Rustic Simplicity Images

Dear photographer blogBE INSPIRED Session featuring Rustic Simplicity Images

Tell us abit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
RSI : I have such a passion for creating real, authentic, and beautiful memories for families through photography. My goal in each session is to draw this authenticity and connection out. I want to give them more than just a few images, but an entire experience to remember and look back on with love and fondness. This means that my approach is always the same – connect immediately with them, make them feel comfortable, and encourage them to bring me their moments. I always try to befriend the children first. Mom and Dad will usually warm up quickly if they know that their littles are comfortable and happy, and if their children can relate to me quickly, then that immediate friendship will help foster real connections throughout the session. I have been in business a little under two years, though have truly only been shooting for a few of those seasons due to military life and moves and adding another baby to our lives. I love this little business of mine though, and am excited to keep pursuing it and grow even as our lives and locations change. When I’m not chasing my three kids or trying to survive single parenting while my husband is deployed, I love to workout with Barre3, decorate and do DIY projects at home (gotta love those Pinterest projects), and drink as much coffee as possible!

What about this session was most memorable?
RSI: This session is actually one of my favorites. This sweet family just GOT it. They didn’t do anything but love on each other and they just truly adored one another. He made her laugh, she adored him, and they both couldn’t have loved their little one any more. Dad talked to me after the session about how important it was for him to be present in his daughter’s life and be the best possible father, and it was just so obvious that he is and will continue to be that way. There was such a great mutual respect and love for each other that really impacted me even after the session!

Were there any hurdles?
RSI: Yes! Our main hurdle was the time frame. This was a mini-session, so just 20 minutes or so reserved and my clients actually got stuck in really bad traffic and were running really late! I was at the location watching the sun start to disappear and was really worried we were going to miss all the good light. This is where it becomes even more important to gain that connection immediately and help your clients feel totally comfortable. They couldn’t have been sweeter when they arrived, we jumped right in, and spent no more than 15-20 minutes getting some of my favorite images.

Your best photographer/session advice?
RSI:Be genuine with your clients and vocal. They are nervous and unsure of what to do, but know they want great photos. This is something I’m still working on, but think it is such needed advice for most of us photographers. Clients want us to be in charge and lead them to these great moments! Don’t be afraid to jump in and reposition, move hair, etc. to get everyone in the best place and moment for those captured memories.

What gear was used to achieve these?
RSI: This session was my Nikon d750 and Sigma Art 50mm. My 35mm rarely leaves my camera, but was being cleaned during this session – my 50mm was fun to use again!

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My name is Marion and I am the girl behind the camera for RSI. I have three littles (4, 2, and 7 months) and an amazing husband who is in the Navy. We move a lot, but wouldn’t trade this life for anything! My specialty is family and lifestyle photography 🙂



Dear Photographer feature by Tamarah Hodgson of Meraki + Light




                         From a client session when I first started in 2009.



You were young, and full of creativity. I just wish you would have known that your art didn’t have to look like what everyone else was doing. I wish I could have told you to create from your own vision, from the depths of your own heart. You got caught up in posing, in copying, in people-pleasing. You were so committed to capturing the perfectly posed portrait, and making your clients happy. Not that making your client’s happy is wrong, I wish I could have told you that the only person you needed to please was yourself, your own creative vision. You know this now, and your heart is coming alive like never before. It’s like you’ve finally found your true self. So to my future self: never forget who you are, never stop creating from your own depths. Your art may not matter to everyone, but it’ll keep you alive and speak to those who need it, as long as you keep pouring out from your own, deep, creative vision.

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I’m Tamarah Hodgson, wife, mother and photographer at Meraki + Light.  I’m a passionate enthusiast for creating from your depths.  I believe that art matters, it shapes us, and those around us.  I believe that loving others is one of the most beautiful and fruitful things we can give our lives to.  And I find my wholeness in Jesus, who has taught me what perfect love looks like.


REDEFINE | Travel Photography feature by Josey Miller

jmtravelphotographyDearphotographer“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 traveling + photography in general?

JM: I am passionate with the human story. The fascinating souls who move, work, and make their homes. I love walking these places- getting the small glimpses I can into their family connections, beliefs, and foods. The beautiful histories and the way they overcome adversary and hardships. Travel photography is a way that I can more deeply experience humanity and their land. It has played a huge role in transforming my world view and shaping my own beliefs while being a vein into expressing life to art and sharing a window for others to see into.

 Can you tell us how your photography journey started

JM: I’ve always been interested in documenting and journalism, but putting the world canvas into a frame became the main way I could learn from the life around me-from others and myself. I was given a camera at a young age and took lessons all through school. This was my foundation, but in recent years, after moving overseas with my family, I have really found photography to be a crucial part of living and walking amongst a place that is not my own.

When traveling what are a few important items that you bring along for your camera?

JM: When Im traveling, I try to pack as simple as possible. The main reason being, in most destinations, I will be walking quite a lot and so it makes sense to carry light. The other reason being to prevent drawing attention to myself. I try to carry around my camera plus go to lens (which is my 35 mm) and then I have my 24mm in my bag along with an extra battery and memory card.

 What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

JM:The challenges in the beginning can still come back to stir me. Walking through the streets or villages, seeing the broken world and complicated human condition, I can be overcome with a tug of war of questions and insecurities of purpose. There is a strong desire to maintain humility and dignity with a hope for a connection, even a collaboration, that gives a powerful message or story to a frame. I can often struggle with the truth and empathy and how photography can fit or play a role.

Any tips when traveling as a photographer? Permits you aquire or anything specific to travel and photography?

JM:I don’t have many tips. Besides the logistics of traveling requirements for different places like foreign visas and such, I do try to spend as much time as possible researching the place before I arrive. Also, getting to know and establishing trust with the people before getting the camera out. Awareness and compassion is key.

Favorite travel destinations

JM: So far, my favorite places have been the ones that take the most work to get to or are the most challenging culturally when I arrive. Southern India blew my mind on so many levels, leaving me with weeks of heavy life processing after I left, and up North in the small Tibetan villages, I couldn’t get enough of sitting around in a circle on the floor with the locals, sharing in hot Momos (kind of dumpling) and tea. These two places, with their deep history and strong traditions, expanded my understanding of humanity and culture more than any other so far.

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Josey is  a photographer specializing in lifestyle, food, street and travel photography.  She currently lives in West China where she loves to document culture, rural and city life, and of course her family of 5 (almost 6).

BE INSPIRED Session featuring Alica Keiser Photography


Tell us about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.

When a client books with me I start with asking them a few questions about their likes and styles to help determine the best location for the session. I have an open contact policy and I encourage my clients to contact me with any questions they have leading up to the session. I also love helping families figure out clothing options, such as clothing styles and colors, since having the right outfits for the session location can make all the difference! I started my love affair with photography almost 6 years ago when my daughter was born, and other than a few online workshops I am a self taught photographer. After encouragement from family and friends I decided to turn my passion into a business. January 2017 was my 1 year anniversary!
A few personal facts, Hmmm…To start, nobody can ever pronounce my name correctly, and after 30 years I have learned to answer to anything! I am also a really picky eater. If it includes anything green I’m probably not going to eat it. When it comes to my free time, I love being outdoors. There is just something so calming about nature that I love to spend my time hiking with my family and enjoying everything nature has to offer.

What about this session was most memorable?
This session was most memorable to me because it was for my best friend. She is pregnant with her 4th, and her last, child. I was so excited to be able to fly down to Florida for the weekend and capture these amazing memories! A little personal time away from the daily chaos of my life back home was nice too;)

Were there any hurdles?
The hardest part of this entire session was finding a session location in an area that I’ve never been to before. Florida is so much different than Virginia, and I wanted to find the perfect spot. It took some research to find an area with beautiful scenery, and an area that would be unique to my client. I didn’t want the entire session to be the typical walk along the beach style photos. Having found a hidden gem, I was very pleased with the outcome of the session.

Your best photographer/session advice?
Practice shooting whenever you have free time, and go out shooting at different times of the day to find the lighting that works best for you. Also, never compare yourself to other photographers! That was something I struggled with when I first started and it created a lot of self doubt. The moment I started believing in myself, and my work, was when I started doing my best work!

 What gear was used to achieve these?
Nikon D610
Sigma Art 35


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I currently live in Northern Virginia with my husband and our two beautiful kiddos, but I am a born and raised small town gal from Ohio. Six years ago, we planted roots and started our family here in Northern Virginia where my husband was taking on a new job. In that time, we have turned a strange place into our home, and absolutely love living in an area with so much beauty and history.



Dear Photographer Feature by Jessica Miller Photography


Circa August 2014


Dear 2013 Jess
You’re a new mom, can you believe it? You made an itty bitty baby and she has you wrapped around her chunky little finger. There’s no doubt that she’s going to be a sponge and absorb all that you teach her, but the most amazing thing is that she’s going to awaken your spirit in ways you never thought were possible. The fire has been lit, you’ve had this creative spark since you were a kid, but you never found your true passion. Little do you know, this 8lb squishy babes is going to inspire you to soak in every ounce of detail and make you hungry for any knowledge related to photography.

Truth: you have no idea what you’re doing. And that’s okay. Because, in fairness, you’re always going to be evolving. Failure is inevitable, but stick with it. When you’re feeling uninspired, go for an adventure with your littles, call a friend for an impromptu shoot, or simply go observe strangers in a coffee shop. You’re going to have some amazing ups and some low lows. It’s all part of your journey. You’ll meet some incredibly amazing creatives who will help you channel your inner wild, embrace it, let it push down your boundaries. Try not to doubt yourself, it’s really damn hard, but push past it. Never forget to be yourself and lastly, create what truly makes you happy.

2017 Jess

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Jess lives in Massachusetts with her stud of a husband and 2 crazy babies that keep her on point (or so she likes to think). She helps run a Planet Fitness empire by day, snuggles her babies at night, and documents sweet families whenever she gets the opportunity.