Dear Photographer feature by Coleen Hodges Photography


my very first go with my DSLR (yikes!)

A Letter To My Past Self

Thank you. Yes you. Me, several years ago. I haven’t forgotten you. In fact, I can see you right now, nursing your sweet baby at the computer while reading photography tutorials, with your other baby sleeping by your side. I can see your eyes lighting up as you learn something new. I can see you hoping and dreaming about the future. This was going to be the best gift to give your children, and you were going to learn everything you could possibly learn, to be the best you could possibly be. Thank you for being hungry to learn, I know you didn’t have much extra time.

Thank you for taking the leap. Starting your own business is scary. I mean, who am I, right? And what if I fail? I know you were scared and I know you faced opposition at home. Thank you for doing it anyways. I am home with the kids so much more now, a blessing that I do not take for granted. I make my own schedule and I support my family. You made that possible. I will forever be indebted to you for that.

Thank you for being strong. It wasn’t always easy, was it? Self doubt is an inevitable part of an artistic journey. Thank you for pushing through and for realizing that it’s normal to have doubts. And when doubt came from an external source, thank you for seeing past that…for envisioning the life you wanted to create and for working toward that goal.

Thank you for staying up nights. I promise, I’m getting tons more sleep now, thanks to you. The kids are a bit older now and in school part time, which makes things easier. Thank you for staying up all hours of the night while they slept, to painstakingly pave the road that I now dance on.

Lastly, thank you for being you. It is will much gratitude and many tears that I write this letter, in hopes that you truly realize your worth.

With All My Love,


We as women, mothers, partners, artists….we are often too hard on ourselves. Self love isn’t easy but it’s worth working toward. If you had to write a letter to your past self, what would it say? And in regards to your personal artistic journey, remember, we all started at zero….every last one of us. Not one person what born taking amazing pictures. It takes time and it takes being hungry for it. So give yourself a break and embrace this portion of your journey… I promise, it will take you somewhere better than you expected.

Image #1 ***This was my from my very first series of images on my first DSLR, the good ol’ Canon Rebel. I was pregnant with my first child (who is now 5) and I was determined to capture our joy, even though I barely knew how to operate the camera 🙂 Somehow I managed a self portrait though, thank goodness, because at the time, my husband wasn’t about have professional pictures taken. I do regret not having a professional session done for either pregnancies or births, but I really believe that it was a significant part of my journey be the only one behind the lens. ***


Coleen is a lifestyle photographer based in Phoenix, AZ. She is the mother of two children, ages 3 and 5. She is also one of the co-founders of Spectrum Inspired, a non-profit dedicated to raising awareness about autism via documentary photography. This year, she has expanded her business to include mentoring and teaching at workshops. She is always looking to document raw, everyday moments and prefers to express herself with emotive imagery. One of her main objectives as a mother and as an artist is to show her children that beauty can be found everywhere, and she takes them adventuring every chance she gets. Like so many others, documenting the lives of her children has opened up a whole new world and has set the stage for a life she’d always dreamed about.


One thought on “Dear Photographer feature by Coleen Hodges Photography

  1. Never easy to take that leap of faith- but your photos are fab! Looks like it’s a good thing you did it!

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