REDEFINE | Photography + Films feature by Stacey Ilyse

REDEFINE | Photography + Films feature by Stacey Ilyse

“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 films along with photography ?

These are things that can’t be posed or contrived. But they are also things that may be easily forgotten, lost in the shuffle between activities and milestones. There is something precious about being able to see the moving memory of your life – to SEE the stroke on someone’s cheek, or the way the pullback their hair into a ponytail, the way someone loves another person, or the way siblings squabble… to HEAR the sounds of laughter, the voice of someone possibly no longer with you… the stories about how you met, or the words “I LOVE YOU” ..

When did you start making films for your business?

I officially started to offer films about 1 year ago, May 2016

Has it been a hard sell to clients?

Surprisingly, NO! I know that many have struggled but I feel that films were almost an “obvious choice” for many of my clients. It was something unique, new, and really special. EVERYONE who’s seen them (and especially those who have booked) have understood the value in them almost immediately… even husbands (who generally are hesitant to be in photos, or find it tedious to do a session are on board – or fall in love with a film afterwards if they were not beforehand and have booked another!)

How do you blend photography + films seamlessly ?

Most clients can’t tell the difference between when Im shooting photo or video and they become so involved with being with their families that it becomes easy to switch back and forth. I don’t actually include my still photography INTO my videos – (unless they are for a newborn or fresh 48) I do always include documentary, candid still photography as part of my packages for all video clients – they receive those separately in an online gallery and view them with me during our video/photo in-person reveal – which is SO fun for me to do – I love seeing my clients reactions when they see the films and photographs for the first time – most of them cry!!

Tell us about your film editing?

I create the films using Adobe premiere pro and try to keep my actual footage edits very simple and without many filters or presets, etc.. I want them to look and feel timeless and classic.

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

Im going to do 2-3 technical and/or 2-3 biz related
Stabilizing your camera is KEY. You don’t need any fancy gear to do it – a good neck strap and steady hands are a must
you don’t NEED to follow your subjects every move, sometimes it is best for them to come in and out a frame… it creates interest and it’s less jarring to the viewer
Create personal work too! I found that my personal projects engage my audience just as much – if not more then my client work. People like to get to know who I am, what my life is like – and see that it is just like their lives – makes me more relatable… Also, personal projects fuel your soul and help you grow as an artist!
I dont think there is any “magic button” that someone can press and POOF clients come running – BUT I do think it is important when you are first starting any new business venture to privately offer to do 1-3 projects gratis to clients or friends that you feel would not only help build your portfolio, but also promote the S**T outta you afterwards. I know there is no guarantee about how it might turn out, but know your audience and know WHY and WHO you are picking for a reason.
DO NOT price yourself too low! These films are HARD WORK – and take A LOT of time to create. If you need to, offer an introductory discount off your ideal price point. This gives your clients the info off the bat that eventually you will be charging XYZ for this service.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

1. Balance. It was very hard to find balance between booking photography sessions vs film clients… besides the fall rush, I had almost ZERO photo sessions – video took over my calendar… I was beyond grateful, but also completely overwhelmed by it… I also felt I was losing myself to video and needed to find my photographers voice within all these sessions too!

2. I had to re-wire my brain to see things in video vs photography and ALSO at the same time learn and remember to switch back and forth between the 2 during a session and it was hard at first! – Some of my earlier sessions def did not have as strong a photo portfolio as my sessions do now. I practiced a lot on my girls… which helped. It is seamless for me now – I see the moment in video – take the clip and then flip the switch for a photo…

3. Remembering that IT IS OK TO MISS A MOMENT. There will always be another one!

4. Workflow and music selection were (and sometimes still can be) hard. These films take 20+ hours to create – people don’t realize it… but us video folk are devoted and passionate about our craft.

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

“In a world full of Mary’s be a Rhoda” Stacey Ilyse, a documentary photography & videographer focusing on families and real life moments. Stacey is based in Northern NJ where she pursues her 365 passion project – documenting her life with her 2 little girls, crazy doodle and extremely patience husband.

W E B S I T E | F A C E B O O K | I N S T A G R A M 

 

 

The traveling Lensbaby Project | Susan Brooksby

The traveling Lensbaby Project  | Susan Brooksby

The TRAVELING LENSBABY PROJECT continues, this time it traveled to the lovely city of Arvada, Colorado to the amazing Susan Brooksby. 

13 (1)What is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

My children. If you look through my photos that is what it’s all about. The joy of childhood, the way children explore and see the world is so amazing to me. It has really help me slow down and appreciate everything a little bit more. I also find it to be a need to capture my boys now as they are so I can preserve that moment and time for them and for myself. This is a deep personal rooted issue of not having many photos of myself as a child so I find it important to do this for them and their future children to see.

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Can you tell us a little bit about the process you’ve gone through (or that you are going through) to find your photographic style? How has it evolved over the years?

It’s been a long journey to finding my photographic style and I am still trying to improve on it everyday. I’ve owned a dslr for years but couldn’t ever figure out how to use it. I just didn’t take the time to learn it because all that technical stuff bores me. I just wanted to take good pictures and it was becoming increasingly frustrating. At that same time I discovered Instagram and couldn’t believe all the amazing photos I see on there was shot with a phone. I will say that was the start of my journey to finding my photographic style. That year I shot exclusively with my iPhone and learned how to capture my little ones in different lighting conditions. The phone was convenient and easy and I didn’t have to worry about getting the settings right or missing the moment. Also connecting and sharing with other photographers kept me going and learning. I eventually figured out how to use my dslr.

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What Lensbaby lenses have you shot with before? How have they transformed your work?

This is my first time ever using a Lensbaby lens and I think I am hooked! I love the flare that this Lensbaby creates and twisty DOF really gives it an interesting creative look to my photographs.

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Why is it important that photographers not get too fixed in their ways? What makes
experimentation so crucial to an artist’s growth?

Experimenting is the best way to grow as an artist. Sometimes doing the same thing over and over can get pretty boring. Often time when I am in a rut, seeking new things and new ways to shoot gets me out of that rut and back to shooting again. And plus how are you ever going to learn anything new unless you give it a try it, right?

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ABOUT THE ARTIST: 
Hi there! My name is Susan Brooksby. A mom to three boys and married to my husband of nine years. Together we reside in Colorado in a city about 20 minutes west of Denver. I love the Mountain View and beautiful sunsets. I enjoy quietness when I can get it and indulge in social media a bit too much.

W E B S I T E | I N S T A G R A M | F A C E B O O K 

Be Inspired session | Ashley Gardner photography

Be Inspired session | Ashley Gardner photography
Tell us abit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
My approach is very relaxed and laid back. I don’t like stiff posing in front of the camera. Natural and unscripted is what I do best!
I’ve only just started up professionally within the last 6 months, but I’ve been photographing as a hobby for the last few years.
FACTS:
I make lists for everything! It helps me stay organized
I’m a huge iced coffee addict. Even in the winter!
I’m a military wife and my husband and I have been together for 7 years
What about this session was most memorable?

This session was so much fun. The family was completely down for anything, didn’t mind trecking through the tall grass to get their gorgeous photos. We even stayed as it was starting to get dark because they were so much fun to photograph!

Were there any hurdles?
Surprisingly this session had no hurdles aside from some mosquitoes flying around! This sweet family was a dream to work with.
Your best photographer/session advice?

My best advice would be to just relax and enjoy the people or family you’re photographing. Get to know them in that short window you have while you’re behind the lens. But just have fun!

What gear was used to achieve these

I used my Canon 60D and my 50mm lens

E N J O Y

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ABOUT THE ARTIST:

I’m a mom of two (soon to be three!) littles and wife to the sweetest and most supportive husband I could ask for! I first got into photography as a hobby after my first was born because I wanted to document our new life as a family of three. I fell in love with photographing our life and my love for photography has grown over the years and I eventually got up the courage to start doing it professionally. My photography style focuses on connections, light, laughter and love. I feel so blessed and grateful to be able to do something I absolutely love.

 W E B S I T E | F A C E B O O K | I N S T A G R A M

REDEFINE series | Lifestyle, Sunday Morning Sessions featuring Vanessa Brack

REDEFINE series | Lifestyle,  Sunday Morning Sessions featuring Vanessa Brack

 

“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 photography in general and a tell us a bit about how you got started?

I have loved photography my entire life and started by photographing my Cabbage Patch kids and stuffed animals in front of our family christmas tree, as most serious photographers do. Later I moved on to photographing pets, landscapes, and the occasional sibling. But seriously, these early experiences fed my artistic curiosity and passion. I’m so grateful to my mother for allowing me to find my own ways to entertain myself because this encouraged my natural creativity.

Tell us about the idea behind Sunday Morning sessions?

Even though I’m very driven professionally, I’ve always wanted to be a mother first and I planned my college and career around it. My kids are in their teens now and I’m so grateful that I focused on raising them and enjoyed every freaking second of my kids’ childhoods. Now that they are older, the pictures I have of those years are so incredibly special to me. After getting more serious about photography a few years ago, I realized that I wanted to capture these memories for other families. I wanted to take their memories, all the gritty and emotional parts of it, and create artistic pieces that they could feel. I want my clients to remember what it felt like to love fearlessly and unconditionally. When we think back on our childhoods, what is more loving and authentic then lazy Sunday mornings with our family? A time and place where you could be yourself and know you would be loved? Or if you didn’t have that, then the desire to provide that for your own children? This is what I aim to capture in Sunday Morning Sessions.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning, how does it connect to your journey and wanting to capture Sunday Mornings.

In the beginning I knew I wanted to photograph people and emotions, but I was uninspired by traditional portraits and editing styles. This may sound strange but I didn’t want to photograph smiles all the time, to me it wasn’t genuine. Parenthood and family is made up of all the emotions, and there is a fair amount of grit involved in loving and supporting each other. As I discovered more creative editing I was able to express the darker beauty in the emotion of family. I continued to focus on this idea of loving unconditionally, something that is unique to families and those we consider family, and used my moody style to reflect genuine emotion in an artistic way.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to create a category like this for their work? (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)

1. Focus on your why. What emotion or feeling takes up your thoughts? What are you always looking for or trying to answer? For me it’s the need to receive and give unconditional love. I find this subject fascinating and impossible to describe with words. What is it for you?
2. Find the editing style that reflects the emotion you want to portray. Clean, bright, and happy or edgy and eclectic or dark and moody, there is no wrong way to do it. There is only the way that works for you.
3. Give yourself time to grow. Work on your style and try to constantly improve.
4. Take a break when you need it. Creativity can be exhausting and there is no shame in pausing your own work to relax and soak up inspiration from other sources.
5. Once you have a clear focus on the category or style you want to create, determine your market and let them know about it. Don’t worry about growing too fast, keep it small at first and focus on quality.

What’s in your camera bag?

I keep it simple as I am not a fan of gadgets and tech. I have what I need to get the job done, which is a Canon 6D and a Canon 35 1.4L that I use all the time.

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ABOUT THE ARTIST : 

I love capturing all the messy, happy, moody, and gritty emotions. My favorite thing to photograph is human faces. I have a day job that I love, and a photography business as well. My free time is spent with my love and our three kids. My hobbies are volunteering/activism, the outdoors, reading, and good television. 

W E B S I  T E | I N S T A G R A M | F A C E B O O K 

#p52radness Monthly Epic Share

#p52radness Monthly Epic Share

“The trouble is, you think you have time.”

Jack Kornfiel

I’ll start with that, and share that I totally butchered that quote as I thought it was problem and not trouble. I am not someone who is afraid to admit her mistakes. So there you go. This quote speaks on so many multiple levels currently.

The project continues to fill the hearts of all of us. Being present is hard, getting in the frame is even harder. Take a little time in the week, commit to one hr of trying to take a self portrait, join our group. The encouragement never ends there.

Here’s a super small May collection, because life.

TARA VISCONTI Tara Visconti

ABBY KENNAN@abbykennan

ANGELA DORAN @angela.doran

JESSICA EHLEN @jessica_ehlen

LEAH MOORE@leahmoorephoto

MONICA HART @monicaannhart

COURTNEY WILSON Courtney_Wilson_self_Portrait

DEVON HALL DevonHall

KIMBERLI FREDERICKS KimberliFredericks

LEANNA AZZOLINI 

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LAST MONTH

The traveling Lensbaby project |Chelsea Furlong, VA

The traveling Lensbaby project |Chelsea Furlong, VA
Weekly special project. LENSBABY is in Hampton Roads VA
Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-56.jpgWhat is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

I think the emotion and the darkness in my photos is what says a lot about me as a person. Obviously I was in full sun for most of these images at the beach, but often my personal images of my children are pretty dark and I play with shadows a lot because I love the dark, dramatic feel of them. I have a sensitive soul and I feel like my images often convey that deep sensitivity.

Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-30

Can you tell us a little bit about the process you’ve gone through (or that you are going through) to find your photographic style? How has it evolved over the years?

It took me a long time to find my personal style. I had no idea who I wanted to be as a photographer when I was starting out, and it’s taken me several years to just go with what feels right. I’m always saying that once your art comes directly from your heart, you’ve found yourself. That happened for me last August, and I remember the exact moment I found my voice as a photographer. I’ll never forget the snap of the shutter in that exact moment because I felt something inside me ignite. I knew the second I hit the shutter that the photograph I had taken was my defining moment. It changed my art and my world. What’s interesting about style is that I thought that once I found my style, that would be it. There would be a period at the end of the sentence and I’d be forever that artist. But it’s not that way at all. Yes, I found my style, but it’s still very much evolving. Daily. My skill level, voice, and style are all progressing with every single photo I take. And I hope that never changes.

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What Lensbaby lenses have you shot with before? How have they transformed your work?

This Lensbaby Twist 60 was the very first Lensbaby I’ve used! I’m a huge fan of freelensing because it challenges me and I love the dream-like feel of the images it produces. I loved the Lensbaby for the same reasons! One of the only times I focus manually, is when I’m freelensing and I always love the challenge of getting my two extremely active little boys in focus, so I had a blast with the manual focus on the Lensbaby!

 

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Why is it important that photographers not get too fixed in their ways? What makes experimentation so crucial to an artist’s growth?

When photographers don’t take the time to step out of their comfort zones, their work can become stagnant and monotonous. I always know when I’m in a bit of a photography rut because I feel bored with my images. Often those ruts come right before a huge jump in my work though. When I’m stuck and feeling uninspired, I’ll usually step back and find something to focus on or perfect that I’ve never done before, or I’ll try out a new lens! I always have a list of technical or artistic photography related skills that I want to try out, so I’ll take several days to practice only that one thing until I’m happy with the result. If that doesn’t work, or I don’t have the time in the next few weeks to work on a new skill, I simply switch out my lens. I use only prime lenses so going from one lens to another can have a huge impact on the look of my photos, which can spark up my passion all over again! It’s easy to become fixed in your ways, but you lose the fire in your soul when that happens and photography becomes more like a chore than a passion. When you step outside of that comfort zone, experiment with new equipment, materials, and lighting, and push your own limits, that’s when the good stuff happens. That’s when you create art, rather than take photographs.Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-27.jpgTaveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-23Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-41Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-35Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-36Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-38Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-40 (1)Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-46Taveling Lensbaby Chelsea Furlong-43

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

I’m a lover of coffee, food, music, traveling and mother nature. But above that I’m a mother to two energetic little boys. My 2 and 4 yr old sons are the reason I’m a photographer. They feed my soul and feed my creativity, so you’ll see them pop up in my photos almost daily. If you follow my photography journey , you’ll find you’ll get to know them quite well without even knowing them.

WEBSITE | INSTAGRAM| FACEBOOK 

Be Inspired session feature by Rachel Lipsmeyer of Rachel K Photo

Be Inspired session feature by Rachel Lipsmeyer of Rachel K Photo
Tell us about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.

I first became interested in photography because I wanted to capture the places I went when I traveled. Then my sister had her first baby, and I helped her document her pregnancy and all my nephew’s first milestones. Soon after others started to ask me about photos, and it all spiraled from there. Since then, I’ve moved my business across the country, gotten married, and welcomed my own little boy. Owning a small business is not without it’s struggles, but it is also one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done! Since

What about this session was most memorable?

Their connection. The sisters to each other and to their husbands. There is so much joy and excitement for a family with a baby on the way, and doubly so within this one, as they awaited two new additions! They were both having little boys too, so you know those cousins are going to grow up being the best of buds!

Were there any hurdles?

Unannounced to me, the sister’s planned 3 outfit changes plus brought along their spouses, other children and mother to include in some of the photos. Also, after one sister was running late to the session, they spent almost the first 30 minutes getting into the first outfit. While we had planned for a two hour session, but I was definitely a little worried about time. In the end, the photos turned out beautifully, and we captured all the combinations and must have photos they requested.

Your best photographer/session advice?

Do a personal project. This is my first year doing a 365 (ish) and I can already see how much my photography has improved! It’s really helped me to hone in on my style as well as to see light in new and creative ways. It’s allowed me to experiment and take risks that I otherwise would never have done with my client work.

What gear was used to achieve these?

Canon 5D markiii, 85mm 1.8, 35mm 1.8

 

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ABOUT THE PHOTOGRAPHER 

I’m Rachel, wife to Josh and mom to 8-month-old Cantor. My love for photography was born from my love to travel and desire to document those adventures. When not traveling, you can usually find me at home in my comfy clothes snuggling my husband and baby, reheating my cup of coffee for the millionth time.

I’m a storyteller that’s obsessed with light, connection, and authentic emotions. I’ve always valued photography, but now that I’m a mom, I treasure photos more than ever. Photos are memories, and those memories are part of the legacy we leave behind for our children and grandchildren. It’s my honor and privilege to get to pursue my passion and use my skills to capture images that tell every families’ unique and beautiful story.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM