Dear Photographer featuring Kristi James Photography




Dear {current} Kristi ,

WAY TO GO!!! You have gotten further than you ever dreamed of in photography and as a business owner. You knew when you were young you wanted to do photography AND be your own boss. You wanted to rock the world at whatever it may have been you wanted to do at the time. Whether that was being a fashion photographer, an astronaut, a jet fighter pilot or a criminal investigator, you KNEW without a doubt you wanted to LOVE what you did in life. Now its 2016 and you did none of those. Not one! However, you found a few things even greater than your dreams in the past. These current accomplishments triumph over those past dreams and are so amazing and rewarding. You my friend became a wife, a mother and a family/newborn photographer. You have traveled the world photographing people and your family and have reaped the benefits of hard work.

That was not the direction you thought you would ever go. I guess having a family changes your goals and dreams. You now dream of photographing the next adorable family or the next sweet and fresh little baby. You dream of traveling several other countries to photograph the people, the cultures, the streets. You dream of being a fantastic, caring and loving mother and wife. You couldn’t ask for more in life than what you have right now. In a way, all your dreams came true and more.

You worked endless and tiresome hours studying and practicing and setting goals. You received hate mail and got told you weren’t that great. You put those negative comments and thoughts aside and you made it! You have now traveled the world photographing many families as well as your own. You have gone from what you thought was “amazing” to actually being a pretty darn good photographer. You have learned so many lessons over the years. Some were much harder than others, but you learned. You made yourself better. You set goals of where you would like your photography and your business to go. You have achieved those and then some. It’s time for you to set even more goals for your future. Plan for your future. Plan for the next adventure that life and photography will take you. Always know there are things to learn and for you to grow as a photographer.

I want you to show others to be kind and helpful and not to be too critical of others. We all started somewhere, some better than others and some learned slower than others. Let them know that with love and dedication you will become the photographer you want be.

Current self, I hope that you continue this wonderful journey as a photographer for many, many more years. I hope that you continue to document your children and family as they grow. Now is the time to photograph them growing and changing and becoming adults.









About the photographer:
Hi I’m Kristi, wife, mother and world traveler! I am farm raised and sweet as can be. I am a wife of 13 years to my handsome United States Marine! We have 4 crazy kids. The oldest is in a world of his own and smart as can be. My second is a crazy, defying, and a loving teddy bear. Our third is our sassy, tomboy princess. She keeps us on our toes! And the fourth is a spitfire, opinionated little love bug boy.
I love all things photography. I self taught myself and later on have taken some online workshops to keep up with the latest. My dream as a child was to be a fashion photographer. Now my heart lies with newborns,couples and family photography.  We currently live in Okinawa, Japan.

Website. Facebook. Instagram. Pinterest.

Dear Photographer featuring My Captured Life


DP old pic


Dear Future Self,

I hope that when you look back you see more than just the countless hours spent up past midnight learning your craft. It’s hard to see the light through the fog of tiredness sometimes so I do hope that you can see your progress and be proud of how far you’ve come. When you picked up that camera for the first time you had no idea of the compulsive pull it would have on your life. To discover your fire and be blessed with two crazy little beings all at the same time has made for quite the wild ride these past few years.

I hope you can see that the sacrifices you made were so worth it to have those incredible tender moments with your children and follow your passion all at once. Future self, I hope you can see that it was so worth it. Those moments were fleeting, and you weren’t always on top of your game in either field but you did your best even when some days all you wanted to do was throw the towel in on both motherhood and photography. Future self, I hope you still have the same drive and thirst for knowledge with just a tiny little bit less chaos.








About the photographer:

Shelley Reis, of My Captured Life, is a lifestyle and documentary photographer living in a small beachside town in Australia with her partner and two children. She loves to capture authentic, soulful moments for her clients while also documenting her family’s unique story on her blog, My Captured Life.

Website. Facebook. Instagram.

Dear Photographer featuring Johnson Photography



My inspiration for starting a photography business, my beautiful niece Hannah | 2011

Dear past self,

I wish I could tell you all the things to ‘not do’ during the next 5 years of your photography adventure, but that would taint the journey, and the journey is where we grow.

I want to say things like, “Actions and plug-ins (example given: Portraiture) are not made to use at 100% opacity!”

But then you wouldn’t be forced to find YOUR OWN editing style…only through not being satisfied with the results from actions and presets are you going to get frustrated (and determined) enough to LEARN editing.

I want to say “don’t do those ‘Pinteresty’ shots that your clients bring to you!”

But only through trying to duplicate someone else’s work will you realize that’s NOT who you are, and eventually after about year 3 you will put all ‘cheat sheets’ aside and just FEEL your way through your sessions.

If I COULD tell myself one thing when I started out 5 years ago that I know now, it would be this…


There are THOUSANDS of photographers, it is a BROAD term, anyone with knowledge of using a camera is a PHOTOGRAPHER…


You are an artist.

Don’t let other people’s ideas of WHAT PHOTOGRAPHY IS mold you… be YOU.   EXPERIENCE your sessions, PLAY with the kids, BE A PART of their normal routine in the home… then and only then, will you CREATE THE ART that is inside you.

I figured, if God gave us all our VERY OWN set of finger prints, there is something there to be said for individuality.  It’s taken me a few years, but I’m starting to get the message.  NO ONE can create art like you.

You are unique.

You are fearfully and wonderfully created.

That was intentional.

Now go, and intentionally be the beautiful artist that only you can be.


About the photographer:

I am in my 5th year as a ‘professional photographer’ (artist) and can’t imagine ever laying down my camera.

Working only with children 8 years and younger, I LOVE the raw and organic feel  of lifestyle photography, and even though I style my outdoor and studio sessions, I still strive to capture the realness  of life and the SOUL inside the child.  I want my images to make the viewer FEEL something when they look at them, childhood is full of emotions, and I hope to someday capture them all!

I am a full time hairstylist of 20+ years, and do my photography part time, generally 1-2 days a week.  I am happily married to my best friend of 15 years, and although we have no children, I passionately love the littles.  They are humanity at it’s most perfect form.

Website.  Facebook. Instagram.

Dear Photographer featuring Performer Photography



This image was taken in July 2014.

Dear Current Self,

I just want you to know that there’s no rush. You can stop obsessing about being the perfect photographer, and just remember why you started this journey in the first place, and remember how far you’ve come. If you don’t get the shot you were hoping for, that’s okay. Just walk away and try again tomorrow, and know you’re not a failure if you do. Keep learning, keep observing and take note of ways you can improve your craft, but please do this all at a slower pace. You are currently pregnant with your second child, and the whole reason why you actually started to truly learn the art of photography is so you can document their lives. Remember that! Make it fun for ALL of you so when you look back at the images a true and genuine smile will spread across your face. You got this!



Abby Birds B&W WM_

Abby watering plants WM_

Abby Silhouette Blueberry WM_

Abby Foot Loops Final WM_

Abby piano final WM_

Abby Romeo Coloring color WM_

About the photographer:

Dana Macleod is married to a real life Scottish Highlander, complete with accent and kilt, mother of a beautiful daughter, with baby #2 on the way, and two fur babies. She is a professional singer and part-time photographer and resides in South Jersey, just outside of Philadelphia, where she owns a vocal studio, South Jersey Voice Lessons, as well as Performer Photography.

Website. Facebook.

Dear Photographer featuring Brea Bursch Photography



Dear future self,

Hey, you! Congratulations!! … you’ve made it! … to wherever this ‘it’ is.

Truth telling time? Wherever we are right now, as of today I’m still cloudy and unsure of the destination. Still a little wobbly on those things adults call ‘goals’ and ‘life plans’ and ‘nachos are not a food group’.

Remember back in 2007 when you bought that ‘fancy’ Canon Rebel, jumped in feet first, and were a Very Important Businesswoman pretty much, like, overnight? We were chasing those dreams: running 27 actions on each image, having babies, and learning all the things into the wee hours of the morning. You didn’t really plan that out either! Flying by the seat of your pants was the modus operandi …And here in 2016? I’m still rockin’ that impulsive, instinctual way of doing business. After all the perfectly laid chaos, I have to say, that Very Important Businesswoman is doing SO WELL.

But, future self. It’s time. Time for intention.

Because I cannot squander opportunity. Self, did I inspire others? Did I do it? Did that mama take just 5 more minutes to cuddle her baby after she saw an image I posted? Did that little girl I photographed feel ignited with self-confidence? When I asked that family to tickle and play during their session, did that bolster their marriage after they saw the portraits and the love they had for each other in their eyes?

Future self, did I promote community over competition in my network of photographers? Was I generous with my time and talent? Did I give away more than I ever received?

I ardently pray the answers to those questions are a firm and resounding YES. I’m hopeful this place we are in now, future self, is somewhere with a mind full of the sweetest, most tender memories, a heart full of compassion, and a mouth which interrupts way less than it does today… but still enjoys all the nachos.

And, self? I hope to be in this place because I made it happen and not just because it happened. #IntentionalLife #GiveYourselfAway

About the photographer:

Photo Credit: Sarah Sweetman Photography

About the photographer:

I live just outside Seattle, WA with my hottie bearded husband, our four children ranging in age from 9 months to 8 years, one dog, and four chickens, all smashed together in a house full of love, laughter, balloon dogs (see them on my Instagram!), and of course… NACHOS! My work sanctuary is an airy, loft style studio in a 100 year old historic building that used to manufacture caskets (no, really. I can’t even make this stuff up!). I love creating emotive, tender images showing the parent/child bond, back rubs without strings, and lukewarm coffee.

Website. Facebook. Instagram. Twitter. YouTube. Pinterest.

Dear Photographer featuring Elizabeth Roy




Dear former self,

I was looking through our older photos recently and I’m so excited to tell you—we do get better!   We decided to pick up photography right before our fifth daughter was born (we must have been CRAZY!) When we first bought our DSLR we had big plans to become a family and craft blogger-well, then we became side tracked with this little photography hobby!  We have spent so much time learning this craft in the last four years and I’m happy to say that some of our goals have been met.  All of the hard work and dedication has definitely served us well.  When I look back, I love how you didn’t worry about rules or any of the things I worry about now! You were interested in capturing the moment as it was-I love that! I would like to go back to my 2012 enthusiasm with my 2016 knowledge and experience!  This hobby of ours is ever evolving and we always find new things to learn and new goals to achieve. I’m so excited to see how we evolve in these coming years!

Some of the important things I’ve learned over the years:

  • No one starts out amazing. It takes time and practice to learn this craft. You have to be willing to take the bad shots in order to learn to make the good shots!
  • Watch the light!! Good light makes an ordinary image-extraordinary!
  • Be open and ask for help.  I feel like besides the beautiful photographs we have made of the family, we have developed some really close friendships through this photography hobby and having these friends to share the ups and downs with is so rewarding!
  • Continue to have fun! This is our creative outlet and is supposed to feed our artistic soul! Remember to take a breath and let that fill you up and not let those other feelings stop you from getting where you want to be!
  • Continue to set big goals for yourself.  Don’t ever stop growing and wanting to be better!
  • Keep your enthusiasm!

We have come a long way since we first picked up our camera! It will be so exciting to see where we go from here!

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About the photographer:

Elizabeth is a family and lifestyle photographer serving Central and South Jersey specializing in families, maternity and newborns. She is a natural light photographer who is also a wife and the mother of six pretty great kids! She strives the capture honest laughter and authentic connection between family members. She is drawn to clean, organic moments that will be treasured for a lifetime.

Facebook.  Instagram.

Dear Photographer featuring Rebecca Wang Photography



January of 2012

Dear (current) Rebecca,

I’m deciding to write this to you as you are right now, because the past is the past and the future is unknown.  You have come a long way in your photography journey since you first picked up your camera, the outburst of laughter that came out of your mouth when you found an old photo proves this.  Do you remember when you first started on this journey?  How you would look at other artist’s pages and be so envious of the beauty they where able to capture?   I think the best you think you ever did, was disconnect during your early years of photography and really focus on your passions and interests.   Now, you’ve gained such a concept of who you are as an artist, and try your best to not be persuaded, but inspired by others around you.  I love that you are able to discover new work and have such an appreciation for all types of art, and I love that you live by the quote, “I’m not a photographer, I’m an artist.”

But, Rebecca, I do know that you still get down, overwhelmed, frustrated, and at a stand still. My bit of advice is just relax, all artists experience this, it is the passion and love for photography that will get you feeling this way, but the feeling you have when you come out of the fog… that feeling is everything, like a breath of fresh air.  Keep on trekking through it, Rebecca, and remember even those meh photos, the ones you are kind of over, those are still memories, your memories, and that’s what really matters.


About the photographer:

I’m a documentary and lifestyle photographer that lives on the beautiful central coast of California. I have 2 boys, ages 3 and 7, and an amazing supportive husband whom supports most of my crazy ideas. I’m a military spouse, so traveling and change is very common for our family and I wouldn’t have it any other way, except when we leave California (haha) I’m inspired by my daily life and the adventures and traveling our family does. I have a mad crazy obsession with chocolate and Grey’s Anatomy.

Website. Facebook.