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.

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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 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 

The traveling LENSBABY project | feature by Jessica Mielke Photography

The traveling LENSBABY project | feature by Jessica Mielke Photography
What is one thing about your photos that says the most about you as a person. Dig deep!

Wow this is a tough question. I feel I am an authentic person and I try to be open and vulnerable with my life. I try to document in a way that shows the real, raw, vulnerable parts of life.

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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?

I picked up my first DSLR in 2008 and I have never looked back. I have bounced around genres and styles a lot actually and it wasn’t until very recently that I have found a style that I love. I struggled with what my heart was telling me to photograph over what made my family some money. For years I photographed everything, I booked whatever I could to make money but I was emotionally and artistically drained. It wasn’t until I decided that I needed to shoot 100% for me that I really began to define my style. I started editing the way I wanted to edit vs what my clients were used to.

Lensbaby-48What Lensbaby lenses have you shot with before? How have they transformed your work?

I have never shot with a lensbaby before. Eep I was so excited to get this one in the mail for the week. It was definitely tough to nail the focus for me but I still loved it and I have one in my Amazon cart right now.
I have never used a lensbaby, but I have done a lot of freelensing and I feel that helped transform my work a lot. I learned that some images are best out of focus because life isn’t always in focus.

Lensbaby-51 (1)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 SOOOO crucial. I bounced around a lot when I was beginning and I think that really helped me figure out what I loved to photograph! You can’t grow as an artist if you’re not constantly evolving, learning, experimenting. I don’t want to be the same artist in a year. I want to be better, I want my images to speak to someone and if I don’t occasionally experiment with what I am doing that is never going to happen, change and growth will never happen.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

I am Jessica.  I am a seeker of light and love. I live in Aurora Colorado with my husband, two crazy kids, three crazy dogs and 5 even crazier chickens..  I photograph in the Denver Metro Area and select dates in Tucson Arizona. I am a storyteller and lifestyle photographer. I document Maternity, Births and Families. I believe that life should be documented as it is, messy and crazy, sometimes dark and grainy.

BE INSPIRED sesh | featuring Chelsea Warren Photography

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

I work to create images that evoke a feeling in my clients when they look at them. I want them to remember how they felt when they were being photographed; to remember the feeling of excitement and anticipation of the arrival of their baby when they spent our session imagining her in their arms or snuggling each other for one of the last times as just a couple before becoming a family. I want them to look back and see their own look of absolute amazement as they stare into their new baby’s eyes, or play with their tiny toes or soak in the beautiful chaos that is new parenthood, and feel nostalgic and grateful for their beautiful lives. I have been photographing professionally since 2010, but have recently focused more intimately on my family work. Since becoming a Mum I have a new appreciation for photographing families, and have enjoyed every moment of meeting and documenting families as they grow! I have 2 amazing boys who inspire me daily, and keep me busy!

What about this session was most memorable?

I love when I am able to document families as they grow and change and this session was one of them! I photographed their engagement and wedding, and was honoured to capture this exciting time in their lives too.

Were there any hurdles?
They absolutely rocked their session! It was incredibly windy and I actually almost got blown off the rocks, but it was worth it since I love wind blown images.

Your best photographer/session advice?

Work with the elements not against them. Nature gives us some pretty good curve balls sometimes but the results can be better than you hoped!

What gear was used to achieve these?
Canon 6D, Sigma 35mm Art series, Canon 85mm L series

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“Work with the elements not against them.”

ABOUT THE ARTIST :

Chelsea is a Wedding & Family Photographer located on Vancouver Island, BC. Shes loves photographing families as they grow and change and focuses on capturing authentic moments and genuine emotion.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM 

 

REDEFINE | Birth photography feature by Angie Klaus Photography

ANGIE KALUS BIRTH REDEFINE

 

“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 birth photography?

Births are the essence of documentary photography. There is no scripting, no posing, so it is–by nature–thoroughly honest and authentic. I adore being able to quietly observe, gently support, and humbly witness a mother working hard to bring her baby into the world and to use my perspective to create the most touching and meaningful photo and video keepsakes to tell her story with beauty and honesty.

It is my hope that every mother would look at her photos and watch her video and see her strength, the love of her partner, and the support of her birth team reflected right back at her. I want her to be able to relive those moments of joy and relief at meeting her child for the very first time whenever she wishes.

Also, birth can be unpredictable. When things don’t go quite as a family hoped they would, I feel a special calling to piece together the moments in order to create the most uplifting, yet authentic story that I can to honor that birth journey. I am often texting back and forth with my clients in the weeks after they view their birth stories, helping them process the events and reconfirming to them how strong they were and sharing all the ways that I can validate their birth experience.

Finally, I feel strongly that all types of birth are beautiful and worthy of being documented. Whether a baby is born at home, at a birth center, in a labor and delivery room, or in the operating room, I honor each story by capturing the real moments and the beauty to the best of my ability.
“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. ”

When did you first realize you wanted to pursue this genre?

When I discovered I was pregnant with my third child, we decided I would plan to give birth at home. I have always been very interested in birth, and I knew that I wanted our home birth journey and my sons’ experience meeting their baby sister documented. I became enthralled in birth imagery while searching for a birth photographer, and I felt a tug to give the same kind of gift to other mothers.

When my daughter turned one and I could finally leave her for long periods to attend a birth, I proposed birth photography at a discounted rate to a friend who was expecting her second baby, and to my luck she agreed and was so excited about it. That first birth was so intense, so beautiful, so emotional, and filled my soul just as I knew it would. I felt like I was right where I needed to be, documenting that baby being born into grateful and loving arms. After the birth, I couldn’t wait to begin edits, and the emotion I felt seeing everything happen again was unique and unforgettable. I was hooked, and I booked three more births soon after that.

What do you think separates birth photography from all other genres?

I think what distinguishes birth photography is that it does not fit into a neat and tidy box like portraits. I am a documentary photographer, so the nature of my work is candid, real, raw emotion and natural moments. But birth brings that to another level because there is so much at stake when documenting a birth and so many variables to consider. Each birth unfolds however and whenever it may, and it is our job to be ready to tell that story creatively and honestly when it happens. It’s also the only type of photography where we can’t get a do-over for those significant moments. We can simulate proposals, weddings, and re-shoot family sessions. But each baby is only born once, so documenting it well requires skill, vision, and planning.
What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to break into the birth photography business (aim for at least 5, but any are welcome)

-Consider how the on-call situation will fit into your lifestyle
-Be prepared to be away from your family for hours or possibly days
-Be prepared for all lighting situations and birthspace configurations
-Always have back-up equipment, extra cards and batteries
-Price yourself thoughtfully to value your time and all that goes into birth photography and the sacrifice of an on-call lifestyle
-Be patient with the unpredictable process of birth
-Remember to document both the emotional and physical journey for your client
-Respect the medical environment and sacred birth space: be unobtrusive and calm
-Be kind and considerate to the birth team
-It’s especially important to connect with your clients before birth; make sure it’s a good fit before booking

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

For my first few births, just having so many variables with the on-call lifestyle was a challenge. Do we take two cars to dinner down the street, in case I need to speed out to a birth? Should we commit to that event with friends even though I have two moms due that weekend? All the unknown was stressful, because of course I really wanted to make it to each client’s birth in time.

At the births, I found it challenging intially to shoot in various artificial and mixed lighting scenarios and to switch my settings quickly when light changes just before baby emerges. And then the question of which moments to document in video vs. stills when I’m making a fusion story adds a challenge, because things can happen so rapidly in birth.

But what I have learned with time, is that I can be on-call and still live my own life as long as I have solid plans and support in place. And with experience, I’ve learned to anticipate the changes in lighting and which birth locations present challenges.

With this growing confidence, I have felt myself falling deeper in love with birth photography…because at the end of the day, there is just nothing like witnessing new life being brought forth with such intensity, love, and raw emotion…and having a family’s trust to approach the experience as an artist handcrafting a keepsake.

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The Birth Story of Nathaniel from Angie Klaus Birth + Family Films on Vimeo.

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Angie is a storytelling photographer and filmmaker specializing in birth, baby, and family photojournalism. She is most inspired by interesting light, connections, and movement as she documents life for her own family and her clients. Angie also mentors other photographers and enjoys helping them along in their own journeys. She lives in Northern Virginia and spends much of her free time outside in nature. When she’s not on call for a birth, Angie loves traveling to explore cultures and good food with her husband and their three children.

WEBSITE | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM  | VIMEO