DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER | feature by Carla Monge

DEAR PHOTOGRAPHER | feature by Carla Monge



Dear past, present and future Carla,

I believe the message I want to give you now is relevant to all three of those people, for our journeys are fluid and we often lose ourselves along the way, only to dig deeper and reencounter a truer version of ourselves, over and over as we journey on.

The image above is from 2012, one of the first images you took with your DSLR that you were proud of. The first image that made you realize you could capture your vision of the magic in our everyday lives. The photograph was made in your Grandmother’s bathroom as your husband held your two-month-old, preparing him for his bath, just a regular evening in what was your regular routine back then. You were just starting out in this wonderful world of photography, and yet you had already been drawn to what you liked, that magical play of light and shadow – and baby bums of course, who doesn’t love those!? 😉 I know that at the time you weren’t able to fully recognize the things you were drawn to and the things you were not, but looking back on your most meaningful photographs now, I can see that the core ingredients were already there. As you were learning, I know you searched and searched, and tried a bit of everything along the way. Perhaps that had to happen in order for you to realize, later on, that your taste and your vision had in fact been there all along, and that uncovering them and refining them is not a final destination but a lifetime’s creative journey.

We often over complicate things and search outside ourselves to find our style and our voice, but it is already within us, it has always been within us, and that is where you must remember to keeping digging for it, nurturing and refining it. As always, no path is ever a straight line, so next time you find yourself on an unfulfilling path, questioning your work and your meaning, just remember to slowly make your way back home through the inside, not through the outside.


Carla x


Carla is a newborn and family lifestyle and fine art photographer, living in London with her husband and her muses, her two children. A former engineer who worked in finance for many years, photography has always been her creative outlet, now turned into her profession. Her passion first and foremost is that her kids may be able to see through her photographs, how she saw them whilst they were growing up.

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REDEFINE | Underwater Photography with a GOPRO featuring Tessie Wallace Photography

REDEFINE | Underwater Photography with a GOPRO featuring Tessie Wallace Photography


“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 learn about underwater photography? did you first realize you liked this topic?

I was first attracted to underwater photography a few years ago, when I saw the work of Lia Barrett online. She works with a family friend of mine and I was blown away by her images. I don’t think I even owned a camera back then but once I got on Instagram last fall, I started seeing underwater images and thought it would be amazing to try it. I also took Summer Murdock’s Magic of Light class and her underwater photography definitely got me researching what type of housing I could purchase for my own camera.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning, in your journey or figuring underwater photography?

I just started underwater photography mid-July, so I’m still learning something new every time I get in the water. I have been using my brother-in-law’s GoPro Hero 4 and I purchased a dome attachment for it. Figuring out the best settings has been a huge challenge for me since you can’t really control the shutter speed and ISO. I did turn on the Protune feature, which gives me some control. But the biggest issue so far has been water clarity. It makes such a difference as to whether your subject is sharp or not. And clean, clear water gives you more options for editing. The light and time of day is also very important since I am using a GoPro. I can shoot on a cloudy day, but the sunlight (or underwater pool lights at night) makes a much more dynamic photo. I just did a shoot at sunset and it was amazing because I was able to get sun haze and major flare, which I’ve never done before. So I’m definitely still learning!

 Why are you passionate about this topic?

It’s just really fun to let go and see what you can capture underwater. There’s a freedom to it because I don’t have to tell anyone what to do. I just play with my son and take a lot of photos. He has finally started swimming on his own and it’s his favorite thing to do, so capturing his joy gives me tremendous pride. I love documenting him on his journey and he loves to see the photos I take, which has driven my passion even more. He is also an amazing subject because he doesn’t blow out bubbles and he swims with his eyes open.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve underwater photography?

Just go for it! It’s really fun. You will need to lay flat so your feet aren’t in the shot and wear goggles (even though you can’t always see what you’re shooting if it’s really sunny). Also be aware of your light source and use it to your advantage. Backlighting is hard for me with the limitations of the GoPro, so I usually place subjects looking towards the light. You also need to be closer to your subject than you think – especially with the dome attachment. Editing is where the magic happens. I use a lot of contrast, clarity and some dehaze in Lightroom and then take it over to Photoshop for the skin tone corrections. Clean, clear water is also much easier to edit than cloudy water. But you can get a beautiful ethereal effect from cloudy water as well. I do prefer a moody, dramatic edit, which takes time to do on my computer. But I also really like documentary style photos and so I always edit some of my underwater photos close to the SOOC. They don’t have as much drama, but they capture the connection between my son and me. So many options, just enjoy it!





Hello! I’m Tessie, a Charleston, West Virginia based photographer who craves color, light, beauty and magic.  I specialize in lifestyle and documentary photography, which includes various portrait sessions as well as labor & delivery, fresh 48 newborn sessions, and underwater mini sessions.  My goal is to capture real moments and connections in an artful way.  I also work alongside my husband as an artist-blacksmith and welder.


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Instagram giveaway! in celebration of 50K fans- @dear_photographer


The Dear Photographer blog Instagram community is unlike any other out there, We really hope that our hosts and those following along can see that we appreciate all the love and support you’ve given us.  Social media has always been very helpful to share the heart of why we do what we do. It has a way to unite and bring together photographers from all corners of the world. In the past, we’ve had hosts from all around the globe, near AU, and Hawaii, Iceland and other parts of Europe.

To show our appreciation we have some cool giveaways planned throughout the month of August! so stay tuned and win!

FOLLOW US HERE  @dear_photographer

First up :


What you will win : ONE FREE MONTH OF EDUCATION!


UnRaveled is a new wave of education featuring a revolutionary online workshop taught by Coleen Hodges and Sarah Driscoll as well as an online school where students can grow, learn and connect with others along their creative journey. At UnRaveled a holistic approach to artistry is embraced and the mind, body and soul of creatives are nurtured and supported. The focus is truly on creating an everyday wholeness and threading positive energy and flow into your creative process while emphasizing the importance of balance, zen, and minimalism.

At UnRaveled, they understand that the creative journey has never been cookie cutter or straight and narrow; and that it will never be one size fits all. It is unique, and scary, and naked; and if students are brave enough, they will take the path less travelled through being apart of the UnRaveled community.  UnRaveled teachers want to emphasize that path because they truly believe that it will make all the difference in the world. The path less travelled is Robert Frost and Sylvia Plath and Sally Mann and Jill Greenberg. It is raw, honest, minimalist, and bare boned. It is more than just the clicking of a shutter or the writing of the pen. It is a soul, being honest with who they are and what they stand for.

The UnRaveled online school is user-friendly, where students are able to complete and submit assignments, view and download weekly content, share their work with their teachers and peers and receive honest critiques.The school also provides new monthly editing videos from some of your favourite photographers, as well as monthly lessons and bi-weekly mini lectures from artists and creatives of all capacity– including painters, writers, photographers, yogis, nutritionists, meditation experts, web designers, illustrators, and makers.

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a Rafflecopter giveaway

19/31 EPIC SUMMER SESSIONS |Feature by Mary Beth Photography

19/31 EPIC SUMMER SESSIONS |Feature by Mary Beth Photography
Is this session personal work or client work?

This session is client work.

Tell us a bit about the magic of summer + the connection to your lens?

I absolutely love summer. The dreamy effect of these images and the fact they are shot with film make me feel nostalgic. I wanted to shoot this session how it felt, not just the way it looked through my lens. The beach, the love shared, and the whimsy tones in these images all remind me of the magic of summer.

-What about this session makes it an Epic summer session?

To me the connection and the the way  these images make me feel makes this an Epic summer session. The love this couple shares paired with the tones that only film has to offer, makes them magical. I wanted to shoot these images the way the session felt, not just the way it looked through my lens. The out of focus shots were purposely shot that way for a more dreamy surreal look. And hands down shooting film in direct sunlight was the right choice.

What else is on your summer bucket list to photograph this summer?

I have so many things. I am traveling two more places this summer, Tuscaloosa, AL and Denver, CO for sessions, and I can’t wait to meet the families there and visit new places. I love to travel and with my kids out of school plan all of my travel sessions in the summer. Next summer I’d love to do sessions in SoCal and maybe even Paris, France. I’d say that would be summer bucket list for sure.

What gear was used to achieve these?

Mamiya 645afd
Mamiya 80mm
Fuji 400h Film

Any summer tips or photographer advice?

I guess my only advice as a photographer would be to shoot what you love, and say no to all the rest. Find what sets your heart on fire and go and do that. The most magical sessions, come from that fire of passion.



Mary Beth Johnson is a family & child lifestyle film photographer located in Northwest, Indiana. She loves her littles, color, all things film, and lacing up her running shoes. Capturing connection is what she strives to do.

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15/ 31 EPIC SUMMER SESSIONS |Feature by Claire Searle

15/ 31 EPIC SUMMER SESSIONS |Feature by Claire Searle
Is this session personal work or client work?

Client work

Tell us a bit about the magic of summer + the connection to your lens?

I have a love hate relationship with summer, it is all delicious fruit, long nights and sweat lots of sweat. I live in Australia where 9 months of the year we live in summer. Summer means Christmas and the New Year, so it’s always a special time of year. I shot this session on my Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 lense. I love that this lense allows me to always be close to my clients so they can hear my hilarious jokes and I can capture their big smiles as they laugh at them. I also used my nifty fifty Canon50mm f 1.8 to capture the last few images as I love that swirly bokeh it allows me to capture then drool over whilst editing.

What about this session makes it an Epic summer session?

I seriously loved this session. Who doesn’t love a mumma who is willing to wade through the ocean and stroll up and down cliffs. We talked and laughed and ate delicious snacks that this beautiful mum made for us. I think hanging out on a beach with a fun lady eating pretty much sums up my idea of an epic summer.

What else is on your summer bucket list to photograph this summer?

I would love to capture some underwater shots, that has been on my bucket list for waaaay too long.

 What gear was used to achieve these?

Canon 6d
Tamron 24-70mm f2.8
Canon 50mm F1.8 all edited in LR

Any summer tips or photographer advice?

Get out there and enjoy that summer, Be sure to be sun safe and drink plenty of h20!

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Hi I’m Claire, I am a lifestyle photographer who is passionate about capturing the special moments in your life. I am also a Wife, Mumma and Registered Nurse. I absolutely love natural light. I don’t use a flash and I don’t shoot in a studio. I love exploring the beautiful Coffs Coast hunting down perfect locations for you and your family.

I believe that every family deserves to be captured. I love love and would be honored to capture your life. I love natural candid moments, real laughs (usually at my jokes) and honest emotion. I use minimal posing and just like to let you the client lead the way. Feel free to browse my site and let me know if you have any questions

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Summer inspiration kick off! | Kyla Ewert

Summer inspiration kick off!  | Kyla Ewert

This is the kick of some epic summer inspiration, In the new Dear Photographer FB group  , We asked you to share with us some of the best images of summer with the hashtag #epicsummersession. The whole month of July will be full of sun, sand, families, children, laughter, love and everything that makes summer such a special time for photographers. In 31 + incredible session features from some of the best in the industry.  We hope that any of these sessions make you want to pick up your camera and shoot your heart out. Cheers to summer. We hope you are enjoying this time. If you are on the other side of the world, we hope summer finds you soon.

Now! Cue the tears, watch this incredible family summer video + session by the amazing Kyla Ewert

Is this session personal work or client work?

This is a client session, a dear friend too.

Tell us a bit about the magic of summer + the connection to your lens?

The beautiful thing about summer is truthfully the weather, the warm lends itself to being more carefree, and one less thing to think about for the clients. Warmth lends itself to comfort, and I think gives people the ability to relax better. If I have relaxed clients, I can capture their truth in a better way, and that is always my goal. The light of summer time ignites my passion for shooting, and my favorite thing to do is to combine beautiful light and someones love story.

What about this session makes it an Epic summer session?

I truthfully think this family made the session epic. Their love is so obvious, and their story is one of grace, hope and joy, which is always going to be a beautiful thing to watch, I was just lucky enough to be there with my camera.

What else is on your summer bucket list to photograph this summer?

My dream would be to travel around Canada and to capture families in their favorite, most relaxed places. So ideally at their cabins or home, where their love story is best told.

-What gear was used to achieve the video ?

For the majority of this video I used my Canon Mark iii and my Sigma 24mm 1.4, I believe I used my 50mm 1.2 for a bit of it.

Any summer tips or photographer advice?

Look for the love and the light.



Proud wife to Tyler, blessed mama to Atticus, Sullivan and Pepper. I spend my days trying to take in their smalless, calling my sisters and mom when I’m frustrated, praying I’m better tomorrow, regretting eating too many sweets, and surprised every day at 4pm that I still have to make dinner. I love a good wheat ale beer, entertaining in our home (thank goodness my husband cooks,) and chasing sunsets in my minivan full of kids and a camera bag. When I’m  not taking pictures I’m charging my camera’s battery ad making the most of these long days and short years.

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BE INSPIRED SESH|featuring Christina McLauchlin

BE INSPIRED SESH|featuring Christina McLauchlin


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

In the photography world, I’m definitely a newbie. I decided to get serious about learning my camera about a year and a half ago. I started with a Nikon D3100 and a nifty 50. I fell in love! I’d spend hours online learning everything I could about composition and light and editing. Then I’d drag my children outside and take photos of them until they were crying. I really did! About 6 months in, I had the opportunity to buy a used Nikon D700 from a friend of a friend. About three months later, I bought a used 35mm Sigma Art off of Ebay from Latvia! What could possibly go wrong?! Lol! Needless to say, I’ve done everything on a shoe-string budget. I am thankful for my equipment and I love how it helps me fulfill my vision, but it does not define me as an artist. Some of my favorite images were taken with that entry level camera and the nifty 50. You don’t have to have everything “just so” to create art that you love.

I approach my work with these three things in mind: Emotion, Texture, Movement. If I can create an image with all three of those things, I always love it. Because that is life, right? This life is moving and textured and emotional and beautiful! I want people to feel the life in my images. I want my images to feel like a deep breath in and a deep breath out.

More importantly though, I have this belief that if I maintain my love and joy for what I’m doing, it translates. Photography is therapy for me. It challenges me and pushes me and makes me happy. The fulfillment I get from doing it comes first. If I start burning out, I pull back and immerse myself in personal work until I love it again. Before I discovered photography and what it means to me, I didn’t have a creative outlet and I was frustrated a lot. When money starts to become the main focus, I remind myself that having photography in my life is a gift that is more precious than money could ever be. I do it for the love of it.

What about this session was most memorable?

We decided to take an impromptu trip to Monterey. We were all so happy and excited and tired of being pent up in the car. We stopped at the beach and we all felt the freedom. 🙂

Were there any hurdles?

Side light. The sun was setting to the side of us. I was nervous at first and thought that it might be a bust. Lol. I played with the settings on my camera and experimented with angling my camera to control the light. I ended up loving it. The side light created a dreamy depth. Sometimes you just never know!

Your best photographer/session advice?

My sessions can be chaos. I go with my gut. I don’t let structure get in the way of creativity, for better or for worse! If I have an idea, I go with it and I let it take me. Make room for that kind of spontaneity. You’ll find that’s where your best work happens.

What gear was used to achieve these?

Nikon D700 and 35mm Sigma Art.




I’m a photographer located in Northern California. I put my whole heart and soul into capturing the beauty of people as they really are. I feel a strong connection to nature. My main goal with my art is to convey the essence of the human spirit against the backdrop of this beautiful earth. My children are my preferred muses.

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