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.


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


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.
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


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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

BE INSPIRED Session featuring Ericka Nicole Photography

Be inspired Maternity session the dear photographer blog

Tell us a bit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
ENP: When I first discovered lifestyle photography, I fell in LOVE. I have always been drawn to genuine connection and emotion in photos and that is what I strive to capture in my work. Intimate, candid shots are my jam! I love taking a simple moment and turning it in something magical for my clients. Like a whisper, a simple kiss or a snuggle. I’m still working on finding my “niche,” at first I was immediately drawn to photographing families but recently have had a few couples sessions and they have been SO fun! So we will see where this adventure takes me! I have been doing this for a little over a year now and besides a few online classes/workshops I am completely self taught. After graduating college a few years ago I picked up my camera one day and with the most amazing encouragement from my friends and family decided to pursue my love of photography full force. I still work a full time job and so I do most of my sessions on the weekends. My goal is to one day be able to do this full time-praying hard for that everyday! When I’m not at work or in front of the computer editing I love being outdoors; hiking and camping are my favorite! I have a two year old French bulldog name Sir Opus Winston (Opie for short) who hates having his picture taken and runs from the camera every time he sees me getting it out. And I could probably eat sushi everyday for the rest of my life!

What about this session was most memorable?
ENP: We did Caitlyn’s session on a quiet Sunday afternoon late in the day at a local state park. There was barely any people out and all you could hear was the wind and quiet little sounds the forest makes. I remember thinking how crazy it was that visibly it was just us two; but really there were 3. She was carrying around this tiny fragile life in her, tiptoeing around barefoot in the woods with the sun shining on her back and it was just one of the prettiest and most humbling sessions I have had to date. I had been struggling lately with my work and that day with her in the woods was just what my soul needed.

Were there any hurdles?
ENP: Well, it was the end of February in Illinois so the weather was as to be expected I guess you could say! The forecast had been calling for a beautiful sunny day but we had woken up to clouds upon clouds-super overcast and just yuck. As the day progressed it wasn’t looking like it was going to get any better. Even though I had this beautiful, sun lit, golden hour session dreamt up in my head we decided to go ahead and shoot as planned. Just as we got to the park the sun decided to come out and it ended up being so perfect. I’m so glad we decided to go through with the shoot, you just never know how things are going to turn out!

 Your best photographer/session advice?
ENP: Shoot for YOU. Shoot what you see and what makes you feel. Edit in a way that satisfies you and your desire to create. Because if you are doing so for other people you will never be happy with your work! Use the internet and social media to your advantage; network and meet new photographers who share with you in your passion. But take time off too. Put your phone down more. Remember that being in the moment is just as beautiful as documenting it!

What gear was used to achieve these?
Canon 5d Mark III and Sigma Art 35




dp-6Illinois Maternity photographer, Ericka Nicole Photographydp-8dp-9dp-10dp-11dp-12dp-13

My name is Ericka (spelled with both a “c” and a “k”!). I am based in the NW suburbs of Illinois in a small little town in the middle of some cornfields. I am one of those crazy, obsessed French bulldog mamas. I love a good burger topped with a fried egg (always), road trips, being outdoors and craft beer. I love music and second to coffee is what fuels me for the majority of my day. Some of my favorites include Sufjan Stevens, Alt-J, The Lumineers, Father John Misty, + Bon Iver.



BE INSPIRED Session featuring Rustic Simplicity Images

Dear photographer blogBE INSPIRED Session featuring Rustic Simplicity Images

Tell us abit about your approach to the work you do, your time in the business and a few personal facts about you.
RSI : I have such a passion for creating real, authentic, and beautiful memories for families through photography. My goal in each session is to draw this authenticity and connection out. I want to give them more than just a few images, but an entire experience to remember and look back on with love and fondness. This means that my approach is always the same – connect immediately with them, make them feel comfortable, and encourage them to bring me their moments. I always try to befriend the children first. Mom and Dad will usually warm up quickly if they know that their littles are comfortable and happy, and if their children can relate to me quickly, then that immediate friendship will help foster real connections throughout the session. I have been in business a little under two years, though have truly only been shooting for a few of those seasons due to military life and moves and adding another baby to our lives. I love this little business of mine though, and am excited to keep pursuing it and grow even as our lives and locations change. When I’m not chasing my three kids or trying to survive single parenting while my husband is deployed, I love to workout with Barre3, decorate and do DIY projects at home (gotta love those Pinterest projects), and drink as much coffee as possible!

What about this session was most memorable?
RSI: This session is actually one of my favorites. This sweet family just GOT it. They didn’t do anything but love on each other and they just truly adored one another. He made her laugh, she adored him, and they both couldn’t have loved their little one any more. Dad talked to me after the session about how important it was for him to be present in his daughter’s life and be the best possible father, and it was just so obvious that he is and will continue to be that way. There was such a great mutual respect and love for each other that really impacted me even after the session!

Were there any hurdles?
RSI: Yes! Our main hurdle was the time frame. This was a mini-session, so just 20 minutes or so reserved and my clients actually got stuck in really bad traffic and were running really late! I was at the location watching the sun start to disappear and was really worried we were going to miss all the good light. This is where it becomes even more important to gain that connection immediately and help your clients feel totally comfortable. They couldn’t have been sweeter when they arrived, we jumped right in, and spent no more than 15-20 minutes getting some of my favorite images.

Your best photographer/session advice?
RSI:Be genuine with your clients and vocal. They are nervous and unsure of what to do, but know they want great photos. This is something I’m still working on, but think it is such needed advice for most of us photographers. Clients want us to be in charge and lead them to these great moments! Don’t be afraid to jump in and reposition, move hair, etc. to get everyone in the best place and moment for those captured memories.

What gear was used to achieve these?
RSI: This session was my Nikon d750 and Sigma Art 50mm. My 35mm rarely leaves my camera, but was being cleaned during this session – my 50mm was fun to use again!

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My name is Marion and I am the girl behind the camera for RSI. I have three littles (4, 2, and 7 months) and an amazing husband who is in the Navy. We move a lot, but wouldn’t trade this life for anything! My specialty is family and lifestyle photography 🙂



Dear Photographer feature by Tamarah Hodgson of Meraki + Light




                         From a client session when I first started in 2009.



You were young, and full of creativity. I just wish you would have known that your art didn’t have to look like what everyone else was doing. I wish I could have told you to create from your own vision, from the depths of your own heart. You got caught up in posing, in copying, in people-pleasing. You were so committed to capturing the perfectly posed portrait, and making your clients happy. Not that making your client’s happy is wrong, I wish I could have told you that the only person you needed to please was yourself, your own creative vision. You know this now, and your heart is coming alive like never before. It’s like you’ve finally found your true self. So to my future self: never forget who you are, never stop creating from your own depths. Your art may not matter to everyone, but it’ll keep you alive and speak to those who need it, as long as you keep pouring out from your own, deep, creative vision.

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I’m Tamarah Hodgson, wife, mother and photographer at Meraki + Light.  I’m a passionate enthusiast for creating from your depths.  I believe that art matters, it shapes us, and those around us.  I believe that loving others is one of the most beautiful and fruitful things we can give our lives to.  And I find my wholeness in Jesus, who has taught me what perfect love looks like.


Dear Photographer feature by Forest + Field Photography


Image taken in 2014- when I first really started photography. Back when I started I slapped on any preset that seemed “different” and didn’t think about it twice.


Dear Lindsay, 
You started as a painter and illustrator, but mostly a dreamer. You found art as therapeutic, as a way to deal with the intense losses and trials of your life. You used art as a channel to look within yourself and then used art as a tool to build yourself up again. You have painted and drawn since an early age, and it wasn’t until 2012 that you really stumbled, arms flailing, into photography. You never took classes and instead worked endlessly to learn and master the art form on your own, and sometimes you were downright upset with the outcome and wanted to throw your camera out the window. That is fine. Mistakes allow for growth. Don’t compare your art to anyone else’s. Keep your heart and eyes open, and keep patience and drive. Climb higher, and stretch your arms wider. Allow every moment to be it’s own moment, remember you are only there to catch a small glimpse of it, like magic. Love yourself and others through art, and never look back unless it is to cherish the moments that have passed. Never stop learning and keep telling stories. And by gosh, go outside and explore the world.



My name is Lindsay Saunders, I love in Alaska. Yep, it’s cold in the winter but I grew up here and it is my home. I teach middle school history, and love to paint and draw. In the summer I love to take my kids up mountains and picnic on top of the glorious ridges, and explore the world with my husband. I have two kids (with one on the way) so I stay PRETTY busy. 🙂


Dear Photographer feature by Jodi Lynn Photography

Dear Photographer feature by Jodi Lynn Photography





Image CIRCA 2012


Dearest Jodi Lynn,

You truly have a heart of gold and are gifted at seeing families from the outside in and giving them true treasures they will cherish for a lifetime. I hope you always see that inherent beauty in the world and help others see it too. Sometimes you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and I hope you learn to realize that the sun truly does indeed rise each day. Each day offers you a renewed sense of wonder, hope and possibility. Keep following your heart and stay true to your art and you will always feel that comfort and sense of peace in showing truth, grace and love. It’s okay to be vulnerable at times, to acknowledge bumps in the road, pain, uncertainty; feeling lost and wanting true clarity. The path of an Artist often serves self doubt, and each journey on this road brings you closer to yourself, your own accomplishments and overcoming insecurities. Photography gives you such a tremendous and beautiful platform to express yourself, don’t forget that. Stay true to your goals of showing people the true hope and love in their worlds, for this will be your greatest gift to others. The ability to help others see their own lives as something true and beautiful. And, like all the woman before you and all those after you, that opportunity to illustrate that we are all truly one and connected. That we all have such cherished gifts to offer.



About the Photographer :

Jodi Lynn is a lifestyle family photographer in Northern California who aims to document love and truth. Her love affair with photography bloomed when she began documenting her growing family after the birth of her second son almost 9 years ago. She wanted to capture her own family’s life unfolding…the laughter, the joy, the love, the fear and everything in between. A few years later and after the birth of her daughter and third child, Jodi realized photography was something she felt a calling towards, something that truly felt like home. She left a career in elementary education to focus on this tremendous gift she wanted to share with the world. Jodi Lynn has spent the last four years learning all she can about photography and shooting every chance she can get, her own children being her greatest muses. She challenges herself to grow as an Artist and find the true magic in the families she captures; to showcase those real moments that are uniquely theirs. She aims to provide authentic, emotive, joyful and timeless family heirlooms….capturing her subjects lives as something true and beautiful. Jodi has been featured on Lookslikefilm and Lemonade + Lenses and was a Rangefinder Magazine’s 2016 Portrait Winner as well as a finalist in the Shoot + Share contest in 2016.
My media links….


xo ♥ Jodi