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


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.


BE INSPIRED sesh | Feature by Sara K Blanco Photography




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 live for in-home lifestyle sessions. I love walking into a new space, a space that two people have created together, where they share their laughter, their tears and their most sacred moments. While I do photograph outdoor sessions often, there is just something about being in my clients homes that gives me insight into their energy and personalities. It also lends itself to a more natural flow to our session, as they are relaxed and often times get lost in each other and forget I’m there.

I have been full-time in my business for almost twelve years now, but I started working in photography almost 20 years ago. It has been a complete love affair and obsession for over half of my life and every day is new for me, meeting new clients or pursuing new ideas.

I’m happiest when I’m outside, listening to the birds sing, watching my boys run around, or planting flowers and digging in the dirt. I love design, print and interior. I’m constantly changing the decor in my home, if I can sneak it past my graphic designer husband who is frustratingly opinionated. I’m a huge animal lover and am stoked when a family asks to include their pets in our sessions.

What about this session was most memorable?
This couple has spent the majority of their engagement apart due to work and school. During our phone consultation we spoke about their relationship and how precious their little time together is. They’re very affectionate, as you can see, and we really wanted that to be the focus of this session.

Were there any hurdles?

The apartment he is staying in is full of rented furniture and not exactly their style. I saw it as a challenge and an opportunity to focus on their connection instead of their things. I think it made it all the better for me, I LOVE a challenge!!

Your best photographer/session advice?

I always have the same advice, be open. Walk into any session the way you would walk into any new relationship, open mind and open heart. An honest connection with your client will allow you to create the images that speak the most, not only to them, but to you. It’s not always about achieving your vision!

What gear was used to achieve these?

Mark iii, 35 mm 1.4



I live in San Antonio, TX with my husband of twelve years, our two boys and our rescue dog, Bear. I was lucky enough to know that art was the only path for my life at an early age and have been pursuing photography as a job with as much passion as I had at 17. I adore people, connections and relationships as much as I love this art and am forever grateful to the families who choose me.



REDEFINE | Macro Photography feature by Lyf is Grand photography

macrophotography“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 this topic?
I have this overwhelming obsession with details. The more minute or mundane, the more fascinating to me. I have always been one to study bugs and different kinds of fungi, the patterns in the pollen when summer rains disturbs film. I can be found with my nose to the ground, literally, squinting at some tiny thing. And on more than one occasion people have asked me what the heck I am doing laying on the ground in my summer dresses! But I am fascinated by the little details in our daily lives, as well as in the small world beneath our feet. The tiny creatures and worlds we pass by completely unnoticed. The similarities and the stark contrasts to the big world we live in day to day.

When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
Over the course of my life my fascination with science and macro has grown into a bit of a comfort thing. I shoot macro daily as a way to decompress and for me it’s just really therapeutic. My parents bought this camera when I was about 8, a DSCF707 or something and that was it, my fate was sealed, I’ve been hooked ever since.
It wasn’t until just 3 years ago when my husband bought me my first DSLR that I started to really take it seriously enough to learn any kind of technique or anything about gear. I don’t have any formal training, apparently it’s all trial and error over here, emphasis on error!

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?

It’s not about the gear, the first thing I’d say to anyone looking to get into macro work would be to just go and get what you can afford, even if it’s just a set of glass diopters, and play around. It’s not about what macro lens you have, whether you have a ring flash, or if you shoot handheld, it’s about the things you see! About how you capture those things for others, it’s about your point of view.

Someone told me mid way through 2015, about 6 months after I got my camera, when doing macro, make sure everything in the frame is there intentionally. It took me several months but eventually the mindfulness that was intended to be taught there sunk in.
It’s not as easy to do that with photos of people, especially with documentary and storytelling photography so it’s not something we always think when we take a shot. But with Macro it’s simpler in it’s way, you can fill the space with only the things you want there without distraction.

Cheat! Bring a spray bottle, bring tweezers, bring a dropper! For the space those things take up in your kit you’ll be grateful to have them.

Think small! Perhaps this seems pretty self explanatory but to someone who doesn’t even have a macro lens it can be hard to imagine just how close you can get. The immaculate and miniscule details in this world can be utterly small. But don’t be afraid to pull back either, just because you can get past a 1:1 ratio on every shot doesn’t mean you need to. Some things need a bit of context.

This last bit won’t surprise you, I tell it to everyone, and it’s good advice in life as well as in any kind of photography.
Get weird, break the rules and don’t be afraid to be confusing.
As an artist I have to constantly remind myself of this, I know the rules and I know what will be more popular maybe but the images that speak to my heart, the ones I am really proud of, are almost always the weirdest of the lot. And not just mine either, some of the people I truly admire make the most abstract images but they just swell with feeling.

What were the challenges for you in the beginning?
Well I don’t have any formal training, I didn’t know what my lenses would do in different lighting conditions and learning that was a long and sometimes painful process. I don’t learn by reading, I learn by doing. So I just kept shooting and I am still figuring it out.
I didn’t have photoshop, I used Gimp for a long time so advice from other photographers was more often than not “get PS”, and I had no “real” gear. I wanted a ring flash, and an expensive macro lens and pixel peeking was a real problem (protip: don’t do that). Lord save me if there was a little ISO grain, and I REALLY struggled with Autofocus. I can’t stand it and I now own only one lens with AF and its my freelensing lens!
Well I turfed a lot of my preconceived notions.
I don’t have a lot of time so that was and is always hard; to compensate I bring my camera everywhere and I can’t just leave with one lens. I have my son with me 120% of the time and he likes to stomp on the things I am inspecting.
The long and the short of it is that I hardly ever do macro “properly” to this day, all hand held, natural light, and vintage manual lenses. But I overcame each challenge as they presented themselves, or I embraced them. Over time I learned that it’s just not all about perfectly crisp focus and following the rules, it’s about creation. That may have been my biggest challenge to date.



My name is Jade Lyf, I call myself a Storytelling, Documentary, and Fine Art Photographer and I live on the incredibly beautiful Vancouver Island in BC Canada. I’ve lived all over the PNW, in several central states and Ontario, but PNW has and will always have my heart. I am a devoted wife and mother, I have a 3 year old son. I never graduated HighschoolI am an Introvert and I have social anxiety I go through bouts of -real- self doubt. I don’t give myself enough credit and I compare my work with other peoples even though I KNOW I shouldn’t. When I was 16 the most important person in my life died suddenly and that process shaped me. 
I am brave, I am intelligent, I can build and fix things and I learn quickly. I know what manual labour is like, and I daydream about being a scientist. I am obsessed with details of all varieties. I am willing to change my mind given reason. When I am not out shooting I am home with my family, reading, or watching bad TV.  I am a person, this is how I see.  

REDEFINE | Birth photography feature by Angie Klaus 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.

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.


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.


REDEFINE | Travel Photography feature by Josey Miller

jmtravelphotographyDearphotographer“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 traveling + photography in general?

JM: I am passionate with the human story. The fascinating souls who move, work, and make their homes. I love walking these places- getting the small glimpses I can into their family connections, beliefs, and foods. The beautiful histories and the way they overcome adversary and hardships. Travel photography is a way that I can more deeply experience humanity and their land. It has played a huge role in transforming my world view and shaping my own beliefs while being a vein into expressing life to art and sharing a window for others to see into.

 Can you tell us how your photography journey started

JM: I’ve always been interested in documenting and journalism, but putting the world canvas into a frame became the main way I could learn from the life around me-from others and myself. I was given a camera at a young age and took lessons all through school. This was my foundation, but in recent years, after moving overseas with my family, I have really found photography to be a crucial part of living and walking amongst a place that is not my own.

When traveling what are a few important items that you bring along for your camera?

JM: When Im traveling, I try to pack as simple as possible. The main reason being, in most destinations, I will be walking quite a lot and so it makes sense to carry light. The other reason being to prevent drawing attention to myself. I try to carry around my camera plus go to lens (which is my 35 mm) and then I have my 24mm in my bag along with an extra battery and memory card.

 What were the challenges for you in the beginning?

JM:The challenges in the beginning can still come back to stir me. Walking through the streets or villages, seeing the broken world and complicated human condition, I can be overcome with a tug of war of questions and insecurities of purpose. There is a strong desire to maintain humility and dignity with a hope for a connection, even a collaboration, that gives a powerful message or story to a frame. I can often struggle with the truth and empathy and how photography can fit or play a role.

Any tips when traveling as a photographer? Permits you aquire or anything specific to travel and photography?

JM:I don’t have many tips. Besides the logistics of traveling requirements for different places like foreign visas and such, I do try to spend as much time as possible researching the place before I arrive. Also, getting to know and establishing trust with the people before getting the camera out. Awareness and compassion is key.

Favorite travel destinations

JM: So far, my favorite places have been the ones that take the most work to get to or are the most challenging culturally when I arrive. Southern India blew my mind on so many levels, leaving me with weeks of heavy life processing after I left, and up North in the small Tibetan villages, I couldn’t get enough of sitting around in a circle on the floor with the locals, sharing in hot Momos (kind of dumpling) and tea. These two places, with their deep history and strong traditions, expanded my understanding of humanity and culture more than any other so far.

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Josey is  a photographer specializing in lifestyle, food, street and travel photography.  She currently lives in West China where she loves to document culture, rural and city life, and of course her family of 5 (almost 6).

BE INSPIRED Session featuring Alica Keiser Photography


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

When a client books with me I start with asking them a few questions about their likes and styles to help determine the best location for the session. I have an open contact policy and I encourage my clients to contact me with any questions they have leading up to the session. I also love helping families figure out clothing options, such as clothing styles and colors, since having the right outfits for the session location can make all the difference! I started my love affair with photography almost 6 years ago when my daughter was born, and other than a few online workshops I am a self taught photographer. After encouragement from family and friends I decided to turn my passion into a business. January 2017 was my 1 year anniversary!
A few personal facts, Hmmm…To start, nobody can ever pronounce my name correctly, and after 30 years I have learned to answer to anything! I am also a really picky eater. If it includes anything green I’m probably not going to eat it. When it comes to my free time, I love being outdoors. There is just something so calming about nature that I love to spend my time hiking with my family and enjoying everything nature has to offer.

What about this session was most memorable?
This session was most memorable to me because it was for my best friend. She is pregnant with her 4th, and her last, child. I was so excited to be able to fly down to Florida for the weekend and capture these amazing memories! A little personal time away from the daily chaos of my life back home was nice too;)

Were there any hurdles?
The hardest part of this entire session was finding a session location in an area that I’ve never been to before. Florida is so much different than Virginia, and I wanted to find the perfect spot. It took some research to find an area with beautiful scenery, and an area that would be unique to my client. I didn’t want the entire session to be the typical walk along the beach style photos. Having found a hidden gem, I was very pleased with the outcome of the session.

Your best photographer/session advice?
Practice shooting whenever you have free time, and go out shooting at different times of the day to find the lighting that works best for you. Also, never compare yourself to other photographers! That was something I struggled with when I first started and it created a lot of self doubt. The moment I started believing in myself, and my work, was when I started doing my best work!

 What gear was used to achieve these?
Nikon D610
Sigma Art 35


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I currently live in Northern Virginia with my husband and our two beautiful kiddos, but I am a born and raised small town gal from Ohio. Six years ago, we planted roots and started our family here in Northern Virginia where my husband was taking on a new job. In that time, we have turned a strange place into our home, and absolutely love living in an area with so much beauty and history.



Dear Photographer Feature by Jessica Miller Photography


Circa August 2014


Dear 2013 Jess
You’re a new mom, can you believe it? You made an itty bitty baby and she has you wrapped around her chunky little finger. There’s no doubt that she’s going to be a sponge and absorb all that you teach her, but the most amazing thing is that she’s going to awaken your spirit in ways you never thought were possible. The fire has been lit, you’ve had this creative spark since you were a kid, but you never found your true passion. Little do you know, this 8lb squishy babes is going to inspire you to soak in every ounce of detail and make you hungry for any knowledge related to photography.

Truth: you have no idea what you’re doing. And that’s okay. Because, in fairness, you’re always going to be evolving. Failure is inevitable, but stick with it. When you’re feeling uninspired, go for an adventure with your littles, call a friend for an impromptu shoot, or simply go observe strangers in a coffee shop. You’re going to have some amazing ups and some low lows. It’s all part of your journey. You’ll meet some incredibly amazing creatives who will help you channel your inner wild, embrace it, let it push down your boundaries. Try not to doubt yourself, it’s really damn hard, but push past it. Never forget to be yourself and lastly, create what truly makes you happy.

2017 Jess

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Jess lives in Massachusetts with her stud of a husband and 2 crazy babies that keep her on point (or so she likes to think). She helps run a Planet Fitness empire by day, snuggles her babies at night, and documents sweet families whenever she gets the opportunity.