Is this session personal work or client work?

This session is client work. The mama wanted to secure one of my intimate motherhood sessions so we took a nice little trip out to Boerne to capture the love between her and her son.

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

Shannon reached out to me to secure one of my intimate motherhood sessions. She wanted to capture the raw beauty of breastfeeding her son, Laiken and their relationship. Her concern was that he was nearing 2 years old, and these beautiful moments between them would soon pass. We went out to a local nature center and headed to the creek. He was scared of the water at first, but to loosen him up Shannon carried him and loved on him. Once he was ready to nurse Shannon and Laiken stripped and I stood back and captured the connection between this mama and her son.

What about this session makes it an Epic summer session?

This is an epic summer session because it captures the wild, raw, vulnerable and powerful moments of motherhood and nature. This mother and her son were so in love, and their love shines through these images.

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

I am dying to capture an expecting mama in the nude!

What gear was used to achieve these?

Canon 6D, Canon 35mm 1.4

Any summer tips or photographer advice?

My only tips are not to pose, possibly direct, but look to capture those little moments – the ones that people forget after a while. The brush of their hair, that quick squeeze or snuggle, the way mama looks at her babies. Capture the memories that matter



Hi, my name is Vanessa Mendez. I got started in photography at the end of 2015 and was immersed in birth photography. Through 2016 I worked to find my style, speciality, and love. It took me all year to really figure myself out as a photographer and I am still learning and working hard every single day. I found that I have a passion for capturing raw and emotion filled moments between families and especially mothers. My inspiration comes from my own heart as a mama of two. I have been married to my amazing, wonderful, handsome and sweet husband for 5 years in October. We have two beautiful and talented kids, Ava who is 6 and Ezra who is almost 3. I also work as a Mortgage Loan Officer for a Bank, so I am balancing a lot, but photography is worth it!

W E B S I T E | F A C E B O O K | I N S T A G R A M  1 +

P I N T E R E S T | E M A I L 

Dear Photographer | feature by Amy Rushbrook of Lark + Bear


Amy Rushbrook Lark + Bear

Dear (future) Photographer,

You set big, lofty goals. You always have. You set out to achieve the impossible, conquer it, then aim for the next impossible. Just remember that these successes do not define or determine your core happiness. Remember to pay attention to the way your boy cuddles into the home of your chest, the way light flickers and dances on the walls of your love-filled home, the way their laughter and their touch is like medicine for the soul. Don’t forget the simple joys of collecting eggs or reading a good (actual paper) book. Don’t forget what it feels like to feel your toes in the cool earth. Keep aiming big, keep striving to achieve the impossible, fly as high as you dare to dream, but remember to just stop, be present, pay attention and enjoy the simple and the quiet. Stay grounded. That is the core of your happiness, and no success will ever trump that.

CURRENT WORK DEARPHOTOGRAPHERBLOG_larkandbear_0008DEARPHOTOGRAPHERBLOG_larkandbear_0001DEARPHOTOGRAPHERBLOG_larkandbear_0002Amy Rushbrook Lark + BearDEARPHOTOGRAPHERBLOG_larkandbear_0004Amy Rushbrook Lark + BearAmy Rushbrook Lark + BearDEARPHOTOGRAPHERBLOG_larkandbear_0007


Amy is a family lifestyle photographer and educator based in Melbourne, Australia and is passionate about celebrating the imperfect; the “wabi-sabi” of life.  She specializes in teaching and photographing love stories for appreciators of the unconventional under the Life: Unmade banner. Amy salutes the mess of life; the weird and wonderful connections, and the beautifully chaotic and different.  She loves working with those who are brave enough to just be themselves, and not feel like they need to project an image of perfection to the world.  At home, Amy is Mama to one and coparent to two beautiful babes, and is happily strolling through life with her bearded love.

IPHONE VS. DSLR CHALLENGE | Casey McCauley Photography

IPHONE VS. DSLR CHALLENGE |  Casey McCauley Photography
To see which is image is either D S L R  or   I P H O N E  : Hover your mouse over the image, If on phone select image to view.

First a bit about you, your years in the industry and why you love photography?

Hey there, I’m Casey! Wife, mother, cheese and coffee lover (although not the two together, eek). I’m married to my best friend and together we have two boys (ages 7 and 20 months) along with two furry ladies who keep us plenty busy. We currently live in Peoria, IL, a small city a few hours outside of Chicago. For years, being a musician was the creative force and drive in my life, but after becoming a parent, it no longer made sense to be out till the wee hours of the morning playing to the bar crowd. I just didn’t have the zest for it in the same way. Not long before my son turned three, I finally decided to take “the camera” out to the park. I mean, I read the manual, so clearly I knew what I was doing. Right? Ugh, no….but, what I did know is that I was officially hooked. Photography was exactly what I needed in my life. If I am completely honest, my love of photography first grew out of learning, teaching myself something new. It really wasn’t until I found my voice in photography that the drive to document began. I think I have always observed people like a documentarian, but until I had a camera in my hand, my love for it hadn’t yet come alive. That day at the park was almost five years ago. I am still learning and documenting. Loving every minute of it!

How do you feel about the threat to photography because of the new efficiency and versatility of phone cameras?

In my personal experience, I have learned so much about my photography style simply by shooting with my iphone, and would never see this tool as a threat to photography. In fact, I see it as the opposite. An asset to those who pursue photography. From the beginning, I only saw it as another, different tool through which to see the world. The challenge of shooting with my phone was completely different than shooting with my DSLR. While not the same technically, or as complicated, I found that shooting with my phone really gave me that calm to really see the moments. Especially in the beginning when I was still learning how to shoot manually with my “big girl camera”. I was able to see the moments and shoot, rather than panic about the exposure triangle. I was able to take the time to see the light and really observe it, and try new things.

How often do you shoot with any of the given devices? (meaning do you shoot daily with either)

I shoot with both my iPhone and my DSLR daily. I will often use my iPhone with a little more spontaneity because it’s always so conveniently with me. There are definitely times that are less ideal, especially with a super active toddler, for me to have my DSLR with me when I leave the house. It’s much easier at home to use my big camera. To truly document, I need to have it out and ready so I’m not fiddling around in my bag and I might miss those important moments. So, chasing a toddler around in public, and being 100% present sometimes comes at the sacrifice of not using my big camera sometimes. Depending on what I am working on, or what I would like to accomplish, I will always have one or the other with me. Lately, I’ve been shooting more often with my DSLR as I have started filming with my camera on a regular basis. Motion is my new jam!

Do you feel like Phone images can have the impact of DSLR ones.?

I truly do. You can capture all of the same elements with your phone. (dynamic light, mood, moment, movement, etc.) Some of my most favorite images over the years have been shot with my phone. For a few years now, I’ve been printing my iPhone images in books from Artifact Uprising. My kids love to look through them over and over. I have more recently, printed and framed, several iphone images for my walls at home. After all, they are our memories, and would impact us just the same if taken with any other camera.

How do you feel about Iphone only photographers?

iPhone only photographers?…“Hell, yeah”. That’s what I say about that! I say…be you, whatever that is. If you don’t need a fancy, expensive, technically savvy camera to document the world you see, then more power to you. It’s not about what tools you use, its what you create that really matters. From my own personal experience, shooting often with both an iphone and dslr has only helped me become a better photographer. I don’t look at a phone camera as a camera that is less than. In fact, a little over a year ago, I was accepted as a ClickPro member at Clickin Moms by submitting a set of 200 iphone images. To me, I had nothing to lose by submitting images that I was proud of. I had found my voice in photography by shooting with whatever tool I felt like using at the time.

Tell us about your processing, is cohesiveness important to you? 

Usually my process with editing iPhone images is to edit in VSCO on my phone. I typically will edit using A6 or C3 depending on the image. I usually lower the opacity between 4-7 on those images. I will typically bump the contrast +1 or +2. Clarity +.5 or +1, and Sharpen at a 2. iPhone images typically look pretty sharp. Occasionally, I will just hand edit. For this project, I edited all the images raw in LR either hand edits or using the VSCO film packs 00 and 01. I love the fuji presets and the Kodak Gold presets. I will always tweak some good amount, and will most often adjust the split toning to my liking as well.
I wanted to edit both images, in this case, as close to exact as possible. I find the white balance in the iPhone is almost spot on. So much closer than with my Mark iV. I never custom white balance cause…”aint nobody got time for that.”
As far as cohesiveness,

I think so. Only until recently did I really even post much dslr work online, which seems so behind the times, I know. But, looking at what I found with shooting with my phone so frequently, I wanted both my voice and style to show through no matter what I was shooting with. Make sense? In a sense, the iPhone helped me find my shooting and editing style…so in essence it taught me how to achieve the results I wanted when using my dslr. Which really helped me achieve cohesiveness in my work ..and specifically for this challenge, I wanted to push cohesiveness as far as I could.



Finally,  What gear was used to achieve both iphone and dslr images? 

-Canon 5d Mark IV

-Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art

-Iphone 7plus

VSCO 01 – Fuji 160 – (tweaked) VSCO 00 – Kodak Gold 100 – – (tweaked) I may have hand edited a few, just can’t recall which ones.



Casey McCauley is a silly, loud-talking, music making, coffee addict. She resides in central Illinois where she spends the majority of her time juggling and documenting a magical life at home with her two boys, two giant furry ladies, and her comic-book making husband. In her spare time you may find her dancing in the kitchen, planning her next road trip, or riding the occasional roller coaster. (arms up, of course!)




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.  

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.


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


View More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternityView More: http://alicakeiserphotography.pass.us/dear-photographer-maternity


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.



Monthly EPIC SHARE-| Project 52 favorites #p52radness

Monthly EPIC SHARE-| Project 52 favorites #p52radness

Another month has come and gone.

& the amount of insanely talented photographers joining our project keeps growing. I have no words to describe what it means to see their images and their encouraging words reflected back on to the project. So many of us struggle to find time, and lately inspiration. We are hopeful for spring and the renewed set of eyes that comes with a new season. You’ll be surprised how changing a teensy detail can lead to inspiration. If you are lacking inspiration for self portraits try these :

  • Capture your hands doing anything. Hold your partners hands, hold a favorite artifact, write yourself a letter.
  • Capture movement, place camera on ground and simply move.
  • Capture your favorite seat in your house, plop down and embrace the stillness.



Cannot wait to see what next month brings. If you missed last month >>> Check it out Monthly Epic Share Month One , and join our group here .

in no specific order , a few favorites….

ANGELA DORAN angela_doranDANIELLE NAVRATIL danielle-navratil-1

AMY SHIRE amylucindashire-p52


JODI LYNN BUCKLES jodi-lynn-bucklesEMMY LOU VIRGINIA emmy-lou-virginia-photography

 ANNMARIE DENISimg_0592-edit-copy



SOPHIA ACOSTA sophia-costa

JAMIE VINSON jamievinson


JESSICA KOSMACK jessicakosmack

LINDSEY STIGLEMAN lindsey_stigleman-web

SAMANTHA EVANS samantha_evans

AMANDA KENYON amandakenyon

STEPHANIE CARLTON stephanie_carlton

ASHLEY MARSTONashley-marston

LAUREN GRAYSON lauren-grayson-portrait-artist

LEANNA AZZOLINI leannaazzoliniphotography-1-31KATRINA MASSEY img_5975SHANDA RANDY img_0799bw2

MEREDITH MINOR meredith-minor-week-5-1219

ERICA MONTGOMERY ericamontgomeryweek5

CAROL MERRIMAN carolmerriman

CASIE DENEAwildbyrds

JAYME FORD jayme_ford

JESSICA DUNNSelfPortraitJDunn.jpg

NICKI BERGESON_dsc4342_print

SUSAN BROOKSBYsusanbrooksby