• Wisdom Wednesday | Advice

    Sometimes it can be really hard to follow advice.

    • Everything in moderation. (right after I’m done scarfing down this pint of ice cream…)
    • Don’t sweat the small stuff. (as the internal dialogue drones on – “does so and so like me? does this dress make me look fat? oh my gosh, did I have food stuck in my teeth that whole time?!”)
    • Only bite off what you can chew. (while my to do list continues to grow exponentially…)

    I am frequently asked for advice. From my family (whose house should we spend the holidays at this year?). My friends (should I break up with him?). My coworkers (what software should I use to do this?). My clients (what camera should I buy?). I like giving advice. It makes me feel appreciated. I am a people person. I enjoy talking through issues. I love to teach what I know. And I seem to always have an opinion.

    But lately I’ve had a problem. I can’t seem to follow my own advice.

    This month has been Christmas in July here at Be Young Photography. If you’re on the nice list I’ve been sending 2 gifts via email containing photo tips for take better pictures of the special little people in your life. Are you on the list yet? Don’t worry, if you’re late to the party I’ll be sending an archive of all the gifts at the end of the month.

    This week as I sat down to work on “Gift 6” a funny thing happened. I almost couldn’t bring myself to push the send button.

    Because the gift I was about send was advice I am hard pressed to follow myself.

    Don’t forget those un-planned, un-posed, lifestyle images! Take a snap as those kiddos are zoned out in front of the TV. Or taking their afternoon nap. Or eating lunch. Or sharing a special moment playing with their sibling. It’s just as important to capture them in everyday life as it is to plan out special shots just for you. In 20 years you’ll want to have every expression, every age, every moment bottled up so you can look back and remember. Start capturing those everyday shots today and bottling up those moments.

    Going “pro” has certainly been a double edged sword. I love having the knowledge and know how to stage beautiful images. I love the fun that comes with being able to think creatively and make art behind the camera lens. But, I am my own worst critic as well. If the house is a mess I don’t want to shoot. If we are in our pajamas and having a chill day I am too lazy to shoot. If I’ve been behind the camera all week photographing other people’s families I am too tired to shoot. If the big fancy camera is tucked away in my camera bag and all I have is my compact camera I am too proud to shoot. As a pro I don’t want to post shots that “don’t make the cut”.

    And now, as a result of ignoring my own advice, my portfolio of family images has suffered.

    I resolved in that instant, the moment I hit send button to pick up my camera phone which was sitting right next to me. I snapped a few photos. And I breathed a huge sigh of relief.

    Because in that instant I started following my own advice.

    How about you? What advice do you find it most challenging to follow? In life? In photography? Do you take enough family snapshots? Share your words of wisdom or a snapshot of your life here today.

    Wisdom Wednesday | Finding Inspiration

    What inspires you to photograph?

    Children and family? The serenity and beauty of nature?  The simplicity of everyday life?
     
    For me, it’s my Bella angel & my Brie baby.
     
    The lessons they’ve taught me about family, compassion, love, creativity, and healing. Those are my inspiration.

    What lights you up? Makes your heart sing so loud that you lose track of time? Gets you lost in the moment? Fills your soul with joy? And keeps you snap snap snapping away? Comment below and tell me. Or even better yet, show me.

    Family Friday | Pool Time

    I am a Pisces.

    I am true to my zodiac description to a tee. Intuitive. Idealistic. Creative. Compassionate. Selfless.

    I have two fish swimming in a circle tattooed on my back.

    However, I am going to let you in on a little secret.

    I hate the water.

    I was never that kid that spent everyday of summer vacation at the pool. We were never that family that took the week long beach vacation laying out in the sun and sand all day. I hated swim lessons. And I dreaded putting my head under water.

    So I must admit, taking Brie to the pool for the first time was quite an ordeal and much out of the norm for me.

    She wasn’t too sure at first. But by the end I think she liked it. And so did I.

    She might be the one to truly turn me into a Pisces, and actually love the water.

     

    Wisdom Wednesday | Stuck

    Yesterday I didn’t shower. (please feel free to follow with a chorus of “ewwwww gross” or “that’s disgusting” here). The desire to be clean just wasn’t there. Being on summer vacation, free from the “day job” has opened up a whole host of new schedules and new routines. And apparently motivation isn’t a part that routine.  I wake up, drink my morning coffee, plop myself down in front of the ______ (TV, computer, ipad, smart phone, insert your choice of technology device here), and zone out completely.  By the time I snap myself out of this bubble of brain zapping media it’s already afternoon. Another wasted day.  And this is why a shower at this point seems futile and irrelevant. So I just stink up my house until its time to go to bed and do it all over the next day. (don’t worry I do actually decide to shower when I can’t stand my own stink anymore).

    Can you relate?

    You know how it goes.  We get so caught up in the daily grind that we get stuck in rut. Or a funk that we can’t seem to shake.  Or something comes along that puts us in a bad place mentally. Ruts can be small and caused by routine. Or they can be much much bigger.  Sometimes, things are seemingly going along great in our world and then something happens to send it crashing to a screeching halt.  A bad day at work.  A relative gets sick.  A loved one passes away.

    This rut I am in right now, for some reason brings me right back to the place I was in 2 years ago when we lost our baby girl, Bella Rose.  At 20 weeks pregnant I gave birth to her and she did not live. In an instant our world was changed. For someone who is Type A like me (a planner, a thinker, an organizer) this was absolutely devastating. The life I had planned for me, for us, was not going to be the one we would get.  In the months that followed I was in that same state of not showering, not interacting, and I felt very isolated.  That time in my life was so much more than being stuck in rut, yet so similar to today on many levels.

    So how to we climb out of a rut? a funk? a bad day? a bout of depression?

    Today begins my first e-course: Illuminate: Lighting the Path to Photographic Healing where we are going to be exploring just that. The course was designed out my own experiences in using my camera to heal from the loss of our precious first daughter, Bella. It’s a community for baby loss moms who have lost their “spark” to come and learn some new photography ideas and techniques to get out of their own personal funk.

    In honor this new journey I am embarking upon with the Illuminate launch, I want to offer a few suggestions for those of you who may be in a creative rut and looking to heal your own soul through photography, take some time to reflect , and bring some change to your daily routine:

    1. FIND YOUR ENERGY Are you are morning person or a night person? When do you feel your most you, your most friendly, your most easy going, your most energetic, your most emotional? This may be a clue to when you should be trying to tap into your creativity.
    2. GO FOR A WALK  Make today the day you schedule in that nice hour long walk. It’s summer, the weather is warm, the sun is shining, there are no excuses for being indoors! Bring your camera along. Take pictures of anything you think is beautiful.  Unique architecture. Pretty flowers in bloom. The sun setting behind your house.
    3. PICK A THEME Is your favorite color blue? Photograph anything blue you find this week.  Try to take a photo of something that represents each letter of the alphabet (A – photograph a apple, B – photograph a teddy bear, C – photograph your fresh corn on the cob for dinner, etc..). Nature lover? Photograph nothing but trees, flowers, and shrubs. Now go make a collage using this fun online mosaic maker.
    4. MAKE A SCAVENGER HUNT Brainstorm a list of items you want to photograph and go find them! Better yet, find a list that has already been done for you. The Great Scavenger Hunt is a fun one to get some really obscure ideas. Or check out this Digital Photography School Group. They aren’t very active anymore, but they do have lots of previous lists to get your creative juices flowing.

    Are you feeling inspired yet? Go take a shower (I’m about to get off my butt to go take one now!), get your camera ready, get snapping, and please come back and share what you’ve done in the comments below.

    Let’s get out of the routine, find beauty behind our camera lens, and inspire each other.

    Family Friday | 9 Months

    Dear Brielle,

    At 9 months old you are looking more toddler-like and grown up everyday. I can see my baby slipping away right before my very eyes.  I can sense you are just itching to move, to talk, and to grow into an independent little girl. Don’t grow up to fast, ok?

    xoxo.

    -mama

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