Hello, Hello! Oh my goodness, you guys!! @amandakphotoart here, and I am just over-the-moon grateful to have been invited to share a little bit of my journey with you this week! THANK you @photovisionprints for inviting me on for the next few days. 🙌 I will admit I am a bit nervous, as I don’t want to be superficial in my content, but to really give you a glimpse into who I am. "Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen." — Brené Brown
My unexpected journey to becoming an entrepreneur and wedding photographer started 16 years ago when I lost the love of my life in a tragic accident. I was 28 years old with 3 young children, and as you can imagine, my entire world was turned upside down. Through the process of preparing for his memorial service, I had to go through two huge boxes of photos I had printed throughout our marriage of him and our children together. Those prints became the only tangible memories my children would ever have of their Dad, and the photograph took on an entirely new meaning for me. The camera became a tool of healing for me—it was like oxygen when I felt I couldn't breathe. All I wanted to do was capture and celebrate LIFE. I never considered myself "artistic" or even talented in any way, I was in the nursing field, but it's amazing how things can change when you love something that much. Long story short, photography evolved into something special, and something I never could have imagined. Photographing couples in love is my beauty from ashes. I am now celebrating my 10th year in business, and I am overwhelmed with gratitude to be doing what I do. It has not been an easy road by any means, but I can honestly say I know this is where I am meant to be. 😊
📷 by @betsyblue on #fuji400h with a #contax645 in Portland, Oregon.
V I R T U E S. I strive to use "Virtue" as a model in my business practice. The virtues I am going to share with you in the next few days are the driving force in how I shoot, interact with my clients and run my business. I fail on the daily—believe me. In my 10+ years as an entrepreneur, I have learned that failure and rejection have been my biggest motivators! My hope during our time together is that you will find me and my words relatable, that you will leave feeling encouraged and inspired. I am so grateful to be a part of this photography community! 😘📷
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii at #thecorsonbuilding in Seattle, Washington. As seen on @magnoliarouge.
J O Y F U L N E S S. There is no greater honor for me, as a photographer, than to be invited into a couple's "circle of trust." To be surrounded by their dearest friends and closest family, to be entrusted with documenting the true essence of those relationships is HUGE. A wedding is one of the biggest events a couple will experience and plan together, and the joy I bring to the table is vital to the overall experience they have with me. I want my clients to feel my excitement and positive energy! Brides can be incredibly nervous, I use my mom skills at times to help calm them. 😉 Believe me, there are days when I have to dig down deep for that great attitude and energy, but your client experience is EVERYTHING.
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii at #ranchosoldelpacifico in Malibu, California.
A U T H E N T I C I T Y. When I first started photographing couples, portraits and weddings, I would rely heavily on inspiration from fashion magazines—Ralph Lauren spreads in @vogue! 😍🔥 I studied how they were "perfectly" posed, and while it absolutely helped me gain some skills, I noticed my work was lacking something . . . authentic and honest emotion. Sure, there were a lot of beautiful, regal images, but was my work evoking a FEELING in my viewers/clients? Were my clients recognizing themselves? That next season, I completely changed my approach. I stopped looking for inspiration in other photography, and started capturing what I saw in front of me, and not what I had seen in magazines. It's easy to get caught up in the validation of likes and followers on social media, but we have to remember, we are shooting for our clients, not a publication or applause. It's so important to connect with your subject!
📷 on #Portra400 with a #hasselbladh1 in Cannon Beach, Oregon.
P A T I E N C E. Guys, we all know we live in a society of instant gratification. The most difficult part of transitioning back to film was shooting "blind" and not being able to rely on that little screen on the back of my camera. Who can relate?! 🙋 However, the hidden lesson and blessing in shooting film is not only practicing patience, but also sharing that experience with your clients. With that patience, also comes trust. Trusting yourself when shooting, trusting your lab and ultimately building your clients’ trust in you—it's a beautiful thing! It's a wonderful opportunity to share in the anticipation of scans with your clients and celebrate together when those beautiful images arrive in your inbox.
📷 on #fuji400h with a #hasselbladh1 at #sunstonewinery in Santa Ynez, California.
P E R S E V E R A N C E. Growing up around a camera, I was familiar with film and loved the process. I shot on film until the late ‘90s when the digital and Photoshop craze happened! I learned everything I could about editing and shooting with all those complicated buttons. When I look back at some of those over-processed photos now, I literally cringe. 🤢 I am so thrilled to see the complete comeback that film has made! However, it has been yet another learning curve for me. As many photographers have mentioned, the best way to learn is to start incorporating film into your workflow slowly. I made a goal to shoot 3 rolls of film at every wedding. From there, I started shooting only film at my engagement sessions! I found this was the best way to build my confidence! I can be a bit stubborn, (and shy), and am not the best at asking questions, so I have failed, many times! Ultimately, it's about persevering, practice, and always educating yourself! Lastly, I can't stress enough how important it is to take advantage of @PhotoVisionprints’s EXCELLENT customer service. They want you to succeed as much as you do!
📷 on #Portra800 with a #pentax645nii in Franklin, Tennessee. As seen in @southernweddings Magazine.
H O N E S T Y. Ok, I have an earth-shaking revelation for you. I don't personally "love" styled shoots. Who else is with me?? Now, I absolutely adore working with other creatives and I agree it's vital to my growth as an artist to create personal work. It can be very refreshing and soul inspiring, It’s also a great way to network with other like minded creatives in the industry! However, in my humble opinion, if my goal is to attract more wedding clients, then I feel it's incredibly important to show my viewers, (and hopefully potential clients!), more content from real weddings. Being honest in what I share helps my clients have realistic expectations of what I can deliver! We all know that working a real-life wedding with tight timelines and sometimes crazy weather is a true test of our creative skills! I have also made it my mission when mentoring, to only ask real couples to model when teaching 1:1s. It’s so important that my attendee’s see how I work with, pose and draw out honest emotions from true couples. I LOVE sharing time with other photographers at these sessions and I always encourage them to focus less on those styled shoots and getting published and more on their craft and their client! 👊
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii in Ashland, Oregon From a 1:1 with @annabelmayphotoart.
H U M I L I T Y. If you only receive one bit of advice from me during this #pvtakeover, let it be this: If we don't receive critique on our work, or from our clients’ experiences, we will not GROW. As photographers, we are so fortunate to have social media platforms to get our work seen and, let's be honest, we LOVE that positive feedback!! But if all we ever hear is applause, then we aren't going to push ourselves to greater levels! If you haven't already, I encourage you to join a photography (film or otherwise) group through Facebook, etc. Some of these threads can be invaluable to your growth as a photographer! It's such a great way to share in your triumphs and struggles. In regards to your business, I can't express enough the importance of asking for feedback from your clients! Asking them how you could have improved their experience or if there were areas of their day that they wish you had focused more of your time on. These conversations really make all the difference in personal and professional growth. If anyone would like to be invited into a photography group, or has one they would like to share, please comment below!! Also, if you have ANY specific questions for me regarding the business, gear, technique, ANYTHING, please ask away! I am an open book. 😊
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii in Berkeley California. As seen in @magnoliarouge issue
L O V E. I am in the business of love. How great is that?! I wholeheartedly adore my job, and am committed to being a light and encouragement to not only my clients, but other creatives in this industry. There is nothing more exciting to me than to receive those emails from couples inquiring about their big day! Connecting with them on a deeper level and learning about their love story is integral to the direction I take with their wedding day and engagement portraits. While giving direction is important, I never want to force anything, but allow the moments to present themselves to me naturally and truthfully. When you have a couple who is over the moon in love in front of your lens, that is all the inspiration you need. Love is the theme I want to be present in all of my work.
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii at client's family farm in Crescent City, California.
S I M P L I C I T Y. I am a “less is more” kind of girl. I believe in quality over quantity, and that is how I like to approach my weddings and portraits. Whether I am shooting film or digital, I try to shoot with intent. I want each frame to be a keeper!! (That doesn’t always happen BTW.) This also saves me from hours of culling! In the beginning of my career, I would arrive to a wedding with a long list of my "must have" shots, 4 cameras, 6+ lenses and so on. I have since learned to completely simplify, and that was a game changer! One of my favorite things about shooting with my Pentax645Nii, is the simplicity of it. All I have on me during engagements and the couple's wedding day portraits, is my Sekonic handheld meter, and my film camera with one lens. This allows me to really be in the zone without being distracted by all the gear hanging off of me like a pack mule! I am also very nature inspired—I love to use the natural beauty of the environment to frame my subjects. A clean, simple background is EVERYTHING. A great example of this was a recent HMUA editorial I shot for @austieeckley. I brought one film camera, had my digital for a backup (always be prepared!), two lenses, and film. We went into this shoot with some ideas and inspiration, but ultimately we wanted a very minimal aesthetic so that the make-up was the star. Tiffany of @foragedfloral brought all these incredible blooms as inspiration, and I had her sprinkle Courtney’s curly locks with these little blossoms. They added softness and femininity to the image without distracting from the subject. Simplicity at it’s finest. I absolutely LOVE how it turned out!
📷 on #fuji400h with a #pentax645nii at @studio_1904 in Portland, Oregon.
G R A T I T U D E. I wanted to finish out my #pvtakeover with the virtue I hold dearest to my heart. I believe making it a habit to express thankfulness is always the best way to cultivate great relationships and gain opportunities. None of us have made it to where we are in life and in business without the help of someone along the way. I highly encourage you to take the time everyday to thank someone who has helped you in your photography journey, especially if they don't even realize they have encouraged you! Make sure your clients know how grateful you are that they chose YOU to photograph their life and love! You could even have a thank you card waiting for the UPS guy who is at your house every week with a box of film! Small gestures of gratitude go a LONG way. 🙂 Lastly, I am incredibly thankful to @photovisionprints for having me this week! Thank you for giving me the "stage," so to speak, to share a bit of my journey and my work with your amazing friends. And to all who have been following along, thank you from the bottom of my heart. XO 😘
If you are interested in continuing to follow along on my journey head on over to @amandakphotoart! AND to express my gratitude I am hosting an exciting #giveaway! Check out my latest post to learn how to enter!