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BROOKE SNOW WANTS TO LIVE IN A WORLD WHERE BACKGROUND MUSIC PLAYS ALONG TO LIFE’S ADVENTURES, THE SMELL OF A NEW BABY CAN BE BOTTLED, AND MORNING NATURE WALKS HAPPEN EVERY MORNING. As a photographer, she’s been published in Where Women Create and Where Women Cook magazines, featured on the Huffington Post, The $100 Startup, and is a regular contributor to her local NBC lifestyle show Studio 5. A sought after instructor and speaker, when she’s not putting the magic into her next presentation, you can find her drooling over organic recipes, hiking with a mountain buggy carrying precious cargo, and hanging out in her Farm House with her fabulous little clan in Northern Utah. Her free course Living a Thriving Life is the perfect anecdote for those seeking balance in the midst of chaos. Discover how to create meaning in both your photos and your life at brookesnow.com.

I don’t normally shoot extended families.  Lately, I decided to embrace the challenge and honestly loved the experience! What a great idea to share a custom photography session with your whole family!  You can all share the cost, your images coordinate through look, style, and location, and you can design a stunning wall gallery for your home representing the entire family!

It also helps that I love this family 🙂  Some of the best people you’ll ever find anywhere in the world!

And miracle of miracles… 23 people of all ages looking at the camera at the exact same time with smiles!  (“Sweet!”… said in my best Napoleon voice).

And now for a closer “candid” look at these fabulous people!

It really was just as fun as it looked 🙂

 


avatarBrooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She is a proud new mother to a perfect baby boy. During the day she uses her BM and MM in Music Composition to write silly songs to make small people smile and laugh. During the nights and select mornings Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah. During the weekend she dreams up crazy and fun photo shoots for her fabulous subjects. Brooke welcomes comments, questions, new friendships, new clients, and new coats and hats for her growing collection.

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Despite the comments that have filtered through the grapevine to me, I’m proud to say that my “A Change in the Wind” picture is nearly straight out of the camera.  No, it is not photoshopped to look that way, and no I did not take a shot of the Julie Andrews poster as I overheard an old man say to Ben at the Summerfest display!

Thought some people might enjoy a little look behind the scenes that created the shot!

First, let me introduce you to my fabulous friend, Teresa.

I met Teresa about 15 years ago back in my theater days.  She was playing the role of the Wicked Witch of the West in The Wizard of Oz.  I had a starring role as an Ozian and Winkey soldier.  (I had one line for the whole show… “Dorothy?  Who’s Dorothy?!?!” But my how I said it well! )

Teresa is absolutely hilarious.  So animated and fun to be around, and this shoot was definitely full of some laughs.  A lot of them!

Teresa is a fantastic actress and has a costume collection to rival any drama department!  When the idea for this shoot popped into my head, I knew immediately who I would use.  Of all the random things to ask someone on facebook, I said, “Hey!  Want to dress up like Mary Poppin’s, jump on a trampoline and let me take your picture?” She responded in minutes with an emphatic “YES!!”

hilarious Poppin out takes 🙂

getting used to the trampoline 🙂

So yes, the secret’s out.  We helped Mary Poppin’s get some air via her fantastic neighbors trampoline!  I settled on this trampoline because of the location.  I could shoot west and not have any distractions of houses close by.

Because of contest restrictions, we had to shoot on Monday, which happened to be TOTALLY SUNNY.  And since we shot in the morning I had strong direct light shining right in her face causing shadows and contrast issues.  Sun in the east, trying to shoot west for the cleanest background… we’ve definitely got some problems.

Poppin out takes 🙂

Solutions?  #1.  I decided to have her look “up” instead of at the camera.  This filled in the shadow areas, and also helped bring attention to the umbrella which is supposed to be carrying her away.

Solution #2.  We decided to use the big black umbrella as a diffuser.  Having her hold the umbrella in her right hand towards the sun, suddenly cleared up our contrast and shadow problems on her face, and… since the umbrella shade was black we didn’t have any color casting issues to deal with and it helped the umbrella to pop out against the light colored sky.

To make these shots really work, its all about the angle you shoot.  I was shooting really low (practically sitting on the ground) so that I could place her in the sky with my perspective.

And the absolute greatest trick that I didn’t figure out until the very very very end?

I got right next to the bar on the trampoline, placing part of it in the bottom of the image and shooting up at Teresa.  This in effect totally blurred out the bar since it was so close to the camera, and because I was shooting at f2.8 and focusing on my subject.  What this ended up doing, was making the blurred bar of the trampoline look like clouds and totally got rid of our horizon line of trees and houses.

the blurry bottom of picture a result of the trampoline bar depth of field…

Here’s the winning image straight out of the camera.  The only thing I tweaked later on was the small sun spots on the bottom of her bodice that the umbrella wasn’t blocking (the only edit I did in photoshop), slight color shift,  very small crop, and I increased the exposure on the trampoline bar to enhance the illusion of clouds using Lightroom’s adjustment brush which allows me to adjust the exposure in only certain parts of the image without affecting the entire image.

SOOC (straight out of camera) shot

Final Image:

So there you go!  Go and learn from my trampoline flying learning curve and take some fun action shots this summer!

avatarBrooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. She recently learned how to yodel so she could perform upbeat polka songs in the kitchen for the baby boy she is smitten with.  Her delightful husband sings bass and does a great oom pah line to accompany the yodel chorus.  She wrote an opera once, and dabbles in cowboy poetry.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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Expectations are a funny thing.

Oft times I have found that I live my life according to them.  Expectations that I set for myself, and expectations that I imagine others have for me as well.

Too often, my unhappiness is determined by these assumed expectations that I perceive others must have for me and my inability to meet them, or more so, my total lack of cheerful desire to want to do what it takes to meet them.

Personal and business life alike.

I had a most rewarding conversation with a dear photography mentor of mine last week that brought these expectations into a much clearer perspective.  I suddenly began to see my discouragement more so as the “guilt” that it really was.  Guilt that I wasn’t meeting a public expectation that in reality I had no desire to achieve anyway.

What an incredible amount of freedom to finally let go of those intangible expectations, and to instead concern myself with doing what I enjoy and what makes me happy.  Why should I spend time worrying about achieving things that are only meant to meet a perceived and probably imagined expectation anyway?

It reminds me of the quote:

“Don’t spend your life climbing the ladder of success, only to find that it is leaning against the wrong wall”.

Giving up wedding day photography a few years ago was one of these moments for me.  I finally confronted myself with the fact that I didn’t enjoy it.  I didn’t like it.  And I was only involved with it because I thought people expected me to do it.  What a wonderful sense of freedom to admit that it didn’t make me happy and instead, try to pursue a path that did.

There are some changes that I’ll be making for the future of my business.  Why?  Because I want to pursue things that I enjoy, and not just pursue those things that I feel expected to do.  I don’t want to spend my time and life trying to climb this challenging latter of success, only to find it leaning against the wrong wall.

I want to be pursuing a path of happiness.

Not a path TO happiness, but a path OF happiness.

If we’re not happy on the journey, we likely won’t be happy at the destination.

Here’s to letting go of imagined expectations.  And just like I happened to need the permission from someone else, to suddenly consider my own enjoyment, I hope this can be a sense of permission to anyone else out there who needs the same permission.

Loved this post by Kristin, reminiscent of the same sentiment.

Life is short.  Which wall is your ladder trying to climb?  The one you think you need?  The one you think others expect?  Or the one that makes you happy and is better for you in the long run?

What helps you filter out those distracting expectations?

 

 

Brooke Snow is a Lifestyle photographer in Cache Valley, Utah. Someday she hopes to bike across Prince Edward Island and summit the Grand Teton.  For now, she bikes through fields of grain in lovely Cache Valley while pulling a bike trailer of precious hilarious cargo and hikes the stairs several times a day full of laundry and a bouncing baby boy.  Life is good.

Brooke teaches private photography lessons as well as monthly photography classes in Logan, Utah.

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Last night after dinner, I glanced out the window at the empty lot across the street with gorgeous light peeking through the trees at the last hour of daylight.   I spontaneously announced that in the next five minutes we were having our family pictures taken and I grabbed my tri-pod and trekked across the street.  With the helpful multiple shot timer feature we got the following images.

I LOVE THEM.  So so much.

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Ten minutes later we were done.

After I finished editing the images last night, I turned to Ben and said,

“Shooting professionally for all those years was so worth all the experiences, just for this moment. To be able to take our own family pictures any time I want and have them look exactly like I envisioned.”

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I no longer shoot professionally for hire, but I am a Professional Photographer for my own family. I hold the same standard of excellence to both professions, but secretly believe that one is still more important than the other 😉

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Even if your intent is not to shoot professionally as a business model, learning all you can about photography can still serve you immensely.  Everything I learned about posing, lighting, interaction, emotion, storytelling, composition, technic, and beyond, I USE EVERY TIME I PHOTOGRAPH MY OWN LIFE AND FAMILY.

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All the practice, trial and error, tears, triumphs, money invested, equipment, education, and TIME are worth it when it can go back into serving those who are most important.

Or, you can save yourself thousands of hours and dollars in equipment and education and just hire a pro once a year too! ha ha. That would have been a much easier and cheaper route, now that I think of it, but I know the adventure was worth it.

biopic2 Brooke Snow is the Professional Photographer for her own family and an Abundant Life Practitioner. She loves chocolate covered almonds, carefree laughter, and going to the farmers market. She lives with her husband and adventurous son in Northern Utah.

 

 

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From artist Jeff Schaller:

Somebody once said about my paintings, “I could of done that.”

I replied, “But you didn’t and I did. Now you can’t because I did and that would be copying.”

I love this!

I know that “copying” or “imitation” can be a very touchy subject among artists and photographers.  I would be dishonest to never admit that I haven’t had my own moments of heated reaction to see another individual copy some aspect of my work or my business.  However, its also important to not forget where we came from, and to remember, that we ourselves aren’t always as unique as we think.

Is Imitation ALL bad?

My very first experience with a digital camera was shooting my sisters bridals with my mom’s SLR in 2006.  What did I do?  I copied the extraordinary local photographer and went to the exact locations he shot at.  I shot my sisters engagements where I had seen other photographers go.  I copied poses and locations.  It never occurred to me in the least that I was copying anyone.  I sincerely just thought that was what I was supposed to be doing to be successful because that’s what the other photographer had done.  That was what was “cool”, and looked great.

I continued to do this for another year!  I moved to a new city and shot at the locations that I saw other people shooting.  I shot in the style that I saw other people shooting, never thinking anything was wrong with that at all.  I didn’t know any better.  To me, I was trying to be “professional”.  I was trying to follow what I saw as their recipe for a successful picture and successful business.  If it worked for them, it should work for me.

Through time I have discovered that my favorite part of photography lies in the creative aspect.  Thinking of ideas on my own.  Thinking of my own locations, and poses and stories that I can tell with the camera.

To my utmost disappointment, I have found that even when I think I am being completely original, sometimes I am not…

I remember a year ago moving to a new town.  I discovered this amazing house in town with unique landscaping and goodies in the yard (like an old vintage school bus, vintage bike, vintage truck…all beautifully worked into the scheme of their yard.)  I knocked on the door and asked if I might have permission to shoot some bridals there.  This was their response, “Of course you can!  We get photographers coming here all the time!  They just love it and we’re glad people can enjoy it!”  I was still excited to shoot there, but somewhat disappointed that I wasn’t the first one to think of it.

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Again, a few months later I did a senior session, found a new spot of town and picked some locations that I have never used before.  I asked permission of an Italian Ice Cream shop to shoot in their window and got the same response, “Sure.  People do it all the time!”.  I had never seen any pictures shot there, thought it would be an original great idea, but others had beat me to it.

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Yet….

I still feel these images are completely my own.

Photographer, Me Ra Koh said on her blog about this very issue: “It’s the same with photography. I would bet that every composition has been done. What makes the image unique is our subjects and the spirit of who they are. Yes, we grow in our ability to understand light, or post process our color tones, etc. But these things are all peripheral to the ability to capture the spirit of our subject.
Copy those you respect and admire until you find your own eye, your own voice. I believe wholeheartedly that we all have our own specific eye. But here’s the thing: the journey to find our own eye–our own voice– is not an overnight journey. It requires courage and faith to believe in what we can’t yet see in ourselves, support from those around you and humility to start with others’ ideas until we see value in our own ideas.

I think that is exactly what happened to me.  I had to start with others ideas.  I had to take the journey of working through imitation, until I had the creative ability to work with inspiration.  There’s no way I would have started with my own ideas from the very beginning.

Finding inspiration

After learning how to master my own camera (an absolute must…LEARN HOW TO SHOOT MANUAL!!!! LEARN HOW TO USE LIGHT!), after gaining experience, and becoming comfortable with myself as a photographer… then I began to discover who I really was.  Only then did I begin to discover my own unique creative self.

I no longer go out and try to recreate an image I’ve seen.  Instead, I use images I like as a spring board for other ideas of my own to create something unique for myself.  I take inspiration from all things in the world around me.  A line of poetry can spark thoughts, as can colors, locations, magazines, feelings or emotions, literature, etc.  And still, I’m likely not completely original in what I do.  Someone in the world somewhere may have already done something similar, but I can have the quiet confidence of my work being my own.

Want a creative project?  Want to learn how to make your images your own?  Want to stimulate those creative juices inside?

About a year ago I gave myself the challenge to never shoot in the same location twice.  As such, I also challenged myself to discover all these locations on my own.  I still try to follow that, and can’t even begin to tell you what thats done for my creativity.  Honestly, its hard sometimes.  Its much easier to take  each client to the standard place and shoot.  Having to come up with somewhere new every time requires more work 🙂  But it also makes the session unique, and for me, it keeps things fun and fresh.  Each session has its own excitement to me because I get so excited to come home and see how the new spot turned out!

How do you find inspiration? What do you think is the proper place for imitation?

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