Local Focus: Blog https://www.local-focus.org/blog en-us (C) Local Focus alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) Thu, 13 Aug 2020 20:39:00 GMT Thu, 13 Aug 2020 20:39:00 GMT https://www.local-focus.org/img/s/v-12/u436390825-o577579236-50.jpg Local Focus: Blog https://www.local-focus.org/blog 120 120 Fall Out Photo Giveaway https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/8/fall-out-photo-giveaway Having a life long friend is truly a blessing but watching those life long friends find their passion and succeed doing it has got to be one of the best things around. For those of you that live in this area you probably know Ashleigh Rajkowski (now Griswold) but if you don't know her yet I sure hope you get a chance to cross paths with her some day soon. I've been blessed enough to have this beauty in my life since middle school and I couldn't be more thankful.

Ashleigh and her husband, Josh, are very enthusiastic when it comes to helping people live their healthiest and happiest lives. I was so happy for her when she launched her "Summer Sweat" program two summers ago. It was such a hit that she hosted it again this past summer and i'm not surprised that people have been raving about the group workouts. 


To every person that has signed up for her class i'm thankful for you.
I'm thankful for you supporting a small business owner.
I'm thankful that you are taking an interest in your own health and thankful that you have chosen Ashleigh to be the one to help you on your journey.

With there being so much uncertainty in this upcoming fall season I was really excited to see Ash continue on and host outdoor workout sessions into the fall.
The facebook link is found here https://www.facebook.com/events/2699575316921522/?event_time_id=2699575320254855

I'd like to team up with her and throw in a little extra treat to say "thank you" just to show you how appreciative I am of your support in helping one of my best friends grow her business.

For each class you go to during her fall out sessions your name will be entered into a drawing for a free family photo session! This means if you go to one class you get one ticket in, if you go to five classes you get five tickets in the drawing etc. The more fitness sessions you attend the better your chances you have to win a photography session.  

Good luck! Winner will be announced at the end of the Fall session.

 

**Class information copied from the Fall Out 2020 Facebook page**

One hour outdoor workout series with body weight and equipment based exercises. This series is made to get your heart rate pumping, burn calories, gain fitness knowledge, and connect with like-minded people! The workouts are fun yet challenging and we welcome all levels of fitness from beginners to veteran exercisers. Workouts can be modified to meet the needs of anyone who may have injuries or limitations.

This series will include some additional challenges to keep everyone accountable and give us a kick start into what'll soon be the holiday months before we know it!!

These workouts are two days per week (Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 9:00am) for six weeks. Cost is $60 which equates to -->$5.00 A WORKOUT!!!<-- The average fee for work with a personal trainer is $35/hour; this is a savings of $360. You can't beat this!!! Day passes will be available for $7/workout.

I will again be giving away FREE swag at the end of this series to all those who pay in full at the bulk rate price if we get 40 sign-ups (this does not include day passes).

I will also be giving away a FREE nutrition/training consult to the person with the most paid in full referrals SO TELL YOUR FRIENDS!

** Reserve your spot :
PayPal - liveyourdreamfit@gmail.com
Venmo - @Ashleigh-Rajkowski

 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/8/fall-out-photo-giveaway Thu, 13 Aug 2020 20:23:53 GMT
Rainbow Session After The Storm https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/4/rainbow-session-after-the-storm I started off my day getting ready for work and right before I walked out of the door I realized I had to look for my laptop purse. So I started to look, walking back and forth, up the stairs and down the stairs, this room to that room, side to side and I kept saying where on earth would I put that thing. I checked in all the usual places I might have set it and it could not be. After a solid ten minutes I started to get a little too warm so I said to myself "okay I better take my jacket off" so I set my laptop purse down to take my jacket off.. errr wait what ? Yup. There it was.  My laptop purse sitting comfortably on my shoulder THE ENTIRE DANG TIME. Lord please help me, there is not enough coffee to get me through the day. The morning continued to follow that pattern so thank God I was able to remember where I lived and remember my keys - i'm home now and i'm calling it a miracle, a win most importantly, a blessing.

This pandemic is reaching people differently.  Most days I am okay but some days it's like my brain is left off the charger all night.

Everyone is definitely dealing with it differently. Some people are angry, scared, sad, cant focus, can't sleep, can't stop sleeping, can't stop eating, wont eat etc. Considering I couldn't find the bag I was wearing for ten minutes the chances of me putting together any kind of poetic post to help you feel better about what's happening int he world is slim.  All I can say is you're not alone even though it feels like you are.

I was pretty discouraged that we had to stay home for Easter since it is, by far, my favorite "holiday" and now possibly Mother's Day as well? I am really missing my family, I miss hugging my little cousins, I really miss seeing my friend's and their beautiful babies and honestly I miss just the normal routine. I know you are as well.
If you're like me you are also stuck in your home realizing you haven't had updated family photos in HOW LONG?! Too long!

This is the perfect time for me to let you know about my Rainbow Sessions. These are special gift cards made specifically for this pandemic. There is a rainbow on the front of the card, an encouraging poem inside and a place to write your little note of love and encouragement to your loved ones.  This card is also a gift card for an extended family photo session. This will make the perfect gift to send love, hope and encouragement to someone you love.

 

These sessions are geared for extended family sessions or friends that are family and these sessions are also discounted to $250.00 during the pandemic. A special gift to send to someone that needs a little hope and encouragement. Once the social distancing is lifted the sessions will go back to their regular price of $295.


A typical extended family session of mine is a variety of groupings. We start with the entire family and then break it down. Grandparents with their grandkids, grandparents with their kids, grandkids only, individual families and whatever else we can come up with. It's honestly a really great deal and definitely my favorite type of session!

If you're doing friends that are family I just ask you to be honest with who you invite. Please not the whole neighborhood but truly your friends that make up your extended family.

With my extended family sessions you're given a link to view, share shop and download your images. The images I share are unlimited - this means you will get what I shoot. There are no hidden fees and my images are not capped at 15-20 images. Depending on the cooperation of the family you could easily get 100-200 photos! 


The sessions are non-refundable but there is no expiration. 
If you're interested shoot me an email alocalfocus@gmail.com or click the link below! 

 

Click to purchase your "Rainbow Session - After the Storm". We stayed apart so we could be together.
 

 

Better day's are coming, keep your head up <3
And what better way to celebrate after the storm than with a photo session with people you love.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/4/rainbow-session-after-the-storm Thu, 23 Apr 2020 00:21:18 GMT
Basic photography for kids https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/3/basic-photography-for-kids Are you home and stuck finding ways to keep your kids entertained? Have you considered giving them a photography project? Chances are your family has a DSLR or a point and shoot camera just laying around. Amazon even offers some kid friendly cameras that are a little more durable. The Fisher Price Kids camera is a little more money while the VTech Kids Camera is a good option under 50.00
There are a lot of factors when purchasing a camera but the biggest determining factors are your budget and the child's level of interest. If you'e not sure if they will enjoy photography, then a cheaper camera is probably the smart move. But if your child has shown interest in the past it might be time to get them something they can grow into!

 

Let's say you have the camera but don't know where to start? Here are some ideas on how or where to start. 
For younger kids probably under 10 you may not be able to teach them as many skills at this age. What you can do is get them used to using a camera, holding a camera properly and help them learn to think outside of the box by giving them challenges and encouraging them to practice.

 

Here are some activity ideas for children under 10
Learn their colors and photograph things of a certain color (ex. all the colors of the rainbow)
Find & photograph objects that start with certain letters or all the letters of the alphabet.

Go on a scavenger hunt
Make a photo journal of your day
Find and capture items or objects of your favorite color
Designate a frame or two in your house for the kids only photos.
Make up a story book with photos
Take your favorite stuffed animal or toy on an adventure and document it with the camera
Take pictures of your favorite place 
Paint a picture you took
Take a photo of yours and turn it into a puzzle

 

 

 

Ages 10 and up is when you can dive in and start to teach this age range even more about photography.

Always, always always start with some basics in composition and design elements. 

The seven elements of art are line, shape, space, value, form, texture, and color. These elements are the building blocks, or ingredients, of art,

This will lay the foundation and teach them the proper techniques they need to thrive as an artist and/or photographer.

Soooo what do I mean by the basics in composition?
Rules of thirds, how to properly crop, leading lines, filling the frame and utilizing negative space.

 

Teaching your child these elements will not only add variety to their photo with composition but those techniques will help them tell a better story with their photos.

 

Leading lines. This is when the kids need to keep an eye out for lines that guide the viewers eyes through the frame that lead them to the subject. Like hallways, rows, tree lines etc. I should point out that train tracks make great leading lines which is why several use them, however, it is illegal to go on train tracks and extremely dangerous. 

Negative space is one of my favorites. I absolutely love how this technique can create a lot of drama and emotion in a photo.

Rule of thirds is the basic guide to composition that has been used for years. Imagine a tic tac toe/grid over the image. You want the subject to fall on one of the intersecting lines.

Cropping and Limb Chopping is important to learn as well. It's important not to crop the subject where the joint bends.

 

LIGHTING
What about lighting? How important is that? Teaching kids about the different types of light is huge. This is something that they can see on movies, in artwork/paintings and just paying attention to natural light during the day. The kids could easily do a photo series on lighting with their favorite stuffed animals or action figurines. Have them shoot with 

Window light - pretty self explanatory

Backlighting - the light source is behind the subject

Catchlights - making sure the subject they're shooting has the light reflecting in their eye.

Lowlight - Again, pretty self explanatory

 

 

 

Activities for the older kids can be similar to the ones for the younger kids listed above but they will have more to focus on like working on their composition
Break it down for the kids and have them focus on one skill at a time. Example 3-5 images focusing just on composition. 3-5 images with leading lines, etc.

Make up a scavenger hunt of several items around the house or yard that they have to find and photograph.

Photograph the same object several times - this helps them discover new ways to document something other than the traditional method.

Even with older kids you can work on ABC's with the kids and have them photograph an item of each letter of the alphabet.
Work on colors and have the kids photograph each color of the rainbow. If you really want to get creative have them shoot primary colors and then secondary colors to teach them about the color wheel!

Experiment - shoot from different angels, perspectives and sides. 
Check your backgrounds - a simple concept that often gets overlooked
Hold the camera straight - make sure the horizon line is straight

How to properly hold the camera 
Finding a  point of interest
If you have a DSLR learn the different modes on the camera and what situations they might be used for
& if your child is using a DSLR they can start to learn about exposure. 


 

 

 

 

I hope this helps you stay sane and your kids stay busy.

Stay safe, stay healthy and remember that if you have any questions please don't hesitate to ask! 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2020/3/basic-photography-for-kids Sat, 28 Mar 2020 17:03:42 GMT
Best gift ever https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/11/best-gift-ever Have you ever wanted to give a gift to someone that you love but the person seems to have everything?  If you're like me the answer is yes. You've racked your brain, searched sites and aimlessly wandered through stores with a blank stare because everything you think that special person may like... they have already bought it for themselves or have one "just like it".

Maybe that person has a baby on the way, a new relationship, new animal or maybe they've never had professional photos taken?
What about you and your family? Your family deserves to have beautiful images of your family this year, too!
If you’re having trouble finding the perfect gift don’t worry... I’ve got it you!
Right here are some awesome reasons to give the gift of photography:

Top Reasons to Give the Gift of Photography

 

  • Photography is an experience, not a thing. 
    How many of us have jam packed closets and garages? I don't really love clutter and anyone that knows me knows I love a good purge. Seems like each year we all have to do a massive clean out and then we vow never to go shopping again or never buy another toy. Sooooo why do we give a gift that will be enjoyed temporarily and then put away in an attic after it’s no longer being used?  When you give a portrait session, you are giving an experience. One in which the recipient is the center of focus and can later see themselves surrounded by the people they love and that love them back.
     
  • Every portrait session is customized!
    This is not a one size fits all session. I work closely with my clients to guide them on choosing a location and wardrobe that best fits their family! So many times we go to a place your family often goes to, even at a family members home... this makes it that much more personal!!
     
  • A portrait session is an original gift.
    Giving the gift of a portrait session is a thoughtful, original and genuine experience. The gift of a portrait session results in family heirlooms that last for generations. It can seem expensive or unconventional as a gift and for this reason, it’s not something that is given or received often, but when it is, it is a gift of love.
     
  • No wrapping required!
    If you dislike wrapping gifts as much as I do, you’ll appreciate this. I have beautiful gift certificate cards that come in a nice white envelope. Ready to give! 

 

If this seems like the perfect gift for you or someone you love contact me!!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/11/best-gift-ever Sat, 16 Nov 2019 15:21:03 GMT
A killer photoshoot location https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/10/a-killer-photoshoot-location Trains are a daily part of our life here in Fonda and very rarely would we say they're beautiful... they're very loud and it seems like aaaaall the time. (Three have gone by while I type this quick post)
But when the trains aren't barreling through our tiny town there is this tempting urge to hop on those tracks and take a photo on them. Picture the most perfect photoshoot on train tracks surrounded by the most perfect fall foliage. At the right angle the tracks can be the perfect spot for photos.
 ***Disclaimer this is not my photo but out of a AAA magazine ***  

We have all seen it, or wanted to see it and wow is it gorgeous! I mean really, that is a a perfect frame for a photoshoot!
I've been there, trust me! About 10 years ago when I got my first camera I hopped down there next to the tracks to get a "super cool train track photo".
When I see a photographer do the same I fully understand their reasoning because I wanted to and did do it. But now? I  have this huge urge to write about it because 10 years I did not know what I know now about train tracks.
I'm a part of several photography groups online so I see a very wide variety of locations, states, countries and skill levels posted. This is a common topic that comes up.
And I really think because we grew up around the tracks we have become complacent to just how dangerous they are.
They're just background noise to us and we don't realize just how fast they're coming through and just how dangerous and even illegal it is to walk on the tracks.  Several articles like the following were created to urge people to stay off the tracks.

https://petapixel.com/2017/04/04/today-show-demonstrates-train-track-photography-dangerous/
 

"At least once per month, we hear about someone else—a photographer, photo shoot subject, sometimes just kids messing around—who was struck and killed while taking pictures on train tracks."

A little louder for those in the back AT LEAST ONCE PER MONTH! Y'all.. that's a lot! 

Several years ago I remember hearing about a movie that was being filmed on train tracks and one of the camera men got hit and died. That is when I started saying no to photoshoots on the tracks. I no longer was unaware of the dangers and the risk. I remember watching the family be interviewed and I remember the desperation and devastation in their plea to the public to stay off the tracks.
Any time you say no to a clients idea, which believe it or not happens a lot, is risky.
Because we see photos all the time on train tracks we don't realize how dangerous it is. So yes, of course, it can be a risk losing business. It can come across as uptight, what's the big deal right ? But i'm here to tell you the intent to keep a family safe during and alive after a photo shoot far outweighs the urge to shoot in a dangerous location just to find some nice leading lines. Leading lines are everywhere we look, not just on train tracks.

My plea to anyone reading this... unless the train tracks are overgrown and unused anymore, and I mean really verified by CSX that they're not used, don't shoot on tracks. Is a cute photo worth your family's life ?

 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/10/a-killer-photoshoot-location Sat, 19 Oct 2019 13:29:26 GMT
Fine Art School Portraits https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/8/fine-art-school-portraits Fine Art School Portraits - what the heck is that?!


For those of you that have followed along the past couple of years you may have noticed I have started to take school portraits for some families, preschools and daycares. Well I am super excited to announce that i'm officially offering school portraits this year. 
These portraits will be on a solid black backdrop and will provide a more classic approach to the school portraits than what is currently provided.
Now that I have several of these sessions under my belt I can definitely say I love every minute of it! 

I have set up a frequently asked question page on my website which you can find --> here <--

You'll find that the biggest difference with the Fine Art School Portraits is that I will take 3-5 images of the children and you, the parent/guardian, will be the one to choose which photo you prefer! This will eliminate that anxiety of receiving the children's photos and holding your breath as you open the package wondering what you're about to see... 

The other large difference is that you're not locked into a package. You are in complete control of the image that you pick and what prints you order! This means you wont be stuck with a million wallets if you only wanted a 5x7 and an 8x10.

Last year I photographed several children and two preschools in this style and it went really well.

If you run a daycare or preschool and feel that this classic back drop is the perfect fit for you please send me a message I'd love to set something up with you!

And if you're an individual (not a school/business) but still want this look for your child then please don't hesitate to get ahold of me. My main goal here is to give you a classic image that you want to hang up, hand out and enjoy looking at.

 

Cara
 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/8/fine-art-school-portraits Sun, 11 Aug 2019 17:24:20 GMT
Hey moms this is for you! https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/2/hey-moms-this-is-for-you Most of you reading this have a facebook and are familiar with how the newsfeed works. Typically a friend of yours will share something and it will show up in your news feed. Something that would (most likely) relate to you because by now a lot of your friends have similar interests or you follow people that share things you're interested in. I say most because obviously there are things in your news feed that you'd never put there and be glad to never see again but the majority of the things you read are probably because of your likes in the past or things you follow.

For me most of my friends are in different phases in their life than me so a lot of my news feed is a mixture of photographers I follow,  old home DIY tips, fitness posts or stay at home mom survival memes.
I obviously have a wide variety of ages on my feed so I get posts regarding many seasons of life. Some moms are posting about how quiet their homes are, almost too quiet and they miss the chaos while other moms are talking about how it's like they live in the game of jumanji.

My newsfeed regularly has a wide variety of interests and ages but what I will say that has always been a common share regardless of the age is articles of women begging their husbands to take more photos of them. Seriously, of all the common things to see this is by far one of the most constant article/topic shares from several ladies I know. As a woman photographer I can see both sides but honestly when I read these articles don't sit well with me. 

I can google "moms get your photo taken" and the whole first page is all about telling your guys to take the photo of you at home with your kids. I'm sure the list is endless but I stopped after the first page. Clearly our articles and rants online are not solving the problem. This has been an issue for decades proving this is beyond us but simply how we are wired.

Years ago I read this book called "Men are waffles and women are spaghetti."
Long story short men typically like to do one thing at a time and are very compartmentalized (similar to a waffle) they have boxes. Women? We are spaghetti. When we have one thought it's like a pasta noodle in a bowl of noodles. Rarely do we have just one thought but one thought touches all the other thoughts in our brain. Yes, this is a generalization so i'm sorry if I offend you but this is the topic of the book that I happen to agree with. Anyway, because men are waffles they're one thought, one box, one moment at a time. They're not thinking about taking the picture they're thinking about being in the moment. So if men and women's brains could combine and find the perfect balance of being in the moment and documenting the moment then it would be perfect! But that's not the case. Therefor we, as the women(mom) need to realize that a mans brain isn't going to change because of some article you tagged him in on facebook that he probably didn't even read. 

As a woman this is my take on this...
If he doesn't take your picture it's not because he doesn't realize they're important to you. I really think it's just because guys are great at being in the moment.
Me asking him to take my picture all the time is like him asking me the make, model, color and year of the truck that just drove by... uhhh yeah.no.


As a photographer this is my take on this...
If this is something that is truly important to you, you WILL find a way.

Take the initiative to ask a friend over to take photos. if it's something that is REALLY important to you find yourself a photographer that does in home/lifestyle photos to document your day to day.
If you want to look perfect hire a photographer that focuses on wardrobe, hair and makeup. 
If you want to be edited find a photographer that edits a lot.
If you want super posed photos find a photographer that does posed photos.
If you want a candid photographer that has you running around and making farting noises - find that photographer.
If you want all the images in black and white or film find yourself a photographer that photographs in black and white or film.
Do you get my point here? There are photographers ALL over.
All different skill levels and all different styles and all different price ranges. I can name probably 10 in the immediate area without even thinking that hard about it.

Stop using the excuse that your husband doesn't take photos of you as to why you're NOT in a photo.
Have a friend come over with a point and shoot. Have a friend use a cell phone. Set up your phone or camera on a self timer. 
If I have learned anything in my years of photographing people is that it is all about priorities. If getting your photos done is as big of a priority as you say it is then you, momma, will make it happen.  
There are photographers left and right. Probably 1 out of 5 friends of yours has a dslr that would suffice.
There are photographers all over of different styles, personalities, packages, prices etc.
I guarantee there is someone out there that will fit your needs and your style.
Again, if it's something that is incredibly important to you, you will make it happen.

But please, i'm begging you to stop making excuses and waiting around for your husbands to do something they're not necessarily wired to do.

I have a good friend who's a male and a professional photographer. I called him and asked him to verify my thoughts on this and you probably wont believe me but when he goes home. He's just home.
He does not take a lot of photos and if he does it's on his cell phone not on his professional camera.. I mean surely you'd think he has all these amazing photos of his family. I figured if any one husband would be the husband to be better about taking more photos it would be him, but he doesn't because he's (gasp) in the moment.
So if your husband isn't taking your photo it's not because he doesn't care or because he hasn't read those millions of articles posted it's simply because he's in the moment and the last thing on his mind is taking a photo. My suggestion to you? Instead of tagging your s/o on facebook articles redirect that energy into finding a photographer that fits your style and families needs. 

Whether you're reading this locked in the bathroom eating chocolate all by yourself while little fingers creep under the door or if you're in a home that's so quiet you can hear a pin drop. This article is for you. And while it's a little blunt it is completely out of love because I want you in the photo. I want you to have images you love. I want your kids to have images they love of you reading them books, braiding their hair, doing dishes together, making cookies, helping them brush their teeth, pulling gum out of their hair and wiping their tears(probably from pulling the gum out of their hair).
The list is endless of all the beautiful, raw candid moments that make up just one day when they are little of moments you'll want to remember when they're older.

Whatever it may be and regardless of your age and your season of life(even if your kids are grown).
Find a photographer that fits your needs (budget, style location etc.) & get in the photo. As large of a roll that you play in their lives you deserve to be remembered and cherished. 

 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2019/2/hey-moms-this-is-for-you Tue, 26 Feb 2019 19:08:15 GMT
Favorite Things https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/11/favorite-things Raindrops on roses
And whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things
.... you know how it goes.

 

Rain drops on roses are lovely and whiskers on kittens are pretty cute but you know what else is my favorite? Photography Gear! It doesn't necessarily have to be the most expensive or the newest but I love things that work well. That being said I figured i'd write about some of my favorite things!

For starters i'm a Nikon girl. I always have been and I don't foresee myself changing, not because I think it is elite or better but it works for me! My first camera was a Nikon D5100 and my current camera is a Nikon D750.


Whenever I find out someone is going to buy a camera or has just received a camera I strongly suggest getting a filter to protect the lens.

Lens Filters - This is like a safety glass for your lens. It protects your lens from getting scratched. The lens filter is a glass ring that screws on to the end of the lens. You want to get a good quality one because a cheap one could affect your image.
I like Hoya or Tiffen (all my lenses have a Hoya filters on them)
One size does NOT fit all so in order to find the size you need you take off the little flat cap that goes at the end of your lens. On the back of that there will be an engraved number (example 58mm) and that will be the size you need for your filter.
Think about it this way...If your filter gets scratched you can easily get another for around twenty bucks. If your lens gets scratched that scratch or speck will be on every image until you purchase a new lens.

MACRO FILTERS - There are also some macro filters if a person doesn't have a macro lens. These are SUPER inexpensive and they get the job done for someone that likes to dabble in macro photos.  I used them for years before I got an actual macro lens and I really enjoyed them.


Next up is
My camera strap. I'm a huge lover of a Black Rapid camera strap. For those that know me know i'm always running around fire scenes and running around with little kids on shoots so I need a strap that is secure but comfortable. I know the side strap is not for everyone but this is definitely the strap for me! I like the rapid sport a little better than their traditional rapid curve because it's not as wide but both are great.

They're durable and comfortable.    <--- your neck will thank me for this later!
Black rapid also has several other accessories. Tripod bags & side bags that clip right on to the current black rapid strap are super handy! 
 

Ziess Lens wipes... I love these things! I use them for my glasses, laptop, camera screen and camera lenses! Check them out HERE


SD Cards. The more the merrier! Just make sure you get a good quality ones because nothing stinks worse than shooting and you load your images and it reads nothing because your camera card had an error. EEK or when you go to use it and it's full and you have no time to empty! Also as you add to your collection make sure you label them so you can tell them apart. 1,2,3,4,5 or a,b,c,d etc. Something to help you tell the difference when 1 is full or 2 is corrupt so you don't need to keep putting them in your computer to figure out what one is the full one.
Things to consider when buying an SD card.
-
Where you're buying it from
- Transfer Speed 
- Card Size, what you'll be shooting and how much you shoot.


External Hard Drives - I like the WD I've had them for years and had VERY good luck with them. All of my photos go on an external hard drive to keep my computer running smoothly! I do suggest developing a good organization method early on. It's very difficult to go back in and organize all your photos after you've taken a million.


Extra camera batteries are always a good idea! I personally don't care for knock off brands when it comes to batteries. I've read horror stories about batteries so I'd rather go straight to the source and order the brand name battery. Because of that I don't have a link for this one but I do the majority of my shopping straight off the Nikon site, Adorama.com or B&H Photo's website.

 

Favorite Resources:
Creativelive.com is one of my favorite websites. They offer beginner photography classes and A variety of free classes or classes to purchase

I really love the book “Capture the Moment” by Sarah Wilkerson. It shares a lot of beautiful images, tips, settings for the images and all the proceeds go towards the Ronald McDonald House
Don't Say Cheese is a great beginners guide unfortunately it's no longer sold.

Favorite LAB to print from
mPix/millers to print because who doesn't love prints!!!
I have also heard great things about White House Custom Color but haven't used them yet!


Camera Bag insert/Camera Bag.
When I first started shooting I was super overwhelmed with all the bag choices. So many options. Some cheap but most are not. After many purchases and returns I have found a camera bag insert on amazon for about 20 bucks and put it in a purse or a backpack!
After I started to collect more lenses I realized I needed something in addition to my little insert. I tried out several backpacks and briefcase bags but finally settled on a pelican case. The one I purchased is a pre-approved airline size pelican case that has a handle and wheels so while it is heavy it's also durable and can double as a carry on suitcase which is super handy to have! 

 

Favorite Stores
B&H Photo
Adorama
Amazon but make sure to check it's a trusted seller!

I tried my best to create a favorites list on Amazon - this is a first for me so if that doesn't work just let me know!

 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/11/favorite-things Wed, 14 Nov 2018 12:14:09 GMT
Hearts on Fire https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/8/hearts-on-fire I'm not sure if any of you have ever heard of Hearts Apart but it's this really awesome non-profit program for military members. Photographers all over can donate their services to this program so a military family can receive portraits of their family before a deployment. If a military family is interested in portraits all they have to do is reach out to this program and the Hearts Apart program puts the family in contact with a photographer in their area affiliated with the program. The family chooses a photographer and are able to get a session prior to a deployment. Even though this area doesn't handle many deployments it's still something that i'm honored to be a part of. If you know any military families I suggest you let them know all about this program here ( www.heartsapart.org )
The main requirement for a portrait session is that the one that is being deployed needs to be photographed in their dress blues/military outfit.
Such a small gesture that creates a large impact is truly inspiring.

If you're new to my page welcome! My name is Cara.
If you're not new then welcome back and thank you for sticking with me!
By now most of you know my love for our local fire departments. It's something that has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. My dad has spent countless hours at the local fire department and growing up we knew at any moment that his pager could go off and he would be gone for any amount of time. That time frame could be anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours and sometimes all night.

It wasn't until I got older and joined the department that I truly understood the sacrifice that these volunteers make.
(Pictured here my father and I helping at the Fonda Fair with the Town of Mohawk Fire Department)


I'm always in awe at the effort and time given by our volunteers as well as the sacrifice of their families. The amount of training and dedication needed for no pay and no benefits in return is always so humbling to witness. During structure fires the interior firefighters are to give up one of their tags to a delegated person on scene for accountability. That way we know exactly who is inside the structure. 

("Accountability tags" Image from training drill 8/4/18)

So much is at stake. I don't know each one of those tags but I know that they're someones husband, wife, daughter, son, father, mother, sister, brother etc. 
On a hot and humid saturday morning in August several volunteers sacrificed their time to train (unpaid) to practice saving people they most likely don't know. These men and women are our every day heroes and how lucky we are to have them in our lives. 
I can't help but want to give back some way to show my appreciation.. but how? On the Hearts Apart website there's a bold quote from Brownie Harris
"Every once in a while you do something that makes everything else worth it. This is one of those moments."
That quote was stuck in my head yesterday, August 4, as I photographed a county wide emergency drill. Photography is my way to give back. I knew several years ago when I started taking photos that I wanted to some how give back. Both my parents have always been active in the community so it's no real surprise that giving back is a passion of mine.

Romans 12:11 says "Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward Him on fire! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve Him." 

We are all given something special not for ourselves but for others. My heart is on fire for God and for this community which is why I believe it's time to start offering Hearts on Fire sessions for our local volunteer Firefighters.
These family photo sessions will run only 45.00 each for our volunteers with their immediate family as a thank you. While i'd love to do a non-profit I'm not sure if I can swing that right now.  Who knows maybe down the road with lots of prayer and hard work I may eventually be able to create a county wide-->nation wide non-profit?! Definitely a concept worth praying over. 
As a requirement for this particular session I would like to do at least one photo of the department member in either their dress blues and/or turn out gear to qualify for this session. I have an image of my father in his turnout gear on my wall and it's one of my favorites and I feel other families deserve the same!!

So if you know a local volunteer firefighter please send them my way. I'd love to thank them for their time and effort with a photo session!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/8/hearts-on-fire Mon, 06 Aug 2018 00:30:42 GMT
the perfect lens https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/7/the-perfect-lens A lot of people reach out to me with questions about buying their first camera kit (a lens and a camera together). My first two questions are always whats your budget and what will you be photographing? Because in this day and age there is a camera to fit both of those needs. Yes, some cameras offer more than others but a person will still be able to get what they need taken care of.
Once we figure out what camera body to go with we try to figure out a lens. Knowing what I know now finding a lens is probably harder for me than finding a camera body for someone. I'm not familiar with Canon but the majority of Nikon cameras come with an 18-55, a 55-200 or 18-105mm. The next question asked, without a doubt, is "is this a good lens".
With the exception of a lemon (faulty one) here or there I don't know if I would say there is a BAD lens.  Each lens is created for a specific purpose. Some are more versatile than others, some can stretch further than the ones that can see closer. There are some lens that are made specifically for a fish eye effect, a lens made specially for a super close macro photo and a super zoom for the moon. Some lenses are only one focal point while others can achieve multiple focal points while standing in one spot. Each lens works in it's own special way and lenses and cameras work together to have a sweet spot. Once you learn your camera&lens sweet spot you're on your way. Not only because you know what your lens CAN do but you've also learned what your camera CANT do. Theres nothing wrong with having a lens that cant capture the moon perfectly unless you're a moon photographer and vice versa for sports photography, portrait photography and macro photography. (I could keep going but you get my drift).
After several years of photographing i've learned a lot about which lenses fit my needs. Yes, of course, there are certain instances I wish I had a different lens but I always make it with what I have. My kit is perfect for my needs. I don't need to buy more no matter how much I want it. The tricky part is when I scroll through social media and I see someone take a photo that's really beautiful I think to myself "wow I need that lens" or "I should upgrade my camera"...THANKFULLY when I started shooting I had some of the best teachers that made sure I was aware it's not the gear. Gear envy is expensive and pointless. It doesn't matter how good your gear is if you can't use it.
In a same way isn't that how our own personal talents are? God has hand picked specific talents for us to carry out. It's easy for us to get caught up in looking what other people have or what other people can do. Well if the telephoto lens tried to be a macro lens it just wouldn't work the same. It might be able to get the job done but it wont be nearly as good because that's not what it was created for. A binocular is an example of a telephoto lens. A zoom lens is such where you can change the amount of magnification it provides. You can change the focal length at will. A macro lens is one which lets you shoot very tiny objects in a high magnification scale.


 

I read a piece called "The comparison trap," by Jenny LaBahn
She reminds us of just how much thought God put into us each of us:

 

I am the me that God designed. He didn’t make me on accident, and He didn’t form me with some societal mold in mind that He was trying to measure up to. He is infinitely creative and brilliant.

Every time God creates, He does so with intention.

He utilized an equal and exact amount of creativity when He made you, and every other person on this planet. When we choose to compare ourselves with others around us, and the fictitious women we see in the magazine, we aren’t only making life harder on ourselves, we are telling God He didn’t do a good enough job.”

 

It's easy to get caught up in the comparison game it's so important to take a deep breath and a step back to see the bigger picture. Many times we compare ourselves to others wishing we had what they had while someone next to us is wishing they had what we had. Comparison is the thief of joy and envy is an illusion. When something good happens to someone else it takes NOTHING from you. Comparison and envy are dangerous because they makes us forget what we have, what we are good at and how blessed we are.

So for you out there that's struggling with what you're not good at? This is for you. This is your reminder to stop focusing on what you don't have and focus on all that you do have.
Stop looking at what you're not good at and focus on what you're good at. Be really good at the gifts God gave you, focus on your  blessings and watch your life, attitude and relationships change.
As soon as you see how truly awesome you are in your own unique way it wont bother you that you can't be telephoto lens when you were created to be a macro lens. 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/7/the-perfect-lens Thu, 05 Jul 2018 11:22:28 GMT
Mothers Day Giveaway https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/5/mothers-day-giveaway A few days ago I posted an image of a quote "A mothers love is like a flower; each one beautiful and unique." It's so true too. Photographing moms with their babies is probably one of my top favorite subjects (grandparents with their grandchildren or multi generations is def my number one favorite).

It just seems some how moms are always taking pictures because they see the value of capturing the moment so they're behind the camera or they're behind the scenes all together making sure everything runs smoothly.

Whenever I book children sessions any of the people that come in for photos of their children(any age) can attest I throw them in at least 1 or 2 photos regardless of what they're wearing or how they look. Sometimes i'll get a bit of hesitation but over all it always ends up being the favorite photo from the session and by far the most important one.
Too many moms go undocumented and unseen because they didn't do their hair that day, they've gained a little weight or they don't like what they wore. They didn't dress to have their picture taken or they look a little tired.

Mom's! Hear me out!! Your kids need YOU in their pictures. They love you, they think you're wonderful and beautiful. I don't know for you but for me? I don't look at my mothers pictures and see messy hair and cellulite and your babies won't either. They don't care if your hair is a mess and they don't care if your clothes are business casual or yoga pants. They just want YOU.
You, mom, the one that is everywhere in their young lives.
You're at school plays, field trips, birthday parties, halloween costumes and trick or treating. You are up late wrapping gifts for Christmas, you're hiding easter baskets, you're the tooth fairy and you're thanksgiving meals. The list is endless!
You have a hand in most everything in your babies lives and yet you have very few photos with them.
Someday we won’t be here — and it's scary because we don’t know if that someday is tomorrow or sixty years from now. Regardless of when that moment is your kids deserve pictures with you!

You're not a perfect person but you're perfectly a mother to your babies. I fully trust that God picked you for a reason to be the mother of your children, fur children, future children or children that you love as if they're yours.
So when I shared my quote with a photo giveaway for moms my whole goal is to get you, the love of your children's lives, in the photo. I want them to see how much you are there for them and how your arms look wrapped around them in a hug with a big smile on their face because they'll feel how loved they are.

The photo shoot giveaway had almost 80 entries. WOW! I'm so honored that so many people would trust me to photograph you with your babies.
Several mommas stating that they hadn't had photos done with their kids in years. YEARS?!
I know each and every one of you would love to get photos with your children. While i'd love to gift each of you a session that's just not feasible right now. However, I can offer a discounted session to all that entered or nominated someone else. After entering the post into an online comment picker the winner of the photo session giveaway was Elizabeth Nicole. 

To all the rest that entered the post I have written your names down. If you'd like to book a Mothers Day session with me I will drop your session fee to 125.00(regularly 185).
The session will be covered with one digital included but the remainder of the digitals and prints would need to be purchased. If you're interested please contact me at alocalfocus@gmail.com to set up your session.

I look forward to getting YOU in front of the camera with your babies!

 

 

<><Cara

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/5/mothers-day-giveaway Sun, 13 May 2018 14:21:14 GMT
put your hood on https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/5/put-your-hood-on Any of you that have purchased a standard DSLR camera it TYPICALLY comes with extras that most (at first) probably have no clue what the purpose is. When I first started shooting I remember pulling out all the extras from the box and seeing that thing that is called a lens hood. It's that plastic piece that looks like a wrist cuff and it clips on the end of your lens. Some of my lenses are already long or bulky so why would I want to add more length to it. And it's just one more thing to carry around.. So what the heck is that thing and what is it for ? 
In photography, a lens hood or lens shade is a plastic piece used on the front of a lens to block the Sun or other light source(s) to prevent glare and lens flare. Lens hoods may also be used to protect the lens from scratches and the elements without having to put on a lens cover.


Well now that we know what a hood is and what it does is it a NEED? In my opinion, yes, just not ALL the time.
There are certain situations where lens flare, glare and the sun are what we want in a photo.

There are other times where it is too much and can affect the quality or the over all feel of the image. Like anything there is a time and a place.
When I personally put the hood on my lens it's either to protect my lens from debris flying in the air, rain or too much sun. Seems smart, a no brainer right?


So if I do all that for my lens why is my spirit/soul any different? I mean shoot, a lens is replaceable but we only get one soul. Isn't that how it works for toxic people too. We all have them in our lives and we can't always just get rid of them. Unfortunately we have toxic radio stations, friends, TV shows, neighbors, co-workers and, sadly, even family members. 
Social media CAN be great but only if it's used properly. Social media has a way of putting a lot of crap right in your face. When you have a good positive source feeding your newsfeed it can be uplifting and positive. But when it becomes toxic don't hesitate to unfollow, unfriend or even block someone that is poisoning your soul. Now dong get this twisted i'm not saying delete everyone that disagrees with you. Treat it like a photo with the sun. Ask yourself will this help or hurt? Basically what i'm saying is treat your soul like it is an irreplaceable lens. Guard it, protect it and take care of it. Because if it gets scratched or has too much of a negative source coming in it will reflect on every image that comes out.


"Above all else guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it."
Proverbs 4:23

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/5/put-your-hood-on Mon, 07 May 2018 19:26:41 GMT
AutoFocus https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/4/autofocus On August 5th 2017 I worked a wedding. It was my birthday and just before I left for the wedding I posted a very brief statement declaring this would be my best year yet.
Little did I know how far off that statement was... while it hasn't been horrible it has definitely been very stressful and trying. Quite possibly one of the most taxing years i've had in a long time and having had a hard time coming back from it. I hurt my back early this fall that laid me up for a few weeks and that really seemed to get the sickness ball rolling. In the beginning of January what started as the flu went to a sinus infection, bronchitis, the flu again, strep throat and then a horrible case of ringworm on my arm that I just cant seem to get rid of. My immune system is down, I still can't really breathe well and my head is definitely still fighting a minor sinus infection. It's just one of those years and I know i'm not alone. The weather has been hard and to be a farmer these days is definitely no walk in the park.
I don't know about you but when I get sick I do everything I can on my own to overcome it. I know some people that run right to the doctors but that's just never been my thing.. maybe i'm a little stubborn? ha! 
Usually i'm able to shake whatever it is that's got me down with over the counter stuff and overdose on vitamins and water(which I should do on a regular basis anyway).
This year that just wasn't enough. I went to the doctors, then went to the doctors again and again, and again... you get the drift. If I'm sick of anything it's going to the doctors (I say this as my water for my neti pot heats up in the microwave :-) )
So typically after I get sick and try everything on my own if it doesn't work I break down and go to the doctor. I'll admit i'm guilty because by that time i'm pretty bad off and pop online to ask for prayers as "a last resort"

Believe it or not I have a point to this and it's actually related to my camera. Do you know what your Autofocus is or how it works??

Autofocus (AF) uses a super smart little computer to run a mini motor that focuses the lens for you.
When the lens is focusing you can see it moving in and out until the camera finds a point for the sharpest possible image. Depending on the distance of the subject from the camera, the lens has to be a certain distance from the film to form a clear image. (There is a sweet spot)

There are two types of autofocus systems: active and passive. Some cameras may have a combination of both types, depending on the price of the camera. In general, less expensive point-and-shoot cameras use an active system, while more expensive DSLR (digital single-lens reflex) cameras with interchangeable lenses use the passive system. 
What is passive autofocus? Well i'm glad you asked! Passive auto focus must have light and contrast in order to do its job (a CROSS point if you will).
The image needs to have some detail in it that provides contrast. The camera will guess which points you want which would explain why when the thing you want in focus isn't always in focus.
If you try to take a picture of a blank wall or a large object of one color, the camera cannot compare pixels next to each other so it cant actually focus. 

In my opinion, this is where a good photographer would have their eye trained to take a camera off autofocus, switch it to manual focus and still get a sharp image. I'm not sure about Canon but with Nikon there is a handy little green dot in the viewfinder of the camera that tells you when the image is in focus or not. Even with that handy dandy green dot, let me tell you, manual focus is HARD. You have to train your eye to see the sharpest image and your body to hold still, your hand to move ever so slowly until you find the perfect, sharpest image and press the shutter without making the image blurry with camera shake.
It takes practice but practice doesn't make perfect. Perfect practice makes perfect.. Anyone can take it off auto and shoot in manual and get 100 blurry images but it takes effort to put it in manual and get a sharp image.

Isn't that how our faith works? I've always struggled with the saying practice makes perfect. It's a lie.
Perfect practice makes perfect.
and praising God while times are good means when times are bad we wont know anything different. It's hard to do at first because you have to actively teach/train yourself to focus on God when things are good. But if we continue to do that it'll be easier when we don't know what to focus on and things get crazy we will, by default, focus on the CROSS point, or the light in the situation.

It will take work, and you'll still stumble but eventually (after a lot of effort and practice) be second nature to take it off auto (the way of the world) to put it in manual mode and choose what we focus on.
Find the light and the perfect cross point in any situation to get the best image available as a first resort - not a last resort.
I want to encourage anyone that is reading this... let God and prayers be the first thing you turn to and the first cross point you focus on.

<>< Cara

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/4/autofocus Tue, 17 Apr 2018 11:45:41 GMT
Last Call https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/3/last-call For most local folks in my area it is common knowledge that our fire department and community just lost a tremendous man.
Ronnie Hinkle ("Hink") lost his battle to cancer last week... I hate cancer.

Today is the day we will be honoring him with a parade of trucks, a bell service, a last call, comradery and good food. It's sure to be an event he would love to attend and no doubt he will be there in spirit. No surprise that the anticipated turnout is causing us to close down the right northbound lane on a state highway from 3pm until approximately 7pm. He was a loved man.

When I joined the department Ronnie was the chief at the time. I was so thankful that he was so open and supportive of me taking photos for the department. Never once did he make me feel like I didn't belong on a scene. 
I still remember the day I took one of my favorite photos of him.  This photo was taken at a 3 car MVA at the top of the school hill. It was cold but thankfully no one was seriously injured.
Any time I take a photo that manages to capture someones spirit and personality instantly becomes my favorite. I love the twinkle in his eyes, I love the slight smirk and I even love that he's not looking at the camera. He's over looking the scene and making sure everyone was where they were supposed to be. While we will miss him here on earth there's no doubt his spirit will be watching over us each and every call from here on out.

Today we will gather and honor him and I will photograph the service. For me, my role as photographer for these services is hard. There is obviously a fine line that some understand what i'm doing and some don't. I don't want to disrespect anyone but I do see the importance of capturing these moments. The honor and beauty of the bell service and last call is something that I, as a firefighters daughter, respect more than words can even explain. When that bell rings three times its as if it cuts through the air. It is heart wrenching, overwhelming and inexplicably beautiful


A few years ago we did a landing zone drill at FMCC. That call is when I took my second favorite photo of Ronnie. He was so nervous before we did this drill and I reassured him several times he would do fine, naturally, he did a great job. I am spending time this morning getting my gear ready, cleaning my lenses, checking SD cards and batteries and remembering this wonderful man.
Much like the day of this landing zone drill, I am going into shooting the service slightly nervous but I hope that I can manage to photograph it in a way that truly honors Hink in a way that he deserves.

http://www.local-focus.org/hink

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2018/3/last-call Fri, 23 Mar 2018 13:11:53 GMT
What's your role? https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/11/whats-your-role For those of you that don't really know me or my family i'll take a quick minute to fill you in...
My family is filled with very selfless people.
I consider myself extremely fortunate to have grown up surrounded by people that teach and serve in any way they can.
My mom is a teacher at a local JR High School, my dad is pretty much a professional volunteer and my brother is also a farmer/teacher. Not only in my blood family but my God given family I've been blessed with amazing role models that are constantly teaching me what it means to give back to our community, what it means to be selfless and the true meaning of loving your neighbor.
For any of you "out of towners" that may not know, our quiet little town had a structure fire yesterday. Sundays around Fonda are my favorite because what is normally a busy street is actually quiet and peaceful. So just after 11 our department got toned out to a structure fire on East Main Street. I stepped out of my house and saw the village I love filled with smoke. One of those moments where time feels like its going in slow motion until your adrenaline kicks in and you step in to the role you've been called to do.
So tell me.. if that happens - what is YOUR role?
For me? My role is photographer for the Town of Mohawk Fire Department.
It is a title I carry with pride and it is a job I give 110%.
What an honor to be a part of that group of volunteers. Yes, there are some ups and downs (as most departments/groups have) but when push comes to shove those guys get the job done and they do an amazing job.
We all share the same goal; to serve, protect and save.
I don't know if people believe me or not when I say it but these guys really are my heroes.
Yesterday at our call I was, yet again, reminded of why I love our town so much. The community and the camaraderie is overwhelming especially in the midst of a tragedy which is what prompted me to write this post. Several members of the community that kept walking up and saying "I want to do something, what can I do to help".
As a member of the department and a member of the community please know that from the bottom of my heart I love that and I appreciate your willingness to help.
Here's my advice to you. If you want to help? Join a group that volunteers.
There are several departments that need volunteers.
These guys(and gals) are just that, VOLUNTEERS. They have jobs that they can't always leave. So the more passionate people the departments can get the better of we all will be. Now if you're reading this and you're saying "that's just not for me" that is okay! Not everyone is meant to run towards the fire. The truck operator thats running the truck pushing water to the hose is just as important as the guy at the end of the hose pointing it towards the fire.
The guys driving trucks to fill the ponds help the guys running the trucks that get the water to the hoses that the guys are pointing towards the fire. And the people directing traffic make it possible for the trucks to get in and out with water to get to the ponds to get to the trucks that are running the hoses for the guys pointing the hose at the fire are all just as important. I can keep going but I think you get my drift. There are so many things you CAN do.
The degree of difficulty or intensity may not be the same but they're all just as important.
This post is to hopefully encourage you to find your own special role and then run with it!
I am using my passion for photography to serve the department and it is a prime example of using something you love, something you're good at to serve.

Towards the end of the call two ladies brought three plates of cookies. These ladies handed me plates of cookies and said "this is for the firemen", asked if everyone was okay and then walked away. This may seem irrelevant but to me it was so refreshing to have strangers do something that may have seemed so small but had a huge impact.
Not every single person is meant to do the same job but every single job is important because it's all connected in this crazy life. If one doesn't do their part the other won't work out or it will work out but maybe not as smooth as it could.

In Christianity it's referred to as the body of Christ. You see, we all cant be feet or hands because we need eyes, ears and other body parts to work as a team. It's exactly how our roles play out in our communities. We all have to do our part or it wont work properly.
So if you're feeling called to serve in any way, shape or form. Please do so because the role you're being called to serve is a role that only you can fill and it is an important one. It is a true blessing to serve the community and I encourage you to look at it as a blessing not a sacrifice. Sure we are all busy - find me one person that isn't busy. But if we look at giving as a sacrifice then we wont do it. We need to be thankful we are able to give, help and serve. We need to be the change we want to see and for me if that means taking pictures and handing out waters on a call well you better believe i'm going to do it as good as I can because God deserves my best and so does my town and the department.

If you're feeling helpless in a hopeless situation? Pray. If you don't pray? Bake!
I've never met someone that turned down prayer...or cookies :-P 



https://www.facebook.com/pg/mohawkfire/photos/?tab=album&album_id=2011736775507092

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/11/whats-your-role Mon, 06 Nov 2017 20:52:33 GMT
So long Super Woman https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/10/so-long-super-woman I've always been a fan of comics. Not a die-hard fan or anything I mean I do own an iron man costume but that's about it. I don't have heaps of memorabilia they're just something i've always enjoyed watching. I don't know the backstory from birth to current day of the villains and superheroes. I don't know superman's social security or batman's blood type. I'm not even sure if that information exists i'm just trying to prove my point that I just don't follow them that closely more so the big picture.. I think the reason I like the comics so much is the good vs evil aspect. The good guys win but not without a fight.  There's usually even some sort of a struggle where you're on the edge of your seat wondering if the main character will overcome the bad guy and his evil schemes. Thankfully the good guys were given some sort of a special skill or indestructible trademarks like shields, helmets, outfits or jewelry that make them stand out and usually help them win the battle.
It's easy to watch these shows and want to be a good guy. They just seem to have it all together which makes sense why growing up many of us want to be just like them one super hero or another..
I mean what woman doesn't want to be wonder woman. She's pretty, honest, strong, hard working and she's trained in hand to hand combat! Lets not forget her tiara which can be used as a boomerang uhhh that's pretty freaking awesome! 
Anyway, we grow up flooded with movies and images that leave us with nothing but unrealistic expectations. Expectations to be good at everything. You know what I mean. There's this pressure to always have everything in place because social media is flooded with the perfect moments even though we didn't see them post the 15 bad ones before that. It's easy to get caught up in the hype of only reading people's highlights and then comparing it to our lives. In turn we end up thinking we need to do more or be more than what we are because that person over there is doing more.

So here I am building my photography business and learning more and more about myself each shoot. I try really hard not to compare my journey to other photographers because we are all so different and our stories and lives are so incredibly different. Instead i'm focusing more on learning about my style, what I like to shoot, what I don't like to shoot and what my goals are as a photographer. Well I recently decided that I don't really feel called to do weddings any more. I don't mind shooting them as a second shooter I just don't really want the stress and pressure of shooting the wedding as the main photographer. It's not that it's a bad feeling when i'm done shooting a wedding it's just different.

When I walk away from shooting something I don't love to do I'm drained. I dread doing it, I can't wait until it's over and i'm exhausted after it's over. Y'all know exactly what I mean because we ALL have been there before.. but why?

Well the other day a friend of mine was talking to me about upcoming shoots and they said "say yes to everything" and my very quick response was "that's a very dangerous suggestion." We agreed to disagree and moved on but I honestly couldn't stop thinking about it. 

Lysa Terkeurest sums it up so well in one of her books;
"Saying yes to everything doesn't make us wonder woman it makes us a worn out woman. "

Isn't that the world we live in?       "Say yes to everything! Be good at everything!"  
Well I hate to be the one to deliver the bad news but unless you're a fictional superhero you're not good at everything. Sorry friends, but you're not and neither am I but you know what? THAT IS OKAY. We aren't meant to be good at everything.
We must not confuse the command to love with the disease to please.
BOOM! If you're an overcommitted person that'll hit ya like a box of rocks!

I'm not meant to be good at every single type of photography. I could be okay at a lot of types but to me, in my own personal opinion it makes so much more sense to pick one or two genres and really hit a home run. I mean think about it whenever we go to a doctor for something and we are referred to a specialist we want a specialist that pretty much focuses on that one thing. We don't ever say oh you're not good enough because you're not an expert on all things. So why do we put this unrealistic pressure on ourselves to say yes to everything? Further more... why do we keep doing things that don't feed our soul? Life is wayyy too incredibly short to get caught up in this hype of all these things we should be doing to make other people happy just so we can appear to have our lives perfectly put together. Saying yes to everything may at first appear to have everything together because you're doing everything and handling it all but it comes at a price. Eventually you'll be run down, exhausted and lost. Trust me friends, you will lose yourself when you constantly say yes to things that don't feed your soul.
When God sees you doing your part and developing the skill that He has given you He will do His part and open doors that no man can shut. But until we start focusing on what God wants us to do that can't happen. How do we do that? Well for starters we need to start saying YES to things that we know we are supposed to say yes to and say NO to things that we KNOW we aren't supposed to be doing. I mean think about it.. even each super hero was given their own special tools to get the job done and once they focused on each of their own skills they filled a role that no one else could fill. If someone asked Wonder Woman to shoot webs out of her hand she'd probably laugh and tell them they're stupid. She knows what she's good at and she says no to the things that she's not meant to do!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/10/so-long-super-woman Mon, 30 Oct 2017 03:15:04 GMT
likes and unlikes https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/10/likes-and-unlikes My page finally reached 800 likes. Not that it matters much because in reality... who cares right?
"It's just Facebook".


Besides i've never really been one to focus on or push for likes. I think once when I started my facebook page i've done a contest to get shares and likes but other than that I try to avoid that mindset like the plague. 

In today's society there seems to be so much pressure regarding your online presence, your website and Facebook. How many likes, how many followers and how many views seem to be the main focus for a lot of people. Often we base our decisions and judge business credibility on how many likes they have. Then we think to ourselves "Oh well since they have thousands of likes they must be legit."

Whether this is something you've thought about or if you've never paid much attention to it this is a huge mind game for me and i'd imagine i'm not alone. I feel crazy to SOMETIMES struggle with the thought how many Facebook "likes" does my page have but I honestly try to keep it real with myself.

I started off this post mentioning that my page reached 800 likes on my page and today I randomly decided to check the stats of the page. I don't check them much at all and honestly half the time I forget the stats are even there. So this morning I made my coffee and sat down at the computer to check in and then I saw it... the dreaded light pink/red down arrow. Do you know what this means? Unlikes. And not just one unlike as if a person deleted their page but SIX.
SIX unlikes.
At first I was like what.... the... heck. I mean people had to actively search out my page and unlike me. Yall let me tell you this is a hard thing to struggle with but totally worth writing about because I KNOW i'm not the only one and I KNOW this isn't JUST about Facebook.

Anyway, Facebook will analyze what caused my likes or unlikes. For example, if I posted something or shared something that caused people to go to the effort to unlike my page(or like my page). Lets face it liking things is easy on Facebook but to go to the effort to unlike something is work. It's hard not to take that stuff personal but I have to be realistic about these kinds of things and keep a healthy relationship with social media or else things can get unhealthy fast.

Isn't this just how our relationships become with people? We get caught up in this hype of what we wear and how we appear to be instead of how we are. Do we appear to have a lot of likes(friends) or do we actually have a lot of likes/friends. Do we care more about people thinking we have it all together than if we actually have it all together? Besides who has it ALL together anyway? No one and I mean NO ONE has it all together.
We get so focused on status, appearance and comparing that our true self gets pushed down and down and down and covered and covered and covered and before we know it we are LOST. And you wake up one day saying HOW DID I GET HERE. 
Let me shake things up for you here and consider this is your wake up call.


It is a dangerous place to give people the power to feed you because you're also allowing them the power to starve you. 

So remember to be careful where you go to quench your thirst. I'm thirsty, you're thirsty... we are ALL thirsty people. But water from a broken well  (ie: likes on a page, compliments, comments, social status, nice clothes) will most definitely make you thirst again. And if you're constantly looking for validation from people you will always be thirsty because the only ONE that will truly quench your thirst will NEVER leave you lonely, hungry or thirsty. 


<><

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/10/likes-and-unlikes Thu, 05 Oct 2017 17:41:12 GMT
Fix your focus https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/9/fix-your-focus I recently had a family photo shoot that I figured i'd write about.
Not just because I completely adore this family but because they reminded me of such a valuable lesson that we all so often forget.

So picture this... you check the weather, pick out the perfect outfits that coordinate just right. Find a location, a photographer and a time that works for everyone involved. Everything is looking good until 2 minutes into the shoot and your kid starts to cry.. a lot. Seems easy to get frustrated when the child has been easy going all morning and the 15-20 minutes you wish she/he would cooperate they just wont leave your side. While you think everything you worked for to get that perfect picture had just gone to waste... does that sound familiar ? Seriously it happens SOOOOO much when i'm shooting. So many parents give me that exhausted look and apologize for the way the shoot is going. I just encourage the parents to interact with each other as they normally would and I continue to shoot. Some times it seems we have this idea in our head of how the perfect image should look but when life happens we feel like that perfect image is near impossible. Right? I have this little piece of paper next to my desk that simply says "focus on what matters". What an amazing reminder for me not just as a photographer but as a human. Life gets crazy for all of us but in between the hectic and crazy is where the beautiful moments happen. And they happen every day but sometimes I think we focus so much on all the craziness that we forget to slow down and even notice the beautiful things that happen.
So where am I going with this ? I often see different family dynamics and some times they will walk away from a session with their littles feeling like it was a complete waste of everyone's time and they're hoping for JUST ONE photo i'm able to deliver them with so many more. Why is that ? Photo shop magic? No! I focus on what's important. If your baby is crying for one of numbers reasons it can be frustrating. I'm not focusing on the baby crying i'm focusing on the love from the mom/dad/loved one. The comfort. The care. The raw emotion that we over look in life. So I wanted to write this while everyone is in the process of booking your fall/christmas photos. No matter who you book as a photographer I want to encourage you to find someone who see's that magic and someone that will capture it. And while I hope your baby doesn't have a melt down lets face it, it happens. If it does happen embrace your baby, comfort your baby and love on your baby just as you normally would. I encourage you to have your photographer keep shooting!!
That's life. 
We can't change it so we should embrace it and focus on what matters!


<>< Cara

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/9/fix-your-focus Mon, 25 Sep 2017 18:17:45 GMT
Photography is not my passion https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/9/photography-is-not-my-passion A few years ago my resolution was to blog more... clearly I dropped the blog ball on that goal! Honestly though, 9 times out of 10 I have a "great idea" of what to write about but then by the time I get near a computer I think well no one would really want to hear or take the time to read what I have to say!
But the other day I listened to a message from Joyce Meyer and it talked about the lies of the devil and how he wants to use my insecurities to shut me up. Stop me from talking or stop me from writing. Well sure enough that message had come right on time because a friend of mine had said something to be right after that message that really made me think.  We were on the phone chatting and he said to me "I can tell that photography and farming are your passion." After our conversation was over I continued to go about my morning chores in the barn. Chores are a lot of work but a time for me to clear my head and get my best thinking done and for some reason after my phone call that statement stuck with me.  Seriously for the entire morning my thoughts just kept coming back to it. Is photography really my passion? Would I really say that i'm passionate about farming? 
The more I processed the statement the more I realized it's just not true. To most of you that may seem crazy to read but believe it or not photography and farming are NOT my passion. My passion is helping/serving people. Don't get me wrong I love, love LOVE both of these things. Whenever I am doing them they both just seem to make sense. Especially farming. When i'm there I cant imagine being anywhere else and I truly feel like by doing both I've learned an incredible amount about myself that I may or may not have learned otherwise.
But as much as I enjoy both activities I enjoy helping my family on the farm and helping capture memories with my camera way more than the actual activity. I'm not sure if these activities didn't go hand and hand with helping people then I may not love them as much as I do... which is why I wouldn't necessarily call them a passion.

Some days I feel like a drifter. You know, the 31 year old with lots of odd jobs on the resume and no real career to show. If I add fuel to that fire i'd be going down a dark road... you see the devil wants me to feel lost and he wants me to compare my journey to others.  Those people we know that "have it all figured out". The devil wants me to look at my life and say what do I have to show for it? Lots of odd jobs, and unfinished college degree and i've moved what seems like a million times. When I type those words it's hard not to feel sad i'm not anywhere near where my friends are on their journey. The devil wants me to focus on all the negative in my life to tear me down and feel like i'm lost without a purpose.
Sweet friends that's just not true. We each have this super awesome purpose that once we figure out it's the most amazing thing. 
During each season of my life God gives me different tools to fulfill my passion and purpose of helping people. Right now in the season i'm in i'm able to help my family on the farm and help people by taking photos and capturing memories and moments for them to cherish, hopefully for a very long time! I don't know how long these seasons will last nor do I know what my next season will be. To some of you that may seem crazy but to me it's crazy to hold onto something too long when we know it's time to move on but we keep doing something just because we have always done it. I'm perfectly fine with my random journey until I start comparing it to others. You know what they say? Comparison is the thief of joy and it's so, so, soooo true! We live in this society where we need to know in high school what we want to be when we are adults. Then we are supposed to go to school for what we want to be, graduate and get a career and spend the rest of our life doing what we wanted to do in high school. For some people that works. But for others it doesn't.

Take a deep breath and read these words slowly. Read them two, three or four times. Read them until they really sink in.
If you can't figure out your purpose find out your passion. Your passion will lead you to your purpose.

So for you out there that feels lost because you're comparing your journey to your friends who "have it all figured out" stop comparing yourself and grow your own grass! Maybe you weren't chosen for a life of consistent jobs and a house with a white picket fence. Maybe, just maybe you were chosen to spend your life serving people in ways you didn't even think possible for your life. What if your only purpose in life is to be polite to the person making your coffee, or saying hello to the toll booth person. I know it seems far fetched but haven't you ever seen those movies where they go back in time and change one single event and it shows the chain reaction of everything to follow ? 
Friends trust me on this. Once you figure out your purpose? Give it away. You will be amazed at what happens in your life when you're passionate about your purpose and start to share it with others. So while photography and farming are not my passion they are my purpose in this current season of my life and i'm going to enjoy them both for as long as God needs me here.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2017/9/photography-is-not-my-passion Wed, 06 Sep 2017 02:16:57 GMT
so long BoG https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2016/2/so-long-BoG This post is WELL overdue. For those of you that aren't aware Jeff and I purchased a historic home in the heart of Fonda, NY. I'll be honest after living in the south for several years, coming back to NYS was never really a main thought. Due to certain events at our last duty station I moved home while Jeff finished out the PCS in Maryland. After being back in the area we both feel there is a huge need for us to be here and invest in an area that holds a special place in our hearts(despite the never ending winters, terrible gun laws and outrageous taxes). 

The house is going to be a TON of work but well worth it in the long run. Most days I know for certain that it's going to be great but i'll admit.. some days I feel pretttyyyyyy crazy. Thankfully God has blessed me with a husband who is extremely patient & supportive.

When I first started shooting 5 years ago I never thought i'd be where I am today. After shooting more and more I found a need for a business page but never really wanted to charge or commit. That's when B o G Photography (Because of Grace) was born and I've operated under that name for three years now as something on the side/for fun but never advertising or pushing for sales. I wanted to take my time and grow at a steady and healthy pace that could be handled. Fast forward to 2015... there was another nudge to take it to the next step. New location, new name/logo, new dream. BoG has been very good to me and taught me many lessons. A great reminder that everything we have and are able to do is because of Grace.

With that being said one morning doing chores the new name came to me and i've been ecstatic ever since.. I wanted to wait for the house to be closed on so I could register the business. So as of today (2/10/16) I am officially doing business as... Are you ready?!


LOCAL FOCUS

These are the two variations of the logo i've come up with so far. The shape is an outline of Montgomery County, the center lines are what's called aperture blades which is a part of the camera lens. When the blades open they allow more light and when they're closed it lets less light into your camera.
The hole is currently placed where Fonda is located on the map of Montgomery County.

I'm BEYOND excited for everything about this business. The name and the logo but mostly the concept.
God has placed a fire and a passion in me to really invest in this community and I can't wait to see how He uses this business to help the community.

Local Focus will be operating out of our new home on 29 Broadway in Fonda.

Early on in my photography journey it was clear I didn't want to be limited to just my personal photography but instead found so much joy in teaching and mentoring as well. We look to offer both in studio and on location sessions as well as offer lessons and beginner classes. I'm also considering offering an editing service for digital photos. Very excited for all the possibilities but for now i'm keeping it fairly simple!
I've set a personal goal to start doing photo stories and write more blogs on local business and artists in the area.
During the week i'm also hopeful to offer bible studies for women and youth in the area and eventually do some really great outreach activities for the local kids!

I want to thank all of you so much for your CONSTANT love and support in this journey. I wouldn't be where I am today if it wasn't for the prayers, kind words and encouragement pushing me towards
a dream I never knew I had. 

Stay tuned for the next big update and don't be alarmed when the name changes on Facebook. I'm already in the process of switching things over on the website. Thanks again for the love and support! 

 



<>< Cara

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2016/2/so-long-BoG Wed, 10 Feb 2016 17:35:19 GMT
February2016 https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2016/1/february2016 For those of you that follow along on Facebook you're aware that i've done Saturday stumpers. Today is Saturday but i'm not posting a stumper. Instead i'm writing about what's happening in the upcoming month (February 2016).

In our quaint little town called Fonda, NY we have a free library called The Frothingham Free Library. 
You can find the link to their site here --> http://fonlib.blogspot.com/
Or their Facebook site here --> https://www.facebook.com/Frothingham-Free-Library-210067839018795/?fref=ts

For as long as I can remember this library has been a part of my life. When I was younger we used to rent our favorite books and if we were lucky we would get to rent a VHS. They even offer classes and have guest speakers and artists.  It's truly a wonderful place that our community is blessed to have!

One of my personal goals was to start doing photo posts on local small businesses which is why I was thrilled when our local library called me and asked if i'd be willing to display some photos. Heck yeah! What a wonderful opportunity as a growing small business to partner up with another small business and invest in the community together!
I don't show much of my work but i'm trying to be better about it. Most of the work I plan to display is my own personal stuff (flowers, landscapes and maybe a couple portraits) instead of photos from family sessions.
So on Monday i'll mozy down the hill to the library to set up my images and I hope that some of you will take a minute to stop in.
However the purpose of this post is to let you know about a fun little giveaway!

For the whole month of February while my images will be displayed at the Frothingham Free Library there will be this box near the front desk.
Every visit to the library you have and take out a book you can enter into a drawing for a complimentary 30 minute photo shoot (Immediate family only/children)

The requirements are as easy as that. Visit the library and take out at least one book (&please bring it back in time).
If you go 10 times and take something out each visit that's 10 entries. If you go 5 times and take something out that's 5 entries. Got it? Great! I hope that you and your family will take advantage of this wonderful place and i'm so glad to be a teensy weensy tiny part of it.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2016/1/february2016 Sat, 30 Jan 2016 18:31:33 GMT
What do you see https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2015/6/what-do-you-see  

For anyone that follows me on Instagram they've seen a handful of photos that i've shared of a tree on my family's farm. I have honestly taken hundreds of images of this tree. It's almost got some magic to it. Seeing this tree brings me comfort. I look at this tree I know i'm home. I spent many summer days as a kid playing in the creek with my cousins and had many good times.
Not all my times by this tree were good though.

There were nettles... lots and lots of nettles. Don't know what nettles are? They burn and hurt at the same time. And then they burn some more. They're terrible plants and I've added it to my list of things to ask God what the purpose of them is.
Anyway, one time when I was younger I remember running through the nettles patch barefoot. Clearly at that time I did not know what nettles were.

Now I know.

I remember pain, burning and crying. Lots of crying.. and lots of pain. We came back up to the house and I do remember soaking my legs in cold water.

Stupid nettles ruined a perfectly good afternoon.

Recently the story came up and my grandma asked if I remembered her telling me not to run there. No, I do not remember but I sure wish I listened. Sorry about that, Gram!

Where am I going with this? Just the other night we had glorious sunset and the sun sets right over this tree.
God really topped the charts with this one and my photo does it NO justice.

It was stunning.

I stood there in awe and admired His handy work and then for whatever reason I thought about the nettles. I thought to myself that if I was to focus on that pain and not move on i'd never be able to truly enjoy the beauty and peace that it brings me being there.
How could a place that hurt me so bad once bring me so much peace now? Don't you see we all go through bad times in life. We all have times that leave us burned, hurt, make us cry and then hurt us some more. Times like that are unfortunate and unavoidable. If we choose to focus on those bad times then our good times will be very difficult to appreciate or even recognize. Instead I want to encourage you to make the choice to grow from it, learn from it and move on. Easier said than done, yes! But ultimately the choice is yours.

Ecclesiastes 7:14(NCV) 
When life is good, enjoy it. But when life is hard, remember: God gives good times and hard times, and no one knows what tomorrow will bring.


Let the pain of the nettles go and enjoy the beauty!

 

 

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2015/6/what-do-you-see Sat, 20 Jun 2015 19:48:12 GMT
Growing my own grass https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2015/1/growing-my-own-grass The other day I heard a quote that I instantly loved and it was, of course, RIGHT ON TIME.
"I'm too busy growing my own grass to notice if yours is greener"
YESSSSSS
I remember when I first moved to Charleston and met our neighbors, Bob and Rose, it took me all of 5 minutes to learn that Bob was proud of his yard. Our yards were an extension of each other (no divider) so if ours looked like crap... it sort of creeped into theirs (un-intentionally of course).

We tried so hard to get our grass to grow but who knew you had to water your yard SO MUCH and fertilize it? Let alone understanding specific times of the day were better than others? It's an intense process that doesn't happen over night. It takes time.
I spent many days looking at Bob's grass. In this case the grass really was greener on the other side! Id get so disappointed and frustrated that our grass wasn't as green or as soft.
So often I overlooked the fact they had sod brought in a few years earlier, they didn't have as many trees taking all the nutrients AND their yard looked like crap when they first started too.
Yup, it sure did. They had the SAME EXACT struggles we did but we were at opposite ends of the spectrum when it came to our grass growing journey.

I'm confident that this same concept can apply to pretty much everything in life. Granted there are some crazy talented people in life that can just be good at most things, learn things quickly and just breeze through life. But for the rest of us - not so much. Things take time.

I especially struggled with comparing when I first started taking photos.
Seriously folks. Photography is freaking hard.
There is SO much that goes into making a good image. Things you never know or take into consideration when you look at a finished image.
At the start I knew it would be difficult but I never knew I'd be almost 4 years into my photo journey and still feel like i'm getting nowhere fast. Then I started to lose myself to comparing.
I started "following" people on facebook and pinterest first because I was looking for inspiration but it turned out I was chasing an unrealistic dream. Not because it was un-attainable but because it wasn't what I really wanted. It's not meant for me.
I started to be jealous and disappointed about not having loads of clients, a studio filled with props and a million likes on fb.
Then I had a reality check - I really don't want any of that. 
On occasion a studio would be sweet to do some personal projects but lets be realistic - i'm going to be moving every three years and I don't charge much if any for my photos so unless I buy a studio on wheels I can bring with me what I wanted wasn't in line with what truly drives me as a photographer and an artist.
I started chasing a dream that looked great on other people yet I wasn't happy. I'm sure it would be the same as trying to wear a dress that looks great on your best friend but it's not even the right size/fit for you? Things in life are meant purposefully for different people and that's that!

Jennifer Tonetti-Spellman said "Photography is a lifelong path for me, not something I want to soar, crash and burn out on. By continuing to put myself out there, and being ok with not hitting a home run every time, I continue to embrace the losses.. because it's those very losses that I continue to learn and grow from as an artist."

BOOM! That statement will be printed and hung on my wall soon. It's a pleasant reminder for me that i'm on track and that it takes time.

I love her work and what she stands for but that does not mean I want to be her... or anyone else for that matter. I want to be me and I want to do what I LOVE.
I want to take an image that makes people feel something when they look at it.

I'm not ever saying it's not easy to not compare and trust me I know that going against main stream is no easy task. Clients will be unhappy when I say no and don't provide what they want. But honestly it's not my job to please everyone. Thats a big task i'm not about to take on. 
It is, however, my job to find what i'm good at and run with it. 
Which is why lately i've been pushing myself more to follow MY passion as a lifestyle/documentary photographer and maybe eventually try some photojournalism? Who knows where this journey will take me but as long as it's my journey and no one else's i'm sure it'll be a wild and fulfilling ride!


Wouldn't you know as soon as I stopped worrying about other peoples grass... mine started to grow!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2015/1/growing-my-own-grass Thu, 01 Jan 2015 17:18:11 GMT
Don't be a fad https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/11/dont-be-a-fad I love how a creative brain works. There's something magical about watching people think and problem solve almost as if I can see the wheels turning while they figure things out. 

Even though every person is so different I think it's truly amazing to watch someones journey and growth pattern.
Some skill sets have a more distinct learning pattern than others and I definitely see a pattern in photography. Because of social media it's a whole lot easier to watch growth online as it's happening.
Photographically speaking i'm finding that people are putting their work out there right away. Sometimes way before they're ready even if they think they're ready and basing the success off of how many "likes" the image gets. Social media is a sneaky, tricky, addictive thing. It can make or break a person. Steve Maraboli says 


“I am self-propelled; fueled from within. I appreciate people’s opinions, but I’m not attached to them. I learned a long time ago that if I give them the power to feed me, I also give them the power to starve me.”   

To me that quote explains about the power we give people based on their opinions. Opinions that come from fads (most of the time.)
So what's my point? What causes that? Could be a whole mix of things. In my opinion insecurity, pride and the need/want to fit in are probably at the top of the list.  When you add social media to that mix it's like adding gasoline to a fire.

I'm thankful that the love of photography is spreading like wild fire but it seems these days everyone and their mother has a photography page. You know what I mean. Someone gets a DSLR for Christmas or their birthday, take a couple nice shots with that nice creamy background and all of a sudden everyone says "you should really start charging for your photos you do great work". I get that. Everyone starts somewhere and i'm not trying to crush dreams here. But lets be realistic and put this into perspective. I make an excellent batch of chocolate chip cookies should I open a bakery? Heck no.

My point is... I recently shared an article about how amateur photographers are ruining the business. 
Find article here ( 
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/30/business/media/30photogs.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 )
My take on the article? Who do I think is to blame for ruining the photography business? Pride, SOCIETY and social media. I strongly feel that society is uneducated on what a quality image is. 
This is where my brain kind of struggles. As an artist I do understand that art is in the eye of the beholder.
As i've learned more and more about photography I look back at things that I spent hours on, thought looked great and now look terrible l to me.
My eye was not trained to see if and image was exposed properly, if the white balance was off or heck I couldn't even see some times that an image wasn't even in focus. Seems crazy right? I mean you would be shocked at how many people don't notice if images are even in focus!

This is that sneaky and blind "fad pattern."
Person spends hours on image
Shares with friends and family
Friends and family confuse their love for that person with their love for the image
Friends and family are in awe at their loved ones work.
OR friends and family confuse their love for the subject not love for the image.


 

It's like that "perfect" hair style in the 80's you thought was spectacular (did you sort of cringe and smile at the same time?)
Seriously I had a perm in the early 90's. Bad.bad idea. Don't even get me going on wind pants, fanny packs and winker jeans. Don't know what winker jeans are? Google it... it's a weird pair of pants where eyes are painted under the butt cheeks so when you walk it looks like they're winking. Told you. Weird.

Anyway there's a difference between timeless and a fad no matter what the era is and no matter what the product or business.

Fads are unavoidable

I get that!
BUT WHY

fadnoun - an intense and widely shared enthusiasm for something, especially one that is short-lived and without basis in the object's qualities; a craze.
  1.  
  2. Fads are (imho) The fuel to the fire (fads) is that people are getting their only feed back from peers that support what they love. We all have that one friend that will tell us exactly what we want to hear and we have that other friend that tells us what we need to hear. Yup. A name may or may not have popped into your head on that one. And that's cool. We need that balance of people in our life. Especially when it comes to any type of business. People that love you but will give you constructive criticism are EXTREMELY beneficial to have in your life.

Right now social media is stuffing fads down your throat while you have to search really hard for good quality stuff. And even if you see the good quality stuff you may not recognize it as quality because it's in the minority these days. Hard work and an open mind WILL pay off. You just have to be patient and WILLING to learn.

Here is a letter to new photographers I found written by a woman named Lauren. I loved her perspective. She points out how much hard work it is to run a business and it's so true. So many people up and coming expect it to happen over night. So of course someone that has been working 10+ years is going to get cranky when the amateur doesn't want to wait it out.


http://photographyconcentrate.com/an-open-apology-to-new-photographers/

For those of you that are truly eager to learn, and grow in any aspect of your life... not just photography.
Find a mentor.
Find someone that knows what they're talking about, cares about you and cares about the goal you're working towards.

 


We will never know anything until we ADMIT how little we know.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/11/dont-be-a-fad Sun, 02 Nov 2014 12:45:59 GMT
The real stumper https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/10/the-real-stumper Almost two years ago I purchased macro filters and it started this weekly game called the Saturday Stump-er. I love trying to trick all of you and enjoy reading the guesses that people come up with.
Well today is Saturday and I haven't posted a stumper yet.

Lately life has been so hectic and I'm finding myself stumped on a daily basis. Stumped on what you may ask?
In order for you to understand that I need to back track from today.
Those of you close to me know just how much Bob and Rose meant to Jeff and I. When we first met them they could have easily drove us bonkers telling us how things should be done and why we should do them differently... understanding that a lot of their unasked for advice was because they were in their 80's and they cared so deeply for us (which is what strengthened our bond).

Bob was a retired Master Sergeant and Rose worked for the government for a number of years. I don't know all the details of Bob's career but I do know he loved his fellow vets. He spent a lot of time on base and was so unbelievable proud of his service and his country.
Whenever Jeff and I went over Bob would always talk to Jeff about either the military or the peppers that he was growing. Bob was proud of many things... his peppers and the military were at the top of that list.
While the boys were off Rose and I would always do crafty, creative stuff. Solving problems and making things out of recycled products. We were the perfect pair of pairs.

She taught me to make her grandmothers true english shortbread which to this day is the most special thing I make. We used to go thrift shopping, grocery shopping and frankly just hang out and enjoy each others company.
We loved baking for each other but I really think there was a secret competition on who baked better things (even though it was never said out loud). We both had tricks up our sleeve but she always held the ace. Chicken and dumplins. OH MY GOODNESS I could eat her chicken and dumplins every day for the rest of my life. I don't know how she made it but it was like a glimpse into Heaven. 
Just being around Rose inspired me to create, bake and refurbish anything I could.
She was amazing like that.
Some how she always had the right thing to say whether it be serious and biblical or some sort of witty, sarcastic english saying. Either way she was the person I called on. Through Jeff's deployment they became my lifelines and by that point Rose had become one of my best friends. We were definitely an odd pair but it worked.

Moving away from people you love makes a the military life even harder. Add in the fact that they're older hurts even worse. Being in their 80's I just didn't know if i'd see them again. 
 
After leaving Charleston we would speak at least once a week and some times even more. That weekly phone call was something i'd look forward too. It always started off the same way. Bob would answer the phone. I would ask how he's doing. He would respond with "oh, sober" and we would laugh a little, I would ask the color of his socks that day and then he would "hand the phone off to Ms. Rose"

Those calls can no longer happen.
3 weeks ago I received the news that Bob had committed suicide. At first I didn't want to write about it because I was unsure of how it would be taken. I was worried a certain level of respect would be lost. But it shouldn't and it wont.
From what I understand on Saturday September 20th Bob went into the bathroom, put a pistol under his chin and pulled the trigger.
Rose was the one to find him.
The stress of the situation caused Rose to have a severe stroke within a couple hours of Bobs death.
She was at a hospital for a few days and then transferred to a rehab facility nearby.
I'm thankful we were able to go down and see her. Even though I couldn't recognize her at first she knew exactly who I was.
I whole heartedly believe in miracles but i'm also fairly realistic. I think it's a good mix to have. I knew that Rose was strong. She was a fighter.. and a little stubborn. Physically she was tired but mentally she's always been so strong! When I left Ms. Rose I was unsure if she would make it and if i'd ever see her again so you can imagine my heart ache. Not only did I lose Bob but I could lose Ms. Rose too.
This morning my heart is heavy after receiving the news that Ms. Rose passed away last night.
I have faith that this tragedy will be used for something good. Even if I don't quite see the "something good" yet...


While we were down in Charleston I brought my laptop to work on photos but (understandably) couldn't seem to focus.
I found myself typing in the search: depression, suicide and Veterans.
The results were staggering. astonishing. sickening. sad. heartbreaking... pick a word because they all fit.

In 2013 CNN wrote an article on the suicide rate for vets.. 
"Every day, 22 veterans take their own lives. That's a suicide every 65 minutes. As shocking as the number is, it may actually be higher."

Why is this happening and why aren't we doing more?
I'm sad because I feel like we are failing our Veterans.
The same men and women that gave SO much for people they've never met are suffering and very little is being done to save them.
I was so sad to read the information wondering why it was the first time I had heard about it. 

Now you see why i'm stumped.



One of the many articles: http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/21/us/22-veteran-suicides-a-day/

Donation to Veterans in honor of Bob: http://givalike.org/dm/MSgt.%20Robert%20Emmet%20Kennedy%20USAF%20(Ret.)/R/1643385/Nonprofit-Directory/Nonprofit/310263158/Disabled-American-Veterans?eqg=1

Other ways to help: http://www.military.com/veterans-day/ways-to-give-back-to-veterans.html

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/10/the-real-stumper Sat, 11 Oct 2014 17:15:14 GMT
a personal project https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/9/a-personal-project I follow a few photographers on social media and many of them push doing projects for personal growth.
There's a popular project called 365 where it challenges you to get out and shoot daily. While I've considered doing a 365 i've come to the conclusion it wouldn't work for me. Living "alone" (with my dogs) and only seeing Jeff every other weekend I feel like a 365 would pretty much be 300 photos (or more) of my dogs and the cows in my back yard.. which i'm sure every one of you would subscribe too because they're all adorable ;). 

After much thought and brainstorming I have come up with my first ever photo project/series.


GENERATIONS.

There is only one requirement and that there has to be AT LEAST three generations involved in one of the images.

Posing people and taking photos of strangers are both things I struggle with but capturing multiple generations is extremely close to my heart so i'm excited about the growth that will take place during this!

I'm debating making it a year long project to capture as many as I can... sort of a 365 project just not a photo a day.

If you have family that lives out of town lets schedule something while they're in town. I know it's hectic while people are in town visiting and it's usually around the holidays - it doesn't have to be a full blown out session 15 minutes is all I need to get a couple solid shots but if you want to do a session we can!

Please share email me if you're interested and share it with someone you think would be interested.

I'm so looking forward to this!

<><  Cara

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/9/a-personal-project Fri, 19 Sep 2014 13:16:20 GMT
I'm not a mind reader https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/8/im-not-a-mind-reader The title pretty much gives away what i'm going to touch on. 
Lets start off with how important communication is in EVERY relationship you have (with friends, at work, with family and your spouse).
I don't know how many relationships fail or issues occur due to poor communication but i'd bank it's a huge amount.
Communication is so stinkin' tricky and I don't know why. It seems so simple but still so many struggle with it.
If you want something it's extremely important to say what you want so the other person knows.
Do NOT assume someone knows or is picking up your hints no matter how thick you're laying it on there.
I'm sure we're all guilty of this in our personal relationships but this specific post is in regards to photo sessions and communicating with your photographer. And not just me but ANY photographer. 

I'm still very new to photography so when i'm about to book a session or if someone inquires about my services I try to ask very specific questions to make sure I can do what they ask. A lot of the time I even ask "clients" to give me a couple sample images of things they like so I can actually SEE with my own eyes what they're talking about or interested in just incase i'm painting a picture differently than what they're describing. It happens and I get that.
A person could be fairly specific and leave one detail out. Yes, one detail seems minor but it could throw the whole thing off. It could be that that missing key to make it all work and flow properly. I'm not good at just winging it when it comes to many of these shoots. I do much better when I can plan and know the details because i'm still at a point I could get thrown off easily. I'm working on it
From what I've learned in my 1.5 of shooting people is that there are (obviously) many different types of clients but there are 4 types of clients (fellow photogs feel free to chime in if you'd like) that I seem to deal with the most.
-There is the client that knows exactly what they want and they're spot on and clear with showing me and communicating. (Thank you past and future clients that do this)  
-There is the client that shows me all sunset pictures but schedules their time in the middle of the day (Unrealistic expectations.. thanks pinterest)
-There is the client that says they don't care but they in fact do care.. a lot (worried they'll be a pain/needy)
-And one of my favorites - the client that says they don't care and actually don't care. (just had one of these sessions and it was fabulous)

Number 1 and 4 are my favorite for one reason and one reason only. My photos will make them happy. And I don't say that in a conceited, snobby sort of way. I say that with my whole heart I want my images to be exactly what a person wants... that's why I take photos. Unless of course I pull someone aside and have something I want to do for my own artistic reasons.

The LAST thing I want is to waste my time or yours and we both walk away disappointed. 

If I ask you what you want and you say you don't care this is to you. I'm encouraging you to tell me what you want. I'll be realistic and say "yes I can do that" or "no I can not".
I might even give you a "ive never done it but i'm willing to try" depending on the situation. I really am willing to try because I do want to give you the best I can.
Another thing that really matters is what happens to the images after the shoot?
Do you plan on printing them in black and white? Tell your photographer you're working on a black and white wall. I personally edit or shoot differently if i'm going to convert it.
Do you need a certain size, do they need to be loaded and sent mostly online.
To you it may not seem like a big deal but it actually does matter.
Just mention it to your photographer in advance so they know what to expect because they may shoot differently or edit differently. 

Nothing hurts worse than people being disappointed that you did everything they asked when they really wanted more.
It's like the equivalent of spending all day on a nice meal for someone, eating it and them saying where's the rest?

please
please

PLEASE be honest and open with me about your vision of the shoot. I don't read minds!! I take photos, capture moments and create images.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/8/im-not-a-mind-reader Thu, 14 Aug 2014 14:12:39 GMT
My average photos https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/8/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place Today I was at my best friend's baby shower and had a chance to chat with one of the women there about photography and my photos. I briefly mentioned what has been taking place and how "business" has definitely been picking up. About half way through the conversation she asked me if I was happy. I was kind of shocked by that question. In the few years i've been taking photos not once has anyone asked if i'm happy.
I think people just assume because I do it that I love it.
That really got me thinking...do I love it? am I happy? Currently i'm not happy with my images. I think they're average.
All they are is a properly set up/cropped and in focus image and to be honest my recent images have been everything I never wanted to be... so why am I taking them? Because i'm looking ahead. I'm learning the basics of posing so I can hopefully grow from there into a guided candid and lifestyle type image.
Even though I try to focus on what's ahead it's easy to be discouraged when I scroll through images on Pinterest and social media and compare my work to others. How come some people are so much better at posing and make posing look natural? The comparison game is a deadly trap and as soon as I start to think those things I quickly remind myself that even though i've been taking photos for 3 years now i'm just starting this journey of working with people, posing them and working with strangers. And all those photographers that I follow and "envy" also started somewhere.
I heard this excellent quote recently regarding Envy. It mentioned that envy is pointless because when someone else gets something it takes nothing from you.
How true is that? I see some photo pages that have thousands of "likes", assistants, their own studio and excellent gear. It's easy to get envious or jealous of that but I have to keep reminding myself why i'm doing what I'm doing. Everything they have doesn't take the awesome things I have.

I originally started B o G to give people a break and to bless them. To give them a good quality image and a few nice prints for a decent/low cost.
Some of the time I don't get paid at all and sometimes I do. I knew going into it that's how it would work out. Am I crazy? Probably. But i've had low points in my life where God has used people to bring me hope and show grace when I thought I didn't deserve it. I'm so thankful for those people and I truly hope that one day I can be that to someone else.
So while it might be frustrating along the way I know this will be worth it in the long run. I have a lot of ideas of where I want B o G to go but i'm also open to doors that haven't been opened.
To answer the question about being happy. Yes, I'm happy when I look at the big picture of where this is going even if i'm in a rut right now. I remind myself it's just a small part of this journey that will no doubt be excellent. Even if my photos always stay "average" or "ordinary" to a fancy photographer... if God is calling me to take photos He will no doubt make my ordinary photos extra ordinary in His own way and on His time!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/8/between-a-rock-and-a-hard-place Mon, 11 Aug 2014 01:18:06 GMT
The blurry line of ethical editing. https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/7/over-editing I was about to write this as a brief FB post but apparently I had way more to say than I thought. It actually all started with a link about over editing (link below)

http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2010/03/22/how-to-avoid-over-editing-your-photos-in-photoshop/

My closest friends know how much some of these fads drive me freaking bonkers. I mean... nails on chalk board, make me cringe type of drive me crazy. Keep in mind while reading this blog that it is MY OPINION. If you do, have done or like any of the things on that list that's your personal choice just as much as these are my personal feelings. Also ask yourself do you actually like those things or do you like them just because they're "in". (i'm reminded of many of the fashion fads we all thought were fabulous but now looking back... not so much.)

I personally have made some poor choices while editing (who hasn't?) but at the time thought they were magnificent. Then I look back and I think "Yikes! What on earth did I do?"
 
I'm thankful to look back where I was to where I am now and see progress and growth over the years. Whenever I help people that are just starting out I remember the choices I made when I see them make similar choices. It's a stepping stone. Some of these are a must before you go any further. It's like babies when they learn to crawl/walk. Each child does it in their own way but the same. Some kids crawl for ever some kids crawl hardly at all. Shoot, it seems like some kids just start running right away, I swear! Well to me the same idea goes for photographers. Depending on backgrounds each persons photography journey is so different. It's an amazing thing to see people's journeys of how far they've come especially when it comes to photos. I love looking back at photos from even a couple years ago to see just how far people came and where their turning point was.
I have only been doing photography for 3 years now but I have an art degree behind me so that definitely helps understanding the basics of a composition.

I have been fortunate that many people in my life have always stressed learning the fundamentals (in everything) i've done.
It is SO important to learn the basics. But I can't help but be sad that I rarely see people push others to learn their camera, learn what they can do with it and learn how to do things properly. Photoshop has become a crutch. Actions have become a crutch.

My first of painting in 9th with grade Mrs. L. I was so excited to just grab a canvas and go to town but she didn't let us paint until we mixed our own black out of the primary colors. It was super annoying because it would have been so much easier to just buy a bottle of black paint.. seriously we had to pass that before we could touch any other paints. It was frustrating at the time but I can't help but appreciate her that much more for pushing us to learn the basics!

The process of learning to notice things first is comparable to reading the directions on how to put together a book shelf. Some people actually read the directions before they put it together, some look at the picture to put it together while others spend time guessing what goes where and end up taking it apart 10 times.
Each person is different but I personally strive to get things right the first time, in camera (still miss a lot of the time)
I love to take photos and I can't stand to edit. I'd rather spend 95% of my time behind the camera and 5% of my time behind the computer. I set a goal for myself over a year ago to try my best to notice&fix things before I press the shutter. Some people don't mind editing and some people prefer doing most of their work in post.. So then what is ethical and what isn't? It's an easy trap to fall into. Your news feed, magazines and papers are all flooded with images that have been retouched.
There are, what seems to be a billion, tutorials on how to retouch an image, how to slim a model, how to whiten teeth and add fake catch lights/sunflare/bokeh etc. but there seem to be very few articles pushing photographers to get it right before hand. I hardly ever find an article that says get it right before you snap it. I'm sure they exist but they seem to be few and far in between. It makes me sad to find that something I love is predominately an illusion. It also makes me sad for people that don't know exactly how unrealistic it is (sometimes).
 
These models that everyone strives to look like. Do they even look like that? Who knows any more

We have to ask ourselves... is it ethical? I'm seriously asking your opinion.. where is the line?
Ethical is defined as morally good or correct.
 
The title of this blog is the blurry line of ethical editing for a very good reasons. As I stated earlier on I have an art degree so I honestly do understand that art and beauty are in the eye of the beholder. So if a person is creating an image it is art. Photography is art.
Yes it is still art even if you or I don't like it.
By definition photography is defined as "the art or practice of taking and processing photographs."
So technically speaking yes the "over- editing" and "manipulating" is still photography and there are just different types. I use quotes because something that is over edited/or manipulated is also an opinion.

That is why it's so important for you, the consumer, to ask questions if you're going to get work done. Make sure your styles line up. Just because someone is inexpensive doesn't mean they're bad and just because they cost a lot doesn't mean they're good. Look at their work and ask them questions.

I personally don't want my eye balls to look like "Chucky"... but again it's all an opinion ;);)
Where is your line? What if you had your photos done and something was changed.. would you say something. Not go back? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!!



The National Press Photographers Association has a code of ethics ( https://nppa.org/code_of_ethics ) and thank God they do. I love to look at a photography and be able to trust that it's true.
 
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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/7/over-editing Tue, 15 Jul 2014 16:41:45 GMT
so many options... which one to choose? https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/4/how-to-choose Hello friends!
Between the warmer weather and the various holidays coming up i'm seeing more and more posts about all kinds of photo sessions available!
It's easy to see how someone could be overwhelmed when choosing a photographer especially when you don't necessarily know what to look for!

I have been wanting to write something like this for a while now and thought today was the perfect day to sit down and write out my thoughts. I hope it helps at least one person if not more :)

 

What to look for when you're looking for a photographer?
Today with social media we are flooded with photographs and advertisements making it a little overwhelming to choose anything any more.
Whether you're doing formal photos or casual lifestyle photos PLEASE take the time to look through a persons portfolio (however they show them ex: Facebook, website, photo sharing site).

Picking out a photographer is like finding a favorite restaurant. Everyone's experience, opinion and tastes are different so that is why it's EXTREMELY important to consider what your friend likes may not necessarily be your style. So take the time to look through a photographers portfolio.

Do you like how they edit, do they look natural, are they even in focus?

Just remember "likes" on Facebook do not matter. It doesn't even matter if they're not on Facebook (GASP!) What DOES matter is if they have either hard copies or some way for you to see their images to be sure.
Take the time to look through when they aren't your family members because many times when you're looking at an image of someone in your family your feelings of that person trump the quality of the photo.

 


Things to ask/consider?

  • Does the photographer have a guarantee if you're not satisfied - either try again or money back?

  • Are they in your price range. If they are too expensive do not settle for someone. Ask around - I promise it'll be worth it to find someone that takes a quality image.

  • Can a child bring their favorite toy or stuffed animal? I love this one!! The stuffed animal is a child's best friend. It's a part of them. Not only is it something that will always be remembered but it will help the child be more at ease. It's easier to get the child to warm up with the toy/stuffed animal then later on take a few images without the stuffed animal.

  • Will the photographer order prints/packages for you or help you through the process? Definitely do research about places to print! I'm all about bargain hunting, being frugal and getting a good deal but when it comes to photos YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR. We have all been burned before with ordering prints with a cheap discount code and the images aren't what they should be - so depressing!

  • Digital or print image release? How many images will you receive and what is their turn around time for the edited, final images.

  • Don't assume because the person is a great still life, food, or landscape photographer that they'll be good at family/children photography. POSING PEOPLE IS REALLY HARD. 

  • If you're doing outdoor photos be sure to really focus on their outdoor photos in the portfolio - do the images have weird shadows on faces, is the image too bright/overexposed, are the people squinting?

  • Lastly - my favorite - are they ethical? In the digital age we are in art/graphics and photography have all merged. Before we used to look at an image and it was proof that something happened... these days we can't totally tell because of programs that are available. I'm more of a purist so when I want personal photos done I want people to look at it and know that it's true, pure and exactly as it happened. I'm PERSONALLY not a fan of overlays, fake snow, fake skies, fake lens flare etc etc etc. It drives me insane however that's my personal opinion. Some people really do love the edited, photo shopped style and that's okay! It's just one more thing to ask and consider while looking for a photographer.

    So ultimately if a photographer’s pictures are too dark, too bright, over photo shopped, blurry and/or out of focus then it may be time to consider going with a different photographer...Cameras are like cars. If a person has the money to buy a race car it doesn't mean they know how to drive it. The same goes with photography. Even if someone owns an expensive camera, it does not mean they know how to use it, how to compose, how to light, or how to edit. Do not be fooled by their gear!!

Hope this helps you consider some things the next time you're looking for a photographer. Did I miss something? Let me know :)

-CC

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/4/how-to-choose Thu, 17 Apr 2014 12:44:35 GMT
What to wear https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/2/what-to-wear Hello!
If you've opened this blog that means you have a session coming up and you have no clue what to wear.
I really hope these tips will help you decide on an outfit for you & your family for your upcoming session.
These are just suggestions, however they are made with your best interest in mind!
If you've ever heard anyone make a statement "clothes make the portrait" then you could be in panic mode. 
DON'T WORRY! By the end of this blog we will find something that flatters you and helps you look & feel your best!

"SO WHAT DO I WEAR?"
Consider coordinating (2-3 colors) over matching!! We all love wedding photos because the clothes, flowers & accessories are all coordinating and go so well together. If you're really stumped the paint section at the hardware store is a great place to go. No seriously, they have pre-planned swatches for room colors that will give you great ideas to coordinate outfits :)
Speaking of room colors, Look at your décor. Do you like bright colors? Neutrals? If you're looking to print these photos and hang them on the walls do you want the photos to go with the color scheme of your home?
(just something to think about)

Outfits; consider a solid colored outfit that is a bit subdued so that you are the subject, not your clothes. Which means avoiding bright reds, yellows & oranges. They could make you look larger and stand out.
If you're a HUGE texture/pattern fan then adding texture in accessories such as scarves, belts or ties would add a nice pop of color (assuming it's coordinating)
Please avoid all black or all white. Believe me I love wearing black as much as the next person. Especially since "black is slimming" however a lot of details are lost in black & white clothes which could create an image to be over or underexposed.

For the children look for clothing collections. I've been told some stores typically have color coordinating collections. That makes it easier on you to purchase clothes for all the children from one store knowing their clothes will coordinate. Please say no to characters. No matter how much the kids love minions(or whatever the fad is these days) you may want to skip it for the sake of the family photo because the shirt can be pretty distracting. If it's a HUGE issue bring the shirt and let the kid change after a couple poses :)

For your top choose one with sleeves at least to the elbow or wrist and (ladies) be mindful of the length of your dress so you're comfortable in seated positions.

Please choose dark socks/footwear. Nothing sticks out worse than a pair of white socks or shoes!!!

I always suggest doing hair the way you'd normally do it. We want you to look like YOU for your photos!
If you're planning on getting it cut schedule it a week or two weeks ahead of your planned session.

The ultimate goal here is CLASSIC -> We don't just want images to look nice we want them be timeless.

 

Other than that just smile, relax  and have fun! You will never be more beautiful then when you're with your family laughing & having a good time.

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2014/2/what-to-wear Fri, 21 Feb 2014 13:11:32 GMT
Placing an order https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2013/12/placing-an-order Hey there!

Chances are if you're reading this you've had photos taken and are about to place an order.
The lab that the website uses is called mpix which is partnered with millers lab (a professional printing lab).
I, of course, prefer you use a professional lab that will give you quality images however I realize financially not everyone can do so.
Which is why I usually allow the images to be downloaded incase someone needs to send them elsewhere.

I have personally used mpix so I want to walk you through the order process because it CAN get confusing if you're unsure of the terms.

It will ask you which paper to use, if you want color correction and how you want to crop it. When it comes to the paper I go with the standard (e surface) paper. I personally prefer the more matte finish over the shine so it's a total preference. Keep in mind the e surface is not completely matte finish it's just more of a matte compared to the pearl.

As far as color correction i'm a little torn. I edit images in a way that I prefer them to be seen although each program and each monitor shows the images differently. If you like the images how you see them then be sure to turn the color correction off but ultimately I trust the lab so if you were to leave it on i'd understand.
If you click "OKAY" for color correction there is a very good chance the colors will be adjusted and look differently than what I have done & shown you.. just know that going into it.

When it comes to picking a size & cropping - I almost always crop to a 5x7/11x14 format. No particular reason it's just a preference because  really like that size.
Say you want to order a 4x6 or an 8x10 you WILL have you adjust the crop box to make the image how you like it (it doesn't automatically fit the image to that size so be sure to click the smaller image and fit it) 
If for some reason the is just not working out how you'd like PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE send me a message and I can adjust/resize the image to make it work properly. I do understand cropping to make fit a specific size but when I capture a moment and edit the image I spend time and put thought into how the composition is set up. Because I've put time and thought into the image i'd really prefer you keep it as close to the original as possible.
I want you to love your images so if there are any concerns or big changes that you'd want made please ask me and we can work together to get you exactly what you will love and cherish :)

Thanks!

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alocalfocus@gmail.com (Local Focus) https://www.local-focus.org/blog/2013/12/placing-an-order Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:49:29 GMT