broaden your horizons

by Cassandra O’Leary

I have taken some fantastic workshops recently and all of them have been rather thought provoking. They have all made me look at my journey as a photographer, where I started, what my first loves were, how it felt to photograph things when I started out, where I want to go, what my photographic goals are. You get the point. I have realized now that everything is connected! I can see what it is that I love about photography, what draws me in and why I want to continue this journey every day in every different type of photography I enjoy. I don’t want to pick one type of photography and I no longer feel as though I have to. Let me explain…

When I started my love affair with photography it was at the beginning of another move to another country and I was living in Istanbul Turkey, which is a fascinating city and a beautiful, diverse country.

broaden your horizons photo

I was first attracted to landscape and travel photography and did two online courses in the art of photography and landscape photography. At the time I did not love portraiture and frankly, it scared me! Even then I was completely obsessed with color and details and looked for it everywhere, which is now something I like to incorporate into all of my photography from travel to kids to products. I also wanted to document all the places that I discovered and explored as well as the amazing things that I saw, which I also love to do with my kids.

broaden your horizons photo

So this is what I played with, practiced and enjoyed for the next 4 years. At the same time my mother started a jewellery business and I became her product photographer, which I still find very very fulfilling and I practice this whenever I can. I have even been known to buy fruit and vegetables purely for photography, as well as cutlery, flowers, ornaments and tourist souvenirs. You name it, I will try and photograph it!

broaden your horizons photo

broaden your horizons photo

Another move, another country, and I was pregnant with my son. Like many of you, my love for photographing children suddenly started! I was very slow to start though, and it was only when my son was a year and a half that I decided I should learn what I was doing. In April 2011 I found and joined Clickin Moms.

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So now 2 and half years later (as well as every workshop, breakout and good photography book I have been able to get my hands on) I have come full circle. I have been looking back at my journey and I have realized something: all these different types of photography all feed off each other, they influence each other and make you look at things such as light, elements, color, contrasts and meanings that are important in any type of photography. I look for color and contrasts in everything from landscapes to travel and from portraiture to products. When taking photographs of my kids and other people’s kids I am looking for meaning, voice, documentation, discovery, and capturing a memory or a moment in time. I love to take close-up shots showing small details, which I do a lot with people as well with travel and city photography. I also then like to take photographs that show people in their environment, where they live, where they work or where they play.  It’s my old love and new love coming together.

broaden your horizons photo

broaden your horizons photo

Sometimes the landscape can add feeling and mood to your photographs. Where all the elements work together and the photograph wouldn’t be the same if any of them were missing.

broaden your horizons photo

Sometimes you can find the landscape first and add the human element later. This may be a matter of patience, waiting for the right person to enter the frame or coming back over and over again to the same spot or remembering it as a possible location shot for a client. I love getting images that incorporate a bit about where the person lives. This is because a lot of the people I know are expats and we all move around a lot, but it is nice to remember where you were or where your kids liked to play.

broaden your horizons photo

I am still waiting for an old dude in a hat with a newspaper to sit on that bench! I come to this spot often. But I have also brought friends here and I plan on bringing a family of 5 here this coming weekend as this is in their local town and where they have grown up.

broaden your horizons photo

So to cut a long story short (yeah I know too late for that), I believe that it is a good thing to broaden your horizons a little.  Chances are if you love photographing your kids, you will love photographing people in general, you will probably love street photography or travel photography. If you are obsessed with light you will probably really love still-life photography or product photography. If you enjoy contrasts and color you will probably love landscape photography. These different genres of photography will all help you grow in other areas and suddenly you will look at details when photographing your kids that you hadn’t noticed before. Another added bonus is that your kids will love that you give them a break and photograph something else besides them for a change!

broaden your horizons photo

So don’t limit yourself. Explore and experiment! Don’t feel like you have to choose a type of photography and stick with it. Learn and grow, let your entire world in and fly. Your imagination is your only limit!

broaden your horizons photoCassandra O’Leary, Europe and Tokyo
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My name is Cassandra but everyone calls me Cassie. In my life before kids I was a graphic designer. I am now a full-time personal assistant to two mini-monsters. I grew up in Southern Africa and move countries a lot. I am currently living in Barcelona, Spain. I am obsessed with my camera and also have a very unhealthy obsession with gadgets and stationery! But I enjoy everything I do and believe in making everyday count!

 

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