At ClickinMoms we are so thrilled when we see our members learn, grow and excel at their craft. It is so amazing and inspiring to watch and we’re thankful to be along for the ride!
We started our “My Photography Journey” series a few months ago and our members have loved seeing how their peers have grown in their work. Today we have one of our amazing CMpros, Tracy Bradbury. Thank you so much for sharing with us, Tracy! We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for you!
my photography journey | tracy bradbury
I am so thrilled and excited to have been asked to share my photography journey with you all!
My journey really started as a child, even though I didn’t realize it then. My Dad was an avid photographer and always had a camera with him when we went out or near him indoors to take photos of both myself and my younger sister and he encouraged me to use a little old camera that was an old spare one of his but all I was interested in was dancing, ballet in particular as it was my creative outlet and I loved it. Unfortunately, when I was 19 years old after I had been complaining of severe pain in both ankles, they discovered that I had a major
bone problem with my ankles and needed to have a major operation that finished my dancing immediately.
I then had a huge hole in my life that I had no idea how to fill; I got married, had children and like my Dad, was always taking photos but had absolutely no idea about the technical side since it was just my way to capture my children.
Photo of my daughter in 1994:
Many years went by until 2007 when my Dad was diagnosed with terminal cancer. I was the one that took him to all his hospital appointments and we spent many hours talking about life. One day he told me “to find the one thing I loved and do it as life was too short.”
It wasn’t until after my Dad passed away that I started thinking about his words and the one thing that kept calling to me was photography so I signed up at a local college in 2008 to do a course. This turned out to be a very basic course but it made me realize that I really loved taking photos. After the course finished I desperately wanted to learn more but needed a way to learn that fit in with my children so I looked online. I “googled” photography forums and Clickin Moms came up. At first I thought “why do I need to pay to join a forum” but curiosity got the better of me so I signed up for a month in October 2011.
A photo taken before I joined CM:
The first time I logged on I was completely amazed at the amount of information, talent and the fact that every question I asked was answered in the most knowledgeable and helpful manner. I also realized that I had so much I needed to learn. Up till now I had been shooting in “P” mode so I immediately switched to manual and spent hours just reading and practicing.
This photo was taken shortly after joining:
I then spent the next few months reading all the tutorials and asked tons of questions just trying to find out as much as I could. I still remember putting up my first photos in the picture share and after receiving all the lovely, encouraging comments it really motivated me to start sharing more often. It was after being a member for 6 months that I began to realize that even though I was shooting in manual I still struggled with my settings sometimes and decided it was time to sign up for my first workshop. I chose to take Shooting 101 with Lynne Rigby as a study along. Lynne is an amazing teacher and reading her PDF’s and watching the videos filled in so
many gaps and also taught me BBF (back button focusing) which I now use this all the time and can’t believe I once shot without this.
Taken after Shooting 101:
This was closely followed by signing up for another workshop, It’s Your Atmosphere with Michelle Black. In this one I learned how to break down a session into manageable sets, how to plan a session and choosing a themed session that I then had to organize fully including all the details such as the models clothing, the setting, editing it and giving it a name.
A couple from this workshop:
By now I was quickly becoming a CM workshop addict and I was closely watching what workshops were going to be scheduled for the next month. It was at this point I chose to upgrade my membership to Lifetime, a purchase I still consider to be one of my wisest photography purchases ever. This is also gave me the opportunity to sign up for workshop a full week before they were opened to the public and a very wise move when wanting to do a highly sought after workshop.
The next workshop I signed up for was Shooting 201 with Lynne. This was such an eye opener. I learned how to shoot in situations that I often avoided through lack of knowledge such as full sun, night time, lifestyle and I also took my first ever silhouette. I can honestly say I walked away from this course with much more confidence. Again, I was amazed at Lynne’s teaching skills, her encouragement and helpful advice throughout the whole 4 weeks.
Taken from Shooting 201:
I now realized that my shooting skills were improving but as far as my editing went I was still struggling. Next I signed up for Photoshop 101 with Lisa Harrison. I can honestly say that the sheer amount of videos
and information in this is outstanding. I finally started using Photoshop properly instead of just running an action on each photo and hoping for the best. I could now edit a photograph from start to finish without any actions at all and if I did use one knew how to adjust it to fit the look I was striving for. Lisa is a Photoshop master and I can say without any doubt that I leaned more from this workshop than I had when looking up tutorials over the many previous years online. Like the previous workshops, any questions were answered and explained in a way that was easy to understand.
It was now a year since I had originally joined CM and I put up a before and after picture share which helped me realize exactly how much I had grown in the year since joining. I highly recommend that if you ever feel that you aren’t progressing to do one of these; you will be so surprised and encouraged by doing this, even if its only a few months you will see your growth and this gives you the incentive to keep going.
In November 2011 I signed up for Shooting 301: Composition and Creativity with Sarah Wilkerson. This is a very highly sought after workshop and I was so excited (and nervous) to gain a seat. I had seen some of the photo shares from previous participants and was amazed at the sheer talent but also worried that I wouldn’t be able to produce anything that would come near the others that had taken this before me. This photography workshop was to me the most intense, exciting, enlightening experience that I can honestly say I’ve ever had during my journey. I learned about composition, shooting with purpose and one of my absolute favorite weeks was low light shooting. I began to look at others work and my own in a totally different way than ever before and I believe I grew a huge amount and gained an unbelievable amount of knowledge during these 5 weeks.
Sarah is the most amazing teacher. She gives kind, considerate advice and constant encouragement, her insight into what she sees in your photography amazed me time and time again and she opened my eyes up to a whole new world as far as my photography goes.
My favorite photos from 301:
It was at this point that after encouragement from the friends I have met during my time at CM that I decided to apply to CMPro and after a very stressful 2 weeks waiting I was delighted to find that I had been accepted. To me this is one of my proudest moments and one that I value so much. I know I still have loads to learn in my journey and will continue to hopefully grow and progress and I hope to be able to help others now in their journey by giving words of encouragement and advice such as I received when I first joined CM.
Here are a few of my favorite photos taken more recently:
Thank you CM, without you I would not be the photographer I am today.
Tracy, thank you for sharing your incredible journey with us! It has been a pleasure for all of us at CM to continually watch you grow and produce such beautiful pieces of work. Want to see more from Tracy? Make sure and check out her website here and her facebook page here.