It’s time for another edition of our monthly series “Ask a CMpro” here on the CM photography blog in which we give our CMpros one question and they dish. Their answers alone are always inspiring and this week we asked them, “Do you find that your personal life and feelings show through in your daily photography and how?”
*image by Celeste Pavlik
Celeste Pavlik, Texas
Yes, absolutely! I find that I tend to shoot macro when I need a mental break. Macro work for me takes a little more preparation, thought and time which means I’m focusing on something else besides what’s really on my mind, which can be re-energizing. My mood and feelings also translate strongly in to my work. I feel like I am drawn to creating images that speak strongly to a significant emotion that I am feeling that day or during a period of time.
Jessica Holden, California
Yes! Absolutely my personal life comes through in my images. I find that in my work I tend to embrace light and hope and promise. Innocence and joy. It’s not that that’s all that exists for me, but that’s what I yearn to preserve for my daughter and for my family as a whole. Though I love the beauty of darkly dramatic images in others’ work, I for the most part I don’t find myself creating such images. And I deeply love black and white, but even with that I generally find myself wanting to fill the images with light, nothing edgy or gritty. It’s not that my life is all-rosey, but I just don’t want to give those darker days a louder voice than they already have by immortalizing them “on film,” so I find myself not even picking up my camera when I can’t find joy with it.
Willie Kers, The Netherlands
Yes, when i see or meet people i always search for that special thing that makes them who they are. That tiny little thing that makes them sparkle because everybody starts with me with an A+. I believe everybody has something beautiful and sometimes i have to translate that to BW, to create the soft side and sometimes in color to create the joy and pleasure. In most of my pictures people do not look straight into the camera because i’m an observer. That’s the way how i look at people. Observing and than spot the beauty in them. Mostly i find this in the gorgeous and little things in life. Especially in children because they’re so innocent and pure.
Jenni Jones, Texas
Yes, I find that my images very much reflect my personal style and taste. Everything from my home decor to my clothes. I love muted colors and simplicity. I don’t do clutter or over the top anything. I am drawn to simple, beautiful things. And this extends to my images, how I see my subject, and the style with which they are processed.
Alexis Rubenstein, Florida
Absolutely! I am a very optimistic, outgoing person who laughs a lot. I seek out novelty and joy in life, and also in my images. Joyful, loving expressions, laughter, and deep bright colors are what I always try to capture and those are the images that make my heart sing.
Caroline Jensen, Minnesota
Mostof my images are my personal life and family, so yes, it is definitely reflected in my photography. I would say I often reflect the opposite feelings though. If I am feeling down I like to search out beauty and happiness in images to cheer me up. On the other hand, if someone I care about is struggling, I may try and reflect that in imagery. The same sentiment applies to my subjects. I always respect their wishes for the mood they want to portray.
Adele Humphries, Texas
Absolutely! Taking Lynne ‘s Finding your Style 301 class really emphasized how my personal style mirrored my photography style. I would highly recommend that course to anyone looking to do some introspective work on honing your style.
As for how my emotions impact my work, i find that i shoot prolifically when i am happier. I am motivated, energized and i feel more positively about what i shoot. However, shooting can also help me out of a bad mood. If i push myself to pick up the camera and shoot i usually find some peace in the process – both of taking and of editing.
Lena Antaramian, New Jersey
When I shoot for clients my photography reflects the moods and feelings of families I shoot. But when I shoot for myself my personality and feelings definitely show; I just started with Project 365 and feel that it is a great way to document my daily life!
Megan Dill, New York
Absolutely. Personality-wise, I am extremely introverted and frequently incorporate mystery into my work, leaving things open to interpretation. The sadness I have felt over the past few months following the death of my mother has definitely worked itself into my portfolio. For me, photography is a huge emotional outlet as well as a creative one.
Elena Blair, Washington
Yes! When I was first starting this journey, I tried to keep “me” out of my work because I was trying to please the masses. Then, a wise photographer told me that I needed to do the exact opposite. I needed to put only “me” into my photography and that would in fact please the right people and attract the right clients. Now, I shoot from my heart and soul and my photography grows and reflects who I am as person, as an artist. I have discovered that with art, you can’t separate yourself from it, it becomes an extension of yourself.
Bre Thurston, Washington
I credit 100% of my success to the fact that I’ve included “me” in my business and photography from day one. When I decided to start my business I thought a lot about what I was drawn to as a photography client (which I had been a few times prior to picking up a camera) and I realized that knowing my photographer, what they were about, and who they were as a person was important to me. I have evolved into a photographer who’s work truly represents her personality. I am a happy, playful, optimistic, vibrant person who loves human interaction. I see that in my work and I hope that my clients do too.
Stacie Turner, Connecticut
Yes. Someone once asked if my daughter, my primary subject for personal work, was a solemn as she seemed in pictures and I had to laugh because solemn is the last thing she is. She is a sunny goofball. [B]I[\b] am solemn. My inherent melancholy and sense of stillness are so strong they even permeated pictures I took at Disney World, a place neither melancholy nor still. I think that cliche that every work of art reveals the artist, that all art is, indeed, in the end, a self-portrait, is true. We cannot escape ourselves and if our work is honest it will show us in all our messy human glory.
Sarah Lalone, Ontario
The main goal of my shots are utter subject honesty. I don’t think my inherent personal life gets into my shots and I’ll tell you why: When I’m shooting I think my personal feelings only bleed through insomuch as I tend to mirror emotion and circumstance in my personality; I’ve been called a chameleon, actually. If I’m with my laughing family, I’m laughing. When I’m with a new mom who feels nervous and quiet, I’m quiet. When I’m in the country and it’s organic, I’m organic. The result is that two sessions on the same day can look drastically different, having nothing to do with my personal mood. That personal characteristic really allows me to document and not influence. Whether it’s clients, personal, travel shots, fine art… it all has to do with me documenting what I’m watching and capturing that essence, but never ascribing that essence.
Kat Gotschall, Nebraska
I’m a pretty earthy girl. Growing up on a ranch, the land was my playground, so I feel very connected to it. I love nature, and that connection is a creative force that drives my visions much of the time. My life revolves around my love for rural life, heritage, and humanity; relationships with people and nature are important to me, and as a result, they are a constant in my photographs. When they are not present, it is usually symbolic of an absence that I am feeling in my life at that moment in time.
Liz Behm, Mississippi
Definitely! I know that images I take during the early days after my husband deploys always seem to be moodier/darker. On the flip side, even changing of seasons and weather affect how I shoot and edit; bright sunny days usually equal happy colorful shots while the gloomy winter days leave me shooting or processing in a more reflective tone. Also like others mentioned, shooting macro always seems to bring me out of a creative slump, something about paying attention to the little details in my surroundings, helps me to put a happier perspective on the big things.
Parikha Mehta, Pennsylvania
Absolutely. Sometimes I find myself clearing clutter out before I shoot because I have a strong personal tendency towards clean & simple in almost everything I do, but there are also times I throw out the “rules” to get that really honest shot, even if it includes a bunch of bright toys all over the background, because I believe in soaking up every detail of the scene as it actually is.
Katrina Stewart, Scotland
Yes, very much so. As a hobbyist, l have the luxury of being able to follow my heart with photography. When l do so, l tend to produce stronger, more authentic images. During periods of emotional turmoil, l have found photography to be hugely therapeutic. But for me it goes both ways: my personal life and emotions impact upon my photography but conversely, photography has a largely positive impact on my mood and emotions. If i can carve out even 15 minutes during the day to shoot, l feel all the better for it.
Shalonda Chaddock, Texas
Absolutely! My girls are not only my inspiration and the reason I ever picked up a camera in the first place, but also a true reflection of who I am. SO I tend to approach every session with that same carefree wonder and “sunshine-y” perspective that radiates from them daily. There is nothing I love more than the way children “see” the world, every experience is so new, so fresh and just plain magical!
Georgia Nelson, Texas
I am, by nature, a very silly person, so I like to think that a lot of my silliness is present in the pictures that I capture for my clients. I’ve found myself becoming one with my camera skills over the past several years to the point that the tools I use are a reflection of myself. I’ve moved further away from longer focal lengths and into more funky ones such as wider angle lenses (16-35mm for example). The angles I shoot from and the focal lengths I select are what bring out the jovial nature of my style. After all, you can’t take life too seriously, otherwise how would you fit in any time for fun?
Melissa Stottmann, Delaware
Yes, my pictures do follow my internal happiness and struggles. The light, especially. I seem to seek out darker light when down and moody – and love to shoot happy bright outdoor pictures when in a cheery mood.
Ardelle Neubert, Calgary
My photographic style is a reflection of my personality and taste. When I am shooting I like to document a story, the true emotions/personality of my subjects, I don’t let my personal emotions get in the way of that. Having my camera in hand is what I love so usually while shooting I am happy, at peace and just watching for the moment.
Jodi Arego, Texas
Most definitely, yes! My daily shooting typically consists of capturing the fleeting little details of who our family is that I never want to forget, so my photography most definitely reflects the things I value and the emotions behind them.
Brandy NicCole, North Carolina
YES! Everything about me I can see in my images! The style of my post processing, that is a bit soft and at times, darker & moodier. I think that my post processing looks & is like my favorite food, a big bowl of chili. Comfort food, dark with colors of orange, red, and yellow! My clothes closet and home reflect these colors too. My favorite season is fall….go figure. The way I want to shoot my subjects as if they are alone and unaware of me is very much me, I am a loner! In my personal work I like to obscure the face. I too, like to be unseen although, once seen I do quickly come out of my shell…and then can’t be stuffed back in! lol My work reflects who I am in a deep sense.
Laurie Yuenger, Illinois
I think my work more reflects the mood/personality of my subjects then myself. I love to capture what I see. I capture dark/dramatic images even if I’m in a great mood if that is what catches my eye.
Jennifer Jabbour, California
I find this a very difficult question to answer. The quick answer is no, I don’t find that my personal life and feelings show through in my photography. Maybe more so my personal life does – as I do photograph my children a lot, but I tend to photograph them in settings that aren’t really true to life – i.e., out in a field at sunset. I do capture them and their personalities, though. My feelings – maybe in as much as I love them, and that’s about it. Otherwise, no, I just shoot what I love and what I want to remember. I shoot visions that are in my mind. But if you were to look at my photos all day long, I don’t think you would know me all that much. I kind of like to keep the personal stuff to myself.
Colie James, Colorado
I think my photography (personal and professional) reflects my personal style and personality. I prefer to photograph in a client’s home because I want pictures of my everyday life hanging on my walls. When I am giving my daughter a bath or she is helping me cook in the kitchen I wish someone was there to capture that for me. A tripod/remote just doesn’t always do it justice. I convert most of my lifestyle work to black and white because that is my personal preference as well. So bottom line is I document others lives in the same manner I document mine, one real moment at a time.