Happy New Year friends! Let’s start this year off with a huge congratulations to January’s CMpro of the Month, the incredibly talented Megan Dill! Let’s kick this year off with an interview with Megan!
january cmpro of the month | megan dill
Hi Megan! A big congrats to you on being January’s CMpro of the month. Could you tell us a bit about yourself and your photographic journey?
Hello, and thank you so much! This is such a huge honor for me—I am incredibly humbled and blessed from the knowledge and friendships I have gained on Clickin Moms.
I am originally from Ohio and am happily married to my high school sweetheart, who is a musician in the U.S. Army. We have two adorable boys and live a rather idyllic life in the beautiful Hudson Valley of New York. After working as a meteorologist and later a fundraiser at a top-tier educational institution, I’m currently taking a break from 9-5 life to focus on my two little boys. They are only young once, after all.
Photography is a much-loved hobby of mine. I first picked up a DSLR in late 2007, but didn’t get serious about learning the finer points of manual shooting until the fall of 2011 when I joined the Clickin Moms forum. Immediately I was awestruck by the talent, enthusiasm, and generosity of the women who give so much of their time to help others improve their craft. It is truly a special place in a class of its own.
You’ve recently added a new baby boy to your family. Congrats! Has having a baby in your home again shaped the way you approach your photography?
It took me a while to pick up my camera after my second son’s birth, as I had a pretty long and challenging physical recovery, and he unexpectedly arrived five weeks early. It also took time for me to mentally process his birth. I would say that his arrival has slowed me down in general. Instead of worrying about capturing each moment, I’m trying to really experience them, too. I believe that a good mental memory can be just as wonderful as a photographed one.
Your work is very powerful and emotive. Are there any particular life experiences that have contributed to the way you see the world through your lens?
Absolutely. My photography is largely shaped through my experiences, for better or worse. I’m an introvert and have always preferred to express myself non-verbally. Photography has this amazing way of allowing one to communicate thoughts, ideas, and emotions that may be difficult or impossible to put into words. It is an expressive, creative, and therapeutic outlet for me.
Your black and white conversions are beautiful. Do you process in Lightroom, Photoshop, or a mix of the two?
I now process my work almost entirely in Lightroom 5. I had been using (mostly) Photoshop until last year, but was drawn to the organizational powers of Lightroom and working in a single program if possible. Improving my knowledge of Lightroom has cut down my editing time significantly. Plus, I find my workflow to be much simpler. I am a rather lazy editor and dislike spending a lot of time sitting in front of the computer and cleaning up my images, so this is a huge plus. Also, the program gets better and better with each update. I especially love the improved adjustment brush feature and the radial filter.
If you were to describe your work to someone who had never viewed it before, what would you tell them?
I would say that it is simple, emotive, and somewhat mysterious.
A long lost relative gifts you a trip to Europe. You can take one lens with you. Where do you go first and what is your lens of choice?
I’ve only ever been to France and would welcome the chance to romp about Europe with my camera—please say this is true! My first destination would probably be Tuscany. I’m intrigued by the landscape and the food (food is a very strong selling point for me). If I could take just one lens, it would likely be my 35L. I prefer primes, and love this focal length for walking around. If I could sneak a second lens into my bag when no one was watching it would probably be my Lensbaby Composer Pro with the Edge 80 Optic.
I heard some exciting news that you have a Breakout Session (info coming soon) coming out this month! Could you tell us more about it?
I do. The topic is Therapeutic Photography: An Introspective Approach, and developing it has been a labor of love for me. I am both excited and nervous for it to launch because my images are so personal. I took an interest in utilizing photography as a therapeutic instrument shortly after my mother unexpectedly passed away in the summer of 2012. The breakout primarily focuses on using self-portraiture as a means to confront difficult life circumstances on the path to healing. I hope to inspire others to get in the frame to help cope with life challenges or simply to enrich themselves. In the breakout, I also touch on a few other restorative approaches to photography, to include still life and film.
I know that you embrace both digital and film photography. What is it about film that appeals to you most?
I love the delayed satisfaction of shooting with film. Getting scans back from the lab is like experiencing the joy of Christmas morning several times throughout the year. I started experimenting with developing and scanning black and white film at home several months ago, which is even more hands-on. Being a part of the process from start to finish is incredibly gratifying. I adore the convenience of digital, but prefer the look of film. I can get lost in the tones, depth, and softness that I find very hard to replicate in my digital work.
Your self-portraiture is stunning. I especially love your image that was selected by the Kiernan Gallery for an online gallery of the “Alter Ego” juried show. Could you tell us more about what those images mean to you?
Thank you—I was so honored to have this photograph chosen for exhibition since it is so meaningful to me. This image, which I titled, ‘Guilt’, was part of a therapeutic self-portrait personal project that I completed leading up to the birth of my second son. A little backstory: it was taken on my lunch hour. I had the urge to shoot this sudden vision that popped in my head, so I rushed home, changed clothes, and shot a few frames before returning to my desk at work. Sometimes you just need to embrace spontaneity—something that I talk about in my breakout session.
It’s the start of a fresh, new year. Where do you see your photography taking you in 2014?
More than anything, I want to keep growing and strive not to become complacent. I want to stare at the future like a child and continue to soak in knowledge. This journey is never-ending, after all.
Thank you Megan for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Megan’s website, blog, and facebook to view the rest of her gorgeous work. If you have a question for Megan, you can ask in the comments below or in her ask the pros thread on the forum.