my photography journey | emma wood

You love hearing how other photographers got to where they are today and this week we have another inspirational photography journey here for you from one of our CMpros, the incredibly talented Emma Wood!

my photography journey | emma wood

It began long before I even knew it began.  My love for images and photography, so deep seeded that I see now it probably couldn’t have been any other way.  I used to spend hours flicking through images that my parents had taken of my sisters and I – literally in awe of the fact that moments could be frozen and re-lived through images.  I spent my childhood watching old black and white movies, and I really wasn’t all that excited when my parents bought their first color TV.

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But my life wasn’t to lead me down that path for quite a while.  At college I enrolled in a Photography course but had to drop out because the chemicals used to develop images in the darkroom made me sick.

My life continued, I married, had children and spent the next 18 years being a Mom to all seven of them.  When my last baby arrived I began to feel a sort of panic.  I’d taken lots of pictures of my children throughout their growing up years with my point and shoot camera, but I really hadn’t captured them the way that I wanted to. My daughters birth coincided with the arrival of my first iPhone in April 2009.  It made instant photography so much more accessible and I soon realised that I didn’t care about the phone so much as the camera on it, the editing apps and the fact that I could snap away whenever I wanted to.   Now, lets just say – I went through a bit of experimenting with it…

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Don’t ask me what I was thinking – I’m really not sure, lol!

In May, I was given my first DSLR camera.  It wasn’t new, (a Nikon D1) an older style Nikon and it didn’t always work properly, but it allowed me to explore the settings and begin my journey in a more serious way.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

I must have had a thing for slanty angles…

my photography journey | emma wood photo

and highly saturated, contrasty images…

my photography journey | emma wood photo

But really, I was just trying to find my way. I read photography blogs, bought Photoshop and sat looking at it completely lost….no idea what an adjustment layer was.  So I did the only thing I could do in this situation; I used actions.

Oh dear!  My kids with grey skin and funky selective color effects…

my photography journey | emma wood photo

By July 2010 my black and white conversions were bland and muddy. I still didn’t have a clue how or what to do to produce images the way I wanted them.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

But at least I had stopped using actions for a while.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

Then in October 2010 everything changed for me.  I was told about a forum that I might be interested in, somewhere friendly where I could learn the skills that I so badly wanted and needed.  I joined that day.  I remember that first week so clearly.  I felt overwhelmed and not sure where to begin; I seriously wondered if I would ever have the courage to even submit a post.  I realised then how green I really was, such a small fish in a huge inspiring sea of talent.  Would anyone even respond to me.  Two days later, I posted a ‘hello’ thread.  I got replies, and help with no judgement and I soon realised that here was a place that I could grow. Clickin Moms became another home to me.

In November 2010 I started shooting in RAW – this was one of my first attempts.   A long way to go but it was a start.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

I loved the control that it gave me during editing.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

And in December, I began Portfolio Building.  I took this image of my lovely friend and fellow CMer and although her family made it so easy for me and were so very lovely, I had a feeling that I probably wouldn’t pursue this side of the business.

my photography journey | emma wood photo

So I concentrated on getting better.  I spent the next year inhaling everything I could that was photography related.  I posted on the Clickin Moms boards, practised shooting, editing, and formed friendships. I took some of the amazing photography workshops here at Clickin Moms without which I would never have progressed so fast, they were invaluable to me and my journey.  I worked hard, although photography never seems like work to me, and little by little, some of the puzzles seem to slot into place.  I began to realise that my true love was for black and white images.  I’ve always been so drawn to the light and mood that black and white images create and I find them incredibly powerful.

Towards the end of 2011, I was producing work that appealed to me in a much stronger way, and I became a member of CMpro.

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2012 was a busy year.  I joined the Mentor team in January, wrote my Black and White Visualisation Breakout and moved from Australia to the UK.

Living in the UK has given me the opportunity to reconnect with my love for low light, film inspired black and white images and it has been exactly where I needed to be during the last year.

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my photography journey | emma wood photo

my photography journey | emma wood photo

I also like a bit of color now and then…

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my photography journey | emma wood photo

I really can’t express how much love and gratitude I feel towards Clickin Moms for not only allowing me to be a part of such a wonderful place, but also for enabling me to become the woman I am today. And I mean that in all aspects, from photography to the friendships that have formed to the emotional journey that it’s taken me on.  That day in early October of 2010, when I first discovered the forum and was as green as green, life changed for me, in the most positive and fulfilling way possible.

2013 is set to be just as busy, as my family and I gear up to move from the UK to the UAE where no doubt I will be chasing some beautiful light.   I continue to grow through the forum, through practise such as the Daily Project and personal projects and I’m thrilled to be bringing out a workshop about timeless photography in August.  It’s such a great opportunity to be able to encourage others who share the same love for photography as I do!

my photography journey | emma wood photoEmma Wood, United Arab Emirates
CMU Instructor | CM Mentor
website | facebook | twitter | pinterest | instagram | google+ | ask a pro | daily project
Emma currently resides in the United Arab Emirates with her pilot husband and 5 of their 7 children, the older kids are now studying in the UK. She loves any chance she gets to spend some one on one time with her children, watching a movie with her husband, or getting out and about and exploring new places. Emma starts her day with a Latte and can’t live without her earl grey tea, camera, iPhone, MacBook Air, avocados and miso soup. Despite discovering photography as a means to document her children’s lives within the past few years, she has always had a love for photography, “particularly black and white which stems from my love of black and white films when I was a child.” Her passion is black and white photography, often described as moody and earthy, and bringing out beauty from the most simple concepts. Emma arms herself with a Nikon D700, a variety of prime lenses and a Lensbaby. She is the instructor of the CMU workshops Shooting 103: Foundations of Composition, Shooting 107: The Art of Mobile Photography, and Shooting 205: Timeless Photography and Emotive Expression.

Read all photography tutorials by Emma Wood.

Read all the ‘my photography journey’ articles.

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39 Responses to “my photography journey | emma wood”

  1. Jun 06 2013 at 3:31 pm #

    I big, puffy heart love Emma’s work. Her processing and conversions are incredible and she produces some really memorable, awe-inspiring images. Love!

  2. Jun 06 2013 at 3:40 pm #

    Love that you put a bunch of honest early pics. It is easy tho get discouraged seeing photographers who seem to have figured it all out with no confusion or stumbling; no embarrassingly over edited photos, etc. Love to see that someone as talented as you took time getting there.

  3. Alice C.
    Jun 06 2013 at 3:42 pm #

    You are amazing Emma!

  4. Melina
    Jun 06 2013 at 3:53 pm #

    So incredibly inspiring Emma! I love and follow your work. It is an honor to be able to get a glimpse of your journey and to be reminded that hard work, dedication and passion go a long way! Your pictures are just stunning!!!

  5. Jun 06 2013 at 4:24 pm #

    Emma, this is so incredibly inspiring. I’ve been drawn to your work ever since I discovered you through the “letters to our daughters” series. Your style and vision are what I aspire to…just the fact that these images are without a doubt “you”. Posts like this are what inspire me to discover who I really am as a photographer so thank you for that.

  6. Jun 06 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    Emma, I have enjoyed getting to know you this year so much. I love that you shared your heart and your journey so openly. You are such a beautiful inspiration as a mother and photographer. I have no doubt your workshop will be amazing!

  7. Jun 06 2013 at 5:17 pm #

    Wow! Thank you for sharing. This was EXACTLY what I needed to read today. I feel truly inspired!

  8. Jun 06 2013 at 5:20 pm #

    Sweet Emma, you are truly amazing! The way in which you see the world through your lens is so breathtaking and inspiring to me! I only dream of one day being able to capture life so truly. Thank you for sharing your story and always being an open book and so helpful! You are an angel and I hope one day our paths will cross! <3

  9. Jun 06 2013 at 5:41 pm #

    Oh, Emma. I loved seeing the pieces that built your journey. I am thankful that you found CM and are so open to share. I just adore you and your photography. <3

  10. Jenny
    Jun 06 2013 at 6:21 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your journey, Emma!! Very inspiring!!

  11. Jun 06 2013 at 6:29 pm #

    I am shocked it has only been a few years. It looks like a lifetime. But you have been using those special eyes forever. You grace us all with the beauty you share. Xo

  12. Jun 06 2013 at 7:12 pm #

    Such an honest and refreshing post. I just discovered your work and am deeply moved. I’ve been at the photography thing for a long time and I realize what a slow learner I really am. I always was too intimidated to ask and too shy to speak up and so it took me a really long time to learn. I’m glad i have found clicking moms and your work for inspiration and the help I need to get better.

  13. Jun 06 2013 at 8:55 pm #

    I just want to thank you so much for having the courage to post your beginner photos, because it has truly allowed us to see your progress and how greatly your work has inproved. I’m so inspired! You’re images are breathtaking.

  14. Celia
    Jun 06 2013 at 9:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing your journey! Your photos are beautiful and your progress is an inspiration of what is possible!

  15. Jun 06 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    What a beautiful post, Emma! Your work is so inspiring and I loved peeking at your journey!

  16. Jun 06 2013 at 10:25 pm #

    Love this Emma. It is so inspirational. Although even your beginner iphone photos aren’t bad lol. :)

  17. Jun 06 2013 at 10:42 pm #

    Oh wow. Amazing. The last two images took my breath away!

  18. Jun 07 2013 at 12:51 am #

    SUCH an amazing journey, Emma! Seeing your early work makes me appreciate your current work even more than I already did! <3

  19. Jun 07 2013 at 1:29 am #

    What an inspirational journey and post. Thank you for sharing!! Your work is soothing, beautiful and something to aspire to.

  20. Jun 07 2013 at 7:21 am #

    you are a beautiful woman and such an inspiration, emma! <3

  21. Jun 07 2013 at 9:52 am #

    I absolutely love that you shared some of your earlier work, I feel too many photographers aren’t willing to do this. I’m not sure why, perhaps it makes them feel vulnerable but I feel it shows an honest story of one’s growth and inspires others to take that journey themselves. Your work is so breathtaking and reading your photography journey makes me appreciate your work all the more. Best of luck in your new adventures in the UAE.

    • Emma Wood
      Jun 09 2013 at 7:28 am #

      Lol, thank you Amy! I won’t lie, showing the earlier stuff did bring me out in a slight panic but I think it’s so important to keep it real and show the whole picture. x

  22. Jun 07 2013 at 9:55 am #

    wow!! Love the story, and so inspired by your images

  23. Jun 07 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    loved this, Emma! i want to get to know you more! i didn’t even realize you live in the UK (which makes you even cooler in my mind) and had 7 kids! such a neat journey, thank you for sharing. love your b&w work SO much. you are an inspiration.

  24. Phani Morgan
    Jun 08 2013 at 12:10 am #

    Emma, your imagery is soo beautiful. I could sit and look at your work all day! I am a huge fan!

  25. Jessica Reischel
    Jun 08 2013 at 12:17 am #

    Emma, your images are beyond stunning. They bring me joy! Thank you!

  26. Jun 08 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    Wow Emma, I can’t tell you how much I loved reading about your journey. It made me remember to be patient with myself, and to focus on continually learning/growing as a photographer, however slow it may seem. I thought it was fantastic that you shared some of your earlier work! I feel encouraged!

  27. Emma Wood
    Jun 09 2013 at 7:29 am #

    Awww, love all these gorgeous comments, thank you so much <3

  28. Jun 09 2013 at 8:46 pm #

    Your story is inspirational. I’ve seen your name around the forum neighborhood and then on CMs instagram as well. I was actually honored that you followed me (little old me). I love your art and stay inspired by your continued growth. The August workshop cannot arrive soon enough!!

  29. Jun 10 2013 at 2:16 pm #

    Emma, thank you for sharing your journey. You are so inspiring, both as a photographer as well as a beautiful person. CM is a better place because you are apart of it. <3

  30. Jun 11 2013 at 9:29 am #

    Emma, what a wonderful journey you’ve had so far! Thank you for sharing your story with us. <3

  31. Jun 11 2013 at 2:26 pm #

    Ahhh Emma – you couldn’t be more inspiring. Thank you for sharing your beautiful journey and work.

  32. Jun 13 2013 at 9:31 pm #

    the brown cow jumps over the lazy fox. or something like that.

  33. Jun 17 2013 at 12:37 am #

    hi Emma, are you able to share your black and white processing techniques.Very inspiring.

  34. kendra
    Jun 20 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey! You truly are an inspiration!

  35. Jenn
    Jul 08 2013 at 9:14 pm #

    Your work is inspiring – and breathtaking. I am such a fan. Thanks so much for sharing your journey with us!

  36. Jul 09 2013 at 1:16 am #

    What an amazing journey you have had! You are such a wonderful inspiration!

  37. Jul 09 2013 at 7:25 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing those early pictures! I’m in such a slump & you’ve given me some hope that if I work hard I can improve & get to where I want to be! Thanks for being so honest x

  38. Jul 09 2013 at 10:45 am #

    Emma, I LOVED getting to learn more about you. I love the rawness of your “experimenting” phase and this post just goes to show how Clickin Moms does such a wonderful job in creating a community of support. I LOVE LOVE your work and excited to take your workshop! YAY!

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