Ever wish you could get a peek inside the minds of your favorite photographers? We are here to help! We are bringing you the best, most inspiring photographers from around the world and having them share a few of things that inspire them, make them smile, and are essential to their creative process. We will be taking notes right here with you so that we can add their best-loved items to our own lists!

Today we have Virginia Grueloch, Click Photo School Instructor and incredibly talented family photographer, joining us to share her top ten favorite things.

1. Thunderstorms

Growing up in Nebraska, we had our fair share of severe storms.  As a kid, I remember being exhilarated as I would watch the storms roll in across the sky, counting the seconds between the lighting and the thunder, and playing in the puddles that remained after the storms had passed.  My guilty pleasure movie is Twister, which I am not embarrassed to say that I own on VHS, DVD, Blu-Ray, and now digital on Amazon Prime.

2. Amazon Prime

Speaking of Amazon Prime – if it doesn’t Prime, I don’t want it.  Sure, it’s not helping me develop any skills in the patience department and it’s feeding into my life-long issue with needing instant gratification, but I don’t care.  Free 2-day shipping, unlimited photo storage, on-demand movies and music, groceries delivered to my house, and lots of boxes for the best forts – what’s not to love?

3. Bookstores

Even though I can get any book online or delivered to my door, when it comes to books, I’m always going to walk into a bookstore to see if I can find it there first.  When I was a kid, my mom would work late on Thursday nights and my dad would take me to Frontier Books in my hometown of Columbus, NE, where it felt like all the answers and all the stories in the world were at my fingertips.  That little store started my deep love of all bookstores and I feel like I can’t walk by one without going in.

4. Cookbooks

I can hardly get out of a bookstore without picking up a cookbook.  Sure, I love to cook, but more than that, I just love cookbooks.  I don’t really buy a cookbook unless it has really beautiful photography and I can spend hours combing through the pages, taking time to really inspect each photo and read each recipe.  My most recently loves are Half Baked Harvest and The Pretty Dish.  I would love to spend more time learning about food photography, especially after Kellie Bieser’s Click Away class (where this photo was taken!).

5. The country

I live in the city of Cleveland, but my heart really lies in the plains, rolling hills, and sprawling cornfields of the midwest.  My folks live in South Dakota now, in a town that has less than 50 people, and when I’m up there – I feel like I can finally breathe again.  The country makes me feel such freedom and calm and a sense that anything is possible.  I love to use my wide Sigma Art 24mm lens to really capture the full scope of the countryside.

6. Gardening (or the idea of gardening)

I romanticize a lot of things, but most recently it’s been gardening.  I have this dreamy vision of myself outside working in my garden, slowly pulling weeds (that I haven’t let get out of control), cutting fresh creamy pink roses (that don’t prick my hands when I hold them), cutting herbs (that I’ll obviously use in recipes from the aforementioned cookbooks), and picking ripe tomatoes and strawberries with my kids (that the critters haven’t gotten to first).  I remember my mom spending whole days gardening when I was growing up and the beautiful rewards of all that hard work as everything bloomed so brightly in the summer.  Right now, I’m still learning a lot and my kids are “helping” so I think it’s going to take a while before my thumb gets green.

7. Musicals

So many of my strongest memories growing up revolve around watching musicals and I am so happy that my kids have picked up my love for them as well.  We love watching the classics like “The Sound of Music” and “The Music Man,” but also are so excited that musicals have become popular again with newer ones like “La La Land” and “The Greatest Showman.” We are all constantly singing and my son can’t pass a light pole without spinning around it with one arm outstretched a la “Singin’ in the Rain.”

8. Coaching artists

I taught my first class at Click Away in 2016 and since then, I’ve been hooked on helping women become the artists they were meant to be.  Speaking at Click Away in Amelia Island was a dream come true and I was so thrilled to be able to help so many women at one time!  I feel like I’ve finally figured out where this photography journey is leading me now that most of my work is done through coaching versus photographing clients.  It brings me so much joy when a student of mine has a breakthrough or meets one of her goals that she previously thought was too outrageous or out-of-reach.  When I teach my Click Photo School Workshop, Connected: Images With Heart, I feel like I’m exactly where I am supposed to be.

Related: Why choosing a mentoring session is right for you

9. Disney

When we first went to Disney World with my husband’s family several years ago, it only took me a few minutes after we arrived to know that I was hooked for good.  As soon as we’re done with one trip, I want to immediately begin planning the next one because it’s just so darn magical!  I love how exploring Disney really hits every single one of the senses and how around every corner there’s something new to see (and photograph!).  The bright colors, that Florida light, the chaos that shows up in my frame – all come together to create some of my most favorite images.  I typically use my Tamron 24-70 lens at Disney so that I can capture the wide scene from a storytelling aspect, but have the option to zoom in to isolate my subject who is usually surrounded by other park-goers for portraits.

10. My weird kids

I say that as the highest form of praise, as they are the quirkiest, most absurd, amusing, and delightful children that I could have ever imagined.  I never knew that I could love two people as much as I love these kids and I never knew that I could worry this much, but being a mom to these two nutballs is my greatest joy.  I just can’t wait to see who they turn out to be.  My love of photography started with these two and my desire to capture more of who they genuinely are, weirdness and all, grows stronger all the time.