broaden your horizons

  • Cassandra OLeary

broaden your horizons

I have taken some fantastic workshops recently and all of them have been rather thought provoking. They have all made me look at my journey as a photographer, where I started, what my first loves were, how it felt to photograph things when I started out, where I want to go, what my photographic goals are. You get the point. I have realized now that everything is connected! I can see what it is that I love about photography, what draws me in and why I want to continue this journey every day in every different type of photography I enjoy. I don’t want to pick one type of photography and I no longer feel as though I have to. Let me explain…

When I started my love affair with photography it was at the beginning of another move to another country and I was living in Istanbul Turkey, which is a fascinating city and a beautiful, diverse country.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary 01

I was first attracted to landscape and travel photography and did two online courses in the art of photography and landscape photography. At the time I did not love portraiture and frankly, it scared me! Even then I was completely obsessed with color and details and looked for it everywhere, which is now something I like to incorporate into all of my photography from travel to kids to products. I also wanted to document all the places that I discovered and explored as well as the amazing things that I saw, which I also love to do with my kids.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

So this is what I played with, practiced and enjoyed for the next 4 years. At the same time my mother started a jewellery business and I became her product photographer, which I still find very very fulfilling and I practice this whenever I can. I have even been known to buy fruit and vegetables purely for photography, as well as cutlery, flowers, ornaments and tourist souvenirs. You name it, I will try and photograph it!

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

Another move, another country, and I was pregnant with my son. Like many of you, my love for photographing children suddenly started! I was very slow to start though, and it was only when my son was a year and a half that I decided I should learn what I was doing. In April 2011 I found and joined Clickin Moms.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

So now 2 and half years later (as well as every workshop, breakout and good photography book I have been able to get my hands on) I have come full circle. I have been looking back at my journey and I have realized something: all these different types of photography all feed off each other, they influence each other and make you look at things such as light, elements, color, contrasts and meanings that are important in any type of photography. I look for color and contrasts in everything from landscapes to travel and from portraiture to products. When taking photographs of my kids and other people’s kids I am looking for meaning, voice, documentation, discovery, and capturing a memory or a moment in time. I love to take close-up shots showing small details, which I do a lot with people as well with travel and city photography. I also then like to take photographs that show people in their environment, where they live, where they work or where they play.  It’s my old love and new love coming together.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

Sometimes the landscape can add feeling and mood to your photographs. Where all the elements work together and the photograph wouldn’t be the same if any of them were missing.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

Sometimes you can find the landscape first and add the human element later. This may be a matter of patience, waiting for the right person to enter the frame or coming back over and over again to the same spot or remembering it as a possible location shot for a client. I love getting images that incorporate a bit about where the person lives. This is because a lot of the people I know are expats and we all move around a lot, but it is nice to remember where you were or where your kids liked to play.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

I am still waiting for an old dude in a hat with a newspaper to sit on that bench! I come to this spot often. But I have also brought friends here and I plan on bringing a family of 5 here this coming weekend as this is in their local town and where they have grown up.

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

So to cut a long story short (yeah I know too late for that), I believe that it is a good thing to broaden your horizons a little.  Chances are if you love photographing your kids, you will love photographing people in general, you will probably love street photography or travel photography. If you are obsessed with light you will probably really love still-life photography or product photography. If you enjoy contrasts and color you will probably love landscape photography. These different genres of photography will all help you grow in other areas and suddenly you will look at details when photographing your kids that you hadn’t noticed before. Another added bonus is that your kids will love that you give them a break and photograph something else besides them for a change!

landscape and portrait photography together by Cassandra OLeary

So don’t limit yourself. Explore and experiment! Don’t feel like you have to choose a type of photography and stick with it. Learn and grow, let your entire world in and fly. Your imagination is your only limit!

About the Author:

My name is Cassandra but everyone calls me Cassie. In my life before kids I was a graphic designer. I am a full-time personal assistant to two mini-monsters and I love it! I have been an expat most of my life and move every 4 to 5 years. This is something I thoroughly enjoy and am grateful to have photography to help me keep track of it all. Visit Cassandra O'Leary online.


  1. Katrina Stewart Jan 24 2013 at 11:28 am - Reply

    Great article Cassie. l definitely want to give other genres of photography a go.

  2. Elena Jan 24 2013 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    I loved this article! What a great way to look at photography and these images are stunning!! I have been to Spain a few times I have family in Sarragossa. Barcelona was one of my favorite cities in the world. Thank you for this.

  3. Carolyn Jan 24 2013 at 1:59 pm - Reply

    what a great article and amaziong photos!!

  4. Tracy Bradbury Jan 24 2013 at 2:12 pm - Reply

    Fantastic article Cassie, love that you try all different genres of photography. This inspires me to try something new – Thank you 🙂

  5. Lexie Jan 24 2013 at 2:29 pm - Reply

    Great article, Cassie! I love how you incorporate what you learn from each genre into the next <3

  6. marta Jan 24 2013 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    I looove this article. It’s easy to get caught up in portraits because the community of photographers is so much larger. But I love my photo walks in the city or forest, and travel photography is amazing too. Your images are stunning, I especially love the narrow street with the brighly colored umbrellas. Should be framed. 🙂

  7. Kristen R Jan 24 2013 at 3:50 pm - Reply

    Love this article, Cassie! So fun to learn more about your thought process in your gorgeous images 🙂

  8. Rebecca Spencer Jan 24 2013 at 4:04 pm - Reply

    Loved reading this Cassie and loved seeing the world through your eyes.

  9. Kerry Lake Jan 24 2013 at 4:10 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing Cassie! It gives me hope that I will eventually find my style! 😉

  10. Anne Manning Jan 24 2013 at 4:13 pm - Reply

    Love this perspective, Cassandra!

  11. Anne Manning Jan 24 2013 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I mean Cassie! LOL

  12. Claire Lane Jan 24 2013 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Fantastic article Cassie. I am in awe of your use of colour in your work!

  13. Joanna Jan 24 2013 at 5:02 pm - Reply

    Thanks for this! I love landscapes and people, so the two combined speaks to me!

  14. AngieO Jan 24 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    This is great! Very inspiring.

  15. Melissa Stottmann Jan 24 2013 at 6:23 pm - Reply

    Stunning work!! Loved reading through this!

  16. Adele Humphries Jan 24 2013 at 8:53 pm - Reply

    Beautiful work Cassie!! You have such a varied portfolio – but all stunning work! Great article.

  17. Kayla Jan 25 2013 at 2:01 am - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this with us Cassie. I love your work, so diverse but all lovely. ♥

  18. Sarah Vaughn Jan 25 2013 at 2:43 am - Reply

    This is so beautiful Cassie!! I love love love your work and how you create the most beautiful landscapes, cityscapes and environmental portraits. Your article has inspired me!!

  19. Dawn Shiree Jan 25 2013 at 2:57 am - Reply

    Cassie, this is wonderful! Thanks so much for the encouragement to broaden horizons and for sharing about your journey as a photographer. Your pictures are absolutely stunning as well.

  20. Pam K Jan 25 2013 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Love this!! Great things to think about and incorporate!! Thank so much for sharing this with us!

  21. Lisa (Tout Petit Pixel) Jan 25 2013 at 9:28 am - Reply

    Fantastic article! Very inspiring. Makes me want ton include more context into my portraits 🙂 Thank you Cassie <3

  22. Allison Jacobs Jan 26 2013 at 7:36 pm - Reply

    Your images are inspiring! I love how you capture the environment!,

  23. Coll Jan 27 2013 at 6:24 pm - Reply

    Loved this article and your work is beautiful!
    Thanks for giving me the inspiration to go and shoot things other than portraits.
    I want to see your bench shot with the family of five. Awesome spot.

  24. Tricia Jan 28 2013 at 12:30 am - Reply

    simply gorgeous work and great article!!

  25. Leah Cook Jan 31 2013 at 10:33 am - Reply

    SO inspiring, Cassie!! thank you for sharing this!!

  26. Kim Feb 04 2013 at 10:47 am - Reply

    “I move countries alot.” That line didn’t make me even bat an eye Environment is really important to me because that context tells the story of our travels and the homes we have lived in that might otherwise be forgotten by the children. Applause here from one ex-pat to another.

  27. Karen Porter Feb 04 2013 at 12:10 pm - Reply

    Your images are always inspiring for me!! Thank you for sharing. 🙂

Leave A Comment


Follow this blog

Get a weekly email of all new posts.

Email address