I always had an interest in photography. I remember borrowing my dad’s camera from time to time as a teen. Rolls of film would be used to capture landscapes and my own family whenever I could get my hands on it.
All I knew back then was to simply click the shutter and hope that I got something good. Then school, college, and grad school happened. And all that photography passion went to the sidelines.
A rough start
Fast forward to 2012, about six months after my son was born, when I bought my first DSLR camera. It was a Canon T3 Rebel. I was so proud of taking that first step of owning something that was mine.
At that time, all I could think to myself was, “I have a fancy DSLR now and I spent good money on it. I should be able to take great photos!” I had no idea how much learning and practice was required to actually implement and start taking semi decent photographs of my family!
My DSLR was there as I took many photos of my little boy as he grew. But those pictures were mostly snapshots (and a bit cringe-worthy when I look back at them now!)
Even though I had the best intentions to learn it all, I had no idea what I was doing. I watched many YouTube videos trying to self learn while juggling a full time job and a newborn. I found myself perpetually frustrated. The thought that I would never be good enough to do this started to creep in.
As a last feeble attempt, I enrolled myself in an in-person camera class. However, even that truly never worked out and I ended up more confused than before.
Everything seemed like ‘rocket science’ to me. Why was it so hard to understand exposure? Why were all my shots blurry? Nothing made sense! I had no friends who shared my interest in photography during those years and no mentor to ask all of the questions I had. And so my DSLR just stayed in my closet collecting dust.
Education made fun
In 2015, we were planning on going on a big dream vacation to Europe. I so wanted to use my big camera during our trip to document our travels. Inspired to try again to learn how to use my camera, I turned to Google. And that’s when I found Clickin Moms.
The photos were beautiful and everything about it seemed so friendly and encouraging. And I could relate to this group of moms who wanted to take better photos! I decided to enroll myself then and there to learn as much as I could.
When I logged into the forum for the first time, I was in awe of (and a little overwhelmed by) all the information I found. Whether I wanted to learn about light or figure out why I couldn’t get things in focus, it was all right there waiting for me. The biggest challenge was finding time to read it all!
Even more, I found that these tutorials weren’t technical and boring. They were so friendly and fun that I looked forward to reading as many as I could I had finally found the place where I could learn how to use my camera.
Inspiration through the work of others
As a mom who was mainly interested in taking photos of her child, I could not get enough of the picture share forum when I first joined Clickin Moms. There was so much inspiration from other photographers and I loved to share my favorite shots alongside all of the talented artists there.
I would be nervous posting my images anywhere else. I was afraid of the criticism and unkind comments that can be so freely given on social media and other forums. But I knew that at Clickin Moms, the feedback would always be encouraging and helpful.
This kind of sharing allowed me to grow. It helped me build confidence so that I could move from okay photos to pictures of which I was truly proud. With the examples of the amazing artists at Clickin Moms, I was inspired to be the best photographer I could be.
Putting myself out there for critique
Opening your work up to critique can be scary. Especially when it’s a picture of your child that you love. But at Clickin Moms, I learned to love critique as I found that it was truly the best way to learn and grow.
There were times when I would find myself knowing that a photo could use a little something extra. But I couldn’t put my finger on what that something extra was. That’s when I would post my work in the serious critique forum.
The Click Pro community and the Clickin Moms Mentors were always around to offer support and feedback on whatever I needed. The feedback was about growth and positivity rather than bringing me down.
Just like the kind comments in the picture shares, these more detailed critiques left me feeling like I could improve. The professionals and experienced artists at Clickin Moms made me feel like I could improve! They told me what I was doing right and gave me real steps to figure out how to get better. And that made all the difference in my photography journey.
Advice on business
While I bought my camera with the intention of starting a new hobby, it didn’t take long before I started to think about how this could be a business. However, there’s a lot more to starting a photography business than just taking good pictures! Clickin Moms was there to help when I was ready to take the leap from hobbyist to professional.
With a community made of people at all different places in their photography journeys, I was able to have input from people who had been in my shoes. I was able to learn from photographers who knew what it took to be in business and could guide me as I planned for my own.
This community allowed me to start my business with confidence and avoid so many of the pitfalls many photographers face as they make the move to becoming professionals.
Diversity in genres
It’s true that many of the photographers who are at Clickin Moms started with photography just like I did. They bought a “fancy camera” because they wanted to take photos of their kids.
But there are so many other kinds of photographers at Clickin Moms, too! Whether you want to try landscapes or still life, portraits or weddings, macro or fine art, there are other photographers who are working in those genres, too, at Clickin Moms.
Even though I still love photographing my kids the most, this diversity has inspired me to try new things and find other genres that I enjoy. This experimenting keeps me inspired I love to see what new subjects the artists at Clickin Moms are photographing.
Real life friendships
If someone told me ten years ago that real friends can be found online too, I would have laughed out loud. Yet, that’s exactly what happened at Clickin Moms!
Connected by our shared love of photography, it’s easy to create true friendships here. More than a few times you will see people from this virtual community traveling to meet-up or organizing get togethers with their local members.
Some of the friends I have made through this community are now my lifelong friends. Our relationships extend beyond photography as we share stories of motherhood and work and life. Even our kids have become friends! How awesome is that?!
Being a member of Clickin Moms really opened my eyes to the possibilities of what I could do with my camera. I realized that while taking better pictures of my kids was a great goal, the sky is the limit when it comes to what I can do with my camera.
Inspired by the work and community of the Click Pros who I saw as leaders at Clickin Moms, I knew that I wanted to work toward the goal of earning that title myself. I wanted to create work of that caliber and give back to this community that had given me so much.
At Clickin Moms, I was able to work toward this goal alongside others who shared my vision. I found a Click Pro prep group where I could share my work, critique the work of others in the group, and cheer everyone on as we worked toward a common goal.
Whatever your goals are, Clickin Moms is the place where you can set them, work toward them, and reach them with a group of artists who wants you to succeed.
I am honestly thankful for all my achievements and blessings that came along my way in this photography journey. To me, it’s not really just about photography anymore. It’s about something much bigger.
Photography is about the connections and the sense of community between women photographers all around the world. We lift one another up and encourage each other to be our best. It has changed my life for the better and I owe all of it to Clickin Moms.