This summer I got to spend some time with a friend from my college days. I have been impressed watching Dana’s talent for photography blossom over the last few years. After we spent some time reconnecting over lunch, Dana pulled out her camera and we got busy doing what she does best…well, besides being an awesome mama to her four kids.
We ventured out Dana’s front door and she motioned to her neighbor’s overgrown side yard. However, Dana’s eye for photography chose this patch of weeds as a perfect location for a photo shoot and the results speak for themselves. I guess overgrown Florida lawn = fantastic pictures when you are working with a talented photographer.
I am particularly inspired because she has developed her amazing talent in her second season of life. I asked Dana to share how she found a passion for photography in her 40’s.
I’ve enjoyed taking photos for as long as I can remember. I knew I had a pretty good eye, and I had invested in a good camera, but I kept it on “auto” for everything. I had this big, fancy camera, but I really used it like a point and shoot.
Then, a few years ago, I read the book, StrengthsFinder 2.0. It was a game changer for me. I took the StrengthsFinder test, and one of my top five strengths was being a learner. The test was right! I’m happiest when I’m learning. Not long after that, I signed up for a photography class.
Taking that manual photography class opened a whole new world for me. I learned how to adjust the settings on my camera manually to achieve my artistic vision. Since then, I’ve taken classes on composition, lighting and post processing. I think I’ll be able to fill my love of learning with photography for a long, long time.
I love fine art. My ideal day off would be spent wandering through an art museum. Even though I don’t have any formal art education, fine art and beautiful design resonate with me on a deep level.
In my photography, I love having the ability to create art, especially beautiful portraits.
I’ve heard it called photographer’s child syndrome. My kids definitely have it. One of them may or may not have recently screamed, “All of life is not a photo shoot!”
But, in reality, they are my biggest cheerleaders. They are excited to see me developing a new skill, and they realize that by modeling for me, they are helping me grow and reach new goals. And it helps that there are four of them. I try to make sure that I’m not asking the same kid to model every day.
Don’t wait for someone else to give you permission.
You know, no one every told me I was creative or gave me permission to be an artist. But thinking through my strengths using StrengthsFinder, and taking a class, helped me discover a new passion.
I guess my point is that your second season is the perfect time to take up something new because by the time you hit your forties, you should know yourself pretty well. And hopefully, you’ve gained a little courage along the way and are willing to give yourself permission to try something new, even if it is not what others would expect from you.
I am so thankful to Dana for taking the pictures for my new website update.
Below, I am reposting an article “Choosing A Photographer – Where To Start?” written by Dana. You can find the original article and other helpful articles on Dana’s website: Dana Ball Photography.
She used photos she took of me in her post. You can see those here and others throughout my website.
I believe Dana’s story illustrates the rewards of finding your passion after 40. I hope it inspires you to follow your heart by exploring your own talents and gifts. Maybe it’s time for you to invest time in developing something new and exciting in your life.
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By: Dana Ball
As I’ve been building my portfolio, I’ve talked to a lot of moms about photography.
I’ve heard a few things over and over.
Often, these moms have concerns about how to find a good photographer and honestly, about the cost of custom photo sessions. Here’s my advice, honed over years of experience as both a budget conscious mom, and more recently, a photographer. This post applies whether you are looking for a wedding photographer, a senior portrait photographer, or a family photographer. It’s what I’d tell a mom looking for any type of custom photography.
First of all, let’s define custom photography. I think everyone can see the difference in a custom photo session and say, for example, your basic school photo. You know, the kind where you sit in front of a generic backdrop while the photographer twists you into an awkward position and has you say, “Cheese.” I always end up looking like a deer in the headlights. Or like I just saw a UFO. Trust me; not a good look.
The school photographer has been hired to “take your photo.” That’s it. There’s nothing unique or creative about the process. She’s not trying to capture your real personality or to get you to relax. She’s going for volume and a uniform (even if it’s uniformly awkward) look in everyone’s photos. Sit down. Tilt your head. Lean in. Look up. Say cheese. Next. . .
Custom photography is something totally different. When you book a custom photo session, what you are really doing is commissioning an artist (the photographer) to create custom artwork for you.
Custom artwork of your family. It’s an investment that will hopefully gain value through the years and one day be passed down to your children and their children.
Here it is.
You need to love it.
You wouldn’t ask Picasso to paint a Monet for you.
Because you’d envision this.
So while family budgets are real and important, you should never start at price when shopping for a custom photographer.
Start by looking at her online portfolio.
The internet is your friend. Almost all professional photographers have a website these days.
“But I don’t know what to look for,” you may say.
Sure you do. Start by asking yourself if you love the photos. Are you drawn to her work in some way? Would you be proud to hang similar photos of your family on your walls?
With a little research you may find several photographers whose work you love. At that point you can look at their pricing and the products they offer. Call and speak with them by phone. Here is where your budget comes into play. But don’t start there. Start by finding photography you love.
A beautiful, custom portrait is an investment that will increase in value as the years go by. Choose a photographer whose work you love.
Questions about choosing a photographer that this post didn’t cover? Ask in the comments, and I’ll be glad to answer!
The model for this portfolio building shoot was my beautiful friend, Shellie. Shellie lives in Manila and blogs at The FABulous Journey about fashion, fitness, and fulfuillment for women over 40.