Mom with a Camera to Pro

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I think at some point for most of us, we have at least a passing thought of, “I would LOVE to do photography professionally.” I know I have had the thought from time to time. But there is a big difference between someone who “enjoys” photography and being ready to go pro. I have seen a number of website of “professional” photographers who have a lot to learn. I have told myself that if I EVER tried to go professional I would be sure that I had the technical know how and the creative ideas to KNOW that I could “get the shot.” Being lucky once in a while isn’t enough. You need to know that in any and every situation you can figure out how to capture the moment. I’m not there yet, but I can dream.

Since so many of us have thought about going pro at some point, I wanted to share a really cool intereview with you. Here is one woman — a MWAC (Mom with a Camera) gone pro. We will hear about her journey in photography and launching a business. And best thing of all, she is a scrapper like us 🙂

I want to introduce you to fab scrapper, sweet friend, HILARIOUS person to be around, and MWAC gone pro…KELLIE PENN. She is the owner of ACROSS THE MILES photography and she is ready to share her story with all of us!

The interview was so good, and so cool, that we will split it up over two days. Today we will share her photography journey and on Saturday we will learn about the launch of her business and what she has learned. So go grab a second cup of coffee and sit back and relax. This is a good one!

WHAT IS IN YOU CAMERA BAG?

Camera: Canon 40d But, I just ordered the Canon 5d Mark II that should be here any day! I’m so excited!

Lenses: 24-70L 2.8
70-200L 2.8
50mm 1.8
85mm 1.8
Flash: 580 ex II
Accessories: Fong Lightsphere Diffuser, Photojojo white balance lens cap, Sekonic Light Meter, several batteries & lens cleaners!

In the Studio: I’m currently using an alienbee 800 w/large octabox as my main light, and an alienbee 400 w/ umbrella as my fill light. (My alienbees are pink…I’m such a girly girl!) I also use a 5 in 1 reflector as well! My backdrops are from B & H photo & they are the Savage paper seamless ones that they offer. I have several colors in the 53 inch (which work great for one kid) and a few in the 107 (which work great for families, etc!) I also have the wireless trigger from alienbees as well! Plus, I’ve been buying lots of props (pettiskirts, baskets, cocoons, hats, blankets, etc) wherever I can find them! It’s quite addicting!

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN PHOTOGRAPHY?

I’ve always had a love for pictures and grew up with a father that always had an SLR with us wherever we went! In high school, I took some photography courses and loved taking photos during college. After my children were born, I really started getting interested in photography and capturing their little moments…they just grow up way too quick! Digital scrapbooking taught me so much about color, composition, and studying other people’s photos on their scrapbook pages really made me focus more on my own photography!

DID YOU TAKE CLASSES OR ARE YOU SELF TAUGHT?

I am pretty much self taught. I took a class in high school, and I’ve taken a couple of courses online. I’m definitely planning on taking more and more courses online to keep pushing myself to learn something new! In trying to teach myself, I read Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson…it really helps you understand your camera & how to get out of auto mode! Hands down, Clickinmoms has made a HUGE difference in my photography. It’s a great forum with a wonderful community. I have learned so much for the ladies over there!

DID YOU HAVE AN “AH HA!” MOMENT WHEN EVERYTHING JUST SEEMED TO “CLICK”

I think my Ah ha moment came with learning that actions aren’t perfect fixes for photos! They need tweaked & customized for the photos you are working with!

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT YOUR PHOTOS?

I really strive to capture “moments.” I love it when I have a photo of my children interacting with each other and you can just “feel” the emotions they are feeling when you look at the photo. I like pictures of my kids when they are looking at the camera and smiling, but my favorites are the ones that really capture them in their element!

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO IMPROVE ON?

My workflow! It can take me so long to edit some photos! I need to simplify my process & really learn how to batch edit photos better.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE PHOTOS THAT YOU HAVE TAKEN!

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WHAT PROGRAM DO YOU USE FOR EDITING?

Adobe Photoshop CS & Adobe Lightroom

HOW MUCH DO YOU EDIT YOUR PHOTOS?

Quite a bit, actually! I just love the final product so much better than the SOOC photos! But, I need to not get hung up on feeling like all of my personal family photos need edited. I often don’t share my personal photos with others because they aren’t edited yet…I really need to get over it!

WHAT NORMAL EDITING STEPS DO YOU TAKE?

This is my typical start to finish on a photo— First, I defog my photo. Then, I typically adjust brightness/contrast/levels as needed. (Often, I will use a color pop action or something similar just to make my photo look richer in color!) I will run noiseware if needed and sharpen the photo afterwards.

DO YOU USE ANY ACTIONS? AND IF SO, WHICH ONES?

I’m kind of an action addict…and a collector of them! I typically use the same ones over and over, but I love trying new ones out! I love Totally Rad actions, Brenda Acuncias actions, Nichole Van Actions, and Leah Profancik’s actions!
There are some great free ones that I love, too! My hands down favorite B&W action is Aly’s B&W. Also, Pioneer Woman has some amazing actions on her blog, too!

CAN WE SOME SOOC (straight out of the camera) SHOTS AND THEN THE EDITED VERSION?

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WHOSE WORK INSPIRES YOU?

Oh man, where do I begin? There are soooo many amazing photographers out there and I’m always stumbling upon new photogs whose work I just admire! Ones I turn to over and over are:


Tara Whitney
Melissa Koehler
Becker
Angela Crutcher
Clary Pfeiffer
And THIS BLOG is WONERFUL for spotlighting amazing photographers

WHAT WOULD YOU TELL SOMEONE WHO WANTS TO LEARN TO TAKE BETTER PHOTOS?

Practice, practice, practice. Read, read, read…and then practice, practice, practice, and repeat! Also, get involved in some type of online photography forum and have others critique your work. It’s amazing what different people will see in your photos that you totally missed!

TO BE CONTINUED… Make sure to check back Saturday when Kellie tells us how she got her business up and running. PLUS, there will be a chance for TWO PEOPLE to win a FREE MEMBERSHIP to Clickin Moms!

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P.S. I wanted to point out a great product for a great cause! Scrapbook Graphics has put together a great collab collection for Anna Benjamin, one of the Studio Girls. Anna was recently diagnosed with cancer and is undergoing treatment. The designers at SBG have put together a grab bag with all proceeds (after paypal fees) going to Anna and her family for meals, house cleaning, or whatever else they feel they need during this very difficult time. The grab bag is avaliable HERE where you can see ALL the contents in the detailed images. Pick up over 700mb of product from the Studio Girls for just $5.00.

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