February 1 14

Once upon a time I was a girl with a camera who liked to take pictures of people.

Today I’m a girl with a camera who likes to take pictures of people.

Truth be told, not that much has changed. Sure, my first camera was a pink 110 film camera that needed winding between shots. And of course, I needed to beg my mom to take me to the photo hut to have my film developed in an hour so I could pour through photos (doubles, always) and photos of near-misses (lots of eyes closed) until I found the one perfect shot in a roll of 24. Or 36.

But getting that one awesome shot felt pretty darn good. 

Thanks to the magic of digital, I can delete near-misses left, right, and center, and I don’t have to rely on my mother or anyone working in any sort of hut to have my photos at my fingertips.

But that feeling when you get an awesome shot? It still feels pretty darn good. See, not much has changed.

I’m what you’d call a self-taught photographer. After realizing that I have a good eye and after discovering that I was producing more happy accidents than near-misses, I decided that I wanted to invest in a real big girl camera. “NO!” said my wise and frugal husband, “This is too much money to spend on a passing fancy.” Well, I was going to prove to my husband, and to everyone that I wasn’t the Phyllis Nefler of photography. I loved it, and I was serious about it. Passing fancy, my heiney.

So, I learned. And I studied. And I read. And I read some more. I learned about how cameras work. I discovered things I never knew about light and shadows and where the sun is at all times. I borrowed a Nikon camera from my dad and practiced with my three very own mostly cooperative guinea pigs. I learned about angles and cropping and backgrounds and clutter.

And then I bought myself a Canon 7D. It was decidedly more camera than I needed at the time. But I signed up for a few classes at my local camera store and took online tutorials and classes, and researched, research, researched all to help me learn the ins and outs of what my camera could do.

But then I needed to learn what *I* could do. 

I wanted to MAKE pictures, not just TAKE them. 

It was shortly after making this decision, that I got contacted by Clickin Moms about taking an online class called First Steps with a DSLR. To be honest, I originally thought that first steps felt a bit too basic for me. First steps? I need, like, 15th steps. But after several encouraging back and forth emails, I was signed up for the class. My “class” involved weekly lessons, complete with videos, samples, and several-page long PDFs filled with tips, tricks, instructions….and assignments we were required to complete and then upload for everyone to see and critique.


This took me completely and totally out of my comfort zone. I was doing things with my camera that I haven’t done before. I was looking at things differently than I ever have before. And I was letting everyone look at my raw and unedited images. (RAW. Heh. Just a little geeky photography humor for you.) I allowed other photographers—artists, hobbyists, professionals—to look at my work and comment and critique on each one. Each week I listened to them tell me that I chopped off an elbow, that my lines were impressively straight, that I should maybe have pulled back a little bit, that I probably wanted to turn my daughter a few feet to the left.

What I did right.

What I should have done.

What I could do next time.

I soaked it all in. And all of a sudden, I was MAKING photos, not just TAKING them.

I was taking all of the advice, all of the tips, all of the tricks and my photography was improving by leaps and bounds.

I was way outside of my comfort zone.

But that seems to be exactly where I need to be as a photographer.

make photos

It was the Clickin Moms photographers who convinced me to buy my new baby—my Canon 5D Mark iii. It was the Clickin Moms who helped me with my new photography website. It was the Clickin Moms who helped me with my home studio lighting and backdrops. I look to the site to help me with marketing, and setting my price points, and generating new business. I look to the site with questions.

I even sometimes spend time on the site—gulp—giving answers.

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I’m not the only mom out there trying to make a living taking photos of people.

There are lots of them out there.

There are lots of US out there.

Come and join us. You won’t be sorry.

Clickin' Moms

{Note: Clickin Moms gave me a free 3-month subscription and access to an online class—First Steps with a DSLR—to take. I have since signed up for a lifetime subscription, and have plans to take multiple classes. All opinions, obviously, are my own.} 

  1. I have so loved watching your hobby turn into something so serious. Your pictures are always lovely to me and I hope to follow, a little bit, in your steps. Perhaps a class is in order for me as well.

    Comment by Jen on February 3, 2014
  2. Is Clickin Moms all about Canon? I shoot with a Nikon and am concerned that I will end up with lots of great information but all pertaining to Canon cameras. I couldn’t find anything on the website that answered this question…. Do you know?

    Comment by Chris on February 3, 2014
  3. In the class I took and in the forums, there are lots of Nikon owners too! 🙂

    Comment by alimartell on February 3, 2014
  4. Thanks for the quick reply!

    Comment by Chris on February 3, 2014
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