So as some of you already know (because I can’t stop talking about it), yesterday I had my mini sessions in my parents’ yard and they went so swimmingly that I will continue to talk about them. So much so that I’m writing a blog post about it a day later. #humblebrag

I posted a few of my favorites in a photography group I’m in on Facebook — one that I am only a part of because I purchased an online photography course (an expensive one, I might add) that is all about shooting & editing, and is taught by two really awesome (and mildly famous) photographers based out of Arizona. Here is my post:

“I finished AJ – SEC [name of course] a few months ago and at the time, I still didn’t see any improvement in my photography. I slowly realized that all I needed was just more test subjects / practice, so I sought out anyone & everyone who would model for me. Well, I am happy to say that I think I have officially found my “style,” and I can finally say I am proud of my work. I seriously cannot thank Amy & Jordan [photographers who taught the course] enough for their education. If you are struggling to find your niche, or cannot for the life of you get those perfect SOOC [straight out of camera] shots, DON’T GIVE UP! Keep trying until you get there. And then when you get there, there’s still so much more to learn & love & appreciate about photography. That’s what makes this field so great. Good luck fellow photographers!”

I bought the course a while ago, with the idea that I would watch it, absorb all the necessary information, and then in turn apply it to my own photography. Well, it wasn’t that easy. Most things aren’t that easy, Clare, you big dum-dum. So I naturally became discouraged when the guidelines I was following from this course were not necessarily working for me when I tried applying them to my own sessions. Granted, I had only watched the first and second modules, but I thought I’d have already improved at that point. I gave up the course (and photography) for a while, and just went on living my life. After some time, I grew quite bored of doing everything but the creative stuff (i.e. working, cooking, cleaning, other basic life duties and things that don’t involve a lot of brain power and/or fun). At which point I decided to jump back in to the course. I became so entranced with the education as I sat and watched the entire thing in less than a month. I had a few more sessions here and there afterward and I noticed I was already better at finding the right light to situate my clients in, as well as some improvement on my editing style.

But I still wasn’t where I wanted to be creatively. My photos fell short of great. I tried photographic styles from “bright & airy” to “light & moody” to “dark & moody.” I had a hard time getting them to look the way I truly wanted. The bright & airy were too overexposed. The light & moody weren’t colorful and vibrant enough. The dark & moody looked too green. On top of that, I grew frustrated with having little to no bites on my business. I talked it out with some other photographers I know and am friendly with. I did a ton of research online. And then it sort of dawned at me at some point that I needed to build my portfolio first (as well as nail down a photographic style) before I started charging and getting more of my “ideal” client. That’s when I came up with the idea for these mini sessions.

Over the course of just a couple weeks, I did research (mostly on Pinterest) to explore ideas for mini sessions. When I found that a lot of them were using props and backdrops and whatever else (mostly just a whole lotta STUFF), I felt like that would take away from what I wanted to be capturing. So I kept it simple. Backyard. Shade. Blanket. Subjects. That was it.

When the time came to shoot, I greeted each of my clients nervously but excitedly. After we exchanged hellos, we jumped right into it (after all we only had roughly 20-25 minutes for each session). I immediately felt like a chicken running around with its head cut off – except not in a bad way Luckily it was not as hot as it had been the previous few days, but I still sweat like a darn pig. Aside from those two initial feelings, I had SO. MUCH. FUN. And I LOVED. EVERY. MINUTE. OF. IT. I shot from noon to 2:30pm with little to no breaks in between (poor time management on my part), but I cannot express enough how AWESOME of a time I was having. I had a feeling my clients were enjoying it, too (JUST LOOK AT THEIR HAPPY, BEAUTIFUL, GLOWING FACES!).

When I posted an appreciation post in the group I mentioned above, the love and feedback began pouring in. I was beaming. My favorite comment on my post was this:

And that’s when I internally squealed. MY STYLE IS “DARK + CREAMY!” I. LOVE. IT. It fits PERFECTLY. (Thank you, Bethany!) Long story short, I am ecstatic to have that nailed down and figured out. I love my job!

dark + creamy