Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meet This Week's Judge: Jana O'Flaherty

Instead of the standard interview, I've decided to share a bit of my progress.  I find these kinds of posts so helpful when others do them, and it was interesting to look back through 2 years' worth of images as well.

A bit about me first.  I'm a wife, mother to 2, and a part-time photographer living in Northwestern Ontario.  I love coffee and wine, sushi and eggs benedict (not all together!) and reading is my escape.  I currently shoot with a Nikon D610, and a 35mm 1.4 Sigma is on my camera 99% of the time (I do occasionally use my 85 1.8 as well but we have a love/hate relationship!).  I also dabble in film when I have some free time.

I love shooting connections, both between subjects and the subject and the viewer.  Photographing food in a clean and simple way is my escape when shooting people becomes frustrating (because yes I love my kids but they are not cooperative lol).  I currently take clients for lifestyle family sessions as well as in home storytelling sessions.

I am a member of the Snap Maven team, as well as a Pro at both Clickin Moms and In Beauty & Chaos. Now on to the embarrassing part ;)

Looking back 2 years ago, I can see what I wanted.  I wanted close up, I wanted catchlights, I knew I didn't want to use the pop up flash on my camera, so I often shot in Auto No Flash.  My goal was to capture my kids looking at the camera, smiling.  Sometimes I got lucky and caught something decent.  Not good, but decent.

In 2013 I joined Clickin Moms, took a class on manual, and started moving forward.  Composition and processing were clearly not things I was skilled in ;)

 My conversions were muddy, my shots were tight, my processing was a general mess.  I couldn't figure out how to deal with direct sunlight, or low light.  But, even looking back, I can see something.  Those moments.  Not always with eye contact, and that is ok.  Emotions.  Close shots to eliminate visual clutter.

I played a bit more with food.  I waited for moments to happen instead of trying to create them for the camera.

I took a processing class.  I took a class on style.  I took a class on composition.  I shot, and shot and shot.  Probably the most valuable thing I did for my growth was to have a portfolio review done.  It gave me clarity, it gave me guidance, it gave me confidence and it gave me permission to shoot the way I want to even if it didn't match up with the way the talented photographers I followed shot.

I now have ways to shoot (and love the photos) in direct sunlight.

I can deal with low light, rotten bathroom light, conversions, and grumpy kids.

I still like details, I still love to shoot food.  I keep my colours mainly true to life, and my conversions full of contrast.

My hope is to produce work that is evocative, distinct, and clean.  I have so much left to learn, and so much more improvement to make, but right now, today, I love my work.
Your journey is all your own.  I think it's completely natural to try on different hats so to speak, and every single photographer I've spoken to has moments of frustration and doubt, and that is ok.  When you feel stuck, an exercise like this where you look back at your growth can be incredibly helpful <3

Photography 2204

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