Friday, June 19, 2015

Feature Friday with My Captured Life!

The fabulous Shelley Reis of My Captured Life is the winner of last week's 'beautiful disaster' challenge, and has shared some more of her gorgeous work here, as well as given us some insight into what makes her tick!

1.     Please tell us about yourself...

My name is Shelley and I’m from Wollongong, Australia. I’m a partner, mother of two, animal lover and passionate photographer. Aside from caring for my two small children, 4 and 1, I spend a large portion of my time dedicated to personal photography projects such as my daily blog, My Captured Life, as well as the odd client shoot. 

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

Authentic, soulful, candid

I am extremely passionate about documentary photography and capturing the beautiful details of real life which so are often overlooked among the hustle and bustle of our daily lives (especially for those of us with small children). I most enjoy capturing seemingly ordinary, candid moments and showing others that even the most mundane moment can be beautiful art.  

3. What sparked your passion for photography?

Since I was a child I have always been surrounded by art. My Mother, an artist herself, always encouraged us to think creatively and observe and appreciate the details of life - regularly forcing my father to stop the car on long car trips and (often against our will) get us out to observe an interesting tree, a friendly-looking animal or a beautifully-shaped cloud. As a result I have always been a creatively-inclined person and have dabbled in art in many different forms but until a couple of years ago have never really found my 'niche'. In 2011 when my son was born I became somewhat fixated on finding a way to capture his innocence, beauty and spirit which was so unique to him and changing every moment. I bought my first DSLR camera and it was from there that my passion for photography was born. With every click of the shutter I fell more and more in love and have obsessively practised ever since.

4. What's in your camera bag right now?

I shoot almost exclusively with a Canon 6D. Due to the variety of my work I usually keep my Tamron 24-70mm f2.8 lens on the camera ready for any snap-worthy moment that might arise. It is an incredibly versatile lens. For portraits I will switch to a prime lens – usually my “nifty fifty”. I am primarily a natural light photographer but will often have my reflector on hand too. My next purchase will most definitely be the Sigma 35mm ART lens. 

5. What is your dream shoot or project?

Having two little ones myself the topic of new motherhood is close to my heart so any candid moment exploring the powerful relationship between mother and child is without a doubt my favourite. I shoot in a documentary style which would lend itself to Birth Photography and New Parent Documentary sessions so once my children are a little older and more independent I intend to pursue them with greater vigour. 

6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?

I initially assumed like many do that you need all the fancy gear to capture great moments but as my skill set grew I realised this was simply not true. Some of my best captures have been on my old, very basic DSLR (Canon Rebel T3i) which goes to show it’s not what you’ve got but how you use it! Not being a very techy person myself I also assumed that photography was intensely hard. Once I dove in and began to learn I realised it was not. Sure, to be a good photographer you need to have a certain amount of artistic ability but understanding the settings on your camera and how to use them is not rocket science and with practise, patience and persistence anyone can learn and improve upon their photography skills. 

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

Practise, practice, practice. Never be afraid to try something new or take on projects that fall outside of your comfort zone – the more you take on the faster your skillset and confidence will grow.

I wish someone had given me this quote that I stumbled upon recently which is ‘Comparison is the thief of joy’. It is so hard not to compare yourself with others and I have been so guilty of it in the past. However it is imperative that you do not measure your own abilities by the work others are producing. We are all artists with different visions on different journeys so while it’s important to recognize and scrutinize your own growth as an artist, please do not compare your work to others.  

Find Shelley's beautiful work here:

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