Friday, October 30, 2015

Feature Friday with Samantha Lawson Photography!

This week's Feature Friday is all about the wonderful Sam Lawson of Samantha Lawson Photography, winner of last week's 'senses' challenge. Read on to discover how she describes her style, and what her dream shoot would be!

1. Please tell us about yourself…

I'm Sam Lawson, i'm 29 and I live in Birmingham, England. I am an auntie to two beautiful and amazing girls, Bella (7) and Sophie (5). 
I have never taken a photography course, I drink a lot of milk, I'm an animal lover, I'm always listening to music, I dream of living by the sea and I love watching spooky films.

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
I would say my style is raw, timeless and emotive. I love shooting the unposed, real life moments of childhood.

3. What sparked your passion for photography?

I brought my first DSLR camera around 8 years ago after my first niece was born. My passion for photography just grew from there really.


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

I don't actually own a camera bag, hahaa. but I shoot with a Nikon D7000 and most of the time I use my 35mm 1.8. I travel pretty light where my photography is concerned.

5. What is your dream shoot or project?

I would just love to shoot for Vogue! That would be my dream. I would like to do some fashion photography, so that could be my next project maybe.


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 thought you needed to take a photography course to become a good photographer….. I never thought I would be able to just teach myself.

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

I wish someone had told me at the beginning that you don't need the best camera or the most expensive lens to take the best pictures. Just get to understand your camera, shoot in manual mode and just keep taking as many pictures as you can, that is the best way to learn. Always believe in yourself, don't ever compare yourself to others and shoot what you love. Also, print your images because that is something I forget to do.

Find more of Sam's beautiful work here:

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Kristina McCaleb

This week, Kristina of Kristina McCaleb Photography wants to explore your imagination. She's shared a sampling of her beautiful images along with a few of her thoughts about the art of photography. Enjoy!

1. Tell us about yourself…

I am Kristy. I am a momma of two kiddos, Jack my 11 year old and Sophie my 7 (going on 17) year old. I have been married to my fireman husband for almost 13 years. We live right outside Dallas, Texas. I have been interested in photography ever since my very first photography class in college. I picked up a new camera (my first dslr) just before my daughter was born and haven’t looked back. 

 2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

Stopping the moment. When I first took that first photography class I loved that I could make something that stopped time. I remember having my grandfathers old AE1 at that class and could feel how special it was to me to learn to use it. But It really hit me when my kids were little. With my son I had a point and shoot (and my old film camera) and I was always taking pictures of him. I remember when he was a little over 1 and got a black eye from running into something. I scooped him up and took him outside so I could take some pictures of it. I want to remember it all! When my daughter was born we saved and saved so that I could buy a dslr. I can still remember buying that entry level dslr at the store! 

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

Canon 5dmiii, an old Tokina 16-28mm, 24-70mm, 40mm pancake, 50mm 1.4, Sigma 85mm 1.4, and 200mm 2.8… I use my 85 and my 200 the most for outdoor sessions. I love my 50mm for my newborn sessions though! Since getting the 85 and 200 I have hardly used my 24-70 that used to be a fixture on my camera. 

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I would love to travel around the country and shoot diners and small towns. I have a big place in my heart for little old towns and hole in the wall restaurants. When we travel we tend to find the fun, out of the box places to stop. Like the center of the contiguous US in Lebanon, KS or the biggest rocking chair near St. Louis. So my dream would be to buy an rv and travel around the US. 

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

My biggest challenge that I have faced is confidence in me. I am a fan of inspirational videos and one says 'it’s easy to have confidence and faith when your bills are paid'. Well before I was able to become a full time photographer I knew that I had to make a certain amount of money with my camera or I couldn’t do it. I tend to pick apart my work but thankfully am learning to be more confident. But I think that comes with time, and skills, and natural growth. 

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...
How should you spend it?
How do you wish you could spend it?
How would you really spend it?

If “I” had $500 to spend on photography I would probably buy put it towards a 35mm or 24mm lens. But if you are just starting out in photography I think you should put it towards as much education as you can. You can never have enough education in the photography world.

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

Don’t compare yourself to others. And don’t look at someones social media and think that is their life. They may be taking 2000 images to get one good shot to show. We never know what is behind the scenes of someones life and it might not be as glamorous as you make up in your head. Also I wish someone had told me that I was good enough now. Like Maya Angelou’s quote, 
“Do the best you can until you know better. Then when you know better, do better”

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

{the senses}

Hello!! Here are my picks. 
This was so tough, I could have easily chosen so many more. Thanks again for having me!

There is a lot evoking the senses in this photograph.  The boy brushing the horse, give the image an overall calm and soothing vibe, yet the crop and focus on the horse's nose interjects subtle humor, which I love.  I want to reach out and pet the horses smooth, fuzzy nose. 


I can feel the warmth of the sunbeams and love the gorgeous rim lighting in this photograph.  The subject is touching his rough and scratchy beard, which is a nice juxtaposition to the softness surrounding him. 


There are so many interesting layers to this photo. Taken in complete darkness with only a few flashlights to give us a glimpse into the scene, the lack of light and ability to use sight, the other senses become stronger. The smell of the dirt and mud jumps out at me,I can feel the crispness of the evening air, and the sounds of nature at night.


Being at the beach is such a treat for the senses and it's so beautifully captured here.  The salty smell of the ocean air, the sound of the waves crashing, the sand between the toes and 
how this little explorer is taking it all in.


Music has the power to overwhelm the senses and make us feel a wide variety of emotions simultaneously.  The little girl is playing a violin, and the fact she is playing it in the woods provides an unexpected element that works so well in this photograph. She is free from the distractions of the modern world, and although there is a feeling of solitude, she is able to find companionship in her music.  


This is such a fun and artistic photograph.  I love the stark contrast in the light and dark, and the little boy's enthusiasm for experiencing the feel and taste of the rain. 


I love the light, leading lines, beautiful colors, and dream-like quality of this photograph.  Playing in water is one of those universals of childhood, so this photo evokes a lot of nostalgia. 


I just love this moment the little boy and his dad are sharing.  There is so much warmth and coziness as the little boy is exploring his senses and carefully enjoying a hot beverage.  


This is such a happy photograph.  Children are drawn to puddles and when we allow them to experience playing in them fully, the result is pure joy.  Beautifully and authentically captured here.


This little girl is using her sense of touch to be comforted while at the doctors office.  Children are often inseparable from their comfort objects, especially during times of stress or uncertainty. 
As parents, we often love these objects too, as though they are little extensions of our children's love. 
A very special moment captured here. 


And the winner is...

Viewing this image is such a sensory experience.  
It's delicate and whimsical, yet also so tangible at the same time. 

Act Naturally Photography

Monday, October 26, 2015

The Maven Flyer Vol. 44

Welcome to 
 The Maven Flyer
Vol. 44
For the week of October 26, 2015

Here we will offer suggestions for places for you to submit your images
for sharing and competition.
If you have or know of a sharing community or theme, please let us know
by emailing the name, link, and specifics to
Include "Please Add This Page to the Flyer"
in the subject line so we won't miss it.

At this time you will need to visit each page to learn the specifics of the pages 
rules and deadlines for sharing images.

Happy Sharing Everyone!

Snap Maven ~ Imagination
Clicking Moms ~ Fall
In Beauty & Chaos~ Dress up, Weekly Favorites
The Dark Room~  Weekly faves
The Gratitude Collaborative ~ Windows, doors, mirrors
                                             Fantastically Flawed~ Spooky
Picture Me Project~Include yourself in the image somehow!
We Were There Too~ Get in the photo with your kids!
Lemonade and Lenses~Weekly Favorite
Mozi Magazine~Weekly Favorite
Seniorologie~ Weekly Favorite(senior)
Photographer's Connection~Weekly Favorite
Photo Artistry~ Shadows (all October), Weekly favorite
EX.OH Blog ~ Weekly favorite
Light Inspired~ Negative space , weekly favorite
M4HP~ Treasure
Reflections~ Watching from the shadows
Little Bellows Halloween, Weekly favorite
Photo Corner~ weekly favorite
By The Light~   Reflection
Life's Experience p52~ High contrast
The Monochromatic Lens~Weekly Favorite
My Beautifully Chaotic Lifestyle~ Beautifully Chaotic
Let the Kids Dress Themselves~ Colorful (all October)
SHOTMagazine~ open, one photo per day
The Organic PhotograpHERS~ Light (women only)
Minimalist Mondays ~Weekly fave
Euphoric Capture~ My heart and soul
CLICK STYLE~ Halloween
The Snappy Mama~ Family rituals
Photographer Obsessed~ Costume
In shadow of life~BW weekly favorites
PoétiqueI need to touch your life and leave a joy ..,.... 
an inspiration ...So you will love me soon in reality ...
... not imagination ...
Boys Will Be Boys~Weekly Favorite
The Snap Society ~ Weekly favorite
Life Unscripted- Unscripted
Project:life your way: weekly favorites
The Artistic Tog: Artistic tog
Pearls and Roses: Autumn
Dear Photographer~Weekly favorite
Sham of the Perfect~ At the park
Life In Loud~ Weekly favorites shot from the heart
Fearless and Framed~ Honestly documented
Inspire me, Inspired be.- Wind
Soul Focus - Haunted


That concludes the links for this week!
If there is a link you'd like to see here, please let us know at
Include "Please Add This Page to the Flyer"
in the subject line so we won't miss it.
Please allow 2-3 weeks for addition to The Maven Flyer
Same goes for errors, though we hope to get those fixed right away.
Future issues of The Maven Flyer will be posted on Monday evenings.

You can't get featured if you don't submit!!

Go for it!

If you would like to receive
The Maven Flyer
in your inbox each week
please sign up

Friday, October 23, 2015

Feature Friday with Jessica Max!

Jessica Rasmussen is the face behind Jessica Max, and the winner of last week's 'low light' challenge.  Read on to hear her thoughts on why she picked up a camera, how she describes her style, and more!

1. Please tell us about your self...
I'm Jessica Rasmussen, and I live near San Juan, Puerto Rico with my husband, 5 year old daughter Chloe and 6 year old son Chase. I am chronically unorganized, have a penchant for RedBull, and home school two small children.... scary! 

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
Emotional, movement, maybe a little chaos.

I've always kind of gravitated towards movement in my images, at least particularly in my personal work, and I don't really FEEL an image if there isn't at least a small connection between the subject and photographer. And chaos, because that is basically my daily life. Life is messy, ya know?

3. What sparked your passion for photography?
My dad passed away unexpectedly, and it was a snap and gone moment for me. To think all the time we spent together, growing up and through my college years, and I don't have any tangible memories. I regret that for my children when they ask me about him when we pass his headstone. 
After that, I got a camera, and that's where the "oh my goodness put your camera away for five seconds" journey started.

4. What's in your camera bag right now?
I have to say I use an ONA bag and IT IS MY FAVORITE THING EVER.
Canon 6d
Canon 60d
Canon 100L
Canon 50 1.8 STM
Sigma 24 1.8
And I just sold my Canon 24-70mkiiL lens, to be replaced by the new Canon 35L or a Lensbaby Velvet 56...decisions.

5. What is your dream shoot or project?
I'm going to start shooting film as a personal project. Particularly I'd like to start shooting underwater with film. Also, I've started a black and white project with my daughter, since I finally have time to do so.

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 really thought that photography was a lot of fun and travel and cake and no cares, but really the business side of it is STRESSFULL. I'm from a pretty small town with lots of photographers, and I'm thankful for the close friendships I have with some of them even still. 
I realize now that owning a creative business will always be difficult, but it doesn't make me feel any differently. 

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
My best advice to give is learn your camera first. Do everything you can to know that thing inside and out before stressing over 'upgrading'. Find a mentor! Shoot what inspires you, and only that for a while. Finding out what inspired me and really moved me changed my vision big time. Also, I wish I'd learned that L lenses aren't really as life changing as I wanted them to be, and not worth begging for. Today, I shot thru a plastic cup. And you know what? I dig it WAY more than that $2k 24-70 I badgered my husband for for almost a year.

Find more of Jessica's gorgeous work here:

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge

This week's judge is Natalie Wheeler of Act Naturally Photography. She want's to see your photography through all the senses, and has shared how she sees through her own.

1. Tell us about yourself...

I am a lover of light, and real life moments. My kids and my husband are my inspiration and my center.  My photographs are my language of love and everything that I can’t say with words.  I am music obsessed, and I start to suffocate if I go more than a few hours without listening some of my favorite tunes.  I love to travel and have new experiences.

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

It took me over thirty years to realize that I was an artist.  I had an artist personality, but I wasn’t nurturing any particular artistic passion, so I had no outlet for my art.  I felt like a square peg trying to fit into round surroundings.  The pieces of my life weren’t fitting together right; something big was missing.  Like many others, when my children were born, I became impassioned about documenting their daily life.  My children set alive the artist seed within me.  Now, my drive is fueled by the desire to always improve and make the visions I have in my mind into photographs.  The missing piece has been found and everything makes so much more sense because I can be wholly me.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

I shoot with a Canon 5DMii.  The lens I use the most is my Sigma 35mm f1.4 ART.  It is by far my best storytelling/documenting lens because of the space it gives me and it’s low light capabilities.  I also have a Canon 50mm f1.4, a Canon 24-105mm f/4, Lensbaby Sweet 35 & Edge 80.  I probably use the Edge 80 the least because my photographs call for more space, but I would definitely like to play around with it more for portraits.  I’m kind of dying for the Sigma 24mm or the 20mm that’s coming out soon!

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I would love to take a family road trip for several weeks or months and document our trip.  I envision the highlight being at an old ranch in New Mexico or somewhere here out west.  Ideally, I’d encounter several generations of family members, lots of animals, and old relics to learn about and photograph.

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

There are so many things that I love about being a photographer; I wouldn’t be doing it if that weren’t the case.  But I’d like to write very candidly about our value and worth as artists, as I know it’s a struggle for many of us.  I came across a quote recently that stopped me in my tracks:  “I stopped explaining myself when I realized people only understand from their level of perception” (unknown).  This is applicable to many things in my life, and photography is certainly no exception.  I don’t want to get into the details of how to price photography sessions, but I do want to point out that what we do as photographers is VERY valuable and only the artist can decide what their time and talent is worth.  It’s taken me many years to get to a point where I feel like I don’t need to convince people of the monetary value of my work.  I now realize that is wasted energy that is better spent elsewhere.  I am at a “take it or leave” it point with my pricing, which is silly because I feel like I shouldn’t even have to say that.  Shouldn’t it be a given that my price is my price?  It’s a challenge to think of any other professions where people feel so inclined to negotiate on price, devaluating the person’s worth so unabashedly.  We are experts and years of expertise and ability to provide for our families should not be up for negotiation.  For me, this quote tells me it’s ok to take control of my worth, my art, and my values; and to let go of the expectations of others who likely don’t intend to insult, but rather lack perspective of our profession.  Letting go of that, is truly a heavy burden lifted.

6. If you had 
$500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it? Having my gear professional cleaned and calibrated.
How do you wish you could spend it? Saving up for the 5d Markiii and Sigma 20mm or 24mm
How would you really spend it? On the miscellaneous costs of running a photography business

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

I am very content with my photography journey, even as excruciating as it’s been at times;  it was the price I paid for developing and growing my craft.  There really aren’t any shortcuts around those tough times, so having a good support system with other photographers who can truly understand what you are going through is invaluable.  Find that or create it as soon as you can.

When I first started out in this field it was a very isolated place for me. Then, I founded an amazing community of amazing photographers called Life {Unscripted}.  It’s a huge support system for me and our goal as a group is to help photographers at all levels stay inspired and feel supported.

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