Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Stephanie Mason!

This week, Stephanie of Stephanie Mason Photography asks you to share your favorite of 2016 - a great way to close out the year. She's shared some of her own favorites, as well as some reflections on photography.

Tell us about yourself: 
I am a lifestyle photographer specializing in children and their families located in Ottawa, Ontario Canada. I am a military wife, married to my best friend Josh. Together we have two adventurous and silly boys. My hubby and boys are my muse and my inspiration.
Just like many other photographers, my passion for photography began shortly after the birth of my first son. It wasn’t until the birth of my second (and last baby) that I realized my true love for photography and the art of preserving our everyday memories. My family (and pretty light) continues to fuel my inspiration.

What’s in your camera bag? What do you use the most? The least?
I have the Canon 6D and the Canon Mark iii as my main two bodies. I also own the sigma 35mm Art, 50mm 1.4, 100mm L series macro and the 135mm L series lens by Canon. I also own three 600exrt flashes but haven’t had a decent chance to really perfect flash and off camera flash work. It’s certainly on my list of to-do’s for 2016.

I primarily shoot with my Canon Mark iii with the 35mm (indoors) and my 135mm (outdoors). I rarely use my 50mm, macro, and flashes.

What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
Time! I have so many goals each year and I am so proud to say that I’ve reached many of them but I know that with more time that I would be able to do more. This also being said I am more aware of my work/family life balance. I now prioritize my goals with the time I set for myself and work as hard as I can with the time I give myself. The remaining time is set for my family, which will always be number one in my life.

If you could spend $500 on photography, how would you like to spend it?
Rebranding or marketing! I don’t “need” anything in photography right now in terms of gear. I would love to spend some time and money with rebranding, marketing or continuing education (because let’s face it, there’s always more to learn!).

How would you really spend it?
Continuing education – I’ve learned that branding/marketing is typically a lot more than $500 so taking another workshop would be more realistic.

Is there anything one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?
Yes! I was so worried about what other local photographers were doing. I wish someone had told me that it wouldn’t matter. I spent so much time worrying about other photographers doing similar things or being less expensive than me. That really all doesn’t matter as long as you are confident in what you are doing. 

Monday, December 28, 2015

The Maven Flyer Vol. 53

Welcome to 
 The Maven Flyer
Vol. 53
For the week of December 28, 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 ~ Favorite image of 2015
Clicking Moms ~ Family
In Beauty & Chaos~  2015 Favorite
The Dark Room~ Festive
 Fantastically Flawed~ no theme
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~  Weekly favorite
EX.OH Blog ~ Weekly favorite
Light Inspired~ Weekly favorite holiday image
M4HP~ Rejoice
Journey to Artist~ Holiday (with you)
Reflections~ Poem that inspires you
Little Bellows Weekly favorite
Photo Corner~ weekly favorite
By The Light~ 
Life's Experience p52~ Merry
The Monochromatic Lens~Weekly Favorite
My Beautifully Chaotic Lifestyle~ Beautifully Chaotic
Let the Kids Dress Themselves~2015 fave
SHOTMagazine~ open, one photo per day
The Organic PhotograpHERS~ Bold (all November)(women only)
Minimalist Mondays ~Weekly fave
Euphoric Capture~ 2015 Fave
CLICK STYLE~ no theme
The Snappy Mama~ Morning Routine
Photographer Obsessed~ A change in the season
In shadow of life~BW weekly favorites
The Snap Society ~ Weekly favorite
Life Unscripted- My morning
Project:life your way: weekly favorites
The Artistic Tog: The best of 2015
Dear Photographer~Weekly favorite
Sham of the Perfect~ Get in the picture
Life In Loud~ Weekly favorites shot from the heart
Fearless and Framed~ Honestly documented
Inspire me, Inspired be.- Weekly favorite
Soul Focus - Daily favorite
By HeArt~ Fresh


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, December 18, 2015

Feature Friday with Melissa Maahs Photography!

The talented Melissa Maahs Photography was the winner of last week's 'silly' challenge (with a riduclously funny set of shots of a gorgeous dog - you can see the photo here).  Melissa has graciously agreed to answer our questions and share some more of her beautiful work.

1. Please tell us about yourself...
   My name is Melissa. I’m a photographer from Ontario, Canada. I’m a wife and mother of two wonderful children and the cutest golden retriever.  As long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with photography. As a child and young adult, I really enjoyed browsing through issues of National Geographic Magazine and coffee table books featuring any type of photography, especially landscape and wildlife photography.

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
   Authenic. Candid, Soulful. Those 3 words come to mind when asked to describe my style. Although I do photograph some posed moments during a session (Grandmas usually want to see smiling faces, looking at the camera so I usually start out with that pose and get it out of the way ;) ), I find that I love my work the most when I’m able to capture the genuine, candid moments between the posed moments. My goal when photographing people is to document the connections between them, and/or the connections with their environment, not the connections between them and my camera. One of the things I say the most when photographing people is “don’t look at me”! Photographing genuine moments between people (and animals) is the work that makes me most happy. Often times my clients are the happiest with those images also. In order to take a meaningful portrait of someone with a loved one, or even just on their own, the moments have to be all of those 3 words I mentioned: authentic, candid and soulful.

 3.  What sparked your passion for photography?
Travelling sparked my interest in photography for sure, but I think what eventually fueled my passion for portrait photography were my children when they were babies. Children grow and change so fast and I wanted to document their little lives and experiences every step of the way. Before my kids started school, photography was a hobby of mine. I wanted to devote as much time as possible to my kids when they were home. When they started to attend school full-time I had more time to devote to my learning and experimenting with photography. Eventually friends and family were asking me to take photos of their families and over time, my business Melissa Maahs Photography was born.

4. What’s in your camera bag right now?
Canon 5D Mark III
Canon 35mm 1.4
Canon 135mm 2.0
Canon 50mm 1.2
Canon 430 ex speedlight
Yongnuo 586 speedlight

5. What is your dream shoot or project?
   My dream is to travel and photograph breathtaking landscapes with my family. I would also love to try street photography while travelling to busy cities. Two of my dream destinations to photograph are Death Valley National Park in Las Vegas, Nevada and Iceland. For street photography I think any of the big cities in China would be amazing.

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 think one of the biggest misconceptions I had about starting a photography career is that I thought 80-90% of my job would be all about having my camera in hand taking photographs. Of course, if this was just a hobby that would be true, but in order to run a photography business I’ve learned that 80-90% of the time spent does NOT involve using my camera! Most of my time is spent behind a computer completing tasks such as emailing/communicating with clients, blogging, editing photos, maintaining backup drives, reading, educating, accounting, marketing/social media, etc. Taking photos is only a small part of running a photography business. In the beginning I had no idea!

Another misconception I had about starting a photography business is that I thought it would be fairly easy to make a considerable profit within the first couple of years. I learned very quickly that this is not the case! Owning, maintaining, and constantly upgrading photography equipment (including computer equipment and software) is extremely expensive! Now that I’ve added a home studio to my business the studio equipment and supplies needed to stay on top seems to be never ending.

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
 The biggest piece of advice that I would give to a ‘newbie’ photographer is to not start charging until your work is good enough and consistent. Once your work is good and consistent, value it by charging enough in order to sustain a profitable business. I see way too many photographers not charging enough. Know your cost of doing business. Do the math. It’s a boring task, but you must consider every single minute of your time and every single dollar you put into this career. If you call yourself a business, then run a legal business. Register your business. Pay your taxes. Get insured! One last piece of advice I would give to newbies is to find a way to stand out in this business! The photography market is highly saturated. In order to survive you must stand out and be different. Provide a service and amazing experience to your clients. For me this means providing my clients with a FULL photography experience from first contact until delivery of prints and products. Just handing over digital files just does not sit well with me. I know many successful photographers who run a successful business this way, which is fine, as long as you are charging enough for those digital files to sustain your business and to make each shoot profitable. I prefer to provide my clients with printing services. In my heart, I feel like I have done my client a disservice by not helping them to get their photos on a wall or in an album. The best part of this career for me is sitting with my clients when they view their image gallery for the first time. I love witnessing their reactions. I love helping them pick out prints and products that they will cherish for a lifetime and pass down to the generations behind them.

Find more of Melissa's beautiful work here:

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Meet This Week's Judge: Tess Runion

Tess of Tess Runion Photography invites you to share your holiday traditions through photos this week. We are excited to hare her beautiful work and thoughts about photography with you:

1. Tell us about yourself...

I am a wife and momma of 3 crazy kiddos. I live in Richmond, Virginia and spend many weekends in the mountains of Nellysford. I love spending time with my family. I am inspired by a good photograph, good wine and good friends.

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

I had always loved photographs where there was a clear story. I started taking pictures of my kids with my first DSLR in 2012 and really loved documenting what I thought was real and ordinary. That spoke to me. While now I am still fueled by them and documenting our life, I am driven by so many great photographer connections I have made and simply driven by the desire to get better and better at this.

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

Nikon D600, Sigma 35mm 1.4, Nikon 50mm 1.4. The Sigma rarely comes off my camera!

4. What’s your dream project or shoot? 

I love to document families at home. But as far as a dream shoot, I would really love to get involved with more local businesses and capture more marketing type photography. 

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

Confidence in my work. Giving myself a break knowing that not every image is going to be perfect. I'm constantly telling myself that as long as the pictures I take serve as my memory and are special to my family and friends, than that's what truly matters.

 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? 

I would definitely take a workshop or 2! The Magic of Light with Summer Murdock would be my first choice!

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

I wish I had known it was going to be a journey. Had no idea photography was going to be a part of my identity and that I wouldn't find my voice for a long time. I would tell someone starting out that all the social media outlets, forums, groups, etc. are fun and validating but you have to love your own work first. Then everything else is just a bonus.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015


I have a soft spot for this silly expression, it reminds my of my uncle who passed a few years ago. This was his go-to silly face! 
This little girl brightened my day! :) 


As cute and silly as this is, and it is because I dont have to clean the mess!  Hope it didnt take long! 


Sure creative and adorable! 


So much childhood right here! 


I love the lines, smiles, and color. I am sure they enjoyed this moment of silly fun!


Its not often kids this age are ready and willing to be silly for the camera or even take picture for that matter. I love this image! 


The juxtaposition of this sweet silly girl and the background is awesome! Beautiful colors too!


Super dreamy light! I hope she saw what she was looking for! ;) 


Super fun and silly image! I am sure they enjoyed helping you create this one too! 


Beautiful silly and intimate childhood moment! I love all things pink, I want her bedroom! 


And the winner is......

Im envious of your dog and I dont really care for dogs! Those faces are freaking hilarious! Im dying to know how you got all those silly faces from your pup!

Candace Castor 
Candace Castor Photography
@candacecastor on IG!

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