Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Meet This Week's Guest Judge: Melissa Hines

This week, Melissa of Melissa Hines Photography asks for your "epic story". Please enjoy her story and favorite photos!

1 Tell us about yourself…

Hi everyone! I’m Melissa from Melissa Hines Photography. I live in Kansas City with my husband and our three boys (6, 4, 1). We are a geeky family and proud of it! I love to read, eat yummy food, drink coffee, and explore this city that we live in!

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

While growing up, I dabbled some here and there shooting with film point and shoots, but just like most of the photographers I know, my passion for photography started because I became a mom and purchased my first dslr. But more specifically, my passion for documenting started with my middle. He has sensory issues and developmental delays. As a result, he just isn’t a kid that is going to sit or stand for a portrait. I would go for months without capturing an image of him that I didn’t hate because of how forced it was. So I had to learn how to meet him where he was at if I wanted any photos of him. Through that process, I realized how much I love the documentary approach. It became part of my voice. Finding ways to elevate those ordinary moments by using light and shadows is what gets my heart beating fast and sends me scrambling for my camera. And an added bonus to the documentary approach: he’s in a ton more photos now!

3 What’s in your camera bag right now? What do you use the most? The least?

Well, since my camera bag is also my diaper bag, I have some wipes, an extra outfit for the one year old, some cloth diapers, a wet bag, my wallet, keys, chapstick, a granola bar, padding for my camera, and some toy cars. 

I’m a “less is more” kind of girl when it comes to photography equipment. I have a Nikon 610. I just recently got a Sigma 24 art 1.4 and it hasn’t come off my camera since it arrived. I also have a Nikon 35 mm 2.0, but like I said, I haven’t used it since the 24 showed up. I just love only using one lens because it really forces you to learn how to use it.

4 What’s your dream project or shoot?

I have a few dream shoots. One is to document a day in the life. Both shooting one for someone and having someone shoot one for my family so I can be in the photos. I also want to start documenting some couples on dates in the city because these are still important memories worthy of being captured. And I want to work with some more businesses documenting what they do. I recently documented a local tattoo artist at work and I am hooked!

As for a dream project, I’ve started toying with the idea of doing a series of each of my boys with something that is their favorite. It would involve moments while at home, but also while out and about. I think it would be a really cool way to capture their likes and personalities during these particular ages. And also a way to capture their growth over time. I’ve already captured a handful of shots of my biggest in his costumes and my middle with his giant polar bear, and I’m hoping that a series can develop out of both of these.

5 What’s the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

Most of my work is still documenting my own family, so sometimes it really feels like I’ve been there and done that. Over and over. And then I tell myself that it isn’t acceptable as an artist. So that can easily lead to the trap of forcing things and frustration.

Except who says that it isn’t acceptable? If I am honest in documenting my family, there will be certain things that may be repeated because of certain phases. And I’m deciding that it’s okay to capture the same thing. Maybe even capture it in a similar way. Because there is a beginning and an end to every phase and one day, I will notice that phase is missing from our everyday lives. But I will have little mini series of the now missing phase because of the times I chose to document it. I will treasure those images and the memories they bring back and the growing boys they depict.

6 If you had $500 to spend on photography…
    How should you spend it?
I should spend it by investing in my business. You know, updating my website, branding, advertising.

    How do you wish you could spend it?
    I wish I could use it towards purchasing a compact full frame camera that is a lot easier
to throw in a bag to document my family while out and about.

    How would you really spend it?

    I would probably use some of it to take a workshop. And some towards business

7 Is there anything you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

I wish someone had told me to ignore the “find open shade” advice that always seems to be said. I wish I had been told to constantly study how light falls on people and objects. To observe where the light stops and the shadows start. And to learn how to use that. I eventually got on that path, but I really wish I had started the process a whole lot earlier! Not only has it changed how I shoot, but also how I see everything in this world.

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