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Dec 6, 2016

Choosing Community Over Competition | A Dayton, OH Winter Session

Never in a million, billion years did I think that I would make it to the place where another photographer would be coming to me for mentorship. I feel like mentorship is an exclusive land reserved for those who have “made it”. And I definitely don’t feel like I’m anywhere near “made it”. Basically, if “made it” was a town on the East Coast, I might as well be in Greenland.

I still invest a lot of personal time into growth and training. I look to more established photographers for tips and tricks, participate in webinars, and have even done the occasional workshop–all in the name of becoming more comfortable behind my lens and developing my style. So to be looked up to as a real, established photographer?

STUNNED.

But the other day, Syrena from Sunshine Photography reached out to me to ask if we could set up a shoot so she could learn more about my approach. And then my jaw hit the floor. And I immediately said yes.

Some photographers wouldn’t have said yes for fear of divulging their secrets. But we aren’t magicians–there is no “trick” to what we do. Two photographers could shoot the same subject, with the same camera and settings, standing in exactly the same spot and end up with two completely different images. Because it’s the person behind the camera that shapes the image.

So I gave an enthusiastic yes. Because not long ago I was this photographer–super green with a burning passion and no experience. And if I had known an experienced photographer who would have taken me under their wing for a day, answered my questions, and shown me how they do things, that would have made my process a lot different.

For our shoot, we enlisted the help of the beautiful Karson (who I’m convinced was either a model or psychic in another life–she was literally reading my mind during the shoot). I could ramble on and on about how much fun we had, but they say a picture is worth a thousand words.

So here’s about a million 🙂

If life has taught me anything, it’s that it takes a village. Everything from my running business to raising my daughter, I know it wouldn’t be the same without the advice and influence of those in my life.

So I will always choose community over competition.

And, not to my surprise, I ended up learning more than I taught during our session. Talking through my process, explaining my camera settings for each situation, and walking through poses with Syrena forced me to take a step back and look at the “why”. Why would I shoot with these settings? Why would I place the model in a certain place? How would I frame a picture to add diversity to the shoot portfolio?

Taking that step back helped me put a purpose behind each shot, and improved the entire portfolio.

And at the end of the day, I think we got some really great shots (although I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to take a bad picture of Karson)!


A huge thank you to Syrena for trusting me and helping me broaden my horizons and to Karson for freezing her tush off while still looking gorgeous and making the session so fun.

I can’t wait to work with you both again!


Are you a new photographer looking to expand your skills? An experienced photographer looking to partner on a rad styled shoot? A fellow Gilmore Girls lover and just want to chat? I’m your gal!

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