Memory documenting photographer of


SINCE 2008

striving to do better

My husband bought me a Canon Rebel for Christmas in 2007. I started taking pictures of my kids. Friends loved them and wanted me to do their photos.. & I was doing it  ALL in auto mode.. because you know.. the camera is way smarter than the person taking the actual picture, right? bah!  I got pregnant with my youngest child in 2008.. and took a break from doing sessions for other people.. and just focused on enjoying my pregnancy, and enjoying my twins before they had a new sibling. After Mason was born in 2009, I got back into photography again and started doing sessions for clients again.

Back then I used auto mode.

Back then, I knew nothing about shutter speed, or ISO, or APERTURE.. or bokeh.. what is that!?! I would charge people $50 bucks for a disk with 300 photos on it.

& I was still so proud of my “work”..

A close friend of mine was getting married and needed bridal portraits.. and then wanted me to do her wedding.. I was terrified.  The day of the bridal session, it was cloudy, it was rainy.. the sun that helped me take pictures was tucked behind the angry gray sky.. Trena  was gorgeous and we did her session regardless of the weather. She loved her photographs. & I thought they were just spectacular.

Her wedding was just a short time later and again.. I was horrified. The building was dark. I didn’t have an external flash. .because who needs those when your camera comes with a pop up one.. duh?  and I went loaded with two kit lenses and my fabulous canon rebel & it’s fabulous.. auto mode.

I spray shooted as Trena danced with her new husband, Jerry.  I flashed my pop up flash as Trena tossed her wedding bouquet… during the next few days I edited all of Trena’s wedding pictures and handed her back the disks when I finished. She loved them. I was proud of myself.. I had done so much work.. Me and my amazing Canon Rebel were unstoppable .. or so I thought.

Since then.. I have realized.. back in 2009.. At the time I didn’t think I was hurting anyone by using my auto mode.. .. but I was..I was hurting myself. I was putting a limit on my knowledge. I was putting a limit on myself and what I could do.   I then forced myself to LEARN what shutterspeed did.. what ISO was.. and how aperture completed that triangle.  & YIKES was shooting manually a tough chore at first. My exposure was ALWAYS wrong. My shutterspeed was NEVER fast enough.. But I was learning from mistakes and learning to be better at something I loved doing.

So if you’re new at this whole photography thing.. here’s some fabulous FREE advice for you.. DON’T start off using that green rectangle (auto mode).. because you’re digging yourself into a huge rut that will be hard to get out of.. Start using manual early. Make mistakes.. you will only learn from them and you will only get better from there. You don’t have to pay $2000.00 at some fancy workshop from a rockstar photographer to teach you how to use  your camera. Go to Adorama has amazing videos that will help you learn the ins and outs of photography.. your camera.. external flash.. lighting!! GOOGLE info.. JOIN a photography forum.. like! There are photographers that want to help you learn..that want you to be better.. and will give you amazing advice.. & it’s all for FREE! I’m sure there are other photographers who look at my current stuff and think.. holy moly! she still sucks! but that’s fine, too. I’m just trying to give help to a new photographer.. help that wasn’t given to me.

Unless you are blessed by God with a photography talent that it takes some photogs (like me) YEARS to achieve.. you’re going to mess up.. you’re going to make mistakes.. but you know what? You will become better because of those mistakes. You can do this! I have faith in you! Switch to that manual mode today and QUIT selling yourself short.



Here’s a picture of my first bridal session in 2009.. compared to my last bridal session ( back in 2011)..Both of these sessions were on rainy days.. but in the same location at our gorgeous Episcopal church here in Paris.  Do you see  a difference?? I do.  In Trena’s picture .. there’s no depth of field.. it’s one flat big piece of mess.. See how I was selling myself short? Now fast forward to 2011..  there’s a difference between the actual subject and the background. I’m sure in 2 more years I’ll look back at Molly’s bridal session and just cringe over how I took that picture.. but for right now, I’m pleased as pudding with it! Why? Because I know that it took me almost 4 years to learn how to take that picture. & I know that I did the best that I could.

Now let’s compare wedding photos. In Trena’s wedding picture of her dancing with her husband, Jerry.. I was standing far off.. You can’t really “feel” anything about the picture. It’s just a typical wedding photo.. a boring one at that. oh.. and it’s under exposed. hahaha. I was shooting with my kit lens that was a zoom lens. Now compare it to the one I took at my last wedding,.. Molly’s wedding.. I was up close.. Shooting with a 50 mm 1.2L.. which is a prime lens. I used an external flash.. bouncing the light off the barn ceiling above me..Completely different feel to both photos. You can feel just how much love Molly has for Billy.   You can almost hear the music playing.




Don’t sell yourself short.

Be the best you can be.

Always keep learning.





That is awesome of you to share advice and let them know it’s okay to make learn from them. I think you’ve done a fabulous job but I can see the differences in the above photos and am happy that you have taught yourself so much! You are just one all around great person and friend! <3

Shelly Keller

this was perfect for me 🙂 I cant wait to see where I am in a few more years! thanks for sharing!


You have grown with your photography and you can see it!! Keep it going!! Love looking at your pics!!!