Wondering where I’ve been? Sorry about that. Many of you know already that I’ve spent the last few months doing practice photo shoots of several familes and children. Opening a family photography business is something that “T” and I have briefly talked about on and off for years…but with careers in hi-tech in the middle of Silicon Valley, it’s hard to make a change (salaries and cost-of-living being what they are in the Bay Area).
Well, since the girls have gotten older and started attending pre-K full-time, it was time for me to go back to hi-tech or revive my old scrapbooking company or start something new. And thus, Solheim Photography became a reality.
Solheim Photography specializes in modern lifestyle photography of newborns, babies, kids, families and couples and a few special projects here and there (you’ll see what I mean soon on our web site). For now, I am the principal photographer with hopes that someday, “T” will be able to join me and add another dimension to our portfolio of products – landscape, wildlife, travel and action sports photography.
What’s modern lifestyle photography, you ask? Well, I’m not as much into very sedate, posed, no-hair-out-of-place, dressed-in-their-Sunday-best, everyone smiling at the camera, sorts of pictures. It makes me nervous. It stifles my creativity. Nope, my photo shoots are far more free-flowing and organic. I like to mix it up with candid and posed shots…mostly candid…with a little different perspective. You’ll see there’s an element of playfulness and fun in many of my shots mixed in with thoughtful, emotion-filled expressions (well, *I* think so, at least).
I never really know how a photo shoot is going to go when I show up except that I know I will capture some very interesting, “keeper” moments. For the most part, it’s the children that dictate how quickly we’ll get “those” shots or how many breaks we’ll need to get there. Having photographed many, many children from baby to 4 years old, I have a few ideas in mind…PLUS a lot of patience in store.
“Practice photo shoots” is a bit of a misnomer. Since I’ve been into photography most of my life, I wasn’t really practicing or learning how to photograph. I’ve been told several times that I have a “good eye” for photography. Rather, I wanted to know whether photographing other children and other families would appeal to me. And to answer for myself, can I create the sorts of photos that would touch them (as the ones I’ve taken of my own girls have touched me)? So much so that they would actually purchase images I created? As you guessed, the answer was yes.
But there has to be more to it than that, right? I mean, taking nice photos is one thing. Creating fabulous images that other people want to purchase is another. But the passion has to be about more than that to sustain a career. And I realized what it was…for me.
When I first jumped off the non-stop corporate rollercoaster and started my scrapbooking company, I entered a completely different world. In a broad sense, everything I created (embellishments for scrapbook pages) and the projects people used them in hit very close to home. That is, the products were used in something very personal, very meaningful…that went beyond any hi-tech product that Silicon Valley could dream up. These products became part of people’s keepsakes (scrapbooks, photo albums, cards) they would cherish forever. It was wonderful to hear, “Oh, these will be perfect for my sister-in-law’s new baby album!”
And photography, to me, takes you even closer to what is meaningful for people. Beyond helping anyone create the kinds of scrapbooks that will hold those sweet photos, I’m capturing the unique moments that become those cherished photos that will live on for years (maybe generations!) on their walls or in their albums.
I’m struck by how happy it makes me feel whenever someone I photographed says how much fun they had during our shoot. After viewing the photos, I’m relieved to hear that the families loved the results as much as I did. More importantly, it’s at that point that I realized how honored I was to be the one they chose to let into their lives for a short hour or so, to catch some pretty special times.
And the other little thing I realized I loved about doing these photo shoots? When I get home, it’s like Christmas every time I look through the photos. I can’t wait to see what images I caught! And I can’t wait to show the families.
An original It’s Never Easy But It’s Always Fun blog post. MommyTwinGirls can also be found at Solheim Photography posting favorites from her latest photo shoots, recounting the joys and challenges of raising twins on Mad About Multiples and contributing stories of her foibles and triumphs in mommyhood at Silicon Valley Moms Blog.