If you follow me on social media (if you don't, here's my Instagram and here's my Facebook ) you've probably heard me whine and complain that summer is gone. Officially. It's just...gone. I'm like a child- I'm just plain sad and a big ball of big emotions. I love the warmth of summer, the freedom, the beach, the sunshine, the laid back summer vibes... and it's just slowly ended and faded to Fall.
You also might know that as a family, we participate in something known as the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge. It's a big part of our life. We aim to spend 1000 hours each year outside. And to say that it's been life changing is an understatement. It truly has changed our lives and how we view our time outside. I also know that I really, really, really struggle in the winter, so we try to pack in as many hours outside as possible in the summer months.
So, I try to update ya'll on what we've been doing to keep busy and how we spend our time outside. Honestly, for us, summer is the easiest month to spend time outside. We don't mind the heat. We stay hydrated and seek shade when possible. We get our hours in early in the morning and late in the afternoon. This year the kids pooled all of their money together (and with a little help from mom and dad) got a blow up water slide and that has been a HUGE hit! We have enjoyed it so much and so have the neighborhood kids!
Here are some of our favorite ways to rack up hours in the summer:
We have had so much fun this summer. I enjoy our time together and I like to think we make the best of it. Winter becomes a lot more challenging for me, but it's all about harmony and prioritizing your time.
If you'd like to read more about what we did previously, check out this blog post.
If you'd like more information about the 1000 Hours Outside Challenge, click here to be taken to their website.
I have something truly exciting to share with ya'll!
I have been asked about Senior sessions a lot this year and I have decided to do something new and meaningful- I've decided to offer a limited number of Senior Storytelling Sessions. These sessions are going to blend traditional senior portraits with my documentary style to create something really beautiful and one-of-a-kind. Something that perfectly fits each individual.
From the bottom of my soul, I am so excited for these.
These teenagers have been really put through it these past 2 years, it's been a wild ride. A lot of their high school experiences have been taken away from them by this awful pandemic. I want to do something outside of the box for them, something untraditional, I want to do these my way.
I'm not asking for them to smile. I'm not asking for them to be a certain way or feel a certain way. This year was heavy. It continues to be heavy.
I'm letting them show me what they want to show me. We're hanging out with zero expectations and I'm letting them lead the way... I'm just capturing moments and making art as we go- only the littlest bit of guidance from me here and there.
I want these to be like a heart to heart, but on camera.
I want these to be absolutely infused with their personality and their interests. If they are shy and introverted, I'm not asking them to jump up and down and model for me, let's just be quiet together. If they are an artist, let's work with that. If they are a skater, then we're going to the skate park. If they love to surf, we're headed to the beach then. Whatever they are into, who ever they are, that's what we want to remember. That's what we want to celebrate.
To the Class of 2022- I see you.
For more information about booking your Senior Storytelling Session, use the Contact tab above or you can just click here.
I'm so excited to tell their stories and create something meaningful for them... and for you mama. It's like you blinked and here we are, am I right?
Photography has always been a deeply emotional act for me. I put so much of myself into creating beautiful art out of our everyday moments, it has always felt very personal and intimate to me. It feels...vulnerable.
I read a quote quite some time ago and it really resonated with me. I'm no poet and I can't come up with lyrical prose to make sense of the world around me. So reading this specific quote verbalized all the things I was feeling in regards to photography. It felt so good. It felt like, "Yes. This. All of this. This is me. This. This. This." Since then, I've been able to understand the feelings that I feel and why I feel them in regards to art and photography- and now I can use that knowledge even better than before, because it's stronger.
" You don't make a photograph with just a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved." - Ansel Adams
When I approach my own personal work or a clients session, the prep work is essential to me- but I'm always doing it, every single day. I prepare myself by training my brain to seek out that inspiration. I set aside a time to intentionally take in inspiration, but when I'm not doing that, my brain is doing it unintentionally.
I am heavily inspired by music. I love listening to music and I would 100% rather sit around listening to music than I ever would TV. I want my soul stirred by musicians putting their heart and soul into their songs. I want to feel what they are feeling.
I take inspiration from light. I love light as a subject in and of itself. I love noticing how the light falls, how it caresses surfaces, how it moves and takes on a life of it's own. I love the way it illuminates the most ordinary objects and makes them beautiful.
Often times while I am doing these things, I am thinking of all the things that have brought me to this place. The experiences I have had, the people I've loved (and the ones who have already left this Earth), the love I have received, the art I've seen, stories I've heard, and photographs I've seen before.
Basically, I get in my feelings.
Call it mediation, call it thinking, call it daydreaming, call it whatever you want. This is my process.
When I am at session, I am making use of this prep work. I'm in tune with my what and my why- they come to me easily now.
And I'm able to anticipate and see (really see) moments and stories unfolding. And I'm able to shoot accordingly.
When it comes to the editing process, I have a pretty specific routine that really plays into my turnaround times. My work is often times not viewed as a single individual photo, but instead as a body of work. A collection. It's viewed as a whole. Sure, I'll have favorite photos within the collection, but they are usually stronger when viewed as a whole, especially with my Day in the Life Work. I take time to marinate (yes, I call it marinate!) on the photos before I edit them and then again after they are edited. I need a day to marinate again and view them as a whole before I send them to my clients.
If you'd like to book your Storytelling Session with me or a Day in the Life Session, I am more than happy to talk with you and talk about what stories you want to preserve. Click here or the Contact tab above.
And to my existing Clients, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for respecting my creative process and hiring me to tell your stories. It's such an honor.
Jess is a photographer serving families located in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia. She specializes in documentary and storytelling photography.