The title of this blog post is also the name of a business in town...one that is so important and meaningful to me. While this isn't a sponsored post or an "LH SPOTLIGHT," it still felt right to use this name. And I know Craig from Beyond The Photograph would agree. Let me explain.
My journey into photography was an accident. I never aspired to be a photographer, and, although I was always intrigued by it, the thought of doing it myself never crossed my mind. I was definitely someone that admired photography and, thinking back, I spent a lot of time looking at great photos. As soon my husband and I got engaged, I poured over hundreds of photographers looking for the perfect one for our engagement & wedding photos. As soon as I got pregnant, my Pinterest was FULL of ideas for our baby's many milestone photos. I appreciated the role that a photographer took in capturing each milestone, and wanted so badly to be able to preserve those moments in our own life. So, I figured I would just be hiring them often!
The launch of Little Hoboken brought on a different need for photography. Photography now meant business to us, and was a way to showcase what we were doing in town or the places we were going. With our iPhones and limited skills, we made do with what we had and took as many photos as we could. When it came time to needing good photos of ourselves, or of our events, we begged and bartered. We worked with many different photographers around town and got some really great photos through our work with them. But we knew we couldn't do that forever, so I decided to purchase a camera. It was a purchase that would change the way I viewed my world.
Obviously I had no idea what I was doing. But, I used my kit lens and camera on "auto" and began taking photographs of everything I could. I loved it, and honestly, thought I was really great! Ha.
As a few months went on, and I was taking more and more photos, Melissa and I made a "business decision" that I was going to learn more so that we could do more of our own photography for LH. I started with a small class with a local photographer to learn the basics of shooting in "manual mode" (a term that anyone with a camera knows can be a scary one!) and that is where the first match was lit to my photography fire. The difference in my photos was astonishing, and I was hooked.
Then, I met Craig. It was supposed to be a quick meeting to discuss getting Beyond The Photography on the LH Hook-Up Card program, and we ended up talking for a quite a while. I told him I had taken a class and was taking great pictures. He looked at me with skepticism in his eyes, and that is when I proudly (and, probably, too confidently) showed him a photo that I had taken. He looked at the photo, looked up and me, and plainly said, "you only know a fraction of what your camera can do."
Challenge accepted, buddy. I enrolled in his classes later that week, and my real journey into photography began like a shot out from a cannon. (or a shot from a Canon... did I just make that joke?! )
Beyond The Photography is a magical place inside the Monroe center. It is a small studio, filled with photography equipment, wires along the floor, props, printers, and old film cameras. It feels so busy, and yet the the walls are filled with the most amazing black and white photos that make you stop and take them in. And as you do, you find yourself inspired to be sitting there, waiting to learn the secret behind those images. It becomes a safe space; one where you allow yourself to become overwhelmed, scared, stripped of confidence, and vulnerable as a photographer. And then, Craig builds you back up piece by piece in a way that makes you better, stronger, smarter, and more powerful as a photographer. Starting with the basics, you really learn the foundation of photography, the way our eyes and brain see things like light and patterns, and gain a new appreciation for all that goes into making a good photograph. Craig challenges you, in a way that makes you think and inspires you to keep learning more.
Craig teaches you the process of making a photograph, no just taking one. Here is the difference between Craig and others. Here is the difference between photographers trained by Craig, and others. When I realized that I was learning to make something meaningful, my love for photography really started to bloom.
I don't write this to say that I know it all. In fact, there is a lot more that I don't know about photography than what I do. I still don't have a fraction of the skills I wish I had, and there are a million other photographers that I think are a thousand times better than I am. But I don't focus on all of that too much, because I am having fun. I am working to capture the moments in between all of the big milestones- to look at the world through my daughter's eyes and capture what she sees, how she feels, and what is going on around her.
What I didn't realize, on those days that I filled my Pinterest boards with thousands of photos, is that it's not just the big milestones that matter in photography. Its the day-to-day moments. The ones that come so often you almost take them for granted. Moments like the look on my daughter's face when she sees her daddy for the first time after a long day. The skepticism in her eyes when she first gets into the pool and holds on tight to someone she trusts. The brightness of her smile when she plays with her best friend. The confidence in her shoulders when she is the "big kid" in the room and shows her little cousin how to do something. The comfort & relaxation in her body when she is snuggling with her beloved doggy on the couch. These are the moments that matter to me. These are the moments I work to capture. This is what photography means to me. And when I am able to capture these all important life details...then, I have gone beyond the photograph.
Follow me along on my new Instagram @LittleHobokenPhotography and visit www.littlehobokenphotography.com so we can capture some of your moments. Oh, and I did manage to get BTP on the LH Hook-Up Program at that initial meeting! So head to his website to book a class and get 10% the session fees. When you finish your first class, reach out to me and we'll go make some photographs together.