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A Fine Art Portrait Photography Studio

A Fine Art Portrait Studio
Houston, TX

Photography Mentors & 5 Photographers Who Have Inspired Me

June 7, 2021

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Photography Mentors & 5 Photographers Who Have Inspired Me

As I sit here and prepare to be one of photography mentors in our amazing industry, I can’t help but stop and think back to my beginning, and what, and who, inspired me.

Maternity Photographer

**This is the daughter of the sunset aunt… Some things are meant to be ;).

1 – My Mom

When I was a little girl, my mom had a point and shoot camera. You loaded the film, took the pictures, and then took the roll of film to the local drug store to get the pictures printed. That was always the best part, waiting to see them, and then opening up that little cardboard packet!!

She also had some really cool cameras and lenses from the ’70s…I need to see if we still have those somewhere!  There were a million (ok, maybe not a million, but a lot) of pictures of us everywhere. From photo boxes to photo albums, and frames… photographs were all over our house (just like my grandmother had in her home too.)

One summer night, we were at my aunts lake house and I walked outside and snapped a picture of the sunset going down behind the dock on the water… it was just really pretty (I still have a thing for sunsets on the water.)

Months later, my aunt showed me the printed copy of that sunset.

At that time, I had no idea she even had a copy, or had even seen it, and I felt proud, especially that something so beautiful came from that little moment.

Note to self: I need to ask her if she still had that printed portrait of that sunset ;). I think this is when my love for photography began. It was with a printed photograph, thanks to my mom’s camera.

2 – A Texas Tech Sorority Sister

As I headed into college, I had NO IDEA what my major should be. I was the “photographer” on my high school dance team, I was creative, and I knew that I wanted to do something super cool, but what?

Have you ever seen that movie “What Women Want” with Mel Gibson and Helen Hunt? I wanted to be like her… I wanted to live in New York, work for a really cool advertising agency, have an office with a view, and wear amazing shoes to work every day.

…reality check – it’s summer, my kids are all home, I’m in my kitchen in the suburbs of Texas, and I don’t have shoes on.

Moving on, I hopped onto the mass communications train and decided to study advertising and english ….

I also may have added a minor in marketing because I was waiting on my now husband to graduate – sorry dad ;).

I studied David Ogilvy, technical writing, and how to put together an advertising campaign… which may be outdated practices compared to the technology and social media we have today.

After graduation, I got my first job in Dallas, Tx, leasing apartments. Seriously? One of my best friends graduated right before me, she got a job there, and I needed one, so I got one too… It was terrible. I had all of these big dreams, but instead I was driving a golf cart from apartment to apartment just living for my next paycheck.

One day, I remember seeing Paige Walker post pictures on facebook of babies. She was a photographer!

I was like what? She’s taking pictures and it’s her job??

Paige, you are the one that made me realize that this could be my job too, and I’m so thankful that our paths crossed. Paige is still in business to this day, and is a really fun instagram influencer…peek into her page here  Paige Walker Photography! 

3 – Southfork Ranch Wedding Photographers

Moving on….my next job was in event planning and I actually worked at a really cool venue called Southfork Ranch. It’s where the show Dallas was filmed in the ’80s. There was an event and conference center there, and I planned corporate events.

Guess what a part of my job was?

To plan all of the details, and one of those was to book photographers for these events. I was so amazed that these people took pictures as their jobs. I guess growing up, I just thought that photography was a hobby, not a career, and watching all of theses people do what I loved really made me wonder if I could do this too!?

4 – The Milky Way

Here I am … 5 years pass, I move 4 times for my husbands career, have 3 babies, and decide that itis time to plant my career roots again…

I told my husband I wanted to start my own business. I had always wanted to be a photographer, and if I was going to do it, this was the time.

But how?? How do you even start?

I didn’t know what to do, so thanks to Google…

I just looked up photography mentors and stumbled upon The Milky Way.

Lisa has created a great program for beginning photographers. If you want to focus on newborn and family photography you can still learn from her. The Milky Way was one of the best resources that I still am thankful for. You can visit her website if you are interested in Newborn and Family photography www.themilkyway.ca.

5 – Kansas Pitts

Last but not least, I remember stumbling upon Kansas Pitts Photography in my early days of research and education. Kansas was one of the photography mentors I still admire to this day. She also had a photography studio, and I just gravitated towards her artwork. Remember my story above about sunsets and water? – that’s what her specialty is! I did take a few of her classes online.  She was always so sweet to email back when I had questions, and I loved her printed artwork! I knew I had to set up my studio similar to hers!

Kansas uses Canon, and I use Nikon (that’s another story for another time) but her work is beautiful and you have to follow her if you don’t already @photogingmama.

Your Photography Mentors

As I wrap up this post, I hope that this shares more about me and my photography journey. Be sure to visit my page for photographers if you have questions on where to begin. I’ an open book and am here to help!

Lots of Love,

Shannon

 

 

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