Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sara B Snappin

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted.  The reason for that is a three-week visit to my home town where I started a new adventure!  While sleeping in my parent's basement and letting my fabulous mom take care of Ashford, I did photo shoots for 21 friends and their families to build a portfolio for my new photography business.  
I know, I know.  Another 'momtographer' who thinks she can start a business because she has a nice camera.  Trust me, I have done that eyeroll a million times.  However, I am taking this very seriously.  I have dedicated countless hours to learning, practicing, researching techniques....and it just seemed like this was the right time for me to see if I had the talent.  
I had never done formal photo shoots before, so I decided to start with friends, just in case I bombed.  I put together a contract and a plan to make it as professional and legitimate as possible.  I never dreamed I'd get so many interested friends!  I was so busy, doing 4 shoots a day some days and I was always up until 1am editing photos at night, it was crazy!
After my first few sessions, I realized a few things:
I need more practice with posing
I need more tricks up my sleeve to deal with kiddos that aren't into photos
I need to be religious about using a gray card or my Expodisc to avoid all the post-processing white balance fixing!  That takes up SO much time. 
I need to have a checklist of poses/activities that I wanted to capture, a sort of workflow that will help me get everything I want, for me and for the client.  
After all the sessions were over, I assessed my portfolio and was pretty happy with the variety and quality of the images.  I am very critical about certain things:
  • Focus.  All of my images must be SHARP (unless the artistic vision is to be blurry/out of focus)
  • White balance.  Skin tones must look like skin...green people sitting in the grass, anyone?
  • Interesting light.  A well-exposed image in flat light can be boring.  I try hard to look for and use shadows and sun to make a more powerful image.
  • Poses, or lack of.  I try to capture moments rather than forced smiles.  Yes, I take a lot of posed smiling shots, but I also take a ton of photos with no eye contact. Sometimes (most of the time?) those are the best ones.  
  • Distractions.  If there is a big blue garbage can behind my subject and I don't realize it until I've taken the shot, you bet I will take the time to clone it out in post.  
  • Editing.  I like a clean edit.  I sometimes use the matte finish that is so popular now, but it's rare.  I always have a light touch with my editing, to remember things as they actually were. 
  • Time of day.  I prefer to shoot at sunset, like every other photographer, but during this visit it just wasn't possible to do that for everyone.  So, I've learned to love full sun in the morning and afternoon!  Here are some of my favorites in full sun:

Next steps for me include registering my business with the state, setting up my tax info, figuring out what platform I want to use for my website and blog, the list goes on and on.  But one thing is certain, I'm going to do it right.  (Shaun wanted me to call my business Sara B Snappin because my middle initial is B, but I just couldn't agree to that!  ha)
If you would like to check out my Facebook page, it is Sara Hilton Photography.  I also have to give a shout out to the forum that has given me the confidence to pursue this, Clickin Moms.  Their tutorials, advice, and wealth of information have been so instrumental to my growth!  
So, that is what is taking up all my time lately.  However, I did get some work done on the house...mainly a new color for the front door.  Here is a teaser of the color painted on some cardboard (SW Obstinate Orange), full post coming when I get the last coat on!  It's awesome!


  1. Congratulations Sara! Those are beautiful photos and it sounds like exciting times in your working world :)

  2. those are fabulous photos! How exciting that you've started a new business. Will you be job hunting in the new town, or is this your new full time job?

  3. Congrats on your new business! Sounds like you've well on the right track, so smart doing so many photo shoots back to back, I'm sure that was a wealth of information!

  4. Congrats!! Sara B Snappin should be somewhere on your site/card/byline, it is hilarious and memorable ;)

  5. Your photography is amazing!! Well done.

    I adore the house color, and the door and trim around it, PERFECTION!!!!

  6. Thanks, everyone!

    Lisa - I will not be looking for a full time job, the photography business would be my only job and I prefer it be pretty part time. Luckily, we are doing well on Shaun's salary, so the money I make will go towards my (usually expensive) decorating projects! It keeps it fun that I don't have to make a certain amount of money, I would hate for taking pictures to become a chore.

  7. Yeah! We'd be happy to be your guinea pigs here in the cities! Your photos are fabulous, so I'm excited for this!

  8. You're a great photographer! Good luck with the business in MN!

  9. I'm so happy for you, the photos look great!

  10. This is so exciting! I'm so happy for you - you have a true talent for photography and I know you'll be a raging success. Wish we were closer so we could get our photos done.

  11. You are amazing. Your talent speaks for itself. Congrats, girl!!!! Bravo.



Thanks so much for reading....your comments mean a lot to me!