Belly, Baby and Beyond Conference

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I am so excited to be a part of the upcoming Belly, Baby and Beyond photography conference in Newport Beach, CA this upcoming May 5-7th. The Belly Baby and Beyond Learning event is the premier international photographers conference dedicated to the art and the business of pregnancy and newborn photography. I will be teaching on topics such as breastfeeding photography, studio management and how to find your path along the way. 

If you've been on the fence about attending, you won't want to miss this. There are some amazing photographers and teachers attending. I'm honored to be a part of such an awesome group of professionals. And this is all hosted and organized by the amazing Ana Brandt.  Known worldwide for her groundbreaking creative techniques, teaching videos and wildly successful clothing & accessory lines, Ana’s dream is to make Belly Baby & Beyond a permanent annual stop on every photographer’s conference calendar. 

Are you interested in learning more? Visit http://www.bellybabybeyond.net/registration/?affiliate=tararuby for a full line up of the speakers, learn about the many amazing things offered and to sign up!! 

The story of a lens

Do you have a story for any of your camera equipment pieces? I do, and it's a story that changed my life, and it is completely past due for a good tellin'! 

I had just decided that photography was something more than just a hobby and a past time and had decided to make a living offering photography services. A really close military friend of mine called me up and told me she had a lens for me, and that I could keep it. She said I would use it more than she would ever use it and that she wanted it to go to someone that would treat it right and do great things with it. (boy did we both not know how that would turn out). 

So I went over to pick it up and she told me the story behind this particular lens. See, this lens had belonged to a US Solider, a soldier that had deployed and had taken his camera overseas with him to capture portraits there. This lens had been one of those pieces taken around the world with him. After this soldier served his time, the demons that come with his line of work was just too much, and he had taken his life. He left his gear to my friend, and she trusted me to take care of this for him. 

I bet you're thinking wow. Yeah, so was I. No pressure right? I had never shot with anything except Canon kit lenses, so I was super ready to take it out and create some amazing portraits with it. I used this lens more than anything else in my bag. I took a portrait of a military homecoming between a father and his daughter, and won the 2014 Army Digital Photography contest with it. And then in 2015 I took the Internationally viral portrait of the US Soldiers breastfeeding in uniform with it. I won so much with this lens, and I worked it to the point of no return. At the 2016 WPPI event in Las Vegas I approached Tamron at their booth and told them the story of this special lens, and asked them if they could fix it. It wasn't a price issue, it was because at that point I was attached to the lens. I needed it to work again. It meant the world to me, and like everything else, age had started to take it's toll. 

Tamron's customer service was amazing, and after taking the time to listen we decided it needed to be sent in for further evaluation. A few weeks went by and I was finally told that this lens needed to be retired. But through the entire process Tamron became an important part of my life, my business and the way I shoot as a photographer. Now I'm proud to say that they sponsor me in all of my endeavors. We have a great relationship and it grows deeper every day. In fact, I'm sitting at White Sands Missile Range right now prepping to capture the portraits of the remaining survivors of the Bataan Death March as well as the march itself this weekend, with nothing my Tamron glass in my bag and on my camera. Every once and awhile the stars align and you find the perfect match for you in this world, and Tamron has been that perfect match for me and my photography. All because of a 75-300mm lens. What a story, right? 

A little dream of my own

This path that I am on is one that requires some originality, some ability to be crafty and a keen sense of vision and purpose. This week I took on a project that captured all of that through a long process and I'm super happy to share that process with you! 

Earlier this week I spent about 4 hours putting together a beautiful tulle dress, that was hand stitched, each individual piece, and there are layers upon layers to this. I also hand cut each layer so that everything lays the way I want it too. Then the next day I painted a backdrop to match, but also a backdrop that I can use later. This backdrop took around 5 or 6 hours to paint, as I had to put a layer down, wait for it to dry, and then add the other layers, for a total of 5 layers.  Then finally it all came together for today's 2 hour session where we captured this final portrait. 

Now that the session is done, there will be another 6-8 hours to edit the full gallery of finished portraits for this beautiful princesses mom and dad to preview and another hour long session after that for print ordering. Totally worth every penny, every hour, every moment of putting this set together. But for 1 finished portrait like this I will have spent almost 20 hours, and money spent to finish this! 

Did you know that this many hours went into creating a beautiful fine art piece like this? Now you know .... I'll be sharing a similar breakdown for a newborn session in the very near future. If you wondered what your photographer does to bring you the best possible portrait, worry no more!