Welcome back. This is Part 2 of my Then & Now photography story. If you haven't already read about this new blog series, check out Part 1 here! And don't forget to join me and get involved in the series.
Back in 2014 I bought a new lens in preparation for taking photos of my twins, a cheap nifty fifty. I was always so fixated on the face, soft natural light and tight crops (with the 50mm there wasn't much room for wider shots inside anyway). I was firmly in Mummy goggles territory, I loved photos of my cute babies but I was disappointed that I never managed to capture anything particularly special. Not only did I find myself getting bored of the same old style but I also struggled to get both of them in the frame or actually capture our lives with any sort of storytelling in my photos.
As you can see, I was editing in a much lighter, brighter style which wasn't actually floating my boat. I hadn't found my preferred style yet and was always shooting in aperture priority mode to get that soft background and only using easy, diffused light, shooting jpegs again. I was using Lightroom and learning as I went, having forgotten how to use PS over the previous few years.
When the twins were a bit older and I found a little more time for myself, I turned to mentoring and had a great morning with Clare Barker Wells back in 2016. We discussed all of the above and I soon realised I needed to switch up both my shooting and editing style to start really liking the photos I took of my family. I invested in a full frame D750 and a few months later, a wider lens - my Sigma Art 35mm which is still my go-to lens and on my camera 90% of the time.
I started looking for more interesting light, shadows, practised with sun flares and backlight and started editing differently too, discovering presets (which I always tweaked) and learning more about Lightroom and how to achieve the punchier edits I was drawn to. I stopped worrying about faces and realised I actually loved taking faceless photos, detail shots, shooting from different perspectives and most importantly to me, telling stories.
It was only after I found "my voice" that I contemplated doing photography as a business. I'm thrilled to say that I love shooting clients just as much as my own family and aim to tell stories in all my sessions (whether it's for families or brands).
As for awards I aspired for a "title" like Clickpro, or getting featured and published - you might not want do this of course as none of these things are magical business boosters that guarantee clients will book you, but they can have advantages and fulfil that desire for validation.
My more recent personal work tends even more towards documenting life, especially when the light inspires me and I rarely use presets any more.
The learning never ends of course, I love finding news ways to be creative, switching things up and playing with my camera. I even had a go at the underwater photography again, it's such a steep learning curve taking photos of kids underwater compared to the nature photos I shared in part 1!
I'm also trying to get better at food photography at the moment.
Some of these newer examples below, with my more dark and moody style, were taken with the same old cheap 50mm lens, I just learned how to use it better, learned about lighting (I only use natural light) and my editing has evolved. I still have A LOT to learn, especially when it comes to styling food and using my new backdrops at their best. But I'll keep doing what I'm doing - practising, learning, trying new things.
To wrap up Part 2, I'm going to leave you with a few side by side comparisons of my family and food work. For example see Photo 1 (how it started) vs Photo 2 (how it's going)...
If you fancy showing us how your photography has evolved over the years, send your blog submissions to firstname.lastname@example.org with a few examples of before & after and a little bit of your story you'd like to share.
Are you fairly new to photography? Does this post resonate with you? Would you like to see more photographers showing us how they started? Let us know who you'd love to hear from in the comments!
Find Bex here: