Amy Hildebrand |bestdayeverphoto.com

Where are you from?
I am from Cincinnati, Ohio. Born and raised a Midwest girl!

Where do you currently live?
Right outside of Cincinnati, in a suburb called Mason.

How long have you been shooting?
Since I was sixteen

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
I received my BFA in photography

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
Both! When I was eighteen my dad offered to pay for schooling, but he wanted to make sure that his money wasn’t going to go to waste, so when I told him I wanted to go to college for photography he had me research a ton of career options within that field so I understood what I was getting into. After I graduated in 2007 though it was a slow start, (I think having two children played a part). It really picked up a few years later, and now both my husband and I have abandoned day jobs due to the demand for our photography services. I’m so thankful my hobby and work are one in the same.

What is in your camera bag?
Oh man, a ton of weird things! Since I literally shot every single day my camera bag doubles as a purse. I thought about getting some of the super expensive, cute bags that you see all over photoblogs, but in the end I just had my mom help me make on that best fit my needs.

I have my Canon 5D mark ii, 1.8 82mm, 17.40mm, 1.4 50mm, and 70-300mm. I also carry a 580ex Speedlight. We most recently got a 600SE Polaroid, so that’s been sneaking it’s way in as well.

Amongst those “necessities” there is also things like my Cokin filter system, a bunch of gels, and anything else I might find cool to shoot through.

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
Both, although for film I usually only shoot Polaroid

If both, what do you find both positive and negative about shooting in both formats?
Positives – the possibilities for ideas are endless due to do the accessibility of equipment (camera phones for example). I often think about someone trying to do a similar photo-a-day project back in the early/mid 1900’s. The task of taking a photo a day, processing the film, and printing the image, would be so much more of a commitment, back then than it is today. And the free time that I now have, due to digital, or same day processing, has left me open for new opportunities and time to think and experiment with on-set and post-production ideas.

Negatives – I guess the biggest downer about shooting mostly digital is the clash between photography communities. I made sure that I was “classically” trained in photography, so that I could make my decisions about what mediums to use wisely. I just hate seeing so many amazing photographers snub each other because of their choice in camera. I think both avenues of photography are amazing and I feel so lucky to live during a time when we can have access to both!

Why do you love Digital or Film?
I guess mostly because of the convenience of it all today. Even film is much more convenient than it was even ten years ago.

How did this project come about?
After college I got real tired of the “art world”. I had been surrounded by artists for four years and felt like I was completely separated from reality, and very drained and defeated from pushing and fighting for my work. My husband and I decided to have a baby, so I was seven months pregnant when I walked across the stage for my degree! I felt like having a baby would be the most pure way to get back in touch with reality, and it sure was! I shopped at Target, ate at Wendy’s and slowly melted back into normal American society; it was nice, and what I needed.

Only after having my 2nd child did I start to get that itch again. I had been doing photography work on and off, but I wanted to do something for myself. I also felt like children were running my world, so I decided to set a simple goal for each day and try to achieve it. I wanted it to last for a long period of time, slow and steady I thought, so that’s when I decided one photo to encompass one day, for one thousand days. Simple, straightforward, achievable.

I decided on the name With Little Sound about four or five months into the project, (I just started out with something like Project One Thousand, or The One Thousand Project as a place holder) I took that beginning time to really think about how I wanted to come across in my work.

My physical appearance draws a lot of attention, so I guess subconsciously I have always balanced that out with being a relatively quiet person who keeps to myself. I don’t think I’m special, or different than any other person out there, I’m just a woman trying to document her life for herself and for anyone who is curious to see what it might be like to live with her eyes.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
I guess it all started when I was young, and the doctors told my parents I was blind.

My mom was 20, my dad 24, and as if they didn’t receive enough shock when the doctor placed a white haired baby in their arms, he then proceeded to tell them that I had a severe case of Albinism, and that there was nothing they could do to “fix” me.

Thankfully my parents weren’t the type to believe everything they hear, and so they started searching for doctors who had studied the albino eye, in hopes there might be some way I could gain my sight back. Ironically enough there was a young medical student here in Cincinnati that was wanting to research the affects of contacts on infants’ eyes. My parents eagerly signed on the dotted line, and at three months I had my first pair of contacts.

A few weeks later I was grasping for shadows and the experiment was deemed a huge success. The med student and I were written up in medical journals across the country. The next twelve years or so I was fitted for all different types of glasses and contacts, but around fifth grade I sort of topped out. I can still remember those early days though, around the age of 2 or 3 studying shadows and light on the kitchen floor of our apartment. I think even then I knew how lucky I was.

When I haphazardly stumbled upon photography (I had to choose between a photo or chemistry class in high school, and I chose photography, thinking it would be easier, ha!), it became my outlet of what I truly saw. All throughout my life people have asked me to explain what I see and up to that point I always hesitated because I had no way of comparing it to what the normal eye sees. But with photography, I could photograph something, and edit it to look more like what I saw (literally and figuratively). It became my way of connecting with my past, and sharing it with others.

My photos are sometime straightforward and sometimes more imaginative, but I treat every one with the mindset that I never would have seen these amazing images if it had not been for my parents, that med student and God’s grace.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
To find beauty in every single day, in normal situations, during joyous occasions, and in bad happenings.

Throughout this project I had to witness my father-in-law be diagnosed with terminal cancer, and then watch him slowly die. It was a hard time for our family, but I tried nearly every day to focus on something beautiful that I need to be thankful for.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
Haha, what a loaded question! My husband and I are working on so many projects it’s hard to keep count! Right now our biggest project, that I would consider very personal, is called the Happiest Bride on the Block contest. It’s an entire wedding for free that we’re giving away to one lucky couple.

We’ve been doing numerous personal collaborative projects with my brother-in-law and his video company. We started a shared blog to host all of our work together (letsget2gether.com), and later we thought it would be fun, and a great way to market our new company, by offering a dream wedding for free. We got the idea from our friends at Our Labor of Love, who really inspired us to dream big.

Knowing that With Little Sound is scheduled to end in June of this year is a slight relief. I will be sad to see it end, but at the same time eager to start something new. I’ve often though about our future children (we want to have a big family) and have considered doing the project again when we have them in our life, but who knows.

I’ve been thinking a lot about taking up piano after this is done.

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
I think our goal for this contest is just to meet new people in the city, make new friends, work on something that we love to do, and surprise one lucky couple. There is nothing more gratifying than making someone’s day, you know?

And as far as the piano goes, I’ve always wanted to learn, and if nothing else was achieved through With Little Sound, at least I know I can stick to something if I put my mind to it!

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
I couldn’t do it without my husband. He is my other half. We work literally right next to each other at a desk, asking questions, bringing up ideas, and scheduling shoots. I don’t think I would challenge myself nearly as much if I didn’t have him and his crazy brain sitting right next to me spouting out ideas. I definitely know I couldn’t have done With Little Sound without him pushing me.

I am also inspired and challenged by all the different directions our life is taking right now. On top of doing my personal project, starting our photography business, and hosting/organizing a massive contest, we are renovating a 100+ year old home in a historic town called Lebanon, OH. All these things, plus having a 2 and 4 year old make our life quite challenging, and it makes my photography challenging too. I guess that’s just it; I really don’t like to separate my every day life from my photography, they are one in the same!

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Molly Flanagan|www.mollyflanagan.com

Where do you currently live?
Anderson, South Carolina.

How long have you been shooting?
I have enjoyed taking pictures since I was given a Nikon film camera as a high school graduation present, but it wasn’t until 5 years ago when my my first child was born that my camera became something I couldn’t live without.

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
Self taught.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
A little bit of both, I take on a limited number of storytelling family sessions and weddings a year.

What is in your camera bag?
Canon 5d Mark II
35L
24L
I love wide angle lenses!

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
Digital.  One of my goals this year is to experiment with film.

How did this project come about?
This past summer when my baby was born, I was obviously house bound for a few weeks. I became a bit obsessed with the way the light poured through our windows every morning and evening, so I started a little project revolving around this light. I love that the light is the subject, and my home and children are the context onto which it shines.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
When I first started shooting in manual, I only worried about having a room bright enough to get a decent exposure, but I am now much more aware of how light falls. These days the subtle beauty of the sun’s rays has become something I think about almost non-stop. I am constantly looking at contrast and shadows and the interesting patterns light makes. Now that I see it, I can’t believe there was a time when I didn’t notice it. Incredible light is everywhere! Just like overlooking the complex beauty of light, I think God’s grace in our lives is something we take for granted because we are too busy living life to stop and really see it. In these images, when I see the rays of the sunshine enveloping my loved ones, it reminds me of God’s constant presence and love for me. Even though I may not see him, he is there. “Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
You don’t have to venture out to a majestic mountain top to find beauty. It is right in front of you. You just need to take the time to look for it.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
Well, I just got an iPhone so I am little obsessed with instagram.  I don’t have any concrete goals at the moment, but I am having lots of fun challenging myself to make beautiful pictures with a cell phone!

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
To me the key is embracing those times when I feel discouraged.  It just means that I have learned everything I can.

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Rosina Waszaj|www.rosinasphoto.com

Where are you from?
I was born and raised in Taiwan. I moved to Los Angeles when I was 13.

Where do you currently live?
I currently reside in New Jersey.

How long have you been shooting?
About two years.

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
I am a self-taught.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
I do this mainly as a hobby. Although I do take a few weddings a year.

What is in your camera bag?
Canon 5d
35L
24mm 2.8
I use my 35mm 99% of the time, though.

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
Mainly digital. Although I do have a film camera and am learning how to perfect my skills.

Why do you love Digital or Film?
I don’t know much about film to form a legitimate opinion. But I love the authenticity of the overall feel of film. Digital has become more and more popular and common the past few years. I feel like it’s a great way to learn about these SLR cameras, since you can hit the delete button without wasting any film.

How did this project come about?
I know everyone says it, but time flies. Before my kids grow up and become people I don’t know anymore, I want to remember them being little.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
I have a personal motto when it comes to my images–they don’t have to be technically perfect, but they have to be perfectly real. When it comes to these images, they are authentic, true and they are real. Each of these images show who my kids really are. And the authenicity of this inspires me.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
Hopefully, they can read a story from each image.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I am always trying to shoot. Sometimes I don’t feel like touching my camera at all, but sometimes I can’t stop. I don’t always showcase what I shoot, but I know there are things out there that will always inspire me.

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
That I stay true to my art and what I believe in. At times it’s so easy to become distracted and I would find myself making images that will most likely be ‘approved’ by the public. But I always try to ask myself what is better–to be approved by the public or to stay true to who I am? That usually helps.

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
Thankfully, I have a few good friends who are in the same boat as I am. We constantly try to come up with little personal projects. Each of them are an amazing story teller, but each of them is so different from the other that we all learn from each other. So these little personal projects (sometimes even just from our iPhones!) challenge our creativity.

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Ralph Nardell |Flickr

Where are you from?
I’m originally from West Wyoming, a small town in northeastern PA.

Where do you currently live?
I live in Media, PA, which is about 20 minutes west of Philadelphia.

How long have you been shooting?
Well, I’ve always been dragging a camera around, even as a kid. But if you’re asking when I got serious about it – I’d say about 15 years ago or so. That’s when I became more deliberate about it, taking my camera everywhere, and making it a part of my daily life.

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
I am self-taught (may be more accurate to say friends-taught). But no formal schooling.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
I guess I fall right between the two. I work full time at Unbound Medicine, a software company I really love. But I do photography every other minute that I can. I sell prints, have small shows in local cafes or small galleries, sell stock photos, etc. I also do freelance work for a local print publication called Fig, and second shoot for weddings quite a bit, which I’ve been enjoying more and more. I have done a few family/kid shoots but I could use some tutoring in that area.

What is in your camera bag?
Nikon D700
50mm f1.8
85mm f1.8
24-120mm f3.5
SB900 speedlight
iPhone 4s (just upgraded last weekend)
Holga.

That’s not only what’s in my bag, that’s everything I own.

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
I shoot mostly digital these days, but still break out the film camera now and then. I love playing with the Holga, and also have a couple of Polaroids and an old Pentax.

If both, what do you find both positive and negative about shooting in both formats?
Well, it’s been said many times but it’s true for me too – a big positive is that there’s no mistaking that unique presence and feel that film has. Even when I’m flying around flickr looking at pics, every now and then I’ll see a photo that just looks different — I’ll glance at the tags and almost every time it says “film”. I don’t know what that is, but I love it. The only negative I can think of with film is the “not knowing” if you got the shot while you wait for the film to be processed. But then again, there’s a sweetness to that as well. I remember those days fondly.

As for digital, a huge positive for me is that it speeds up the learning process. What a gift it is to be able to experiment with exposure & light & settings and learn in the moment, knowing of course that it’s not costing you a fortune in prints and wasted materials. And of course it goes without saying that the low light capabilities & advancements in dSLR technology are mind-blowing.

Why do you love Digital or Film?
Digital, for the speed and learning and technological marvels; Film for the romance and feel of it.

How did this project come about?
I’ve never formally named it, but usually think of it as my Lone Leaf project. When I began, it was to remind myself to slow down & pay attention to the particulars. I love shooting nature, and it’s easy (at least for me) to get caught up in shooting panoramic landscapes or huge sky shots (which I also love) or snow scenes, wide beach shots, etc. 

I thought it’d be a fun and useful project to find something ubiquitous but easily overlooked, and really pay attention to it. The idea was to remind myself that it’s possible to tell a story or find something beautiful in the smallest of details, just as you can with more grand scenes or themes.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
I imagine it will say that I spend way too much time wandering around in the woods. Really, I hope it says that I’m someone who is trying to pay attention as I go through life. I think that when you give your attention to something (or someone), you’re also showing your appreciation as well. Slowing down, noticing these small things – it’s a way to give myself a bit of direction creatively, but also a way to remind myself how grateful I am for all of the good things in my life (friends, family, health, etc).

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
It’s an interesting question to think about, since I never imagined explaining the project publicly, although the individual photos have been out there for some time. I’d love for the viewers to take from it a similar idea to what you’re doing with this whole “Life is a Photo Op’ series. That there are everyday moments and objects around us that have their own story to tell, and that they’re worth noticing as photo subjects but also for what they are by themselves, the stuff that makes up our days.

Ultimately though, I always like the viewer to make up his or her own mind about what a photo or project means. I love to hear what people think or how they react to a certain photo.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I always have a few projects rolling around at once, even if they’re half-baked ideas and not formally organized as a Project. But I have been working on one that involves using my iPhone and my regular camera at once. I’ve also been trying to shoot people more often.

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
My goal with the iPhone/Nikon project is to use each of these amazing little machines in a unique and hopefully unexpected way. It’s really just for fun, and to force myself to not get stuck in a well-worn path.

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
I need to do more of this, to be honest. 

As I’m sure many of us do, I try to challenge myself by venturing into new territory. Like I said above, I don’t shoot people very often (in a posed, formal way), so I’ve been trying to learn more about that. I’ve also been learning more about shooting with off-camera flash and using a tripod for lowlight and long exposure shots.

I also try to keep an open mind and let other parts of my life inform my photography – movies, books, music, food, conversations, friends, humor, etc. If something finds a way into my head or heart, it’ll eventually find its way into my photos.

Ralph can also be found on Facebook. Like him here!

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Deb Schwedhelm | debsphotographs.com

Where are you from?
I’m originally from Detroit, MI, but when I was 23, I joined the Air Force [as a Registered Nurse] and have been moving every few years ever since (DC, MS, AZ, FL, WA, CA).

Where do you currently live?
We currently live in Tampa, FL. We’ll be here for another 1-1/2 years [or so] and then we’ll move on, to my husband’s next Navy assignment.

How long have you been shooting?
I bought my first DSLR in January 2006. I began teaching myself photography and have never looked back.

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
Self-taught.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
Well, I guess you could say that I photograph for a living, although we don’t depend on my photography income to necessarily live.

What is in your camera bag?
I’m kind of an equipment junkie, which isn’t exactly a good thing. But what’s in my main bag is:
Nikon D3S
Nikon D700 [backup]
Nikkor 35mm f/1.4G
Nikkor 35mm f/2D
Nikkor 24-70mm f/2.8G
Lensbaby composer
Polaroid SX-70

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
I have a few film cameras; however, I can’t say that I really shoot them, with the exception of my SX-70. I mostly shoot digital.

Why do you love Digital?
I love digital for a couple reasons: I love the instant gratification and I love the flexibility it allows. However, I must share how very important it is, just as with film, that you nail the exposure in-camera.

How did this project come about?
My 366 project all started with a gift I got for Christmas – A Photo A Day album. I had attempted a photo a day a couple times in previous years, but it always felt so forced. It felt wrong from the start. My heart wasn’t in it. This year was different, something magical happened and the photo taking seems such a natural part of my every day.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
For the longest time, I wasn’t photographing my kids unless I was doing so, as part of a formal-type of shoot. I was frustrated and kept telling myself that I needed to get back to photographing the everyday of my kids – not just the pretty portraits. I was so frustrated with myself and sad for my kids. I didn’t want them to grow up, not having their real life documented.

I had tried a number of things to get myself shooting my kids’ everyday lives [e.g. purchasing a point & shoot, taking phone pictures, starting a 365 project], but nothing ever seemed to pan out. In the past, I felt the pressure and frustration of having to take a daily photograph, but for some reason, this year is different. And I’m having so much fun with it. I also feel like it’s pushing me as a photographer – I’m encouraged to see differently and challenge myself.

Because this project is about documenting a bit of the everyday moments of my kids and family, every part of this project speaks personally about me.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
That’s a hard question to answer because I am doing this for me; not for the viewer. I don’t ever want to have the pressure of what the viewer might be feeling or thinking about my images. I am happy with whatever the viewer chooses to feel, when looking at my 366 images.

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I always seem to have a number of ongoing personal projects. Some involve my children; some involve other children. The great thing about projects is that they allow me to fully shoot the way I want to shoot. I have no one to impress or answer to but me.

If so, what is the goal you are trying to achieve from that project?
I think my goal with every personal project is to push myself and create a collection of images that embraces who I am as a person and photographer.

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
Shoot, shoot, shoot. Shoot every day if you can. Take risks; don’t settle on comfortable. Don’t be discouraged by misses and failures; learn from them and be encouraged. Don’t get caught up in what everyone else is doing. Learn from those willing to share. And be willing to share with others because through the process, growth can and most likely happen for you too.

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Today is the day we start our new photo blog series. The second half of our book is an inspirational guide entitled Life Is a Photo Op because we feel that the world around us offers us endless inspiration on a daily basis if you just know how to look for it. Not only is it a chance to highlight photographers around the world, both professionals and hobbyists, but this is a chance to inspire all of you to start a photo project that maybe you will someday share with us. We are thrilled to kick off this series with a clever and almost hauntingly beautiful look at life with children.

Thanks to everyone who has already submitted their projects! We would like to extend an invitation to those that have or are currently working on a personal photo project to email us at info@beyond-snapshots.com. It can be anything that sparks your creativity. We just ask that you submit work that you were not paid to produce. Please send us a brief description of your project with up to 10 images. We would love to see what you are working on, and possibly share it with everyone here!

Ketti Phillips | kettiphotography.com

Where are you from?
Southern California.

Where do you currently live?
Seattle, WA

How long have you been shooting?
About 4 years

Are you self-taught or schooled in photography?
Mainly self-taught. I had to take a photography course while I was studying graphic design in art school and it made me fall in love with shooting. The darkroom was not my favorite though – I did not have the patience for that.

Do you photograph for a living or is this a hobby?
That is a bit of a gray area… I have a business and photograph families for money, but it’s not something I market or really work at to gain clients. I have about 1 shoot a month, and about a quarter of those end up being freebies. So I don’t earn a living through photography, but it’s also more than just a hobby.

What is in your camera bag?
Canon 5D, 35L, 24-70L, 85 1.8 and 50 1.4. I also have a Pentax 645 that I like to play with.

Do you shoot digital or film or both?
Mainly digital but I am trying to get more film into the mix.

What do you find both positive and negative about shooting in both formats?
The instant gratification of digital and being able to correct myself on the fly. I love how film forces me to slow down and really think about a shot before I push the shutter.

Why do you love Film or Digital?
They are both great mediums! There is a tactile quality to film that is so beautiful. Digital can try to replicate it, but the real thing is always better.

How did this project come about?
I was looking for something to shoot that would push myself to explore an area I felt I needed to work on. In this case it happened to be detail shots and storytelling through objects and scenes. Since I work at home, I am never without my kids and don’t get out much. It is easy to fall back on them as subjects, so this time I kept them as the subject but removed their physical presence from the equation. It’s called “Kids Were Here” and the rules of the project were one photograph a day for 30 days, about my kids, but with no actual children in the photograph.

What is it about this project that speaks personally about you?
It is all about my children and tells me so much about them and what stages and quirks they were going through during this time period.

What would you want this project to say to the viewer?
To give the viewer a sense of my children, their personality, behavior, the chaos that exists in our home…

Are you currently shooting or planning to shoot another personal project?
I would love to but haven’t found the inspiration yet!

How do you keep challenging yourself photographically?
I give myself little rules to follow. Right now I’m focusing on composition so I tell myself nothing can have a center comp, I need to explore new angles.

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We are only a couple months away to the release date of March 20th of the Beyond Snapshots book. Not only is it exciting that we are seeing this project come to fruition, but what gets us head over heels is the sheer fact that this book is just that, A BOOK! It’s made of paper, that smell that only you can get from opening a brand new book. So very full with not only the written information and inspiration you need to pick up a camera and shoot, but also beautiful examples of pictures that you can learn how to take!

But where will you buy the book? We all know Amazon is a great place to get books, but did you know you that all of our other favorite vendors are pre-selling the book as well?

We also hold a special place in our hearts for the local bookstore and we encourage you to support them by visiting one that is in your neighborhood. Ask them to order it for you. That’s right, they do that!

There is a stop motion video called the “The Joy of Books”,  by Toronto book store owners Sean Ohlenkamp and Lisa Ohlenkamp, that has inspired this post and made us want to proclaim our love for books and now hopefully proclaims yours. Just remember the simple pleasure of sinking into the corner of a book store and getting lost in a book. Where will you get your copy of beyond snapshots and where will it take you?

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Exactly two years ago we announced the journey to bring our dream of an idea to bookstores with this blog . It always seems that in the first week of January we have something noteworthy to report.  This year isn’t any different and we have exciting changes for us, including new faces and plans that we hope will excite you as well!

We are growing! Last year we added Meredith to the Beyond Snapshots team and just this week, we have added the awesome Isabel to help with the blog and some of the administrative tasks to help the blog grow and bring you some more interesting articles to read.

my love of photography was first born in the bottom of a cardboard box. one filled with curled and crumpled memories of the lives of my mother and father. as an only child living between two homes i found family in those photos. i found a history for myself, beyond the two spaces i floated between. i started out in the tiniest town in the world, warwick ri, and now reside in Medford MA with my husband and two kids, Jack (6) and Leo (3). i’m the daughter of a photo journalist from the days when journalists had to shoot their own images. i grew up on film and the darkroom was my first love. i can still remember the first time i developed one of my photos. from camera to paper. this white square, floating under my rubber tipped tongs. swaying gently back and forth in the small waves of the developer. and from the fog an image emerges. i was hooked.

after having my first son at the age of 19 and marrying my long time hunny, i felt lost in the motherhood identity and knew there was something missing, something just for me. i was always taking photos but my point and shoot just wasn’t giving me the satisfaction i missed from the days of shooting film. capturing a moment, but so much more than that. a feeling, a connection. it’s more than wanting fancier equipment, it’s the calling you have to be a storyteller of sorts. so, two and some odd years ago i invested in my first dslr. for the first 6 months i spent a lot of time on the computer and a lot of time shooting. transferring what i knew about film to digital was harder than i had anticipated. it was at that time that i stumbled upon rachel’s site and the beyond snapshots blog. i was starving for knowledge and any blog that offered sincere help and genuine caring to the importance of teaching this craft was devoured. of course it’s rachel’s sense of humor and the genuine emotion she captures in every photo, of kids or lemons (really, one of my favorite shots of hers is a lemon on a tree in a diptych with a window…), that keeps you coming back for more, and it was the same for me.

i photograph my life and when i’m lucky i get to photograph other families lives too. i write, i play with the kids, i love the husband, i spend way too much time on facebook and instagram (@ifurie), i’m a music and concert junky, i have a not so perfectly kept home and a few laundry piles lying around. but at the end of the day, these photos i take of our life, of my kids, of them with their cousins and grandparents and each other, they are the greatest love letter i’ll ever write.

i’m so excited to be a part of this team, that is committed to continuing to inspire and teach the artist in all of us and build a supportive community for anyone who shares this love of photography.

you can find me at my blog http://www.ifurie.com/
on instagram: @ifurie
and on flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/furiephotography/

Now that the Beyond Snapshots book is written (with nearly 2 years of constant work, you can be sure this is a VERY complete opus) and our blog family has expanded a bit, we decided to take a step back and really reflect on what we wanted to give our readers on a more consistent level. We even wrote a mission statement of sorts!

It is not JUST that you don’t have to be a pro to take great photographs, but that if you take great photographs, you don’t have to BE a pro. There is more to professional photography than the ability to expose properly and compose with interest. There is so much more. We at Beyond Snapshots are not here to make new pro photographers. We are here to encourage natural talent to see a moment and record life beautifully with still images. We want to share those results as inspiration for others who see photography as their art form, whether it is their livelihood or not. We embrace this photography renaissance and all the opportunities it provides those who previously could not afford to pursue their passion. To sum it all up, we exist to champion the desire in anyone with a camera to go Beyond Snapshots.

mobile PHOTO monday’s are coming back! Our weekly feature where we highlight 3 images that our readers have taken with their mobile devices, will be revamped and more accessible to everyone. We are excited about the changes to the submission process to make it easier for you to participate. The goal is to not only to educate you on popular mobile applications, but to encourage everyone to record their life regardless of what kind of camera you have. Check back soon for more info!

The revival of thinking thursday will be featured once a month, where we will be selecting some images from the thinking thursday flickr group to give individualized help as well as posting tips for getting better pictures with fewer shots taken and less time spent on the computer.

We are also excited to reveal a new blog series, “Life is a Photo Opportunity”. Every two weeks we will be featuring a photographer and their personal photographs. These artists will not necessarily all be professionals, as we want to celebrate the general enthusiasts and everyone who loves taking pictures. In fact for the pros who are featured, the one requirement is not about subject matter, but that your session/shot was non-paid work. Travel, food, kids, pets, LIFE photos… There will be more details on how you can submit your work in the next few weeks, but here is a glance (in no particular order) of some who we already have lined up:

rosina waszaj :: www.rosinasphoto.com

mary collier :: www.mkcphoto.com

abbie mcfarland :: www.abbiemcfarland.com

sara tegman :: www.sarategman.com

molly flanagan :: www.mollyflanagan.com

rebecca conway :: www.rebeccaconway.com

shannon harrison :: www.jackandrubystudios.com/blog/

ketti phillips :: www.kettiphotography.com

amy lucy :: www.amylucy.com

amy boring :: www.aboringphoto.com

The book is almost here! An advanced copy of “Beyond Snapshots” is literally on it’s way to us and we are so close to the March 20th release date. The PR madness for the book has begun, and we are looking forward to an article being published by the New York Times this week!

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Happy Monday everyone! Here are last week’s mobile PHOTO monday images. Enjoy and thank you to all who participated!

 Cherish B., Professional from Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, www.cherishbryckphotography.com

Mobile Set-Up:

This is a photo of my 4.5 year old doing just what 4 year olds like to do, sit upside down on the couch.  I remember doing that all the time when I was a kid.  Somehow I don’t think it is as acceptable to do this when you are an adult (at least not when anyone is looking!)

 Eje G., Hobbyist from Pittsburg, Kansas, USA, http://www.flickr.com/photos/macahanc6r/ 

Mobile Set-Up:

  • myTouch 4G Slide
  • Default camera app – macro mode, in post used default phone app (gallery) and edited to add “high contrast”

Was playing around and testing out the new myTouch 4G Slide phone, wanted to test the macro mode, of course working with electronics as a full time profession I had numerous electronic boars sitting on my desk in my office so took the one that looked the most interesting and played around with it. I shot with the myTouch from different angles and distances.  I really liked how this particular shot came out so this became my choice to publish to my flickr stream. The myTouch 4G Slide is a brand new phone was released in stores the 27th of July and you could preorder it on the 19th (which I did and got my phone the 23rd). Why did I pick this phone, because it claims to be one of the best camera phones out there and it have some very impressive specs on the camera. My old phone was a 2.5 year old Blackberry and was in need of upgrading/replacing. I decided I wanted a phone that had a good camera and a better app selection then the Blackberry and handle push e-mail. Another MUST HAVE requirement for me was a phone that supported UMA(Unlicensed Mobile Access) or Tmobile hotspot@home  the iPhone for example was really never an option. I live in a fairly rural area and NOBODY has decent coverage at my house, but with the cell over WiFi function I have excellent service at home. Since I received the phone I been putting it to the test and the picture I named “Digital Landscape” was one out of numerous pictures that I taken with the camera phone. Further I decided to start a “myTouch 4G Slide” group on flickr in hopes to get other people using this camera phone to join the group and post to it. http://www.flickr.com/groups/mytouch4gslide/ 

Gabbie S., Professional from Croydon Park, New South Wales, Australia, www.gabrielasmithphotography.blogspot.com

Walking home from work on a cold wintery morning, I saw this frangipani tree with no leaves and thought that is was just as beautiful (hauntingly so) in winter as it is in the summer with all it’s frangrance and lovely flowers).  I photoshopped to black and white and sharpened to get the dirty noise on the upper branches and then a little vigniette-ing.

Stacia E., Hobbyist from Geneva, Illinois, USA, driedonmilk.blogspot.com 

Mobile Set-Up:

I was taking my 3-year-old daughter to the movies for the first time. We were standing at the candy counter getting popcorn. I’m not sure which she was more excited about, that she got her own popcorn or that we were going to see a movie. It’s blurry but you have to be quick with kids! Actually no, it’s blurry because I was carrying a car seat (holding her 5 week old brother), a diaper bag, popcorn for two, drinks for two… and I just had to capture the excitement on her face. I love how the picture as a whole just screams lights, camera, action!

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We are getting a great response to our weekly event, mobile PHOTO monday! Thank you to everyone who is participating! It’s great to see how creative everyone is being with their mobile applications. We love to see where everyone is from, and to see your lives through your eyes.

This week we have a couple submissions. As a reminder, we will be contacting you to ask permission to post your images as well as get further information.  Please keep an eye out, so you don’t miss this opportunity!

Marianne U., Hobbyist from Melbourne, Australia, http://madmonday.madcrew.com.au

Mobile Set-Up:  

This was taken at around 6am after an early morning feed at home and in bed, little Eli went back to sleep, hubby was still fast asleep but I was wide awake! Perfect time to try and get a snapshot of the baby and I using the trusty iPhone. There’s a big window behind me and the morning sun was just poking through the blinds and I didn’t think the iPhone would be able to take a decent shot but to my surprise it did.  I only needed to adjust the brightness using the Photoshop Express app.  I sometimes wish i had the dslr or the point & shoot when I took the photo as it is one of my favourite photo of us and would have liked to have a good quality print of it but then again the graininess that the iPhone 3G camera provided is probably what makes me love this shot even more.

Elysa H., Hobbyist from Illinois, USA

Mobile Set-Up:

The morning I took the photo, I woke up earlier than usual and decided to take a walk on the scenic drive near where I live because it was so beautiful out! While I was walking it just felt like the perfect summer day. People were out enjoying the weather, birds were singing, and wild flowers seemed to pop up everywhere over night! When I saw these beautiful bright yellow flowers I quickly grabbed my phone and took a picture to capture that summer feeling. I love my SLR camera, but it isn’t always practical to carry it around with me, which is why I love the camera on my phone. It’s always on me and perfect for capturing those unexpected moments when you just have to photograph something!

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