Melissa Jeras: First time shooting film

Do you remember the first time you shot a roll of film?  I sure do!  I grew up with a darkroom in my basement, and I remember sitting on a stool and watching my dad print photos.  It was magic to me then, and it’s magic to me now!
Welcome to the wonderful world of film photography Melissa!  You’re going to LOVE it!
From Melissa:
“What I loved about this session is that it was my first session on film!  I’m totally in love with the whole process and there is no turning back now.  I think like most film photographers, I love having to slow myself down and really think about each image, and the excitement and anticipation of waiting for scans is like waiting for Santa.  Now if only I could get myself to stop looking at the back of the camera after each shot.  :)
See more of Melissa’s work: Website | Facebook | Instagram
Images created on a Nikon F100, with Fuji 400h, and processed by Indie Film Lab.  
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Do I have to be in business to be a “real” photographer?

Do I have to be in business to be a “real” photographer?

This is the question I have been asking myself lately.  And, it’s a question I have been discussing with some of my close photographer friends.

I have always been in business.  Before I was a photographer, I ran a very successful online retail store.  Before that, I learned everything about running a business, sales and marketing from helping my parents with theirs.  So yeah, you can say “entrepreneurship” kind of runs in the family.

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After having a professional photography business for more than 3 years now, I am reevaluating this decision.  Maybe, being a professional photographer is just not my cup of tea.  Let’s face it,  I don’t enjoy sharing my family time on the weekends after homeschooling my 4 boys and devoting time in teaching a workshop all week long.

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At the end of the day, there are 3 things I absolutely LOVE in photography:

  1. documenting my family
  2. travel photography
  3. teaching Embrace The Grain Workshop

I don’t care if I ever sell a print or get published.  If I do, awesome!  If I don’t, I’ll just keep on doing what I am doing right now – enjoying my love in creating and sharing photography and art.

©Joyce C. Kang-000048070014002

So, my question is “do I have to be in business to be “legit”?  Can I just shoot only my kids and family and still be a “photographer”?  I know many online workshop instructors are professional photographers, some are “super stars” in photography.  Can a hobbyist photographer get the same respect as a pro?

What do you think?

I would love to know how many Little Bellow Fans are professional photographers and how many are hobbyists (see poll below)?  And if you are a hobbyist photographer, do you feel you are less “real” because you don’t take client sessions? Leave me some advice friends!

Are you a

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Jenny - Joyce, perhaps this is not a question about professional vs hobbyist. You’re striving for something else ie to be an educator and family historian/documentarian. If those fulfill what you want to get out of photography don’t should on yourself with regards to clients. Call yourself an artist. I call myself a professional photographer yet I struggle to say out loud that I am an artist. Yet I feel that a lot of confidence comes from saying that you’re an artist because it is self-accepting/defining.

Heather Chang - I don’t take traditional clients but I enjoy mentoring and teaching. So, perhaps I’m not what is considered a professional photographer, but hobbyist doesn’t seem to fit anymore either. But I most certainly feel like I am a “real” photographer. Photography is so embedded in my identity that I couldn’t avoid it if I wanted! I used to question if I was real because I didn’t take clients. But now I know that, for me, documenting my children and my life will be the most important images I can take.

Kevin - In the world of photography, I guess I’d be called a hobbyist, but I don’t like that label even though I know I can’t quite call myself a professional. I have had a few gallery shows, paid for my kit with profit from sales and never had a real client… so, what does that make me? I love taking pictures of the world around me in everyday life and in my travels; from Aurora Borealis to flora, fauna and now the macro world. Are you still a hobbyist when people want to buy a picture of a snowflake or a picture of dew on a spiderweb or dandelion seeds really close up?

Melanie - Someone once called it my “hobby” and I bristled…it’s so much more than that to me! Photography is part of me and my life. I take photos every day; every now and then I take a paid shoot, but those are usually friends and I charge a very nominal sum. I don’t feel the need to rake in the money. I don’t need the money, but I need photography!

Stephanie Morgan Photography: Photographing Friends

I always say, there is nothing better than a newborn baby!  And documenting that magical time when a new family is home together for the first time is so special.

Beautiful work Stephanie!!

From Stephanie:

“My friend recently had a baby girl and I was honored to not only go over to their home to spend time with them, but also to document their newest addition to their family. This was my first session after taking Sandra and Cat’s workshop Film for the Studio Photographer and I’m so pleased with the results. I have no doubt that these pictures wouldn’t look like this had I not taken their workshop beforehand. They are exactly how I’ve always wanted them to look, but could never quite get right. This session was shot on Fuji 400h with a Pentax 645 and a Canon EOS 3 and were developed by Little Film Lab.”

See more of Stephanie’s work here: Website | Facebook | Instagram


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Melissa Gray, G Photo Co.: Hometown Family

I know it’s silly, but I love it when I see Washington State photographers submit photos… it makes me proud!  Haha!

These are gorgeous Melissa.  Thanks for sharing!


From Melissa:

” I shot this beautiful family back in my hometown of Moses Lake, WA.  I’ve known this lovely mom for years now and knew they would be perfect to photograph on film.  All of the images are shot on Fuji 400H on my Pentax 645n.  They were developed and scanned by theFINDlab.”

See more of Melissa’s work: Website | Facebook | Instagram


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