I asked Audrey Priel, from Rose Trail Images, to write a guest post about how she approaches her photography. What I love about her work is that she doesn’t overdo it. She edits just enough to make the photos interesting, but she doesn’t do a bunch of unnecessary trickery that distracts from the point. Any effects she adds look natural and organic. After you’ve read through it, check her out on her website or Facebook page! So without further ado, here is her post:
This blog entry could also be entitled, “Do Your Thang” or “Drowning out the Other Voices on Your Facebook Feed”.
It could also just simply be called, “How to Create your Own Gosh Darn Life”.
Let me explain. But first, let me introduce myself.
My name is Audrey, also known as the fancy shmancy “Rose Trail Images”. In real life, I’m a special ed teacher. But my cool super power is: I am also a photographer. It took me a looooooong time to say that last part. In fact, I still sometimes have to catch myself to say YES, I definitely AM a photographer. I usually still start with the whole special ed teacher thing, though. It pays most of my bills, so it’s hard to ignore it.
Anyway, I met Emily about… oh, five years ago or so. I came into Artistic Abandon with some neighbors to get my paint on for the very first time, and lemme tell you… I got hooked. The process of creating something was so amazingly awesome. Even if I wasn’t that good at it. Then I hiccupped, as usual, sang a few lines of the Unicorn Song, and it was true friend love. We even have girly dates with lunch and nature and princess hats. And yes, I document everything. She’s pretty much stuck with me.
Anywho, to get back to the point. The point of how the heck I do what I do. Sometimes… I still don’t know. But what I do know is that it’s something I always wanted to do. Like roller derby, only safer. I feel like for the first time in my life, I finally did something I’ve always wanted to do. I made up my mind to buy a camera and take pictures, even though I had no training what so ever. And I haven’t looked back since.
Photography is just capturing moments in time. Anyone can do that. It’s always been said, it’s not the camera or the fancy lenses that makes a photograph, but the person behind the camera. THAT, my friends, is one of the truest statements ever to be told. Each moment in time is looked at differently by everyone. Photographs are the same way. I could see a field of dandelions in the sunset, looking golden and glorious, and all my husband sees is a bunch of weeds, and why doesn’t anyone ever mow over there?? Those are the moments that I get super psyched about. It’s like the show Fixer Upper… they take houses that no one would ever dream of buying and turns them into something amazing because they had vision for it. Photographers are the same way with landscapes and light. It also helps when you have amazing people like Emily to work with!
Some may see just a rickety old fence and some overgrown weeds…I see it as a playground for awesomeness!
Now, here comes the tricky part. Ok, so there are lots of tricky parts as nothing is ever as easy as you want it to be, but here’s the main tricky part for me: if I don’t know or understand something, I figure it out. Usually by asking smart people (my Mom and Dad usually pop into my head first) or by my trusty friend, Google. But with creating art… you can’t just Google that. Sure, they can give you entire books on how to create dreamy landscapes and what exactly is an F-stop, and you want me to place the OCF WHERE? But actually doing it and creating something beautiful… that’s all on you, baby.
I became a part of a bunch of Photography groups on Facebook to help me understand Lightroom and Photoshop and editing skills a bit better. People post pictures of something they have taken and have spent HOURS editing and ogling over, pouring their hearts out on this one image, and you know what happens? People critique it. Not just critique it, but squash it to death. “The highlights need to be fixed on the right side” or “I would totally delete the tree coming out in the background over there”, and “I you definitely need to make it a warmer image”. These are nice comments compared to what I’ve read before. And starting out, I thought all these people were right! I listened… intently… and tried to agree. But then I came across an image someone took. A mother had just given birth to a stillborn, and the photo was in color. Glorious, birthy color. It was emotional, and I felt every inch of that image. And it was critiqued, HARSHLY, because the “experts” felt that an image that raw should be in black and white. From that point on, I realized that every image a photographer/mother/father/human/dog (by accident) takes is a work of art, in their eyes. Not everyone is going to like it. Everyone else will want to tweak it somehow, someway, because that’s what would make it their own. But it’s not yours… it’s theirs. And it is perfect.
This picture, with all the sun flare, would be crucified on those Photog groups. Me? I think the sun flare is the best part!
So, now what? Now… I do things my way. I’m a nature freak, so about 99% of all my shoots involve nature in some way. Even if I bring it with me J I have decided I love sun flares, because they make your subjects look like an angel. I love warm, earthy, organic colors. I love the warmer images that make you want to dive into them and hug the subjects and invite them over for a bowl of pasta. But more importantly, I want to be able to show personalities. For example, take our friend Emily over here. We all know she’s a bit silly, but also warm-hearted, down to earth, and real. A loving human being that exudes warmth and kindness. So… that’s exactly how I tried to portray her. In the golden light, being herself, with warm, natural colors and some sun flare for fun. Voila!
I hope I haven’t bored you too much with my blabbering. Everyone’s story is personal. Their journey is their own. This is only a tiny fraction of my story, but for me… it adds so much to the overall book of my life. I’m better at not listening to all the naysayers. I am learning to take in the constructive feedback and leave out all the other crap. I’m also learning that my photography… it’s not too shabby 😉 The more I practice and learn, the better it will be. Now… who wants to help me practice?