Tips and Tricks for Killing It With Social Media

Whether we like it or not, social media is a major part of our lives.  And if you've got your own business, it's an even bigger (and more maddening) part.  So here are my tips and tricks for killing it at social media as a photographer.

 

1.  Stop trying to find tips and tricks.  

They're like diets; IF they work, they only work for a small time, and then they either stop working, or aren't sustainable.  As soon as you figure out a way to work with an algorithm, they go and change it.  And it will always be that way.  So, for me, it's less about a quick fix, or a trick to best the next algorithm, and more about building relationships.  And relationships take time and attention.  

Whoo!  Look at those likes!!!  A whole 34!  Hahahahaha.  HOWEVER, I was contacted THREE TIMES, by real human beings, asking me about this photo... one person even considered buying it as a print.  Right about now, anyone who came to this post thinking they were going to double their numbers is feeling confused... 

Whoo!  Look at those likes!!!  A whole 34!  Hahahahaha.  HOWEVER, I was contacted THREE TIMES, by real human beings, asking me about this photo... one person even considered buying it as a print.  Right about now, anyone who came to this post thinking they were going to double their numbers is feeling confused... 

2.  Don't run your account like it's a popularity contest.  

Contrary to what every company that sells "tips and tricks for killing it at social media" would like you to think, high numbers of followers and likes aren't a single direct line to success.  And high followers and likes don't necessarily equate to actual business either.  There is the argument used that the more visible you are, the broader your reach.  And that does make logical sense.  But reaching a larger audience, with a message that is unclear, unpolarized and inconsistent or just too similar to everyone else's is just going to be white noise to a larger crowd.  

I can tell you this; I am a person who has a pretty small follower base on my social media accounts.  But I am a person who books consistently with social media despite that. That's because I've got a clear message, a consistent message and a LOYAL followership as a result of those things.

We've all had it happen; we post something and then we lose followers.  And it can be a blow to our ego.  And make us panic... panic into curating AGAINST what will sell us.  Just remember, losing followers is a process of refinement.  If what you posted is something you love, something you feel strongly about, or something that is important to you, then let the haters hate.  And if you get low likes on something, that's okay too.  If there's one thing that I've learned, it's that the shots that I personally love the absolute most, get very low like numbers.  They might be a bit different, maybe challenge current thinking or trends, or even make people uncomfortable.  And that is THE POINT of art.  And just because someone doesn't double tap or comment, doesn't mean it didn't resonate.  I have had MANY experiences where someone who's hired me tells me that the reason they hired me was because of a photo or post THAT THEY NEVER HIT LIKE ON.

So I knew this would get low likes when I posted it, but I love the photo, and it really embodied how I was feeling at the time.  This photo has caused more genuine, enlightening and important conversations both online and in person, about depression, than any other photo I've posted.  It has created real connections with people who I didn't know I shared this struggle with.  That's what photography is for me, a way to connect, and so a connection is a far greater pay off than giving the illusion that I'm popular on instagram.

So I knew this would get low likes when I posted it, but I love the photo, and it really embodied how I was feeling at the time.  This photo has caused more genuine, enlightening and important conversations both online and in person, about depression, than any other photo I've posted.  It has created real connections with people who I didn't know I shared this struggle with.  That's what photography is for me, a way to connect, and so a connection is a far greater pay off than giving the illusion that I'm popular on instagram.

3.  Figure out what you want and who you want it from.  

If you want to grow your business (and notice I say business, and not followers or likes because they just simply are not the same thing), it is best to use social media as it was intended;  to share things you love, with people who care.  That means not just trying to get as many followers as possible.  And that means curating what you share based on something other than getting likes.  YES... THAT IS WHAT I JUST SAID.  If you really want to grow your business, and make actual connections and bookings, then you need to let go of whether or not you get a lot of likes and be really in touch with what you want, how you want to do it, who you want to do it for.  

For me, I know my clientele rather well.  They are smart and stylish free thinkers, creative and extremely gracious.  They don't mince words, value the ART of photography, they've likely been labeled as "different" at some point in their lives and haven't run from that... they've owned it.  They generally have a great sense of humor and want photos that FEEL REAL.  And they most likely swear.  Probably more than your average bear.

These are my people.  They aren't found in the masses.  They're on the outskirts.  And the only way I can reach them, is by aiming my arrows at the outskirts.  And I aim my arrows with authenticity.  And I don't mean "authenticity" in the new catch phrase sort of way where everyone says they're authentic and real without understanding what those words actually mean. I'm talking really, truly being you.  Finding your voice, sharing it bravely, and letting that guide your arrows not to likes and followers, but to YOUR PEOPLE.

Ha... even fewer likes... and guess what?  I don't give a CRAP.  That is, LEGIT, my favorite selfie ever.  It's my bloody reflection in a moving car.  18 likes or 0 likes.  THAT is an awesome photo in my book and I'm glad I shared it.

Ha... even fewer likes... and guess what?  I don't give a CRAP.  That is, LEGIT, my favorite selfie ever.  It's my bloody reflection in a moving car.  18 likes or 0 likes.  THAT is an awesome photo in my book and I'm glad I shared it.

Look, I'll be completely honest with you.  I didn't think about any of this stuff when I started my social media accounts.  And I still don't really think about it now.  I use Instagram as a kind of therapy.  I have a photo, or a thought, or combination of both and boom... I put it out there.  I share what I feel in a moment.  I share what's important to me.  I share photos that I love and I share why I love them.  I share stories.  I share opinions.  And yes, this means my feed has no color story.  Shit... it has like, no cohesion at all.  And this means that my numbers grow very slowly.  But they grow meaningfully, and organically... sustainably.  And I'm connecting... REALLY CONNECTING, with people.  People who may well hire me in the future.

Yup, hardly any likes, but I got hired because of this photo, by someone who didn't even double tap.  I'll tell you, if they've only got one tap in that finger, I'm happy that they tapped "Contact Me" over like for sure.  Especially when they end up being super amazing family clients.

Yup, hardly any likes, but I got hired because of this photo, by someone who didn't even double tap.  I'll tell you, if they've only got one tap in that finger, I'm happy that they tapped "Contact Me" over like for sure.  Especially when they end up being super amazing family clients.

So what's my point here?  I guess my point is that social media is a mind fuck.  It gives us all a false sense of being good or bad, successful or unsuccessful, liked or not liked.  When really, it's just an opportunity.  An opportunity to share.  And I feel like so many of us are missing that opportunity because of a focus on getting likes and followers vs. getting CLIENTS.  People who appreciate our work enough to want to hire us.  People who feel they've gotten to know us through our posts and trust us enough to invite us to capture their family, or their wedding.

So if you've got low numbers, but you're sharing what you love to shoot... then keep at it.  It WILL work.  Enjoy that slow process because it will yield REAL results.  I have SUPER low social media numbers... I am also super booked right now with QUALITY clients.  MY PEOPLE.  

And if you've got high numbers but are frustrated that it's not turning into business, or if you're feeling empty or too attached to those numbers, maybe take a risk.  Post something you feel strongly about that might not fit the color story of your feed.  Post a photo you've taken that you absolutely love that falls outside the realm of your norm. Detach from the likes and just enjoy the feeling of sharing another side of yourself and your work.  Just do something that isn't motivated by quantity and is motivated by quality.  You'd be surprised how freeing it is (after you check your phone 500 times in the first hour to see what the response was... :)

So basically, my #1 tip for how to kill it with social media is to stop giving it so much weight.  Curate from your heart, share what you love to shoot.  It doesn't define you and EVERY photographer has their struggles.  And I guarantee you dealing with social media is one of them. I probably could have just said that at the beginning of this post... but then this wouldn't have been another therapy session where I pretend I'm talking to an audience when I'm really just reminding myself...

My most liked image so far.  Just because my self esteem needs for you to know that sometimes I get more than 18 likes... :)

My most liked image so far.  Just because my self esteem needs for you to know that sometimes I get more than 18 likes... :)

Kauai Elopement | Kauai Wedding Photographer

There's something about my people.  My people haven't had it easy.  They've had to battle their way through life.  Make their own path.  And travel alone for a good portion of that journey.  

To be able to witness two people who've come out the other side, not only better for it, but having found true love along the way, is such an honor.

So, to the photographer with whom these two originally booked, who all of a sudden had another wedding come up as soon as they found out it was a same sex couple; 

Without your ignorance I wouldn't have had this honor, so I thank you.  

But your ignorance causes pain, not only for others, but for you as well.  I pity the experience you are creating for yourself and others and I genuinely hope that you will one day see beyond it to what

Real

Love

Is

Because you're missing it.  And this is what it looks like.  And it's fucking amazing...

Single Mom Photo Shoot Giveaway Winners!

I am super happy to say that because of the overwhelming response to the giveaway, and the super sweet and compelling nominations that came in, I was able to find SIX photographers who were willing to donate half hour family mini sessions to this giveaway!  Additionally, I've added another family mini session myself to try and create as many winners as possible.  So I'm able to list 8 winners of this giveaway!!!

I've run the random number generator to find our winners and below is our list of winners along with their corresponding photographer!

Anabelle Hernandez  -  Trish Barker Photography
Mel Abon  -  Trish Barker Photography
Amanda Kimmel  -  Ajja Photography
Shevaun Bitzig  -  Images by Jeffrey
Jen Dempsey  -  Barb Toyama Photos
Danielle (with twin daughters and no last name listed ;)) -  Island Fresh Photography
Jana Trhlikova  -  Mariah Milan Photography
Cori Beebout  -  Infinity Photography

I am SOOO touched by the stories that have come in and am so impressed with each and every single mamma who was nominated.  You are all definitely so loved!!

And I am so thankful for the photographers who jumped in to help me with this giveaway.  So incredibly grateful for your talents and generous hearts.

From me and mine, to you and yours... Happy Mother's Day!

Photo by Yan Photography
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Photography Giveaway | Honoring Single Moms

All moms are amazing.  It's the hardest job ever.  Legit.  So all us mom's need to give ourselves a big pat on the back for getting in done.  But there's a specific group of moms that I feel have it harder than most... single moms.  I know this, because I was one.  And though I'm not one anymore, I look back on that period of my life and often question how the hell I did it.  How I made it work.  Because being a mom is hard enough... but doing it on your own?  CRAZY hard.

maui family photographer.jpg

So this Mother's Day, I want to honor single mammas.  Because:

1.  That shit is hard
2.  Single mom's rarely have it in their budget to do ANYTHING extra, and when they do, they always get for their kids... so a luxury item like a photo shoot is rarely something they splurge for
3.  Single mom's are such a huge fixture in the lives of their kids, sometimes the only one, and yet there's often not a lot of photos with these mom's with their kids, or a documenting of their lives together... and this feels like such an important thing missed for mom's and their kids.

 

So I'm doing a giveaway of one Family Shoot to a single mamma and her kiddos.  The winner will be announced this Mothers Day (Sunday, May 14, 2017).

 

How to Enter:

1.  Enter a comment below with the mom's name and why you're nominating them.  
2. Send an email to trish@trishbarkerphotography.com with the mom's name and their email address. (so I can contact them if they're the winner). 

That's it.  I'll then pick at random on Mother's Day and announce the winner on the blog.

UPDATE: BECAUSE THE RESPONSE HAS BEEN SO OVERWHELMING AND THERE ARE SO MANY MOMS BEING NOMINATED, I'VE REACHED OUT TO SOME OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS AND AM HAPPY TO ANNOUNCE THAT IN ADDITION TO A FAMILY SHOOT WITH ME,  I'LL BE ABLE TO GIVE AWAY ONE HALF HOUR FAMILY MINI SHOOT WITH EACH OF THE FOLLOWING GENEROUS AND AWESOME PHOTOGRAPHERS:

MARIAH MILAN
IMAGES BY JEFFREY
ISLAND FRESH PHOTOGRAPHY
INFINITY PHOTOGRAPHY MAUI
AJJA PHOTOGRAPHY
BARB TOYAMA PHOTOS

Can you nominate yourself?  Hells to the yes!  In fact I think you should.  Ain't no shame in actually doing something for yourself for once right!

Only real rules are are:

1.  Have to be a single mom to be nominated or to nominate yourself
2. Have to be on Maui in Upcountry, North Shore, South Shore or West Side.  (sorry Hana mammas... I can't drive to Hana on my own because I'm a fraidy cat...)
3. Have to enter with a comment and an email.
4. Have to make use of the shoot within the next 6 months

So if you know a mom who works her booty off for her kids and who would love to win a free photo shoot with her kids, enter her to win!!

Maui Family Photographer

 

 


 

Maui Sunflowers

I'll let you in on a little known fact... there's a field of sunflowers on Maui.  Shhh... it's a secret.

No it's not.  In fact, it only took about 20 minutes on the "coconut wireless" for it to become the new hotspot on the island.  Every time I've driven by there, the field is PACKED with people and photographers.  Can't say I blame them.  It is a sight to behold, and on a tiny island where things don't change much, the new scenery is welcomed.  Thanks to Pacific Biodiesel, there's now a lovely, sustainable crop that not only serves a purpose, but brings much beauty.

So to all the a-holes I'm hearing about walking away with arms full of cut flowers...  stop that shit.  It's theft... and it's SUPER LAME.  Don't take what isn't yours and don't ruin it for everyone else.  Leave the flowers for EVERYONE to enjoy.  

Like this girl.  Who looks right at home amongst the flowers chuckin' them deuces.  Cause sometimes you just gotta raise that middle finger, and then say peace out to the shit in your life that doesn't work.  

Desiree, I'm so inspired by you.  Thanks for playing with me in the flowers and reminding me what strength with grace looks like.

Maui Sunflower Photos

Maui Photo Circle | Perspective

I'm late with this project post.  Because I didn't like this theme either.  HA!  There seems to be an underlying recurring theme to all these monthly themes.  It's the "Trish being a big fat baby about this project that she started" theme.

I suppose it makes perfect sense that I'm struggling as much as I am with this project (for those just tuning in, it's a project I do with other photographers where every month we shoot in a particular theme and then post, sharing our interpretation of that theme).  I mean, the whole reason I started this was because I needed to be held accountable in order to push myself to do these things.  So I guess this is just proof that this project was exactly what I needed.

So this months theme was "Perspective".  And what I did at the beginning of the month was looked up the definition of perspective as it pertains to photography.  That was my first mistake.  Because then I stopped myself from shooting saying things to myself like "that doesn't fit the definition".  Ugh.  Nothing like stopping yourself from doing something you love.

So, then I remembered that the whole reason why I love photography is because each person has their own unique "perspective", which means that I can have my own perspective on "perspective" and that was kinda the point.

Does anyone else drive themselves nuts the same way I do?  I swear... my mind is my biggest enemy sometimes-all-the-time.

Anywho, I decided to remove the definition from it and just shoot.  And here's what I learned about myself.

1.  Big. Fat. Baby.

2. I like the "perspective" of getting in close; of looking deeper.  And this is very much in line with my personality, so I guess it makes sense.  Things are never what they seem on the surface, and there's nothing that shows that truth more than macro photography.  I remember I saw this moth once, and it look SO FREAKING BAD ASS and stealth... and so I grabbed my camera and macro lens and when I saw it through that lens, it looked like a total dork.  It's eyes were super big and kind of cock-eyed, and I remember laughing really hard at that first peak.  Very deceiving appearances are...  

3. I LOVE when a photo ends up being totally obscure, so that it's hard to figure out what it is, or even, can fool the eye into thinking it's something else.  I remember, when I was a kid, I used to read the magazine Highlights... or was it The Weekly Reader... I don't know... but it had photos at the back that were either shot macro or taken in a weird way that made it obscure enough that you had to try and guess what it was.  I LOVED those things.  And so if "obscure" is a "perspective", then I think I like that one too.

4.  I also learned that I use air quotes and ellipses WAY too much...

So here's my interpretation of "perspective" in photography.  To see how others interpreted this theme, click this link.

Also, in my interwebtubernet travels to find cool examples of "perspective" I came across this artist, who's mind works in such an amazing way that I am constantly blown away by what he creates.  Check him out... you won't be disappointed.

Perspective - Maui Photographer

Iphone 7+ - Steamboat Springs, CO

Iphone 7+ - Steamboat Springs, CO

iPhone 7+ - I stuck the phone in the snow.  (yes, it can go underwater AND under snow)

iPhone 7+ - I stuck the phone in the snow.  (yes, it can go underwater AND under snow)

Nikon F5 + Portra 160 + The Find Lab - I feel like a dork even posting this one because the depth of field totally ruins the affect... me and my love of bokeh... 

Nikon F5 + Portra 160 + The Find Lab - I feel like a dork even posting this one because the depth of field totally ruins the affect... me and my love of bokeh... 

Iphone 7+ - Sunrise?  Sunset?  Actually, this is my kitchen faucet in my kitchen sink, shot in macro, and turned 90 degrees counter clockwise.  The "water" is the running faucet and the "sun" is bokeh, probably reflecting from gross food on a dish waiting to be washed.

Iphone 7+ - Sunrise?  Sunset?  Actually, this is my kitchen faucet in my kitchen sink, shot in macro, and turned 90 degrees counter clockwise.  The "water" is the running faucet and the "sun" is bokeh, probably reflecting from gross food on a dish waiting to be washed.

Iphone 7+ - this is my son's eyeball.  I am now, officially, obsessed with eyeballs.  

Iphone 7+ - this is my son's eyeball.  I am now, officially, obsessed with eyeballs.  

I don't just shoot eyeballs and random things with my iPhone.  I mainly shoot weddings and families with legit cameras.  Check out my website... if you dare...

Maui Family Photos | Beach Session

Okay, okay.  I have this thing with the beach.  I kinda don't like shooting at it.  Ya... I know... way to live in a place where everyone, rightfully, wants beach photos.  But my past few sessions at the beach have rekindled my love affair with getting sand in my pants (remind me to tell you about that time I got stopped at airport security for that very reason).

I love the energy of these Maui family beach photos so much, that it's actually been driving me crazy to not share it.  And it's only been like a week since I got the scans.  

Happy to share a few favorites from this Maui Family Beach Session.

Cameras: Contax 645 and Nikon F5
Film: Portra 160
Developing and Scanning: The Find Lab

Maui Beach Elopement | Sierra + Daniel

I've been getting a lot of intimate elopements recently.  And I have to say that I really, REALLY have a blast with them.  They are so intimate, and I have time to get to know the couple and really feel their connection, which I feel translates to much more real photos.  Photos where you can feel the love they share.  Did you know that because of Daniel's job, he can't wear metal... so Sierra had a silicon ring made with the inscription TRUTH + LOVE?  (two of my favorite things)

And did you know that she made her own bouquet and did her own hair while her makeup was being done?  I love a girl who can do it herself... and do it well.  Cause her bouquet was SO WELL DONE and her hair looked freaking amazing, which on Maui, is no easy task.

Here's some favorites from this super fun and super sweet Maui Beach Elopement.

Hair and Makeup: Makeup and Talent Hawaii
Officiant: HawaiiWeddings.com
Location: Po'olenalena Beach
Developing and Scanning: The Find Lab

MAUI BEACH ELOPEMENT

30% Off All Horse Photography Prints to Help Happy Dog Ranch Foundation

In my recent travels, I was lucky enough to spend the day at Happy Dog Ranch in Littleton, Colorado.  It was one of my favorite parts of our trip.  It's a really unique place, in that it combines horse rescue with... well... people rescue.   Horse therapy has had tremendously positive impacts on so many lives, and I just love the fact that this works both ways.  Human's save horses, horses save humans.  Win/Win.

They are a non-profit organization, and recently lost their largest benefactor.  They are in IMMEDIATE need.  And I have what I hope is a win/win situation to help this win/win situation.

Beautiful horse photography prints are now available in my store, and 50% of all sales will go directly to Happy Dog Ranch Foundation.  

Until March 5, 2017, get 30% off all prints from my Happy Dog Ranch collection, with 50% of all sales going directly to Happy Dog Ranch.

Coupon code: HAPPYDOG

If you love horses, or alpacas, or pigs, or ducks, or cats, or just like to help others (or all of the above), check out my gallery of available horse photos, alpaca photos and pig photos and purchase to get beautiful prints for you, and help Happy Dog Ranch Foundation continue its amazing work.  

My favorite is when you get and give at the same time.  Now you can get, and give, so the giving can keep on.  Thanks for your help!

Maui Photo Circle | Repetition

Alright.  So I've got this group of photographers and every month we choose a theme at random and then shoot photos in that theme and share at the end of the month.  I started this group because I wanted a challenge and to force myself to see things differently.  

Last month's theme was shadows, and I found it really fun.  This months theme was repetition... and I freaking hated it. So much so, that I didn't really shoot anything (maybe like 2 film shots intentionally for the theme) and even was thinking about changing the theme to something I liked better halfway through the month.  But, um, that kind of defeats the purpose.  I'm not always going to like it... the point is to challenge myself to do it anyways.  So yesterday rolled around and I was like... crap... 

So I went in my backyard, with my iPhone, and stood there for like 5 minutes telling myself to just stuff it and find something in my archives to share.  I am REALLY good at avoiding doing things I don't want to do.  And I know this about myself... which is why I started this group... which is why I then forced myself to stop being a baby and take some photos.

I can't say that I really love anything that I shot, and it seems I've posted mostly ones where my interpretation of "repetition" doesn't follow in the traditional sense.  The traditionally repetitive, pattern making shots I find incredibly boring (though I am WELL impressed with the iPhone 7+).  But this project isn't necessarily about the resulting photos.  It's about the process, and what I can learn and how I can grow.  And what I've learned is the next time "repetition" is chosen by the randomizer... I'm freaking changing it before anyone knows.  ;)

To see how others in this group interpreted this theme, follow this link!

iPhone 7+.  Edited with Filmborn.

iPhone 7+.  Edited with Filmborn.

iPhone 7+.  Edited with Filmborn.

iPhone 7+.  Edited with Filmborn.

Nikon F5 + Portra 160 + The Find Lab

Nikon F5 + Portra 160 + The Find Lab

Contax 645 + Fuji 400h + The Find Lab

Contax 645 + Fuji 400h + The Find Lab

Nikon D4

Nikon D4

I don't just shoot random things.  I shoot mostly families and weddings.  Interested in booking a session?  Contact me today!

 

 

Magnus 4 Life

So I'll tell you a story.  This one year, I had this thing where I'd accidentally start calling all my grooms "Alvin" mid wedding.  I don't know why.  I knew their names (and likely had them written on my wrist... photographer secrets 101).  But for some reason, I'd just start calling them Alvin and then be like... did I just call you Alvin?  And they'd be like... um... ya.  I've only had one groom named Alvin... apparently he must have left an impression on me?!  

But you know what's funny?  I hired Jonathan Canlas to come and shoot my family photos this past year, and he DID THE EXACT SAME THING!  For some reason, halfway through the shoot, he started calling my husband Magnus.  And it cracked me up so hard because 1. I'm not the only one who does this and 2.  FREAKING MAGNUS!!  We are always coming up with new nicknames in our household.  Mine has been "Porkball" for freaking 15 years (awesome).  But husband's has morphed throughout the years from Boobejaan (baboon in Afrikaans), to Gavilina, to Mr. Tight Pants (he's a long distance cyclist... hello spandex) to a myriad of others that probably aren't appropriate to share on a professional blog ;).  

Well now, he's Magnus.  Forever.

The OTHER funny thing that happened was that Jonathan Canlas was able to get my husband to take his shirt off for the last part of our shoot, which resulted in some stellar photos of the hubs in all his shirtless glory.  Photos that ended up being shared on his instagram account followed by the hashtag #magnus4life.

So I am now engaged in an epic instagram battle of the shirtless dudes.  So when I got to see one of my first wedding couples EVER again this December, along with their family, I was like... um... I have this thing with a dude named magnus and partial nudity... are you game?

Well, the ball is in your court Mr. Canlas...  Magnus4Life

Disclaimer: no one was called Alvin in the making of these photos

 

 

Maui Photo Circle - SHADOWS

Last year was a rough one for me.  I mean I learned a lot and nurtured my newfound love of film and still had my insanely good luck connecting with amazing clients.  But I was internally... um... strifed?  Is that a word?  Strifey?  Filled with strife?

I just felt unfulfilled on a weird level.  Like... lost.  I felt... well... VANILLA.  Which is NOT a good feeling when you're a creative for a living and you, in your core, are super NOT vanilla, but started feeling like to be successful, you had to be vanilla.  

I was so conflicted by this, that I actually decided to quit photography.  Yup... just two weeks ago I was like... okay... there's no sense in taking something that you love so much and abusing yourself with it.  This isn't worth it.  Just stop.  Finish the shoots that you have, and then be ready for whatever is next.  

I totally gave up.

And do you know what?  That was THE BEST THING I COULD HAVE EVER DONE for myself!  I gave up on trying so hard.  On trying to be something that I wasn't.  And IMMEDIATELY, I found that fire again.  That thing that makes me inimitably me.  I don't even know what it is.  But it was gone, and now it's back and one thing is for sure... this year... I am going to be a force to be reckoned with.  

One of the things that I knew I had to get back into was playing.  That's one of my favorite things about photography.  Trying new things, learning... feeling like a beginner again.  So I gathered a bunch of photographers that I know and we're working on a monthly project.  Each month has a theme.  Each month you play and shoot in that theme and see what happens.

So January's theme is SHADOWS.  And it's actually kind of poignant... because it's what I was battling internally all last year.  And do you know, when I was dropping off my rolls of film with all of my shadow photos on them, the guy in front of me in line turned around, looked me dead in my face and was like "You have a shadow."

When I was done having my "wtf was that" moment, I realized that was kinda cool.  Cause ya, I do.  We all do.  And as much as it can suck super hard, it is also responsible for most of our growth.

So here's to embracing our shadows.  And to see other photos from this project, check out Barb Toyama's shadow post.

MAUI PHOTO CIRCLE PROJECT - SHADOWS

Iphone 6s, edited to black and white in Snapseed.

Iphone 6s, edited to black and white in Snapseed.

Iphone 6s, edited with Filmborn

Iphone 6s, edited with Filmborn

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Nikon F5 - Portra 160 (converted to black and white) - The Find Lab

Puppy Love

Every new fur baby family should do a family shoot.  Because fur babies grow even faster than regular babies.

I have a super soft place in my heart for animals.  And Frenchies, specifically, seem to take a big part of that (right next to the pig and rescue dog).  

This, here, is Tater Tot.  And she will still steal your heart...

(and if you're looking for a Frenchie in Hawaii, check out The Perfect Creations.)

Maui Waterfall Elopement

The beauty of simplicity.  This wedding goes down as one of my favorite weddings EVER.

It involved getting ready, together, with their feet in the mud.  The dress getting wet before the ceremony, and that being totally okay.  Bug spray instead of perfume.

She wore earrings that she had been gifted as a flower girl, when she was 5 years old.  He donned a wooden bow tie that wore more like a piece of art. 

It involved thoughtfully written vows, tearfully exchanged at the foot of a waterfall.  And the applause of strangers who had happened by just in time for the first kiss.

And it involved champagne.  And laughter.  Lots of it.

It lacked absolutely nothing.

Hair and Makeup: Jessica Waite
Location: Twin Falls
Development & Scanning: The Find Lab

Maui Waterfall Elopement

 

 

Camera Recommendations for Beginners

I've had TONS of fun teaching photography classes lately, and aside from learning what things tend to typically keep people from learning more, one thing that I'm being asked A LOT, is what kind of camera is a good starter camera.  So I've compiled my thoughts on the subject below.

Disclaimer: there are LOTS of options out there, and so I choose to only speak to those options that I'm familiar with.  Does that mean that there no other suitable options?  Not at all.  But I'm attempting to keep it simple and these are cameras that I have personal experience with, and so can feel comfortable recommending.

DIGITAL VS. FILM

If you are just starting out with photography, my personal recommendation is to start with digital.  Because being able to see what you're doing immediately, allows you to make corrections immediately and see the results immediately, which makes learning easier and faster.  If you're die hard for film, email me and I'll send you my film camera recommendations.  

NIKON VS. CANON

I personally shoot with Nikon (Nikon D4s and Nikon D700 for digital, Nikon F5 for 35mm film, along with Contax and Pentax for Medium Format film).  My dad shot with Nikon, and he got me my first good film camera when I was 16 which was a Nikon, and I built my arsenal from there.  Is Nikon better than Canon?  No.  It's just how I started and once you're in, switching over can be... well... expensive.  What I've noticed is that Canon seems to offer faster lenses that are more affordable than Nikon lenses, so if you plan on being a lens junky... that might be something to consider.  But I've never felt the need to switch from Nikon, and if Nikon ever releases a medium format camera (there are rumors)... I might indulge.

NEW VS. USED

As much as getting one of those brand, new, starter kits at Costco or Target seems to make the best sense, I have to say that if you really want to learn, you're going to be frustrated by the lenses that come with those kits.  They are very limiting.  So although it seems like a great deal, to me it seems like a great way to sell crap lenses to people who don't know better.  Save yourself the time and frustration, and go to Ebay and get yourself whatever camera body you were looking at in that kit, and get the body only.  And then find a 50mm f1.8 prime lens or thereabouts.  You can likely get both the camera body and lens for around $300, and that will have you in a much better place to get photos that you love than any kit their selling right now.  It will also help you to learn because you're able to change the f-stop on that lens to see, first hand, the affects of aperture (depth of field).

NIKON RECOMMENDATIONS

NIKON D3200 DIGITAL SLR CAMERA BODY 

CANON RECOMMENDATIONS

Canon EOS Rebel T6i Digital SLR Body

With either of these set ups, you'll be ready to learn and excel at photography, and the best thing is even once you grow out of that camera body, that lens will stay with you.  It's one of the most affordable lenses (in either Nikon or Canon's lineup) and it's still one of my favorites.  I never go to a wedding or shoot without it.

If you're interested in learning more about photography, I do offer classes.  Check out my Classes / Events page on my website to see upcoming classes and offerings!

3 Photography Myths Debunked

So I held my first photography class this weekend and it went EXCEPTIONALLY well.  From the weather, which was gorgeously sunny, to the students who were eager (and quick) to learn, to the random people I chased down on the street who were freaking gorgeous and willing to let us steal a few moments of their day to be photographed.  It was an amazing experience all around.  

There were so many really rewarding moments... like watching someone take a photo, not like it, show it to me and then through discussing the concepts they'd learned in just one hour, sort out what they needed to do to fix it.  Then watching them reshoot it with the fix and seeing that BIG GRIN when they looked at the back of their camera and realized... hey... I really CAN do this.

Taken by student Morgan, shot in manual mode.  The only edit is making it black and white and cropping me out of it (I was in the bottom left of the frame taking my own shot.  :)

Taken by student Morgan, shot in manual mode.  The only edit is making it black and white and cropping me out of it (I was in the bottom left of the frame taking my own shot.  :)

And there was a real "ah ha!" moment for me as well.  Specifically, hearing what has kept some people from pursuing photography.  We all tell ourselves stories.  We all make reasons why we "can't".  And there are 3 major myths about photography that I think a lot of people use against themselves, and I'm here to debunk those myths right here and now.  Because the truth is, if I can do this... you can do this.

Taken by student Shelly.  Shot in manual mode.  No edits.

Taken by student Shelly.  Shot in manual mode.  No edits.

Both of these photos were taken by absolute beginners who were literally shooting their camera in manual mode for the first time ever.  Both of these photos were taken after only an hour of discussing the basic fundamentals of ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed.  Both of these photos are rad.  So you know what this means... it means I'm about to remove all the reasons you've had for not pursuing your dreams of getting better at photography...

 

3 Photography Myths Debunked

 

Photography Myth # 1  |    It's Freaking Complicated

It's actually not.  There are some things that feel a bit backwards at first, but if I can get it (A.D.D and Dyslexia), so can you.  If you've struggled reading photography books, or didn't make much progress using online courses, chances are you're simply a visual learner and would benefit from a more practical learning process with an actual human to answer your questions as they come up.  That's why I decided to teach classes in the first place.  Because I'm not a techie type person and with all the f-stops and shutter speed numbers in the manuals and books, I got overwhelmed, and frustrated.  And with no one to ask, the whole process became a chore to learn.  But when broken down into the 3 basic parts, in a way where you can see what you're learning in context, it becomes much simpler and it becomes fun again.  It SEEMS complicated.  But it really isn't.

Photography Myth Number 2  |    I Don't Have a Good Enough Camera

So I'm going to go ahead and save you a couple thousand dollars here (you're welcome).  All cameras work the same way.  Granted, some cameras have a better sensor, better low light capability... but they all use the same concepts.  So if you're not getting good photos with your current camera, you're not going to get better photos with a better camera.  You're just going to get more expensive, shit photos.  All you really need to learn/improve is a super basic camera that allows you to shoot in manual (so it allows you to manually set your iso, shutter speed and aperture) and a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens (or something similar).  With that super simple set up, you will learn to take AMAZING photos.  As long as you learn the fundamentals, which as I covered a couple minutes ago, are not as complicated as they seem. 

Photography Myth Number 3  |    I Don't Have a Natural Eye

So you may have heard from someone else that you don't have "the eye".  Or you may have convinced yourself of this on your own.  And it may be true.  And it may actually not be.  But either way, I've got a secret for you.  People who have a natural eye, just have one less thing to learn.  That's all.  If you love photography, but you don't have a natural eye, it CAN BE LEARNED.  There are rules and concepts of composition that can be taught, ways to train yourself how to see and shape light, ways of DEVELOPING your eye.  And the only difference between you and someone who has a natural eye is that you'll just have to work a little harder at that bit.  And, as with all the rest of it, it isn't as hard as it may seem.

So if photography is a real passion of yours, and you've talked yourself out of learning for any of these 3 reasons... I'm here to tell you that those aren't the reasons at all.  

You're getting in your own way.  And the only thing you really should ask yourself is... how bad do you want it?  

If you want it bad enough, I'm going to be offering more classes this year, for different skill levels "beginner, intermediate and advanced".  And if you click the button below, you can be added to the list to find out about them first, and get early bird registration discounts and opportunities.

Here's to a New Year of erasing self imposed limitations and going for what we want.  Whatever that may be.

Serendipity

I remember when inspiration was a more internal experience.  When it was less about looking at Pinterest and more about seeing, hearing or even feeling something that inspired you and then playing with that idea in your own mind.  

I'd seen this old, abandoned church like 8 years ago.  I like places that are abandoned.  The lack of love and attention actually allows them to exist in their own way, and I suppose I like the rebellion and realness in that.  I sort of fell in love the with idea of shooting at this church one day and would often think about certain light drenched photos that I'd take there whenever I'd drive by that area and be reminded of it's existence.   But that particular location is frequently overcast.  And I stopped driving past that area so often.  And I kind of forgot that it even existed.

Come this past November, I had a styled shoot with a great local coordinator and dresses on loan from one of my favorite designers, and then the dresses didn't work (for a super wonderful reason ;), but still.  I had dresses on loan from a designer, and now no photos to show for it.  So I kind of went into a panic.  I did have my favorite model in town, but she was only going to be around for another 2 days... how the hell can I throw something together in 2 days?

By simplifying.  And focusing on what is most important to me.  Light drenched photos.  BOOM.  Go to that old church you've always wanted to shoot at!  But it's never drenched in light Trish.  Whatever... you have no options.  Just do it and make it work.

And we showed up super early, and the light was super flat.  And I was just in "get photos for the designer" mode.  And then the sun rose, and those light drenched images that I'd imagined in my mind all those years previous, became real.  

It is these experiences... these serendipitous situations that really help me to keep putting one foot in front of the other.  And it just reminds me that it is so, so, so much more rewarding to create, nurture and grow your own ideas.  These images aren't mind-blowingly different.  And some of them are probably technically wrong.  But I fucking love them.  How they came about, how long they took to be realized.  They ARE a story.  And, apparently, I like telling stories with photos...

Maui Wedding Photographer

Gown: Griffyn by Maggie Sottero Designs
Hair + Makeup: Dacia Waller of Spa Lotus
Ribbon: Adorn Company
Film Developing + Scanning: The Find Lab

 

Full of Grace

Maui Family Photographer

When you get to shoot a dear friend and her kids end up BLOWING YOUR MIND.  The key to having a great family photo shoot, parents, is not to care... not to stress (this, from the person who shows up to her yearly photo shoots with at least 2 people in tears every time).  I get it.  Believe me.  Just getting them to wear something that isn't stained or ripped is like... a battle.  And then getting them to the shoot, without staining or ripping what you finally got them in... a bloody miracle.  

What I've learned is that the bigger of a deal we make it, the more pressure the kids feel.  And that's when kids, or husbands, or moms implode (one of the two people in tears at my shoots is always me).  So just know, a really good photographer will get good shots... even if the kid is screaming and crying seemingly the entire time (true story... I believe the parents exact words were "how the f^&* did you get those photos with what was going on?!").  All you need is 1/160th of a second.  

But this right here... this shoot had no tears... and no imploding.  And everyone was into it (most of the time).  And the light was AMAZING.  And I was smiling so big as these scans came in.  And I'm smiling pretty big now as I share some of my favorite shots from this Maui Family Photo Shoot.

 

Interested in booking a family session with me?  DO IT!  Email me at trish@trishbarkerphotography.com and let's make it happen!

Camera: Contax 645
Film: Fuji 400h
Developing and Scanning: The Find Lab

NEW OFFERING! Photography Courses - Trish Style

MAUI PHOTOGRAPHY CLASSES

Learn in context, in a visual and fun way that will solidify what you're learning immediately.  

Whether a beginner class, or more advanced, these little adventures will get you to a point where you know your camera, know what you want to shoot, and know exactly how to create and capture the images you see in your head.

Available for both kids and adults!  

Details and pre-registration available here.  

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Return of the MAGIC Family

Maui Family Photographer

When we work together on a family session, be prepared to have stupid amounts of fun.  And to be totally comfortable being yourself.  I want you to so much fun, that you'll want to do it again... specifically with me.  Cause I love repeat clients... especially the MAGIC family.  I can't explain it, but they show up, I give very little direction, they just play and have fun.  And it is just pure magic...

This was a family mini session, which I do limited numbers of during the holidays; shorter session / cheaper price.  

There's still time to get yours done if you're interested.  trish@trishbarkerphotography.com

Film Stock: Fuji 400h
Camera: Contax 645
Development and Scanning: The Find Lab