SUMMER FAMILY PORTRAITS | Historic Sauvie Island, Oregon


Shot on Mamiya645af | Kodak Portra 800 Film | Scanned by Photovision

Being a small business owner is a challenge and I struggle sometimes with doubt. It puts you in the direct line of critique and you will most certainly fall on your face. If you are anything like me, you may still get nervous before weddings even after many years behind the camera. I read that Adele cries before and after big performances because she is nervous, sometimes overwhelmed or just worn out. Her job is way more intense than mine but the principle of it made me feel less crazy. I wish I wasn't sensitive but I AM - it's how I'm made. So when I fall, I fall hard and it hurts.

Us creative people, we doubt ourselves a lot. It's probably because our brains are too full of emails, invoices and attempting to please the SEO gods when we'd really rather be twirling in a field somewhere.  We can even make it look like that's what we ARE doing everyday thanks to Instagram...when really we are editing photos in our sweatpants eating top raman trying to save for a lens upgrade. Oh you don't have that problem? Good! Me.....either....ahem...

The second we turn on our phones, we are hit with amazing imagery from all over the world and it's hard not to feel like you are behind the game. When I'm in a battle such as this, the cure is usually creating photographs that come from my own vision. Finding people who are "my tribe" and getting my film camera out will usually leave me re-invigorated, not to mention with better skills for working with clients.

That is why I love this family session so much. It did not fail to inspire me.


Nikita and Nabyl are super cool, super patient and super in love with their daughter Katara. What more can you ask for in a client? I was so grateful they allowed me to take my time, experiment and totally guide them. I really tried to ease into the moments and spark the natural interactions and joy I love on camera, but I also gave myself permission not to press the shutter if I wasn't totally satisfied with the shot. This lead to around a 90% keep on 5 rolls of Kodak Portra 800. If you are a film photographer you know that is pure GOLD. I also only shot pretty consistently at F/4 or even f/5.6 -- which I would never do with a digital camera. This helped me solve the soft focus issues I'd been running into. With more practice (and maybe a camera upgrade) I believe I'll be back down at F/2 again.


Here are a couple things I've learned about dealing with creative self doubt this month:

  1. Feelings always come and go. It's okay to let the yucky ones sit with you for a bit - they don't linger forever.
  2. If you can't freakin' focus your film camera, shoot at F/4 or F/5.6 for awhile.
  3. Find your "tribe" for practice work...learn to turn everyone into "your tribe" on camera.
  4. If you need encouragement, seek it out.
  5. If you can't handle seeing beautiful hipster people doing beautiful hipster things on Instagram, just log out for awhile. They will SURELY be there when you return.
  6. If you feel un-inspired, put a little shoot together that will bring your life energy back. There is always a way to do it without spending money.

There is my two cents - hope you enjoyed the photos!

Special Thanks:

Scans: PhotoVision

Models: Nikita + Nabyl and daughter Katara

Wardrobe: Asos, JCrew, Zara

Venue: Bybee House at Howell Territorial Park