After Dark Education has been the most influential instrumental education I have received since having immersed myself into the amazing world of digital photography. I’ll write more about them later. This past event in St. Louis was, ostensibly, a business / Photoshop / Lightroom / non-actual-hands-on-photography gig.

While attending 3 of  Brooke Shaden’s classes, amongst others, I was smacked upside the head (figuratively) with the realization that some of my frustration with photography was, in part, due to my shooting for others.

Overall, people love my portraits.  I have shot weddings – what I really wanted to do with those photos was just edit a few of them to be super cool and forget about the others. Of my advertising photos, I liked the different angles, close ups and shallow depth of field. But the whole “smile for the camera” gig was never mine. Even with my Sony Cybershot, my favorite photos of the children were when they were immersed deep in thought, caught unaware.

So at AD, I realized that I need to shoot for myself. It’s ok if I don’t do a senior portrait again, because that doesn’t bring me joy. (Weddings do bring an aspect of joy because I like A.) adorable people in love making a forever commitment B.) wedding cake). And I have another job, self employed as a massage therapist and educator.

What DOES bring me joy is shooting weird stuff that tells a story. And when I realized that I could make an environment via Photoshop and that others  somewhere out there in this world may like my stuff, I really began to create with heartfelt enjoyment. This photos is a self portrait, taken the day after AD ended. Truly, for me, it was a New Day.