Let's get real today, ok?

I started my ‘business’ with a Canon Rebel, the kit lens, and a cheap 50mm lens. That’s it. I had a few basic pieces of equipment and a lot of dreams…and nothing else. I read the manual, I looked up FAQs and tutorials online, and I practiced. And practiced. 

Practice, and patience, and humility, are the keys to success. You've got to persevere, and there are days you won't want to. That's ok! But then you have to wake up the next morning, and decide, "Do I really want this?" If you do…then you keep going. Praying, sweating, and sometimes bleeding.

Progress is never easy. But, it definitly is worth it if you really want the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Each person's gold is different! Yours might be making a difference in the world of sex trafficking overseas, or helping unwed mothers learn to parent well. Maybe your gold is giving back to your community through a thriving fitness center, or creating a space full of good food and coffee! Whatever your dream, keep pushing towards it, friends! Progress will happen.

I created this graphic from a quote I loved (and posted it on Instagram yesterday). Today, I felt the desire to share it here with you all today! Feel free to pin the below image on pinterest, or share it on social media—someone else might need a little encouragement, too! And just so you can see that progress does happen…below are some embarrassing images form my "just starting out in photography" days. And a few more recent ones. ;)

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I have a lot of feels about engagement sessions!!! Firstly, they're so much fun! What better than a date night that you get to dress up for and have adventures together?! But that's another blog post…this is about the quality of your engagement pics. ;) 

Below: the very first engagement pictures I took. Notice that their faces are pretty dark (you can't see the guy's right eye!), her swimsuit tan lines are visible, & it's definitely not a flattering pose. (Today, I'd have at least shot at a side angle…us ladies always like to look our thinnest/best!)

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Below: a photo from a recent engagement photo session in Clear Lake. This is a genuine moment—you can feel the joy on Anna's face! (Not to mention the natural lines in the background draw you in towards the couple, and the lighting and editing are much, much better!) 

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Below: on the left is a photo from my early days of portrait/engagement photos. The emotion is genuine (win!) but their face are actually not in focus (a big no-no in photography) and their faces are just a little dark for my taste. Also, Adam looks a liiiiiitle like he is choking Kassie. Oops!!!

On the right is an image from engagemet pictures the other night. The lighting and editing (it is usually a mix of both) is so much better, the pose is more natural, and they look like they are IN LOVE! Such a win for the good guys there. ;)  

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The next two images are from weddings. The top image is the wedding I photographed…I had basically no experience, and this was the shot I got of them leaving the church. Notice the hand and small child's head in the forefront of the photo…cringe!

The lower image was photographed at a wedding last fall in Des Moines. Similar lighting and exit…but I have such a better handle on how to use my camera, settings and editing—plus, where to stand to get the image so you can really see the bride and groom's faces!

bad beginnger wedding photos
Downtown Des Moines Wedding Photography


Finally, senior photos! Wow…I've come a long way!

On the left, one of my first portrait sessions with Naomi. We found a random bike that I thought would be "cool" to include. It could have been, and the composition is neat, but the photo doesn't really catch my attention. Her pose is also a little awkward…oops!

On the right, one of my senior spokesmodels from Cedar Falls! This was a candid moment, the wind caught her hair, and Clare was laughing about it. The lighting was soft on her face, the background is out of focus so that you look at her, and she is the lightest part of the image..another thing that draws your eye. (Don't you notice now how much your eye focuses on the white stairs in Naomi's photo!?)

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That's all for today! I hope that this has been encouraging for all of you out there desiring to see progress in your work!
It may take time, but it will come if you keep working and learning!

Love always,
Amelia Renee