This month it was Sharleen of Sharleen N Stuart Photography‘s turn to pick the guest feature artist. It was hard, there were so many beautiful images, but there was one image that stood out from the get go. JustBethwithAJ was the photographer behind the image. We wanted to know more about Beth and what pulls her towards photography. Enjoy reading about Beth.
Tell us a bit about yourself? and Are you a hobbyist or a pro?
I am a hobbyist photographer. I just like taking photos of my kids and dog mostly, and the pretty places we visit together. We live in the Pacific Northwest and when I left my job as a librarian in 2014 to become a stay at home mom I promised myself that I’d get the kids outside every day no matter the weather, which is sometimes a task in our rainy winters. I then started a 365 project this January to give myself a bit of a creative outlet and to improve my photography. I’ve had people say it looks like we live outside, but really it’s just that when we are out is a good time for me to photograph – the light is better and I am not worried about cooking or cleaning, or other household stuff. I can just explore with the boys and enjoy my little hobby. The boys are so busy having fun they usually don’t notice me photographing, which I like too.
What will we find in your camera bag?
I use a Panasonic GX7 camera (it’s a micro four thirds mirrorless camera) usually with Panasonic 20mm / f1.7 lens. So my bag typically has that, and my extra lens, an Olympus 48mm / f1.8. I always have an extra battery in there, and often my phone and ID too. Sometimes chapstick too.
Who inspires you?
My kids are my main inspiration and so is our beautiful little region. I also find a lot of inspiration from big Pacific Northwest adventure accounts on Instagram. I can’t do the types of travel/hiking for views that they are capturing, since my kids are so young kids (they just turned 2 and 4 years old), but they inspire me to get out there where I can. I also find a lot of inspiration from other mom photographers I follow on Instagram – too many to name and I don’t want to leave anyone out.
What inspired you to pick up your camera initially?
I’ve liked taking photos for as long as I can remember (I have a vivid memory at 7 of being really proud of some photos I took.) I always felt okay with composition or emotion, but never had a camera that could do what I needed for the type of images I had in my head. So, just before I had my second son a couple years ago, I splurged for a bit of a better camera. I got it and my few lenses all used. It’s maybe not the best by many people’s standards, but it seemed like a good fit for me at the time, and has been a great camera to learn on! I like that it’s so small and easy tote around. I was just telling someone that maybe I’ll splurge for a full frame big camera when I don’t have the possibility of having to carry both the camera and a child at the same time.
Photoshop or Lightroom? and why that choice?
Neither, unfortunately. I can’t ever get on a computer with my kids around (buttons are SO fun!) and I’m too tired to stay up and edit after they are in bed. So, I send all my photos from my camera to my phone and edit using the Snapseed and/or Enlight iPhone apps. I am constantly curious how my images would improve if I could get on a computer to edit my RAW images on LR or PS (I do shoot RAW I hopes that someday I can go back and re-edit my favorites. When I get the chance, I’ll start in LR.) I try to get it right in the camera so I don’t have much editing to do though, so my phone apps are just fine for now. But, I still shoot a lot in sports mode because my kids are fast and sometimes their little capture worthy moments pass before I can adjust my settings.
If you had to choose one area of specialization what would that be and why?
It would be landscape photography hands down. I think it would be a good hobby to get more into as my kids get older and I have more time to dedicate to camera settings and searching for the perfect spot and light, rather than making sure they aren’t about to do something dangerous. It would allow me to continue to explore outdoors and maybe push me to try new areas I haven’t been before, but also allow me a bit of solitude in the outdoors. People sometimes ask me if I’d ever become a lifestyle/family photographer and it’s a definite and resounding “no” – too much pressure for me to make other people’s memories look the way they want (but huge kudos to those that do that, it’s an important job!)
You can view Beth’s work on her Instagram page.
Share Six has the theme Black and White for the month of September. Join us on our Facebook page or our Instagram (#sharesix or #sharesix_blackandwhite) page and share your images for the theme Black and White.
Look out for the new theme on October 6th.