Save the date: May 21st Meetup & Photo Assignment, April Meeting Notes

Hi Mamas!

We had a terrific time this week with Kat Speyer from Persimmon Images! I wanted to post the assignment and date of our next meeting right away since we are meeting a week early because of  Memorial Day:

  • Our next meetup will be Monday, May 21st at 6:30pm at Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford!
  • Our speaker next month is Molly Bullard of Seattle Photo Organizing. She will be sharing tips and handouts on getting your digital photos in order so that you protect your digital files, have fast ways to access your favorite photos, and keep your growing mounds of digital negatives from overwhelming you!

During this meetup we’ll be talking about our May Photo Assignment from Kat:

“Finding your Why” 

Kat spent a lot of time talking about how she stops to think about the “Why” of the image before capturing it.

This month’s assignment is to think about your why, ask yourself what makes you want to get up in the morning, what drives you? How does this tie in to your passion for photography? Then think about an interaction that you might want to see between couples, siblings, or an individual with you, and then set up an invitation for your subject. An invitation is a question or game that you think about beforehand that you pose to your subject, eg. “I want you to run like you’ve never run before,” or “Sit on Daddy’s lap, and tell him something you love about him,” etc.  Write your invitation, set the stage, take the photo, and share your favorite image or series of images with us at circle time!

-Kat’s recommended reading:

  • “Start with Why”
  • How to Win Friends and Influence People to help you to understand how to communicate
  • Strengths finder 2.0
  • Artist’s Way if you’re struggling with creativity

Also as a reminder, our June 2 Introduction to Digital Photography is open for registration, just in time to give yourself a perfect Mother’s Day gift. Spots are already filling up!


Capturing Meaningful Moments with Kat Speyer, Persimmon Images

Kat and her husband Justin are documentary style photographers doing both candid + posed work.  She likes to make her subjects part of the experience of being photographed, make it dynamic. Unlike many of our past speakers, Kat and her husband primarily photograph couples as opposed to families, which made for an interesting/different angle this month!

In her journey as a photographer, she read a book called “Start with Why” – the idea is that great leaders start with Why instead of What.

[She drew a picture with a magic marker, sorry I couldn’t replicate but here is the gist:]

Why (interior circle)

How (bigger circle)

What (biggest circle)

The idea is the more people you inspire with your why, the more people inspire you.

Think about:

Why do I love photography?

What inspires me? (cinema, painting)

What moves me?

What do I think is beautiful?

What is the goal of the pictures that I’m going to create?

If the goal is to have framed image hanging up, what is the mood that you are going for?

Her goal is for clients to see her photographs and remember the connection between themselves.

Biggest questions-

What is important to me?

What makes me want to get out of bed in the morning (not what you HAVE to do, but what inspires you.)

For weddings, she wanted the big picture to be about more than weddings. Kat is inspired to get out of bed by trying a lot of new things because life is short. One of the things she savors most is love. She wants to let people inspire her, let them share their story of their love. She’ll create invitations for her clients like “I want you guys to think about three things you value about the person. I want you to imagine 30 seconds left in sense of smell. Find each other from 10 feet apart closing eyes.”

Her “Why”? Because life is short and love is sweet.

-Take a deep breath, reconnect. We have to set aside our expectations, certain people are easier to mold than others. Kids aren’t always going to do what you want them to do. If they are going for something, we’ll follow that.

-Make getting to know your subjects a priority.  Get to know their story, how they met, what they love about each other, what is their first memory of each other.

Kat talked about the Beloved movement in portrait photography- the idea is that your subjects are your muses, you let their natural beauty inspire you, let them interact with you through a series of questions.

Start out lightly, then get into deeper stuff.

Tell a moment where they were really proud of each other, favorite memory.

-You have to be able to be open, volunteer things first. Can’t expect them to give if you don’t give first. Tell them about your why, it will help draw people to you who are inspired by your vision and your passion.

-The biggest thing you can do is create a safe space. Don’t do anything you wouldn’t normally do (haircuts, outfits)

-People will laugh with you before they cry with you. Start small.

-Sample q’d for kids: do you love red/blue, tell me about your teddy

-Be gentle, genuine.

-Don’t feel the need to fill silence with chatter. Let him listen to the sound of her heartbeat.

-Have fun!

-She decides on locations in advance that are meaningful to her subjects. She has a few goals in mind but really just plays together, explores with them.

-Slow down, look for good light. Where do you want to put them? Do they seem relaxed, do you want to play a game with them. Set them up- pose them back to back , holding hands, one in front of the other, touching. “I’m going to set you up, and if you feel like moving, go ahead. You don’t have to stand there.”

-Once you have them where you want them, get your camera settings right, ask them to interact with you, then wait. Wait for a reaction. If it doesn’t work, don’t force it.

Kat shoots with prime lenses (85mm or 135mm, sometimes 50mm) Justin shoots with 70-200mm shoot Canon 5d Mark 2, Justin Canon 7d, and wants to get his hands on a Canon Mark 3. Moving toward film.

For weddings- the goal is 700 images, as high as 900 images.

-Wedding “invite”: What are you looking forward to most about your life together?

LED ice light Westcott, much easier than setting up a remote flash.

Goal for working with families, get to know kids, what do they like to do? She is much more interested in a dynamic portrait. For her family sessions, she focuses on getting the child comfortable. Talk about “Why I love you,” have them hold hands and pass a little squeeze down the line.

After the meeting, Kat sent me a note that I wanted to share with you all:

“While Justin and I use the “Beloved” toolset to enhance our photography, for us the Beloved-specific “invitations” are just that, tools. It’s definitely not necessary to be involved with Beloved or to purchase anything to create more meaningful photographs in the way that we do. I want to make sure that the Mamas know that our biggest successes have been made through creating a trusting atmosphere: by getting to know our clients and by letting them get to know us, and by being open and involved. That’s the best way to get started, and the “Beloved” invites are just a conversational tool that follows from being open and caring!”

Thank you Kat for an inspiring presentation!!!!! See you all next month!