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All images on this site are the property of Christy Rae Woods and Into the Woods Photography

Wednesday, July 13

Darrin - Class of 2016

Now that things have slowed down a bit in all aspects of my life let's get caught up on my blogging.

I started the fall off with a senior photo session with Darrin. The session started like most with the getting to know you phase. We joked and basic small talk. Mom and sisters were along for the ride as well... by the time we reached our second location...

...we had all relaxed and opened up quite a bit. Thus allowing the true personality to shine through!

By this point, we were all relaxed and having a great time.

It was a beautiful day, even with the slight drizzle that started as we were finishing the shoot.

Congratulations, Darrin! I look forward to seeing what you have ahead of you in the future!

Saturday, February 20

My true experience at Shutterfest 2015

I didn't think I would ever actually publish this post but something Sal said in the Image Competition video posted this morning got me thinking. I feel I need to share this and yes I am submitting to the Image Competition again this year.  It is one way I plan to grow and learn in my craft.  Last year was the first competition I have truly entered. Outside of this experience the only other judged setting I've partaken in was for the student art shows at my University in which I had most if not all of my entries accepted into the show. So the competition was a brand new adventure for me.

Below was originally written on April 24, 2015...
I have been struggling to as to whether I should keep my business a business.  I have been riddled with self doubt and basically ready to throw in the towel.  I attended the first Shutterfest conference in 2014 and left inspired and ready to go.  My return home left me less than enthused.

I set about restructuring my pricing.  In the mean time, I was busy trying to get hired.  The sad thing is I couldn't even get booked by those wanting cheap photography.  I was posting on requests in local fb sales groups essentially pimping myself out to the lowest bidder and still not getting hired; needless to say this did not help the ego at all either.  So by the time Shutterfest 2015 rolled around, I was really considering calling it quits.  I had pretty much resigned myself to going back to a hobbyist.  
That being said the start of Shutterfest this year did not have the umph I was expecting or hoping.  I had the beginnings of sinus issues going on and well I just felt disconnected.  I still followed most of my plans.  I headed over to the other side of the river to shoot the arch from the Illinois side.  Albeit a bit chilly and the sunset was a bit lackluster I enjoyed being out there with other fellow photographers.  I headed back to the conference and made a mistake.  I attended the judging of the image competition; don't get me wrong, I learned a ton from sitting in the room and listening but I was super deflated after seeing the scores on two of the four images that I submitted.  Were my scores terribly awful no, do I know where I need to work on my skills yes!  But the thing is I left the judging feeling totally and completely deflated.  I still had two other images that were left to be judged and due to the sheer number of entries at the last minute those two images have been docketed to be judged at a later date.

Day one of the conference, Sal spoke about pivoting in his opening platform class.  When we see something not working we need to pivot and change direction.  Anyhow, the feelings after the image competition set the tone for the rest of my time at the conference.  I made the most of my time the best that I knew how.  I, along with a few others, rented a human during the first breakout session and started to feel my spirits lift but still felt meh.  I even participated in a newborn workshop and even with the adorable newborn I was able to take images of I still had those doubts lingering over my head; maybe I do need to give up.  I attended the rest of the conference classes on my schedule for Tuesday, even attended the comedy show but never really shook the feeling that set in.

Day two of the conference, still feeling blah!  I've had a full nights sleep.  *GASP*  Yes, I actually slept during Shutterfest.  Did I miss out on some awesome stuff happening? I know I did but I know that in the long run it is the sleep that I needed.  My breakout classes were both hands on classes.  I already posted about my day here.  And needless to say as my day progressed, my mood and spirits did too.  Even if photography doesn't become my full time job, I'm okay with that.  I love my day job where I get to work hands on with kids at the school and I know that 99% of the time my schedule fits my boys schedule.  But I do know that photography will always be in the mix.

Fast forward to April 23rd, I learned that I was chosen as the winner of the $1000 Travel Expense for Shutterfest 2016.  This simple little experience has helped to flip that switch or rather pivot my way of thinking in my mind!  I'm still working on my images from Shutterfest; however, I am near finished with those!  I still have some self doubt but we all do.  Photography is a huge part of who I am and it will always be a part of my life.  I am amazed at how this a simple random winning can be such a huge pivot point for me.  In its own little way it screams to me that I am worth it and I do deserve to follow my dreams!  And yes Sal...I am pivoting!  

Tuesday, August 25

My dates with Baby Katelynn

A bit less than a year ago, we learned that our extended family was growing again.  My sister was expecting her fourth baby.  My brother in law the fire fighter wanted to do a fire house themed maternity session and a fire fighter themed newborn shoot once baby arrived. I was thrilled with the opportunity.  My sister was a little less than thrilled but game for the experience.  So my first official shoot with the new baby started with a maternity session.  I loved many aspects of the shoot, especially the shots from above.

Big brother is ready to protect his new sister when she arrives!

My next shoot with baby Katelynn came just moments after she arrived in this beautiful world.

Here she is with all her siblings and cousins on day 2!

My next session with Katelyn came six days after she was born for her newborn session.  I was able to use some of my new props and super excited to try some new poses but was rather unsuccessful with those as she didn't want much to do with being "folded" up for some of those super cute poses.

Then at seven days new we had our fire fighter session at the fire house.  She was a bit more cooperative with being folded on this day.  Also thankful that our weather cooperated allowing us to pull the fire truck out slightly from the garage.  

I'm super excited because I was able to get the shots dad wanted as well as many that I wanted.  We had a great time and I look forward to doing her next milestone here soon.

Friday, April 17

April's 10 on 10...

...okay so it's more like 35 on 17!  With all of the rush from attending ShutterFest 2015, I overlooked my post for my project but this overview of my last day of the conference should make up for that!

I didn't start taking any images this day until my first hands-on-class where I was able to learn posing for wedding photography.  Absorbing the knowledge of Bambi Cantrell was a highlight of my conference experience.  Watching her work and listening to her explain the posing in relation to the light helped make things "click" in my mind even more than I already understood.  Having wonderful models also helps with creating beautiful images!

Bambi hard at work setting up poses for us to learn from.

After gleaning information from Bambi, I headed over to a Kiddie Couture Class during the lunch break.  This was a fun little class, hosted by Lori Nordstrom, as well as a few other photographers, and a chance to play with a few different lighting set-ups.  These kids rocked it and were awesome to photograph.

Then I headed to the main area for the platform speaker Vanessa Joy.  She is an inspiration and I enjoy her ideas and suggestions for helping further the reach of my business; now, I just need to take that action.  Changes are on the horizon!

For my last scheduled course of the day, I attended the Continuous Lighting class with Brian DeMint.  I loved his approach and easy going demeanor.  He explained how simple work lights from your local home improvement store can provide the light you need to create equally beautiful shots as those with a higher end light.

During this hands on class, I had so much fun shooting one of the best models, Mindy!  She was absolutely awesome and just knew how to pose and required very little direction!

At the end of my day, I grabbed some dinner with my three guys.  I then saw a shout out for an impromptu shoot with Brian DeMint.  I'm so glad I headed back out for that shoot.  Working with the beautiful Anna was so worth the adventure back out.

To finish off the night, I enjoyed roaming around the hotel/conference center checking out all of the epic shoots taking place!  I just love the collective effort that goes on while at ShutterFest!

This is by far one of the greatest things I've participated in.  And to be able to say I was part of the beginning of this greatness is an even greater privilege; last year was the first year for the conference and you can check out that post here!

I can't wait for next year!