Tell us a little about yourself!
I am a newly retired primary teacher thoroughly excited about this time of my life where I’ve successfully wrapped up a great teaching career and am getting my photography business up and running. I’m married to my very supportive husband Stan and we are parents to Kiley, a self-employed artist, and Landon, a senior in college in Missouri. This summer we were blessed to welcome our son-in-law Daniel into our family. With the exception of living in North Dakota while in college, I’ve lived in Kentucky all my life. I’m a reader of fiction, fan of UK basketball, a travel enthusiast, and a chocolate dessert-lover from way back.
How did your photography journey start?
When I was in high school my dad was very generous in letting me use his 35 mm but all I really knew about using it were 2 things: where the exposure meter should read and how to load and unload the film. (Honestly, I’m not sure he knew how to use the camera to its full potential.) Jump ahead to parenthood: like many parents do, I snapped a LOT of pictures of our children. But my camera stayed in auto mode most of the time so while the pictures were okay, they were pretty lacking in other ways such as depth and composition. It was just about 4 years ago when our Nikon took a fatal trip down a flight of stairs and I swore to learn how to use the upgrade we bought as a replacement. I soon discovered that becoming a self-taught photographer was much harder than I thought and I became so discouraged.
What was one of your biggest a ha moments?
At the onset of my photography education, learning to balance the “exposure triangle” was a skill that I didn’t think I would ever master. (I remember telling my husband that it was like learning to juggle and drive at the same time.) I kept at it by shooting every single day and became natural. Finally, the light was ON! Getting images sharp was another skill that took me a while to develop but by shooting every day and by paying attention how different lenses perform in various light, I was able to see a big improvement in my images.
What classes have you taken from Kristin?
It was by chance while browsing the web that I saw a beautiful image of my daughter’s friend in Lexington. I noticed the “Photo by Kristin Tatem”, searched Kristin’s photography website, and found the answer to my photography dilemma: a great photographer who teaches a Beginner’s Photography Class (BPC) for women. Kristin had just opened registration for her BPC class, I signed up, and now here I am with a great mentor who’s been instrumental in helping me become an accomplished photographer. Not only did I learn great foundational information with that first BPC, I’ve been able to build my skills through Kristin’s other classes: BPC 2.0, a 10-day indoor shooting class (which really challenged and pushed me to think like a photographer), her “March Mentorship” class, and just recently Mastering Outdoor Photography Mini-Course.
Advice for new photographers just starting out?
The old teacher in me LOVES to give advice so here is what I would tell a beginning photographer: You have to shoot every day and you have to study your images and as well as camera settings to decide what you’re doing right and what you need to work on. I literally took over 15,000 shots that first year of learning and many of those images just weren’t very good at all. But I knew that every very bad photo got me that much closer to a great photo. My second bit of advice is the only photographer you should compare yourself to is the one you were last year or 6 months ago or even last week. There are great photographers everywhere and you should study what makes their work impressive but resist the urge to compare your work to theirs. Lastly and most importantly, invest in getting educated. I’m a hands-on learner and I know my photography skills wouldn’t be where they are today without Kristin’s BPC that I took 4 years ago. I have to mention a nice *bonus* of those classes is that I’ve made connections with some awesome ladies at our in-person sessions and through Facebook groups. We keep in touch, seek advice, and cheer each other on—having that photography community is invaluable!
Where can we find you online?
Check out how Connie’s photos progressed!