What's in my camera bag?

Here's what I'm working with:

Canon 6D
iPhone 6s
Canon Rebel T1i (backup/kids use now)

How I arrived at the gear I use today:

I got my first digital camera around December 2005, just a few months after my second son was born. I got it at Sam's Club after admiring the advanced point-and-shoot Kodak camera the employee used in the store to take my family's Christmas picture. As I started to play with the different modes & learn a little bit (very little at this point), I quickly felt limited by it's capabilities.

I sold that first digital Kodak and bought another advanced point-and-shoot Kodak on sale at Staples. This particular camera allowed me to manually control exposure, but I didn't have a clue what to do with each setting. A few years later in 2008, while I was pregnant with my third son, I stumbled across a photographer, Jessica Cudzilo, who (at the time) taught an online workshop that explained shutter speed, aperture, ISO, and how they related to one another to create the exposure triangle. This was the first truly pivotal point in my photography journey!

IMG_5930 Mom Photo Balm.jpg

I began obsessively photographing my boys and anyone else who was willing to step in front of my lens! A few years later, I passed that Kodak along to my youngest sister and I was able to purchase my very first DSLR from Best Buy - the Canon Rebel T1i. Best Buy was having a bundle sale that included the camera body & TWO kit zoom lenses! I was in camera heaven!

After teaching various photography classes to high school students at our local homeschool co-op, and after the birth of my fourth son, I took a moment to reflect on how far I had come from those early Kodak days. I was proud! However, I recognized I was no longer creating photos from my heart, but rather photos I could share online for my friends and family to "like." I was disgusted when I saw how big I had allowed my pride to become. I knew something needed to change, but I wasn't sure where to start. So, I got quiet. I watched. I listened. I prayed. I reflected. I continued to photograph my family and close friends, but I chose not to share them on social media for pats on the back anymore.

During this introspective time in 2014, my home was broken into, my laptop & external hard drive stolen, along with ALL of my photos!  I was devastated. Shortly after that, my health began to unravel. I set my Rebel down, and quit taking pictures, because my broken spirit didn't see the point if someone could just come along and steal them. I was oblivious to the fact that my anxiety was allowing depression to creep in. For over a year, I only took pictures of simple day to day moments with my iPhone. My Rebel collected dust. This was the second most pivotal point in my photography journey.

A year later, on my 31st birthday in 2015, my family helped me purchase my current camera, the Canon 6D. I am so happy I upgraded to a full-frame DSLR camera! I acquired my three prime lenses throughout the years, all the while, continuing my own education through The Define School and Clickin Moms. I began to use photography as a therapeutic avenue to share what I was feeling when I struggled to find the words.

My lupus & fibromyalgia diagnosis in 2016 was a significant shift in my life. I made dramatic lifestyle changes, and leaned in closer than ever to my Friend, Jesus. Through His Word, He reminded me that He created me for a purpose. He revealed to me that I had been hiding my talent, His gift (Matthew 25). He restored my soul, as only He can (Psalm 23). He leads me and picks me up as I stumble along the way. He's never left me, though I've sometimes ignored Him, and wondered astray. Oh, He's been faithful and merciful to me!

That brings us to 2017. This spring, I made a huge decision to financially invest in my dream - my dream of sharing all I've learned and experienced with kindred Mommas! I enrolled in a course for creative entrepreneurs with a woman I have admired from afar all these years, Jasmine Star. If I could describe her with two words it would be both grit & grace. Her guidance gave me the head-space to create Mom Photo Balm and I will forever be grateful for her continued support and the community she's created for her students to thrive! I hold much love & admiration for her & her team. xoxo

Whew! That was a long explanation to say, today I still use my iPhone and my 35L hardly ever leaves my Canon 6D.

I'm so glad you're here! I'd love to help you create the photos your heart sees. Let's connect more on Facebook & Instagram (here, too). After all...

Friendship is the finest balm,