Friends,

Can we discuss goals, goal implementation and failing at those goals? I started this year with a BANG. I have over 15 draft blogs that I have set aside, ideas that I just need to put down and help this tiny business of mine grow. I had the hope of blogging at least once a week. Guys, I already failed! Can you believe that? I managed writing 2 fairly lengthly articles, went away to the WPPI conference for several days, had 3 sessions in the last week (yay!! ) and taking care of and watching over my poor sweet boy.

Well, what I realized this past month is that we may fail (or we may THINK we failed) at those goals but, we can always start over. Pick ourselves up and try again. For those that know me personally know I have a keen ability to get myself back on track. So here we are. A very short blog, but a blog!

My whole point of this is, if you need to hear that it is ok to take a step back, you will be able to stand back up and continue moving forward. That is the thing about time, it's always moving forward. Successful people and businesses are deciding as it may seem that they became successful overnight, but that is rarely if ever the case. We don't get to see the behind the scenes. In my case, late night editing, putting a child back to bed and continuing on with working knowing that this small piece of me is making a difference in people's lives. I am so passionate about what I do and I refuse to quit and you can't quit either! No matter what your goals are, simple and mundane to monotonous mountain high goals.

We got this, we are in it together.

Well, off to write some meaningful photography articles I go...


Until next time... happy capturing!

Samantha

To talk about print and wall art is such a close personal topic for me that I felt it would be necessary to write a rather lengthy blog post about it.

At the end of the article here I have added two images that have so much meaning in them. The images that I had printed and keep safe in this stunning folio box are of my two children, Theodore and Madeline. My son Teddy is holding the violin that belonged to my grandfather, Albert as a young boy. Albert worked so hard to purchase this violin for himself during a time when the country was struggling to feed those that lived in farm towns. My great grandparents provided the necessities for their children but, anything beyond that, my grandfather and his siblings had to pay for for themselves. To purchase this violin when he was just 15 years old, Albert got a job at a local grocery store in Madera and rode on his bike there and home every day after school. This violin ended up being one of his most prized possessions. It survived him leaving for WWII when he was very young, marrying my grandmother, having four children and many moves between California and Montana. When I was but a young girl, I found the violin case in my grandparent's closet and my grandfather excitedly opened it up to show me. At that time, sitting on the floor of their closet, he promised the violin to me when it was time. I had no idea what that meant, I just admired the case, the very old French box that he kept all this time that contained the resin for the bow and the love of my grandfather for me. When my grandfather passed away in 2015, I was so grateful that he had the opportunity to meet my son and they also had an immeasurable love for one another even with Teddy only being two years old. On what would have been my grandfather’s 100th birthday in October 2019, I explained to him what the day was and pulled out the violin to show Teddy that when he is an adult, it will one day be his. His eyes got wide with excitement and he was the one to ask to do something special for Great-Grandpa. We went into my studio and he hugged the violin with such emotion I gratefully was able to capture it in my studio. I have gotten this image printed on a beautiful canvas and it hangs in our new home. Unless you know the story behind it, you would just see a young boy with love on his face and a violin. I print my images and have many of my children around our house. With not having many images of my own father, I vowed to take many of my children to show them how loved and valued that they are… all of which small children cannot see behind a computer screen or on social media.


So many people have family portraits done each year, most photographers upload the images to a link, clients download them and stay on a computer with a hope that the computer will not die before they can have them printed. Many parents that I speak to about this topic often tell me they spent hundreds of dollars on images of their families to have lost them due to user error or technological failure. I myself have been victim of this. Although, can I really call it victim if it’s my own fault? No. After my dad passed away in 2008, I had bought a brand new Mac Book. I was so proud of it, I had worked so hard to purchase it. It had my LIFE on it. I went away on vacation in 2016, came home and promptly put the vacation images onto my computer and two weeks later it died. I cannot get it to charge and I lost everything. I didn’t back it up to the cloud or to an external hard drive, nor did I print many of my images. As heartbreaking as it is, I learned a valuable lesson on the importance of saving images and printing them through a professional lab.


My generation, the generation that created social media and are on computers longer each day than not. We snap images of our families or loved ones, upload the images and quickly forget about them. We don’t typically re-visit them unless an event such as a loss causes us to frantically find every image or video that we can and keep them safe. Studies have shown that we and our children will be the most photographed generations ever, however, those images will be lost along with our legacies.


This excellent article further explains my thoughts on this topic. If the internet collapsed, how would we access the cloud and our most important memories? Not to mention important documents that many companies urge and encourage consumers to upload to applications and websites.


The next image below is one that I took of my daughter last fall. In the image, she is holding a picture that my grandmother (my daughter’s namesake) had taken just after she married my grandfather. I work only with the finest professional labs, even my folio boxes shown below are from Poland as I could not find a lab here in the United States that met my quality standards. I had my grandmother’s picture printed on an archival paper by an amazing vendor that was able to preserve my grandmother’s handwriting. She wrote a note to my grandfather and gave it to him as he left for WWII. How amazing is that? Nearly 100 years later and her legacy will live on in my children. Her love for them was priceless and I’m so thankful I grew up with a family that taught me the importance of preserving our history. I'm sure many that if they knew would think I do go a bit overboard with sentimental items of my family. I just feel with how quickly life moves these days, we so often lose sight of things as simple as saving a card or two so we can remember someone's handwriting. I can't possibly be the only one with a recipe box? I actually made my aunt hand write one of my most favorite recipes this last Christmas so I'll have it forever. She could have easily emailed it to me, but how wonderful will it be to pull out my recipe box at the holidays and always have her with me?


I could talk about the importance of printed mediums, whether that is a framed archival print, deep framed canvas, or images in a preservation folio box, I will try to educate as many people as possible about this so they too will have a family legacy to leave. We get so caught up in the day to day, the struggle of schedules between work and family, we forget to take a step back and look at what we have right in front of us. We all (including myself) need to pause more often and breath in the blessings around us and capture our love for one another.


Happy capturing and until next time,

Samantha



Updated: Feb 18

My goodness, going back to my blog page I realized it has been nearly 6 months (!) since I have published a blog. So much has happened over the last half of 2019. I hope all of you had a wonderful holiday season with your families and loved ones. It was such a busy time for my business and family. I rounded out the year busier than I have ever been, so many amazing clients last year, I'm extremely grateful for each and every one of you. I entered my very first set of international photography competitions. WPPI is the most prestigious photography completion in the world. They have digital competitions twice a year (first and second half) as well as an annual print completion where photographers go to Las Vegas from all over the world to have their work judged by some of the greatest in the industry. Along with the print judging WPPI also has a week long conference where photographers can take specialized classes and intensives to up their business and help lead the luxury photography market. This coming year I will be attending for the first time. I am a bit nervous of course but I am working hard to elevate the Central Valley's expectations of photography and to bring a completely new style to the amazing people within my community. I am very much looking forward to meeting several of my mentors that I have met over the years. Many of which live in the UK and have been so kind to video mentor me. As in my last post, I received a silver award with high honors of excellence and with the second half results that came out in December, I received another silver award for this image of my son that is just so near and dear to my heart. I also entered into a fairly new international completion out of Australia and put on by an amazing photographer, Kelly Brown. The Rise Awards was quite an experience! I had several images score with silver, 2 bronzes and one image go on to the FINALS (!) that received a high silver awards. I was so grateful for that experience as I was able to watch my image get judged live. The feedback was invaluable and I have already taken the critiques and implemented the suggestions into my editing and work flow. I am already planning my creative images for this next year, my only competition is myself and I work to exceed the goals from each year!


Many of my newborn clients from last year are getting ready to celebrate their first birthdays. It just helps me keep my perspective as to why I do what I do, capture fleeting memories for other families. I absolutely love seeing my tiny clients grow into toddlers and getting to snuggle them when they come in for their milestone sessions. I have toyed with dropping my newborn sessions as I have worked so hard on my fine art work this year but, I cannot bring myself to do it. I will continue taking on newborn sessions for as long as I am wanted in the community. Below is a picture of one of my most sweetest little clients who just had her birthday and came to me just before Christmas for her holiday session. Her big brown eyes and contagious smile is the absolute best! Here below, my son was loving her so much he was jumping around to make her smile!


After the mad rush of getting clients in and galleries viewed and ordered, I got sick 3 times between Thanksgiving and Christmas. It was misery and to be honest, I was not very jolly (haha) by the time Christmas came. I hope all of you stayed healthy and I was the one to take one for the team of mom bosses out there! We preserver no matter what, don't we?


Coming up in the next few weeks, I will be releasing additional blogs so more of you can get to know me, my family and my business more personally. For those of you that are new here, I’m a wife to amazing man named Chris. We met in high school and became fast friends but started dating several years after we graduated. We got married 8 years ago and have two wonderful children. About two years ago and together as a family decided to move from the Bay Area to Fresno to be closer to our parents and siblings. As hesitant as I was to make such a huge change, it was ultimately the best decision for us all. Having family close by has been so great and seeing my mom regularly has been a God send.

I have decided as a mom of 2 small children I can share some wisdom (with zero judgement!!) that has helped me survive some tough stages and seasons. We have a fresh 3 year old in the house and the sass is at an all time high! I will take you all through my inspiration process, why I decided to turn my business into a luxury experience versus having a more traditional portrait studio. My work is made to be printed and not viewed on a digital screen which has made the more bight and airy photography style so popular. Each edit is done in a way that when printed onto a high quality canvas, you see a true piece of art in a style that will be timeless for a lifetime. I’m so excited to share more about my work and my style with all of you. With so many community events and outreach that I have started I’m looking forward to meeting many more of you in person. If you have any questions or are interested in booking a session with me, do not hesitate to email me or call me directly.


I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to 2020! Here is to an abundant year ahead and to those of you that follow me and are photographers yourself, continue on the path of growth. Only you can make your dreams come true. Let us lift each other up together and be the the awesome mom bosses that we are!


Happy capturing and until next time!

Samantha Leon

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