Inspire YOU, Friday Feature Oct. 2nd

I am excited to share with you today’s Friday Feature:
The lovely Shannon O’Malley of  Shannon Kathleen Photography!
I am certain you will not only enjoy her lovely images & getting to know her, but will be Inspired as well.

1. Tell us a little about yourself..and your journey into photography.

“I am a single mother of a wonderful 11 year old boy.  Outside of my passion for photography, I work full time as a CMA in a Dermatology office. I love to read and have an obsession with super hero movies!!  Along with capturing interactions and moments between others, I also really enjoy photographing nature!!
Like many, photography became a passion of mine after having a baby. My passion for this immortalization of our memories deepened as I began to more deeply see the fleeting nature of the things that make each of our lives so uniquely beautiful.  I didn’t want one moment to pass or fade away.
I wanted to freeze all the little moments, all the little details. I wanted to be able to remember what his little pudgy fingers, toes, rolls, and cheeks looked like.  I began to realize the significance of the “in between moments of life”.  Special moments, certain looks or smirks, time spent playing… these were to not be missed OR forgotten.  To me this was documenting life. That’s what I wanted to do.  That’s how I could relive those memories with more than just my imagination.
I jumped feet 1st into the business aspect of photography November of 2014. A good friend sat down with me and encouraged me to go for it—to start taking photos of other people and to start a business. Since then, I never would have imagined that I would be as busy as I am now!! I love it!! I love to create… for myself and for others.”

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2. Where do you draw your inspiration from? What inspires you?

“I draw my inspiration from stepping back and looking at my own life, my son. When I am with clients/families I draw inspiration from the kids… they are all such interesting and beautiful little creatures; I like to let them lead (for the most part) and capture WHO they are. All the little things/moments make me happy. I also draw inspiration from fellow photographers—there is this amazing community out there and I feel so honored and blessed to be a part of it.
Getting outdoors with my macro filters inspire me greatly as well. I love to get low to the ground, up close, and personal with my subjects/objects. Just getting out there and seeing the world and what is all around us inspires me on a daily basis.”

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3. What brings you out of a photo funk? What is it about photography that keeps you going?

“I feel like my 365 project as well as my fellow 365ers in my group help keep me out of a funk—truly. The daily prompts are so wide open for different interpretations that I like to challenge myself to come up with my own. Believe me, there are times that I will still get in a funk though… I just did as of late. What brought me out of this one? Simply creating. Simply just picking up my camera and trying something new. The photography community keeps me going. I have met so many wonderful and encouraging friends along my journey; this support helps keep me afloat.
Oh, something else that brings me out of a funk—Macro Photography. Macro is seriously so good for my soul!”

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4. What is at the top of your wishlist?

“Oh boy!! What isn’t??!! Ha! But for right now, the #1 thing at the top of my wish list is the Sigma 35mm 1.4 Art Lens. I have rented this sweet lens a few times and REALLY REALLY want one of my own!!
Oh, and I think that I’d love having a Lensbaby 😉 ”

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5. Can you tell us what is in your camera bag and what is your favorite “Go-to” lens?

“What’s in my bag? Extra batteries, an extra memory card, a thin black marker, a plastic sandwich bag, a protein bar, and my Nikon D5100. My favorite go-to lens that I own is my 50mm 1.4 prime lens. My favorite go-to lens that I don’t own: the Sigma 35mm 1.4 art lens that is on my wish list!!” 😉

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6. Is there a subject/style/technique that you haven’t tried yet that you would like to?

“YES!! A technique I want to learn is freelensing!!! I have tried it, but I cannot master it and it seriously bugs me!!
But, a few things that I haven’t tried that I would like to: A Lifestyle Newborn Session, Boudoir Photography, Underwater Photography.”

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7. Are there any projects you are are currently working on or have planned coming up that you’d like to share with us?

“One thing that is coming up is an exchange of services between myself and a photographer I found through a community on Facebook—she’s local to me! She will be documenting an experience at the apple orchard of my son and me. I could not be more thrilled for this! I will then be documenting moments between her and her family.
Other than that, I am looking forward to each session that I have scheduled between now and mid-December!”

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8. Can you share with us how you find the balance in your daily life & the demands of the photography world?

“Balance is something that I highly covet in my life and the life with my son. The first principle to finding balance in your life is to identify your values. I want my son to feel heard, acknowledged, understood, and loved—so I keep these 4 things in mind daily. Doing so helps me and reminds me to stop what I am doing (which is usually editing on my computer) and balance my time between him and my work.
I also work full time at my “normal job” so I have to keep a good balance between that and my photography. And because I work during the week, I only schedule sessions on the weekends. I will watch my calendar though, I will not over book myself even though the demand is high—overbooking will only throw me off balance! I know myself too well to not do that! I always make sure I set time aside for myself and time aside to spend with my son.”
Here is an amazing quote that resonates with me:
“Find balance in your life. Work hard but don’t let work take over your life, you will lose yourself. Love, but love for the right reasons. Life is too short for anything mediocre. Know who you are and know that you are worthy of reaching your dreams and that it is never too late to start creating that life you have always dreamed of. Do not compare yourself to others, that’s just deadly. No two souls are the same. You are your own person, you are beautiful and you are unique. Put your trust in the universe. Some things are just meant to happen, and some are not. Let go of whatever is stealing your happiness, it’s hard but it is worth it. Embrace change. Embrace life. Everything happens for a reason, sometimes you just need to breathe, trust and let go.” – Charlotte Freeman

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9. What is your biggest challenge you have faced in your photography journey? How did you overcome it?

“I would say that my biggest challenge I have faced in my photography journey this far is being hard on myself, being too critical of my own work. I remember thinking at the beginning that everything needed to be “perfect”: in focus, well balanced, no blown highlights, no blurriness, no this, no that!!
Then I discovered so many amazing photographers and communities on Facebook. Being flawed and distorted was so prevalent, encouraged, and welcomed!! THIS, this was where my heart fell—this is where I felt creative and knew where I belonged.
Letting go of the “rules” and just creating what felt right and looked good to me is how I overcame that!!”

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10. What is your most valued piece of advice for a new photographer? What is something you wish someone had told you when you first started your photography journey?

“Advice for new photographers: Be yourself. Treat your clients like friends. Remember quality not quantity. You should never think that the camera is the most important thing. You need to simply find a camera that you enjoy using and stick to that. You should just use the camera as a tool. Finally, shoot what you love! Then keep shooting, keep shooting!!
Something I wish someone had told me: All of the above and I wish someone had specifically said “Try to look at each shoot from a lateral perspective. Don’t be afraid to experiment in order to stand out from the crowd.”
I have figured most of this out along the way and continue to learn more!”

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11. Can you share with us your “most” favorite image and tell us why it is?

“Oh man, only one favorite?! It was hard enough picking only 11 photos to share with you all! 😉
As difficult as it was, I picked this one as my all-time favorite image right now because no matter how many times I went back to look at all my photos, I was always drawn to this one. It is this one that is in the back of my mind all the time. This is my son. We were out adventuring and I saw him holding his arm this way… he does this all the time and words cannot express how much I love this mannerism of his. Even though he is all boy, I feel that this photograph shows how peaceful, content, gentle his soul is.
To me it is things like this that we want frozen in time; an in between moment documented to relive with more than just a faded memory. I think that is what you will notice in my photography the most… the in between moments and details that we do not want to forget.”

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WOW! What a powerful & heartfelt interview Shannon! Thank you so much for inspiring us ALL!

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