The Shrine of Saint Anthony

Two weekends ago I had the unique and fantastic challenge of taking fall photos for a family that celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. The photoshoot location was change at the last minute (luckily) to a beautiful location picked by my client at a Catholic Church called The Shrine of Saint Anthony in Ellicott City, MD. The client wanted to ensure that no religious imagery appeared in the photos due to the diversity in their family. This request forced me to be creative with positioning. It was also my first completely posed shoot and approximately 95 percent of the poses were my own creation. I loved getting out and enjoying the beautiful fall weather.DSC_0052DSC_0032DSC_0082 (1)

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Change and Renewal

Fall is a season of change. It is appropriate that its color’s are similar to that of the phoenix as it bursts into flames to be born again, renewed. Maryland is a lovely place to watch the leaves change and to change with them. As of a few days ago I am officially the proud owner of Alicia Kohler Photography LLC.  This is a big change for me, and although I still hold my day job this past year has proven that photography is my passion. I’m nervous about all of the things I still don’t know and in may ways still feel like an imposter. Did anyone else experience this?

I had the pleasure of conducting two shoots at Rockburn Branch Park in Elkridge, MD this weekend. For the first, I wish a very a happy birthday to this energetic three year old and thank the parents for choosing me to capture these fleeting moments.

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Hampden: Take 2!

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Today, I traveled to the Hampden Neighborhood in Baltimore, MD for a Portrait Photo Session with a good friend. You might recognize the backgrounds from a previous shoot. It is amazing what you can find just walk around the city.

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The Outdoors

These images were captured in my mother-in-laws garden in Lemont, Pennsylvania and at Patapsco Valley State Park in Ellicott City, Maryland. I used my Nikon D5300 and 18 to 300 mm lens.

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The Candidate

About a month ago, I had the opportunity to perform my first political photo-shoot. Chris Gill is running for City Council in College Park, Maryland. You can find more information on his platform on these sites:

https://www.gillforcouncil.org/
https://www.facebook.com/chrisgillcp/?hc_ref=ARTDyxCfUd2sFF4ZGqpZ-QUCqyvfKnbgjy4Ey9PYrKWiKX6oeB7mjMmTZ8raUKo3vd4&fref=nf&pnref=story.unseen-section

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Chris contacted me to acquire some images to use on his website and we decided to make it a family event. Chris and his wife Emily are the parents of adorable twins and we were lucky enough to capture a few shots with the whole family. This shoot was fairly straightforward. My husband and I traveled to the Gill home in College Park and decided to take some photos at their local park and in their own backyard. Choosing this location ensured that the twins would not be overwhelmed by traveling. More importantly, I thought it was vital that we try and capture the charm of the district Chris hopes to represent. When we were walking to the shoot location, we walked by some of Chris’s neighbors who he easily exchanged friendly banter with. I don’t know Chris well but have played several board games with him in the past. From what I’ve seen and the passion he demonstrates daily on social media regarding current events, I have no doubt he will make his district a better place to live for his family and his community.

This shoot proved challenging for me for several reasons. The location provided a nice green space which played well with the dark blue, magenta, and pastel green/blue color scheme we crafted for the photos. There were some issues though. The first was that a large playground area was under construction which result in a large orange net being visible in background of several shots. Additionally, the lighting at the location was problematic and it took significant effort to locate areas that did not overshadow or overexpose the family.  I learned a very important lesson about color changing lenses and to ensure that I ask clients who wear glasses about them before planning an outdoor shoot. As a personal criticism, I should have focused more on getting usable pictures of Chris and gotten family photos as an after thought. I believe I was distracted by the power of twin adorableness. We did capture one excellent head shot that I am very proud of (below) but I do wish I had gotten a few more for variety. I wish the Gill family success in their campaign and all future endeavors.

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Artscape and the Fear of Rejection

Artscape is the largest free arts festival in the United States and is held annually right in my own backyard. A six-dollar Uber ride from my home in South Baltimore brings me just outside of the entrance to this wonderfully eclectic festival that brings out some of Baltimore’s most creative people. It takes me to a part of town that I may sometimes feel uncomfortable visiting, which is unfortunate considering that it has some of the best Korean food I have ever tasted. The festival features hundreds of artists, live concerts, street theater, children’s activities, and best of all it is completely free.  This year the theme was “Camp Artscape: Adventure Awaits.” There were volunteers wearing shirts adorned with the word Counselor to really push home the point.  It had been a while since I pull out my camera and I was excited to capture the essence of the day.

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There was one problem that I didn’t realize I had at first. I saw three people who I can remember vividly that I wish I had captured. The first was a spectator at one of the free concerts. She was wearing bright green, shiny, leggings with a print that made them look like a mermaid’s tail. Her half shirt was purple and sequined. Her long red hair cascaded down her back and her face was shaded by a pretty paper yellow umbrella. The second was a man with a long tail clipped to his loose, stripped, pirate pants. He was wearing a leather vest, his hair was in dreads and his yarn hat was slightly askew on his head. The third was a man with a chest tattoo with exposed underwear, spinning a basketball on his ring finger. These people were all different but had one thing in common for me. I was scared to approach all of them and ask for a photo. The concept of this seems ridiculous to me in retrospect, especially because they were all clearly trying to make a statement. Maybe they even woke up that morning hoping that someone, anyone really would notice them. I contended myself to admire their uniqueness from afar. The problem was that seconds after I convinced myself not to approach the third man another photographer asked for a shot and even posed the man. I missed my chance and felt silly approaching him after because I didn’t want to be a copycat.

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I am not by nature a shy person but for someone reason I fear approaching people with a camera in my hand. I think it is possible that I am afraid of rejection. A while back, someone I don’t know was at a friend’s barbeque. She and her husband spent most of the party tending to their four week old baby. She was precious and I noticed that she and her mother were dressed alike. I asked the mother about their outfits and was informed that she was hoping her husband, who is another amateur photographer would take a photo. I was immediately excited because I’m interested in newborn photography and informed her that I was providing free photo shoots at the moment to practice. They lived further south then I would like to drive and her husband is probably equally if not more talented than me. The problem there was I didn’t know that. I had never seen his work. I told myself that I wasn’t worthy and thusly lost myself a potential client.

Just a few days ago I set my rate for a possible paying photo shoot. The lovely athlete pictured performing Lyra stunts recommend me to a friend at work. I was so excited by her interest that I started crying, because for the first time I felt worthy of calling myself a true photography. Unfortunately, it’s been a week and I haven’t heard from here yet so maybe I set my rate to high, she wasn’t that into my style, or she was just too busy. However, these events didn’t stop me from doing my last photo shoot, which I will post about soon. It won’t stop me from doing my next either I have the quote from Eleanor Roosevelt “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent” tattooed in a mirror on my shoulder and still sometimes fail to remember it.  I think we all have self-doubt, but the question we need to ask ourselves daily is will we let it define us? For me, at least for now, the answer is no. I still managed to get some pretty good shots at Artscape and am looking forward to comparing them to the one’s I capture next year.

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