Why I took the word "Cheese" out of my vocabulary...

Good afternoon you guys! It's been a couple of weeks since I dropped the Price lecture on you, so I took a little break. Actually, let's be honest, I am not sure if anyone even reads my blogs...however, I love being able to use this as an outlet and a way for you to get to know me better. It also helps you understand some of the business practices I have, why I do them a certain way, and maybe why I have changed things recently. My shift in branding threw everyone off a little, including myself, and I am finally finding my feet again on solid ground. Going from trying to be an exclusive wedding photographer to exclusively a children's photographer is a HUGE leap. It's a big difference in money, it's a huge difference in shooting....it's just different. But kids are my happy place, and capturing a magical childhood feeds my soul, and makes all of the time and effort worth it to me. That passion that I have truly shines through when I am shooting things I love.

So, what does the title of this blog have to do with all of this you ask? I am about to tell you! <3

As long as I can remember, I have said, whispered, screamed, and chanted the word "Cheese" during my sessions. "Say Cheese baby!" "Cheeeeese" "Cheeseburgerrrrr".....because everyone wants that perfect smiling picture of their kiddo looking at the camera and sitting just right, RIGHT? Maybe. Or maybe they just think they do. But, let me tell you what they really need, and they don't even really know it. They need pictures of their kiddo being THEIR kiddo. Playing, rolling around in the grass, exploring, doing that precious little face that they make when they are thinking too hard, crying, and yes, laughing. But, saying cheese, or trying to force a smile out of a kid definitely doesn't accomplish that. I cannot believe that it took me 9 long years to really realize it. Kids are kids. They are really gonna do what they want to do, and if you try to force them to do what YOU want them to do, all while forcing a camera in their face and screaming at them.....inevitably they are going to cry. And then it starts all over, with a red blotchy face, and tear stained cheeks, and tear filled eyes. And that causes frustration in parents, and anxiety in babies. They don't understand, and they are SO overstimulated and they have NO idea who to look at or what to do. So, they cry. And understandably. 

So I decided it was time to try a new approach. Let them be little. Talk to them, interact with them, play with them....and magic happened. Since I have started that, I try to start every session by telling Mom, Dad and kiddo..."I am NOT going to ask you to smile." Sure, I get some weird looks, but I tell them to trust me. If I get smiles, I want them to be genuine. I want them to be real. I want them to emulate childhood joy and laughter. Because when you tell a kid to smile, that is NOT what you get. When they are older, grown, in college and you look back at the pictures on the wall of them looking curious, or running, or rolling around, or even CRYING...you are going to feel your heart clench up a little bit. And I promise you won't be upset that they weren't sitting perfectly, with the perfect outfit, in the perfect position, with the perfect smile. Because childhood is anything but perfect. It's messy, and crazy , and chaotic, and happy, and perfectly IMPERFECT. And those memories that I get for you, will be the ones that you look back on and smile and say...."Do you remember that time...?" Parents, relax and enjoy the ride. Childhood is gone in an instant, and the next thing they are grown with children of their own. Enjoy each season of their lives. Because you only have so many days with them. 

I have also tried my best, and WILL continue to enforce a "50 foot rule" for my parents. This simply means, stay back, observe from a little ways back, and let me interact with your baby! Sit back and relax. Take it all in. I promise I have a method to my madness, but when there is 4 people standing at all angles behind me all screaming "SMILE!!!", they really have no idea who to look at, and they get frustrated. I will give you amazing memories. Trust me to do that for you. Let me be the one to give direction, and don't worry if they are running all over God's green creation....it's part of the job description being a baby/kid wrangler. It's my favorite part actually. 😍 

As we move into summer...I find my calendar more full than it has been in a very long time. It makes me humbled and blessed that so many people trust me with their memories. I cannot wait to see what comes of each one. Also, there are LOTS of fun themed sessions coming in the Summertime, so be on the look out. 

I would love to hear from you what you think about this blog, leave a comment to let me know! Maybe I will realize that I am not speaking into the great vast unknown with no one listening! πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚

As usual, I love you guys! And I will leave you with some pictures that I didn't say Cheese on....


I am still around...

Hey, y'all! It has been a little bit since my last entry, but things around here have been BUSY. With spring kicking off, baseball has started back up, we finished up cheer competition season just in time for the new year tryouts, added some private lessons in there, Jensen turned four, Spring Break and Easter have come and gone, and just like that....life is chaotic again. And, that is EXACTLY how I like it. Sessions have picked back up with the arrival of spring weather, sunshine and finally some WARM weather. Remind me how ready I was for it when I am griping about being hot this summer, will ya? πŸ˜‚ I have had some really great sessions over the past few weeks, some with clients, and some with my own kids to push some creative boundaries. This all makes my heart happy! And I am looking forward to later sunsets, fireflies, and summer wind. 😍

But, I have had a blog on my heart for a while now, and I feel like once I put it out there I will feel so much better about it. No one really wants to ever talk about it, and when they do, it can be pretty awkward. 


Y'all, pricing stresses me out. For real. Mainly because I KNOW that my prices are expensive. And I have seen how people react when I tell them what they are. I am also aware that there is a photographer (or 75) within a 20 mile radius of me that charges half (or less) of what I do. But, let me explain just exactly WHY I will never be one of those people. 

Photography is expensive. Like, ridiculously expensive. Like the lenses and camera bodies that I carry around in my little bag cost upwards of $10,000. Or more. Depending on what I have in the bag at the moment. That is NOT counting my studio equipment. My studio stock wardrobe. The props that I make, buy, keep, have. It. Is. So. Expensive. Especially to bring certain sessions to life, like you picture them in your head. Props to make it happen are expensive to buy, and most of the time even MORE expensive to make yourself. Continuing education is expensive. And if you have to rent a location for your session(s), talk about spending some money. Some places are $250 to rent for an HOUR. Let that sink in. I have never known any other profession that doesn't require an education or certification to cost this much. And yes, I am quite aware that you can purchase a DSLR for $500, and YES I know it's not ALWAYS the equipment that makes the photographer, but even I will admit that you will not get the quality from a $100 lens on an entry level DSLR that you will get on my Mark iii with a good L glass. Quality is a thing for sure. 

My time is worth it. Every hour I spend away from my family, my house obligations, every game I miss etc, to capture your memories is WORTH something. I know that EVERYONE thinks that their time is worth something, but sometimes I wonder if people have ever really sat and thought about the photographer. I have missed I don't know HOW many moments to capture other peoples memories. Games, parties, heck even several of our family Christmas functions I have missed to capture other people's things. And while, I know that I have been hired, and that is not what is up for debate.....my TIME is worth the money that I charge. Here is a great example that I use all the time when I get kick back on my wedding pricing....an average wedding takes about 40-50 work hours. Between all the stuff leading up, bridal sessions, engagement sessions, the hours actually spent AT the wedding shooting, but also the behind the scenes stuff. ALL THE EDITING. Y'all, no one sees that and it takes forever. So basically, the whole shebang is a 40-50 work week. What would YOU be expected to get paid from your job for that amount of work? I know what I get paid to do that many hours as a nurse, and a lot of time, photography is harder and more stressful. Although, in a MUCH different way at times. Even sessions take time to edit. They take planning time. They take shooting time. And then editing...which with me having converted to completely custom hand editing every single image is a LOT longer than it used to take for me. But, I feel like the work for me is worth the time. Every image has a legitimate piece of me in it. Blood, sweat, tears. 

Going back to the other photographers....basically, in this day and age, ANYONE can be a photographer. Anyone can go buy a DSLR, make a Facebook page, and start charging. There is no regulation. No education required. No diploma. No certificate. Nothing. Now....is this a bad thing? Absolutely NOT. It is exactly how I started, and now, I am where I have always dreamed of being. But, I mainly say all that to say this...there are photographers in EVERY budget. I am neither the cheapest, nor the most expensive in this area. I am in the middle somewhere. And I am happy here. But, please don't go to any photographer, and make them feel like they aren't WORTH it. If their pricing isn't for you, say "Thank you!", and go to find someone more in your budget, or with pricing that you are willing to pay. I have had people look me dead in my face and scoff at my pricing. And who are they to say what my art is worth? They are no one. And that is not meant to sound harsh, but mainly is a encouragement to other photographers. YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT. You are. Keep pushing. Keep grinding. If you build it, they will come. Someday. But, also, don't talk bad about those who charge more than you. That is also their prerogative. If they want to charge $2000 for a session, they can. And y'all, I know people that DO. And they book sessions like CRAZY. Pricing is relative. Also, don't try to talk someone down. I cringe when the first few lines of an email are "I just need like 2 pictures, nothing big"....it puts me in a weird position. Because I am thankful that they want to use me, but I can tell they don't want to pay my prices. Which leads me to feel that my work isn't WORTH it to them. And, that is not a fun place to be.

My last thing....photography is a LUXURY. Not something that you are entitled to. It is something that is NOT a necessity. Please respect the photographers around you, and support them. Whichever one may be in your price range. There are so many that span every dollar amount. Respect them. Love them. And don't try to get something for free just because you are friends with them. If they want to do it for you for free, let them offer. It will be so much better. Trust me. 

If you made it this far, gold star. I am sorry if I hurt some feelings, but I have always promised to be real, and someone had to say it. All photographers think it, and if they tell you they don't....they are lying to you. 😘

Happy Spring, y'all. Let's make some magic! ✨



Finding Light, even in the Darkest of Places...

Most of you have seen a pretty abrupt change in me in the last few months. And to be completely honest, if you would have asked me back in the fall if this is where I saw myself....I might have told you you were completely off your rocker. I was a wedding photographer. That is all I thought I wanted to do. And then, just like that.....I quit kidding myself, and made a change.

I didn't really tell anyone at first, it was slow, and pretty much testing the waters....but, each day, I got more intense, more excited, more passionate, and more clear about the exact path that I was supposed to be on. Slowly I started telling a few of my photographer friends about it. I have quite a few photographers that I am really close with, they are my biggest supporters, my biggest cheerleaders and some of my best friends. They kick me in the tail when they know I need it. They are my ear to vent to when something photography related has me frustrated and my husband just DOESN'T understand. We all bring something unique to the table. Some of them are super amazing newborn photographers, some are literally the BEST wedding photographers I know, some have been doing this a lot longer, or a lot shorter than me and they blow my stuff out of the water. Some of them have light and airy styles, some are more dark and moody like me. Some things are the same for us business wise. And yet, we are all different. One by one, I talked with them,( or they called me and told me to SPILL ITπŸ˜‚), and I realized that I have SO many people behind me. They have so much supported me while I have been finding myself, developing my style, and trying to find something that is undeniably me in this world of cookie cutter. Helped me start to develop a brand that hopefully at some point in the future will need no introduction, that the work will speak for itself, and that people will be able to point out just by my shooting style as a "Brynne Owen". That would be the coolest thing. This is truly a great community to be a part of. We all have those people that inspire us. All of my friends inspire me, and hopefully I them in some ways. Even if I am just the one they can call when they need to vent (Heyyyyy E!). They have listened to me cry, scream, flip out...but they also have made me laugh, take me on coffee dates, sometimes they just sit with me....not even talking about photography because we all need a mental break.

Most people don't realize all this about photographers. They don't realize that we are all friends, (for the most part...let's face it that I am not everyones cup of tea on a good day*shrug*), and that we all talk to one another. There are few people in this world that truly know what you are going through in life, when you are facing something hard. Something that you really don't wanna face because you know it will just cause unnecessary drama, a situation that won't change pretty much any way you approach it because people are people, somethings that are tough as a business owner, separating friendship and business (Man, that one is a HARD one.).....these are my sisters that support me through all these things. They keep me off the ledge. They read through RANT posts and tell me how great it is, but that I should just delete it and go on. They keep me sane. They make me laugh when I really need it. They take me to lunch and let me blow off steam when I am so frustrated that all I want to do is scream. They text me to check on me when they can tell I am in my own head. They message me to make sure I am good. And quite frankly, they help me resist the urge I always have to get a little tacky on Facebook from time to time....(don't act like you've never wanted to get tackyπŸ˜‚). And I am so thankful for them. So thankful for them. My friends. My sisters. My tribe. Trust me, you know who you are....especially over the last few weeks with my extra vent calls and text sessions. 

Don't get me wrong, I have friends basically in every aspects of my life, but these girls get me....and I say all that to say this.....

I am so happy that Kenzi has found her tribe in her Cheer Sisters. Her girls. Her people. I am so glad I got to use all of them to do a little fun project for myself to further my practicing on both shooting, and editing, as well as get to do something fun with them that we will have forever for them. They helped me bring something that I had been picturing in my mind for a very long time, to life. They are her listening ears, her support system, her sounding board....and I love listening to them talk. I love watching them laugh and joke and dance, and do muiscallys. I love watching them grow up together. Don't get me wrong, they fight like sisters sometimes...because, let's face it, there is SO MUCH SASS that I cannot even. And they all get it from their Momma's.  And I know the next thing I know they will be grown, and leaving for college...and I will be crying. But for now, I will enjoy this moment of chaos. And take it all in. Because, babies don't keep y'all.

Also, if you're in the Tyler area and are looking for a great home Cheer gym. Spirit of Tyler is our second home. We love our Hive, and SOT is the place to be!