10 years of this | photography anniversary

Ten years ago, at the age of 12, I took this photo. It is the reason why I do photography now. I never imagined I would be where am today when I snapped this photo. All I knew was that as soon as it appeared on the playback screen, I was hooked.

As a kid, I was always fascinated by the concept of taking pictures. The fact that you could capture a moment in time and look at it later amazed me. Polaroid instant cameras were one of the most intriguing inventions I could get my hands on. I even had a toy Polaroid sort of like this one.

When I was 7, I got my first camera--a point and shoot film camera. I was thrilled. Many of the rolls of film were filled with pictures of my brother and my cats. I tried to take some pictures of flowers but it never went well.

Then when I was 12, my mom had just bought a digital camera. (This was back when 5-megapixels was top of the line.) Again, I was amazed. You mean, you can take a picture and see it right away?? And you can delete whatever ones you don't want?! One day I asked her if I could take some pictures of our potted flowers outside. She agreed, and so I happily went outside.

When I saw this photo on the 1" x 1" playback screen, the way the front was all clear and the back was all blurry, I was hooked. I started saving for my first camera that day.

I eventually upgraded to a fancier camera, and then later, my first DSLR.

In recent years, I have had so many cool opportunities because of my interest in photography. Sports photography, senior photos, a marriage proposal, events, launching this website, hosting an online store, and so much more. I say it all the time but I really mean it: I am so blessed to be able to do what I love and have other people love it, too.

But the thing is, my photography isn't just about the skill and the opportunities. In fact, I would say my photography is where it is today because of some pretty tough things I experienced as a teenager. When I was 15, I started "blogging" through the photos I posted on Flickr. I would upload a photo that represented a person or event and include a quote or lyrics that helped to illustrate what it was about. Sometimes I would include my own writing. Every time I would put up a new photo, I could feel a weight lift off of my shoulders.

I remember one day in particular, I was so frustrated with myself and what I was going through. I just need to take pictures. That thought came out of nowhere. I paused to think, and realized that maybe photography was my thing. Some people write songs or poetry. Some paint or draw. I take pictures. That's how I make sense of life. So that's what I did.

It's not like the pictures came out to be fantastic, but it helped me process and deal with the things I was experiencing, and that made it worth it.

As I've grown and become better at dealing with life's less-than-stellar moments, I've strayed away from uploading to Flickr in that way. But it's amazing to me to look back at each of those photos. To this day, I can tell you what each one represents. I can feel what I was feeling in the moment I uploaded it. I could probably even tell you how I came up with the composition or what was going on the day I took it. To be able to look back on all of that and see where I am now is so encouraging. If you want to see what I'm talking about, you can check it out here.

Photography means more to me than any amount of views, sales, awards, or jobs. Ten years later, I still get that same feeling I got when I took that photo of the marigold, and I hope that never goes away. But I'm not worried about that. Photography is my thing.

My early photography was supported by the words of others, so it seems fitting to include some of the most influential quotes I've come across. Robert Hayden said, "Art is not escape, but a way of finding order in chaos, a way of confronting life." And I couldn't agree more. Asher Roth said, "Do your thing. Do it every day. Do it 'unapologetically'. Don’t be discouraged by criticism. You probably already know what they’re going to say. Pay no mind to the fear of failure. It’s far more valuable than success. Take ownership, take chances and have fun. And no matter what, don’t ever stop doing your thing." Between the two of them, they sum up my approach to photography pretty well.

Thanks for an incredible first ten years of practicing my art. And thank you for encouraging me to "do my thing" even when you had no idea just how much it meant to me.

 

- Victoria

#tbt | october 23rd, 2014

Hey everyone!

I am back from Ireland, so no more Ireland photos (until I go back of course ;)). Today I have a little throwback to share. These photos are from 2014. I never posted them because, as usual, I wasn't happy with them. And as usual, I found them years later and saw them in a different way! I played around with the editing a bit and thought they turned out pretty good.

Although I mostly shoot nature, when I first started photography I was pretty much half-and-half--nature and still-life. I'd like to get back into it eventually, but for now, here's some old stuff.

This one is in my shop.

I hope you enjoyed this little throwback!
 

- Victoria

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adventures in Ireland: giant's causeway & carrick-a-rede | april 2018

Hey all!

Last month I took a trip up to Northern Ireland with some of my friends. We explored Belfast, the Giant's Causeway, Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge, and a bunch of other cool places. Here are some photos from one of the most (if not the most) gorgeous place I've ever been--the area surrounding the Giant's Causeway and Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

This view... *insert heart eyes emoji here*

Straight from the camera!

...also straight from the camera, besides cropping!

Taken from the Carrick-a-Rede Rope Bridge.

These places were so incredibly gorgeous, and we were blessed with a gorgeous day to enjoy them. If you ever have the chance, go!
 

- Victoria

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adventures in Ireland: killarney & inisheer | april 2018

Hey everyone!

I have been really busy with traveling and finishing up school for the semester, so I'm trying really hard to get caught up on sharing my photo adventures. These pictures are from the past month. A few are from Killarney National Park and the rest are from Inisheer, one of the Aran Islands.

Torc Waterfall in Killarney National Park

The colors were unreal! The only adjustment I made to this one was adding a bit of brightness.

The Plassey -- wrecked ashore Inisheer Island in 1960. Everyone on board survived.

The island is only a little under 2 miles by 2 miles, but there is over 5,000 miles worth of stone walls!

These sheep were so funny. As soon as they saw my friends and I, they started making a whole bunch of noise. Even the babies started to chime in after a while!

Hope you enjoyed!

Note about the quality: maybe I'm the only one who notices, but the resolution of my photos has gone so downhill. I've tried changing settings, taking photos in better conditions, editing differently, etc... But the fact is that the quality used to be so much better. It is frustrating to have great pictures ruined by camera malfunction/outdated equipment. There have been many pictures I haven't been able to share because the quality is just so bad. I'd love to be able to get a newer camera, but that just isn't realistic right now. I wanted to acknowledge the quality difference in case anyone has noticed though. Thanks for sticking with me anyway!
 

- Victoria

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adventures in Ireland: cliffs of moher - take II | march 31st, 2018

Hey everyone!

I got to see the Cliffs of Moher again! It was a gorgeous day, and I think the pictures came out much better this time. Hope you enjoy!

These were what the tour guide called the "mini cliffs."

Let me know which one is your favorite! The last two are already in my shop.
 

- Victoria

PS- Be sure to subscribe to the blog on the sidebar or click here so you don't miss a post!

adventures in Ireland: donegal, sligo, + more | march 17th - 19th

Hey everyone! 

This might be my biggest post to date. I considered splitting these photos up into a few posts but it made more sense to keep them all in one. Myself and a few friends took a trip north to the Donegal area a few weeks ago. It was a fantastic time filled with lots of laughs, hiking, and photo opportunities!

This one and the next three were from our hike up Knocknarea in County Sligo. 

Slieve League is one of the most gorgeous places I have ever visited.

The water is unbelievably bluish teal.

A pond on top of the mountain!

Glengesh Pass

Assaranca Waterfall - first time experimenting with water long exposures. Not perfect, and personally I don't love this style of shot, but it's neat to try new techniques and see the results!

Maghera, County Donegal - a white sand beach in Ireland! The icicles on the rock sides brought us back to reality. 

There are a few small caves along the beach.

Again, I was less than thrilled with some of these photos. Although I like them, the quality is severely lacking quite a few and I was pretty frustrated by that. After the trip, one of my friends went through the settings on my camera and realized the sharpening was turned all the way up. I reset it and took some photos last week. What a difference! Hopefully I'll be sharing those soon. 

Let me know if you have a favorite! 
 

- Victoria

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#tbt | december 14th, 2016

Heyyyyy! I haven't done a Throwback Thursday in a while so I thought this would be a good opportunity to share these pictures.

Oftentimes, when I do a shoot that I'm not pleased with at all, I'll keep the pictures anyway. Then sometimes... I look through the shoot months (sometimes years) later and see something I didn't see before. That happened here. I took these in December of 2016 and wasn't happy with them. I saw them a few days ago and decided I wanted to try some newly-learned editing techniques on them. I'm so happy with the result. I hope you enjoy them, too!

I hated this one when I first took it and I'm surprised I didn't delete it... But now it's one of my favorites from this shoot!

I felt like I was in Narnia.

Another personal favorite...

Woodsy aesthetic shots, anyone?

This one is a little messy, but I like how the colors turned out.

Two similar shots, two different editing techniques (which one do you like more?).

Can you see the snowflakes? <3

I never imagined I would end up loving this shoot as much as I do now. If you're unhappy with pictures you've taken, or any other project for that matter, set it aside for a while. Go back to it later, and maybe you'll see things differently!

If you think any of these should be added to my shop, please let me know! You don't need to feel obligated to buy them, but it's nice to know what other people think would be successful.

 

- Victoria

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society6 | a seller's perspective

This post is not sponsored.

Hello everyone!

I promised this blog ages ago but I'm just now getting around to writing it. This blog is geared toward photographers and graphic designers, and those looking to sell their work. Many of you have requested that I write about selling on Society6 so I'm going to explain my experience with S6 thus far and why it's the best choice for me right now. You may or may not have seen the blog I wrote from a buyers perspective, so if you would like to check that out you can find it here.

 

why I chose S6

After years of being told I should sell my work, I decided to look into selling options about three years ago. I looked at a variety of different platforms, but I felt like Society6 was the best option for many reasons.

  1. There is no upfront cost to use the service
  2. I could sell products other than prints
  3. All of the shipping and handling, returns, production, and manufacturing is handled completely by S6

Later on, I realized another perk: advertising was not completely up to me. It helps a ton, but my work is searchable and so theoretically, if I did nothing there's still a chance I would make sales. S6 actually picked up one of my prints last year and featured it for a while, which greatly contributed to my sales. If I was hosting my own shop, driving sales would rely solely on me. Right now, I don't have the space in my schedule to dedicate that much time, resources, and effort into advertising. I also don't have the following to make something like that realistic either.

 

using S6

The seller's interface has improved so much since I starting using S6, and they are still working on new improvements. There's also an app available for iPhone users.

Enabling/disabling products is really easy. I've been a little behind on enabling new products but these screen caps show you the on/off switch. Depending on the size of the file, sometimes you have to resize and upload the resized file in order to enable certain products (as is the case for the towels in the last screenshot). Click a photo to enlarge

Here's an example of where you would upload a resized file, or move the photo around to better accommodate your art.

 

pricing + being paid

Society6's pricing structure is as follows: the cost of goods + S6's cut + your cut. For prints, framed art prints, and canvas prints, you are able to set the price and how much you make. For all other products, the pricing is set by S6. You can find a breakdown of all of the products pricing here. For some of the products, it may seem unfair that you are only making a few dollars compared to the price of the product. But remember: S6 is handling almost everything. If you are set on making more and are willing and able to do the work, then S6 is not for you.

When you first create your S6 account, there is a $1 fee to connect your PayPal. After that, you do not have to pay anything else. When you make a sale, it displays as "pending" for 30 days. This is to ensure that if the customer returns the product, S6 doesn't have to take money out of your account. After the 30 day period is over, your product is "cleared" and you will be paid via PayPal at the start of the next month.

Example:
Sale - April 20th
Cleared - May 20th
Paid - June 1st
 

sales

There are two type of sales S6 runs, but they never mean you make any less on your products. The two kinds are 1.) run by Society6 and are site-wide and 2.) sales you have to enable by providing your followers with a special link. Both of these sales happen quite frequently and tend to boost the amount of product sales in your shop. (I actually just got an email about spring sales coming up soon!) These sales and special offer range anywhere from a percentage off certain or all products, to free shipping or a combination of the two.

 

other thoughts

I have ordered products from S6 and have been happy with them. The first time I ordered a product from them, it was a travel mug and they actually sent me the wrong one. Their customer service was very quick and friendly. Unfortunately, the replacement they sent me came in broke, but once again, customer service was extremely helpful and I finally got the right mug in one piece.

The bottom line is you probably won't be able to make a living off of Society6, or any other platform for that matter (but if you do, I'd like to talk to you). But if you're like me and want a convenient way to share your work with the world for profit, look into Society6. One thing I will note as I haven't given much criticism is this: S6 is much more geared toward graphic designers than it is photographers. However, I felt like it's better to create a community of photographers there than leave because there is none.

If you have any other questions, send them my way!

 

- Victoria

PS- Be sure to subscribe to the blog on the sidebar or click here so you don't miss a post!

adventures in Ireland: the ring of kerry | february 4th, 2018

Have I mentioned how beautiful it is in Ireland?

These photos are from a trip I took around the Ring of Kerry. Absolutely gorgeous. The range of terrain around that area is incredible. Mountains, ocean, beaches, rocky stretches, unreal-green hillsides, dry, brown areas... It was an amazing experience. 

This was at a beach in Waterville.

If you love beautiful scenery, add the Ring of Kerry to your list of places-to-travel! 

- Victoria

PS- If you don't want to miss any of my Ireland adventure posts, be sure to subscribe to the blog on the sidebar or click here!

adventures in Ireland: the west of Ireland | february 3rd, 2018

Dia dhuit!

(That's the equivalent to "hello" in Irish, but it translates literally to "God be with you!")

Yes... Hello from Ireland! I'll be adventuring here for a few months and I wanted to share some photos with you, because this place is gorgeous. But to be honest... I'm quite disappointed in some of these. I've never shot in these kinds of locations so learning on the fly is a bit tough. I decided to take a more artistic style with the editing on some of the photos I'm wasn't happy with. 

Beach at Lahinch. It was a bit chilly and rainy, but very pretty!

The Cliffs at Moher -- these are the ones I'm really disappointed with, but it was gorgeous in person! Getting to see it was a real treat.

DSC_0200edit2wm.JPG

The wind was unreal. There were a few times I had to fight to stay upright. If you ever go (which you should) and you have long hair, make sure you tie it back securely before getting up to the cliffs... Yeah.. oops.. I got pictures of the other cliffs but the shadows are harsh. The time of day was not ideal for picture taking.

O'Brien's Tower

Poulnabrone -- 3,000 year old tomb/burial ground

I have more to share of other adventures so far--look out for those next week! 

It's quite disappointing to get less than stellar shots of an amazing place, but it was an amazing experience. If you ever get the chance, go! Nothing beats seeing it in person. 

- Victoria