Viewing entries in
Personal

Why I am a Photographer

Comment

Why I am a Photographer

Before Neyssa Lee Photography

Growing up, I always had a camera in my hand. I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved the click of the shutter. I loved that I could capture those things that were important to me. I could document my life the way I wanted to. However, photography was never going to be a career for me because you have to be creative and an artist to be a photographer - and I did not see myself as either of those things. I had a dream of becoming a director of film or more likely, I wanted to work for Disney in their marketing department.

After I graduated from college, I found myself with a degree in business, working at Starbucks, with no desire to sit at a desk job. The irony is that I had never imagined owning my own business. In fact, during my entrepreneurial course that was required to graduate, I often thought. "Who would ever want to run a business?" It was my husband who encouraged me to start Neyssa Lee Photography and even found me my first client.

Motherhood Changes You

In the beginning, I was preserving a piece of a childhood I missed out on for the kids of the families that hired me. I was capturing them with their parents who loved them, and it brought me great joy.

Then, when I became a mother, my life was turned upside down. I experienced first-hand how fleeting each stage with my baby was. In the blink of an eye, he went from newborn to infant to toddler. The passing of time left me longing to hold onto my tiny baby, while celebrating each milestone he passed. This paradox of motherhood made me reach for my camera even more.

With my son’s growth, my photography changed. I was no longer clicking the shutter for the children, but for the mother who just wanted to hold on a little longer. Suddenly, I understood the details, the moments, the looks that all mattered.

 Photo by Megann Robinson - My girls meeting their baby brother for the first time.

Photo by Megann Robinson - My girls meeting their baby brother for the first time.


Life Happens and Makes You Stronger

Over the course of the next seven years, I had four babies and four miscarriages. I was fortunate to have had my first two children without any problems. But it took a year and a half and three consecutive losses to bring our first rainbow baby home. When I thought I had endured enough as we tried for our fourth child, we lost a baby girl at 14-weeks gestation. We had already announced we were going to be a family of six, we had already told the kids, we had already heard our baby's heartbeat. Those years of struggle and grief made me a better, more compassionate photographer.

I see each newborn as a true blessing, whether I know the entire story behind his/her arrival or not. I know the heartbreak of loss, how that baby always stays with a family. I know the sheer bittersweet joy of a rainbow baby. I see the gift each child is for a family, whether adopted or biological.


Photographing is Healing

Photography helped me heal a broken childhood, hold onto a family that gave me a family. It has helped cope with how fast my children have grown and move through the pain of grief. It is more than a creative outlet, it is a lifeline. I know how important photography is for myself, my journey, and my family. I bring all of that to each session, knowing it's important to you, too.

Why I am a Photographer, Self Portrait, Neyssa Lee Photography

Comment

Comment

What's in My Camera Bag

One question I get asked often is what lens I used for a particular photo. Another question is what gear I use for my photos. So I thought I would share here what's in my camera bag! 

I will start first, with my actual camera bag. A year ago, I decided it was time to get a new camera bag, one that fit my style of photography, one that was durable, and one that didn't scream "I'm a camera bag." I did a TON of research, I asked friends on forums, and I watched videos on people using camera bags to get an idea of which bag to get. (As you can see, I'm super cool in how I use my spare time!) I decided on the Peak Design Everyday Messenger. I am happy to report that my research paid off and I LOVE my camera bag. It is comfortable to shoot with and comfortable for taking around on day trips with the family. It is super durable and I don't have to worry when I set it down on location outside. And I can also say that the customer service at Peak Design is wonderful. They accidentally sent me the 13" size when I ordered the 15" and they were so speedy in making sure I got the right bag.

 Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

Peak Design Everyday Messenger Bag

Okay, onto my gear. What is actually in this camera bag I love? First my camera. I have the Canon Mark iv 5D camera body. I admit that the mirrorless systems have caught my eye, however, my camera is like an extension of my body, I am comfortable with it and it still works wonderfully for me.

I only have 3 lenses in my camera bag. I shoot prime lenses (which means it is a fixed focal length, if I want to get closer or further away I must move my body) only because I love the lower aperture and crisp images they create. My first, and most used for personal and newborn work, is the Sigma Art 35mm F1.4 lens. The following couple images were all taken with my 35mm lens.

The next lens in my bag is my Canon 50mm F1.2 lens. I admit, this lens doesn't get as much work as the other two lenses in my camera bag. However, I've recently been using it more and reminded how much I love this focal length. It's the only lens I use for school portraits, a favorite for trips to the park with the kids, and is a great lens for family portraits. The following few images were all taken using my 50mm lens.

My last, and favorite lens, is my Canon 135mm F2.0 lens. This lens allows me to get back and let moments unfold while providing such beautifully compressed bokeh. Here are a few images taken with the 135mm lens.

Besides a chapstick, extra CF cards and camera battery, that's all I keep in my camera bag! Of course, I have an 85mm lens and maybe a Lensbaby Velvet 85 on my wish list, but I am happy with the gear in my camera bag now. 

*Neyssa

Comment

2017 Year in Review | Looking Back and Moving Forward

Comment

2017 Year in Review | Looking Back and Moving Forward

Starting with Thanks

As I look back on 2017, I want to start with thanks and gratitude. I am so grateful for each family who chose me to photograph their family. I am grateful to the schools who embraced Fine Art Portraiture and allowed me to photograph their beautiful students. This year my business has grown more than any other year, I have had more referrals while maintaining so many returning clients. So to all of you who have supported me, whether by liking or commenting on a photo on social media, or by recommending me to a friend, or by hiring me yourself, thank you. I truly love what I do, and I could not do it without you. 

Making Goals Not Resolutions

For me, the word "resolution" is something that will fail. I think back before kids and when I was a regular at the gym and how the first week of January was packed with people with New Year's Resolutions. By February, the masses would dwindle down to the normal group I had seen before. So instead of resolutions I make goals, both for my personal life and my business. 

I have a goals journal where the only thing in there is my goals for the year. I can look back several years and see what I had hoped to accomplish that year. While it can feel deflating to see those things that I did not accomplish (i.e. I only read 9 books last year instead of the 12 I had hoped to read), seeing what I did accomplish feels amazing. 

This year I have struggled a bit to make my goals for 2018. Maybe in part because I've been off a day, thinking I have one more day to make those goals. And also, because in a few short weeks my family will be welcoming a new baby. I want my goals to be realistic, but what is realistic when you have a newborn? 

Sharing Goals

What are my goals for 2018? Honestly, as I type this, I am still working on them. But I do know that I want to complete a Project 52 (photography goal) and I want to focus on capturing more details of my children. I also have a goal of blogging at least 8x per month. On a more personal level, I want to run in a 10k race by September 2018.  While part of me feels like a 10k isn't that long of a distance, I know that running while nursing for me is challenging, so again, I'm trying to be realistic. One other personal goal is to pick up journaling regularly again. Since I like my goals to be measurable, I will say that my goal is to journal at least 3 times per week. 

Will you join me in making goals this year? It is never to late to start goal setting, so even if you're reading this January 5th, I encourage you to make a goal. Will you share your goals with me in the comments below? I'd love to share and encourage each other this year. 

Once again, thank you for an amazing 2017. I can't wait to see what 2018 brings for us all.

To conclude this long post I'm sharing my "Best Nine of 2017" from Instagram. Because for me to pick my favorite images would be impossible!

Neyssa Lee Photography, 2017 Best Nine, Snoqualmie Family Photographer

 

 

Comment

Pre-K Graduate

Comment

Pre-K Graduate

Today my son is a Pre-K graduate. It will be the last day he is a student as the preschool we love dearly. Although we, as a family, have another 4 years at this school, it is still sad that Milo's time there has come to an end. The summer before Milo started preschool, Derek and I worried about our boy and how he would do. He was sweet and shy, and he loved to be with his family. The teachers at his school reassured me and gave great tips for making it through drop off the first day. He was hesitant, but he left my side without a tear.pre-k graduate, preschool boy, first day of school He thrived at his school. It was the perfect fit for him. He proudly brought home projects he loved to show off, and explain every detail about it. pre-k graduate, preschool boy His last day of preschool you could already see how much he had grown. He even gave me a little sass in his photo. pre-k graduate, preschool boy The beginning of his pre-K year he was a much more confident boy. There is only a summer's difference between the photo above and the photo below. pre-k graduate, preschool boy For his graduation, the kids said what they want to be when they grow up. Did I mention they said it on stage with a room full of parents, grandparents, and siblings, and into a microphone?! I wasn't sure if he would actually speak up, but he did! For the record, he wants to "drive a 6 wheeled fire truck, a tractor, and a flat bed truck." pre-k graduate, preschool boy As I took his picture for the last day of Pre-K, he still covered his face just like he did when he was 2, and he played silly games. It was nice to see that he is still my goofy  boy. pre-k graduate, preschool boy As we look forward to kindergarten, I know he has been given the best start possible. He is excited, and ready for the challenges of full day school. He is most excited to ride the bus and see his classroom. pre-k graduate, preschool boy

I am so grateful for his time at his preschool. The teachers were amazing, loving, and supportive. They helped shape his love for learning. In their pre-k assessment of him, they sent a letter that brought me to tears. They truly do know my boy and they cared for him.

Happy last day of pre-k, Milo! We are so proud of our Pre-K Graduate!

*Neyssa

 

Comment