Adventures in the Badlands – Rapid City, SD Photographer

One of my favorite things in the world to do is go for long drives and adventure in random places. Life gets kind of rough sometimes, and you just need to clear your head!

Yesterday, I went through a drive in the Badlands with my friend, and oh my gosh… It was so beautiful with the snow on the landscape! I even got to have a nice stare down with a big horned sheep.

-Samantha

Meet Jordan! – Rapid City, SD Photographer

Jordan is a pretty swell chick. Who also makes me feel super old sometimes. But she’s joining me as a Mentee/Assistant/Awesome maker! She will be accompanying me to most sessions and she’s super ready to learn!

In light of her joining me and being super excited to learn, I’m hosting a model call!

From Jordan:

Hello! My name is Jordan and I’m 20 something! I grew up with plenty of photographers in my home, so I’m super used to having a camera point at me almost at all times! I’m incredibly excited to be behind the camera ready to capture your special moments. I’m a novice photographer and I’m ready to grow and learn new things everyday!

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Worry About Yourself! – Rapid City, SD Photographer

That was abrasive, I know. I went there. But that phrase is exactly how I try to live my life these days. I’m normally not a very nosy person at all, but I used to listen to everyone else’s opinions constantly. I put entirely too much stock into what other people said or thought about me. Not anymore.

In my personal life, I used to worry about what people would think when it came to almost every decision I ever made. I worried about what people would say about me being pregnant at 18. I worried about what people would say about my starting a business. I worried about what people thought when it came to how I was raising my child.

In my professional life, I always hear things like “you really need to raise your prices”, or “you need to market yourself this way.” I used to let people bully me into falling into their little images. I always tried to please everyone. Then one day, an amazing thing happened…

I quit caring what anyone else thought.

Not completely, I will be honest. You as my client, yeah, of course I care about what you think. I want you to be completely happy with your photos! Those photos are what you are going to remember *right now* by forever!

As far as everything else? Yep. I stopped caring. I realized that everyone has an opinion about everything. Personally, I believe that my kid is the most awesome human being I could have possibly created. I love taking photos of people, so why not start shooting professionally? I believe that I’m at least a little bit decent at it! Being pregnant at 18? I cared at the time, but now I realize that it was a pointless thing to be concerned about. It’s not like I could have changed it.

But I digress…

In terms of my business, I stopped listening to people when it came to my prices, my marketing, my posing, whether or not I decide to do my make-up for a session, etc. I have my pricing where it’s at so that I can be affordable. I market myself in a transparent manner because I want people to know me. I go with the flow when I pose my clients. I have never had an issue with a client having a problem with my intense awkwardness. It’s just how I am.

Guess what? I’m probably happier than I have ever been! I do what I want to do, how I want to do it. And guess what? Life is good.

Samantha

(PS. If you’re struggling to reach this point, I highly recommend this book. Forewarning, the author love the F word, but it’s a fantastic read!)

Military Homecomings – Rapid City, SD Photographer

Military Homecomings. They are a type of session that holds a special place in my heart. Once upon a time, I was in the Army and I met a dude while I was in training and moved to South Dakota. At a young age of 19, I had my daughter. Two months before she was born, her daddy deployed to Afghanistan for a year. He didn’t even get to meet her until she was two months old. Thankfully, I found someone who was able to take photos for us capturing this ridiculously emotional trek to the airport for us. (Thanks, Melanie!)

Seriously. I was a weepy mess. And I don’t have a nice cry face. But I am SO glad that we got wonderful photos of that day.

I understand not everyone had a baby while their service member was deployed. I understand that every situation is different. But I also understand that deployments plain suck. We all know it. But for a military family, it’s just a fact of life. Had I ever had the opportunity to deploy,  I absolutely would have wanted to have someone there to capture my return as well. As much as deployments suck, returns are always amazing.

With all of my wonderful experience, it will always remain that I will capture military homecomings for free. Always.

Samantha

Life & Lemons – Rapid City, SD Photographer

Everyone has a “why” as to what drives them to do better. Honestly, I have several of them. Some people’s “why” revolves around surviving. Other people have a “why” that directly fuels truly living.

My daughter is a creative soul. I want to teach her that she is completely capable of following her dreams and doing what she loves as a career. I was into photography when I was a kid, but I just knew that I had to face reality and get a big girl job. With that, I joined the Army. After I had Kiyana, I bought another camera and started just “mom-togging” for a couple of years. When we moved to Rapid, I decided that I wanted to make this hobby into a business. I loved it. It was my happy place. But eventually, we bought a house and cars, and I had to get a full time job. Once I finished my time in the military, I became an Accountant. I hated it. Every single second of it. But I was great at it, and it was really good money. With that career choice, I put my passion on the back-burner.

Earlier this month (January 2017), I finally had enough. I was reduced to tears daily at work. I had to quit.I couldn’t handle another few years of being miserable. With that, I decided to take on my photography full time. I won’t even lie, it has been a struggle. Admittedly, starting this journey in January in the tundra that is South Dakota wasn’t my best idea. But I have the ambition to make everything work!

My “why” falls primarily into the “truly living” category. I want to be happy with my life. I want to avoid having the “daily grind.” I want to be able to show up to my kids school functions and cook dinner before gymnastics instead of fast food. I want to be able to plan a two week long road trip if I want to! I have spent too much time doing things just to “survive” and I don’t want to waste my life like that!

Wanna know what else I love about this industry? I love making other people feel great about themselves. I love that feeling when I finish a boudoir session and a mom to three kids tells me “This is the first time I have felt sexy in years!”

Basically, I want to make my mark on the world. Even if it’s just a tiny pin prick. I want to add a little happiness to the world.

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