Motherhood is, for most of us, very rewarding (at least half the time lol!). It’s also a 24/7 job, with amazing bits, crap bits, and everything in between. Kind of a blur at times! Now you might be wondering what this has to do with photography…
Personally, I found the busy-ness of raising a small person meant I put my own needs and wants last. I couldn’t do many of the things that made me, me, so I lost touch with myself as a person. I identified as a mother… but beyond that, I couldn’t remember who I was, what kind of person I had been before children.
And then I found photography.
It was a creative outlet, just for me. I could do it anywhere, any time, so it fit in with all.the.things. To this day, when I’m taking photos, it centres me. And I know it’s not just me!
Today I’m excited to introduce you to Carla Leland, one of our Advanced Photography Course Grads. Carla lives on her husband’s third generation ranch located on the edge of the western North Dakota Badlands in the US, where they raise registered Red Angus cattle and the next generation of cowboys! Her eldest son, Trey, turns 3 this week, and their newest little cowboy is due any moment now! And I mean that literally… Carla is in labour as I type!
Read on to learn how impactful photography has been for Carla…
I used to ride and train horses every day to fill my “me” time. My horse time was my stress reliever and gave me a sense of self and accomplishment. But since having my first son, and now preparing for my second son, I don’t get the opportunity to ride nearly as much as I did.
My camera goes everywhere with me on the ranch, and it’s something I found I can do with my son (most of the time!). He’s become my favorite assistant – helping me to get the “ears up” on the cows or horses when we go out, and pointing out pretty scenery. “Oh mommy, that’s pretty! Take a pitch-cher with your cam-mra, mommy!” (nawww!).
Once I graduated from the Enthusiast Course, I knew I wanted to keep going with my photography, to keep learning and improving my photos. I really loved Lou’s teaching style and the Grad’s group, so knew I would get a lot out of the Advanced Course.
I dived into the very next one, and I am so thankful that I talked myself into signing up!
I love how much it helped me with my creative compositions, especially the concept of different perspectives which was a game changer for me.
Lighting is a real challenge for me too, as many of my photos are taken outdoors in harsh sunlight.
Without even realizing how much you’re learning, you practice with all these individual steps, both technical and creative. And when you bring them all together, that’s when you see how much you’ve advanced, and it is so rewarding.
I tried a few free online tutorials to get a grasp of manual mode, but I was never successful until I found Click Love Grow. Their point of difference are the way the lessons are broken up, along with the positive feedback and critiques from professional instructors on all your lesson photos; the live calls with Lou during the course; and the knowledge that the CLG instructors genuinely want you to succeed.
This is what makes the CLG family the great community that it is!
My absolute favorite aspect of the course is the group of women I have met. I have new friends from around the world that share my passion for photography. Everyone is so willing to share their journey and help each other learn.
I love seeing everyone’s growth (not just my own!), and especially the huge successes for the women and friends that I have come through the courses with.
When I took the Advanced Course I was initially only looking to improve my skills so that I could take better photos for our own ranch advertising, and also take some nice photos of my son as he grew up.
But then lots of friends and neighbors started requesting family photos, along with requests for prints of our ranching lifestyle that I’ve taken. I’d like to also take event photos at some barrel racing and team roping events in our area. So now I find myself in the process of putting together a website and starting my own photography business!
Congratulations Carla! By the time I’d finished writing, Carla had welcomed to the world her new little cowboy, yet to be named. Mum and bub doing well.
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