As a mum, I know how hard it is to find time to do something fun and creative that’s just for you… we have to somehow fit it in between all.the.things we do for our kids, but there’s very little time between all.the.things! So because it’s not an essential, we tend not to prioritise it.
But why don’t we consider feeding our soul an essential? Surely our emotional needs are equally as important as our kids’ needs?
I consider pilates and photography as essential as, say, cleaning my teeth or feeding my kids. Self indulgent? Definitely not. Why not? Because those two activities keep me fit, healthy, happy and well balanced. And in turn that makes me a better mother. So I make the time to do them regularly.
And on that note… today I want to introduce you to one of our fabulous Advanced Grads Emma Davis. She’s an expat Kiwi living in Sydney with her husband and six beautiful kids (including a toddler who’s favourite word and food is cheese!).
Yep that’s right… Emma found time among the chaos (her words) of parenting six children to do the Advanced Photography Course. If she can do it, anyone can!
Read on to learn how…
All I want is to document my family’s daily life in a really consistent, creative way. Not much to ask!
I was already confident shooting in manual mode after learning the basics of photography at high school (back in the film days!). I also had a decent grasp on Photoshop after working in digital media. But I felt mediocre at composition, and spent way too much time editing whilst never really being satisfied with the end result!
I had no ambition to be a professional photographer… I just wanted to be able to document my children’s lives as they grow! So I was craving consistency – both with the way my photos looked straight out of camera, and with my haphazard editing style.
I chose Click Love Grow’s Advanced Photography Course over other courses that are out there because the small group program, 1:1 feedback and the flexible delivery of lessons were big drawcards for me.
I did most of my study during my toddler’s nap time, my shooting at varying times of day with which ever child I could convince to be my model! Then I did my editing in the evenings once the kids were in bed.
I used to think I needed nice, flat even light and perfectly balanced exposure to get a decent shot, so I rarely bothered getting my camera out at home because I thought our house was too dark for photos.
I would drag my kids to the park a couple of times a week for photos!
Through the Advanced Course I discovered little pockets of beautiful light all over my house, and it taught me how to use light and shadow to create amazing, dramatic images.
Now I’ll spot a pretty patch of light in the middle of dinner, drop everything and convince one of the kids to sit in it so I can capture them. They think I’ve gone mad, but they mostly love it!
I loved the Light module – it was an absolute game changer for me!
I look at light so differently now – even when I’m watching a movie, I notice the different lighting techniques they’ve used and the way light helps tell the story.
I was nervous about committing to the Advanced Course – it required an investment of both time and money, and not being a professional photographer I wondered if I’d be ‘good enough’ to keep up with everyone else.
Also, CLG is such a supportive, encouraging community that I needn’t have worried about keeping up.
The first time one of my photos was featured in the weekly Highlights Reel email, I forwarded it to my parents, my siblings, my teenagers… I was so excited!
Without a doubt, the course increased my confidence ten-fold.
I no longer wait for ‘perfect’ conditions, instead I look for perfection among the everyday moments – my toddler in the bath, my teenagers snuggled up on the lounge watching Netflix, my tween filming TikToks in our bedroom on a gloomy day.
When the course wrapped up, I jumped on board the 365 Photo a Day and 52 Weeks photo projects in the CLG Grads Group, and I love seeing how consistent my Instagram feed looks these days!
One of my Project 52’s is focused around light, and I find myself going back and reading the course materials all the time to brush up on different techniques for the weekly prompts.
Both my twins are really interested in photography, they use my old camera and they have quite a good eye.
So the fact they also wanted to learn has been a great activity for us to do together.
Sienna took the photo below, and my daughter Mercedes took the photo of my son and I together.
When I worked as a journalist, I was in awe of our photographers and their incredible talent, so it was surreal to see my photo on the cover and my name in the credits – and I got paid for it!
The private course group is fantastic – throughout the course, the varied time zones of students meant there was always someones around to bounce ideas off, even at 3am!
And an unexpected bonus from learning with Click Love Grow is belonging to the Grads group and Advanced Grads Group once the course is finished.
Those groups have given me access to a community of really supportive, like-minded women and I draw inspiration from seeing the incredible art they create!
Big mwahhh to Emma for your wonderful words and images!
I think it’s fair to say Emma got a LOT more out of the course than she signed up for (in the good way!). If you want to check out more of Emma’s work, you can find her here at Instagram.
If you’re using your DSLR in manual mode but you’re craving to take more creative photos, our totally flexible made-for-busy-people Advanced Photography Course is exactly what you need!
Our pre-sale opens Friday 6th March… join our wait list so you don’t miss out!
Watch my chat with Emma this week, was so much fun!
Our 8 Week Enthusiast Photography Course is starting again SOON! You'll learn how to get the most from your DSLR & take photos you LOVE!