Are you the keeper of your family’s memories? Estella Ward is a Click Love Grow Grad with a strong desire to preserve memories and store them safely in albums, something that was reinforced after losing close relatives at a very young age. She also wanted to appear in her future family photos, as growing up it really jumped out at her that her mother, being the one behind the lens, was missing from most of those photos.
And the thing is… it’s one thing to take photos, all you need is a phone! Easy! But it’s entirely another to take photos you LOVE, so that those albums you fill for your children to pour over are a work of art you can be proud to pass down to future generations.
This is what brought Estella to us… she had a new DSLR and had been doing some self led learning trying to figure out how to use it. So she had a little understanding of manual mode, but she just couldn’t bring all those bits and pieces she’d learned together.
So she joined the Enthusiast Photography Course, with a vision to take a beautiful, timeless B&W portrait of her daughter.
(Spoiler alert: she DID get that shot, and she got it DURING the course… check it out below!)
I had the pleasure of chatting to Estella last week, and if you missed it live you can watch it here…
Estella also shared her story in this brand new blog post…
I’m excited to introduce you to Estella today. She’s from the Hampshire Coast of the UK, Mum to one 5yo daughter, and building her photography business. Estella shared with us how the Enthusiast Course consolidated all the bits and pieces of knowledge she had about photography, to help her take the kind of photos she had always envisioned but was never able to pull off…
Photos are something I have always been drawn to. I’m particularly fascinated with old photos and like to think about the time the photo was taken and the life of the person pictured.
As someone who lost close relatives when I was very young, family albums really helped me feel connected to those people lost and strengthen the sometimes faded memories of events that happened in my early childhood.
A lot of those photos were poor quality film snaps. My mother being the historian of our family is rarely in the photo and I felt called to make sure that not only was I in future family photos, other mothers would be too.
I have always been a creative but usually paint and canvas. I’d had a desire to get a “big” camera for years and become a professional photographer before I actually did it when my daughter came along 5 years ago. Being a SAHM was tough, because I felt like I had lost my creative outlet. I could no longer sit and work on a canvas for hours on end.
I really wanted professional photos when she was born but never got around to booking anything and settled for the Bounty Portraits taken in hospital. They were not very good quality but better than the even worse quality phone photos we took in the following weeks!
That Christmas my daughter was 2 months old and I asked my husband for a “big camera”, thinking that now I would finally have some time during newborn feeds to read up about it, have a cute practice model and of course instant professional photos, HAHA! I quickly learned that I had no idea how tricky a real camera was!
I was lucky now and again to get some shots that were okay but I couldn’t figure out why or how those looked better than others.
But, after feeling like I had lost a part of myself in those early baby months I finally felt like I was doing something creative and was feeling like “myself” while doing it.
I’m an all or nothing type of person and for months I gave it my all. When my baby napped I was watching YouTube channels trying to figure it out, and when she was awake I was trying to practice.
I thought I was starting to get the hang of it, but everything I had seen so far still felt too complicated and out of my comfort zone. I started considering a course as I knew that I was missing something.
Then I came across the Click Love Grow group on Facebook… the algorithm actually worked in my favour for once!
After a few weeks of being in the CLG FB group Louise hosted a free mini course which followed on with an opening of the Enthusiast Course and I knew that I had found the right educational platform for me.
Trying to teach myself on YouTube via various different teachers and downloading freebie cheat sheets was not working for me. I needed a course that was methodical, simple for my tired Mum brain, was well spread out, gave feedback along the way and most of all was a safe female led space.
I was very excited entering the course and really enjoyed the flow of the lessons. I’m a great believer of you get out what you put in and I hate wasting money, so I made sure to keep up with the lessons to get the most out of them, the feedback and the group chat.
I would, and have, recommended the course to others over the last 4 years. It is definitely perfect for those who absolute beginners who have just gotten their camera, right up to people who have tried and failed to teach themselves or just not found the right teaching method for them.
Before the course I knew how each part of the camera worked, I just needed the extra hand holding and feedback to bring it all together.
Overall the course really helped me balance that pesky exposure triangle. It consolidated all of the foundational technical issues I was having, and I was able to capture the moments without fiddling to try and expose correctly. I also learned how much light factored into the mood of a photos, and this is something I went on to learn more about with fellow CLG Grads when we started an Instagram loop together all about light.
At the start of the course I had a goal of a black and white photo of my baby that had a timeless feel to it and I was over the moon that I managed to take it. The next shot was taken before I took the Enthusiast Course, and the second one was the black & white portrait I had envisioned and achieved before I even finished the course!
After the course I happily carried on practicing and playing with editing to find my style. I really enjoy creating images that are backlit with bold/moody colours. A year later I asked a few friends and family if I could practice on them to see if I would enjoy making photos for other people and I really did, however Covid put a halt to my entrepreneurial aspirations for a while.
But during the lockdown period I had fun playing with the more creative side of photography. I used the different challenges posted in the grads group as inspiration – slow shutter speeds, different angles, different light sources, colour theory, freelensing, putting things in front of the lens eg. fairy lights, cd’s, waterbottles.
Then in the early summer of 2020 as lockdown was easing a little here in the UK, I had a work friend contact me asking if I could take some maternity photos for her. With all of the restrictions the well established photographers in the area were booked up and she really was worried that she would miss out.
I came away from that session buzzing!
Helping that Mum-to-be ensure her family history was documented really spurred me on to get all of my ducks in a row and create my business. I have now created a business called Entwined Photography, with a focus on heartfelt moments and fun in pretty outdoor locations. The cheesy everyone look at the camera photos are really not my style… I love photos with natural smiles and connections within the family. I also love to champion Mothers and create photos they desire with all of the tender love and joyful fun filled moments beautifully entwined.
Much gratitude to Estella for sharing your story and gorgeous images! If you want to see more of Estella’s work, you can check it out on Insta.
Join me when I chat live on Facebook with Estella and learn how the Enthusiast Course helped her start taking the kind of photos she had envisioned! RSVP to the event here to get notified when it starts.
If you want to learn how to take control of your camera so you can confidently take photos you LOVE, click HERE to learn more about our Enthusiast Photography Course and reserve your spot for our next round.