In this series of blog posts we are introducing people who are speaking at and attending Inspire 2013. We are delighted to introduce Carla TenEyck, owner of in Carla Ten Eyck Photography in Hartford, CT. Carla will be teaching a shooting workshop that can really have an effect on how we shoot called Know Your Lenses  

Picking a Personal Project and Getting Started

Many of us got into photography for reasons other than who or what we currently shoot for our business. I know I did! I loved being able to freeze things in time. Random things like my family. They were my very first subjects, and continued to be throughout my illustrious college career at RIT. I loved being able to come home and shoot my wacky family in all of their glory, then go back to school and win awards. True story. It was the perfect pairing- me exploiting my family for photographic personal gain! The truth is that not everyone has such a colorful bunch of subjects at the ready... their lives (and my current life) are much more visually sedate, and well... normal. Right?

Let me go off on a tangent for a sec, I promise I will be back! While in school I used to be so super jealous of kids who would go off and travel to exotic or war torn places and come back with images so different from our day to day life. By default they were awesome images. By default these kids were seen as being more of a  legit photographer because they went to Bosnia or some other third world country.

See, I was the poor kid at RIT who really had no business being there, so I was bitter. Every quarter I almost dropped out because I couldn’t afford to stay. And every quarter my financial aid counselor battled to keep me with the most random grants and scholarships (thank you Xerox and Kodak). So traveling, however thrifty these kids were able to do it, was simply not an option for me. What this forced me to do was learn to see my surroundings in a new way... and change my bitter attitude about not having exotic subjects.

The same goes for personal projects. Not every project has to be so life or death or so filled with buttery light and fields of flowers. And while I have about 12 projects I am juggling, they are all so different. Let me tell you about my most basic, simple one. It is also my most important one:

I photograph my kids.

I document their day to day life, their special days. I shoot when it’s a beautiful day out, or we get an unexpected snow day. I recently really started digging in and shooting a ton on our vacations. I let go of the idea that I ‘needed a break from shooting.’ pshaw. Who ever says that? And especially about your kids. This is time that I will NEVER get back. Ever, ever. So why not treat my life like I treat my clients’ lives? With care, and respect. That each moment is a potential photograph.

Even just writing this post has made me stop and go through pictures of these little bugs and re-live some special times I had with them! So many stories within each picture. What can be better than that?