A month ago, my friend Kendra with Paisley Layne Photography, asked if I would assist her on a photo shoot she had coming up. It was to feature her gorgeous cousin Rory, Rory Aston Jewelry, at an amazing location, The Cotton Mill in McKinney, and was going to be a glamour style session. I might or might not have squealed with delight when I read her email (okay, I totally did).
I've known Kendra for just over 2 years now. We met through our husbands who were best friends growing up. No surprise we totally hit it off with our love of FRIENDS, photography, and wine. Plus, it's fun getting the four of us together and sharing stories of the shenanigans our husbands endured growing up.
Since I've known her, Kendra's photography and business have boomed. She's always had a natural talent for creating pretty images but her pictures have transformed to a degree in which emotion and beauty radiate. A couple of months ago, her post on her clients adorable baby announcement went viral. It crashed her page, was featured on a variety of news outlets, and gave over 1 million people the privilege to witness her stunning work and sweet story. Earlier this week, she was announced US Brand Ambassador for The Female Photographer's Association. Her images have won countless recognition and awards.
She is so genuine and modest though, the fame doesn't get to her head. In fact, she is one of the most genuine people you will meet. Last year, she helped develop a group of local photographers whose mission states "We're not here to Compete but Create". It's a resource where we can get together, share ideas, give feedback, vent, and go on photo outings to learn from one another.
What I love most about this group is there aren't many groups like this. Photography is such a competitive and overly saturated field that its no wonder many feel the need to safeguard their favorite location, a tip on how to make processing easier, or a deal on a great lens. However, as artists, your work will set you apart no matter how many people are in your area. Most artists for centuries went to school together, formed groups together, and learned with one another. You will find that they may have elements that have similarity (Picasso and Braque with Cubism for example) but you will also see differences as well. Learning from one another not only helps bring knew ideas but is also a channel for inspiration. Don't mistake this for copying. I'm talking about inspiration to do something different or something you wouldn't have thought about and create something that correlates with your style.
Assisting Kendra, I was able to get in her mind slightly to see things I otherwise might have missed. There were even a couple of occasions where I helped with a pose or a new location idea. It was her show and I was there to help out when needed. I did have the opportunity to take a few photos after we got her shots out of the way and I put my own spin on it. There was no way I was letting Rory leave without getting some beautiful shots of her!
Rory owns her own jewelry line with the most amazing items! Her new Dream Catcher Collection has just recently debuted and I pretty much want everything on the line. She was also featured on the cover of Brides of North Texas for her absolutely stunning wedding. She was a sweetheart to work with and easy to get along with. I maybe even told her The Bloggess Metal Chicken story to get a genuine laugh or two.
So in the end, it was a spectacular day and I loved working with Kendra. I encourage all photographers and artists, no matter your level of experience, to form groups with one another. Being an artist is a lonely field but there are strengths in numbers. It's a great way to get feedback from people who understand, exchange strengths and weaknesses, and have a general comradery that makes life and your job much more enjoyable . Plus, you never know what you'll learn.