Feature Friday//Brooke Todd//December 17, 2017
Please tell us about yourself…
Hello from the Hoosier State! I am born and raised in Fort Wayne, Indiana and also lived for a couple of years in Fayetteville North Carolina, (many moons ago). I have 3 kids all (almost exactly) 4 years apart, ages 10, 6 & 4. Like many I had all these aspirations when I got my first DSLR but life events in 2013 strongly shifted my focus into documenting history within my home. I became slightly obsessed with carrying my camera literally everywhere and shooting with intention in my everyday life.
I have made some of the most amazing friendships through this journey and I wish so much that life made it easier and distance was not such a big challenge to meeting up with some of the people I feel such a huge pull to.
Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
Colorful, Moody, Rich
I would say I’m definitely a storyteller at heart. I also have an artistic side. I feel like my editing style is always evolving but settling more lately. My home is very dark, with not a lot of natural light, so that has pushed me to learn to seek creative light/reflections and shadows. I am also obsessed with shooting wide because I love seeing the environment of the whole story. Even if that includes a mess. I will miss that mess someday!
What sparked your passion for photography?
I have been a photographer since my darkroom days in high school. I took classes and worked for the yearbook and newspaper. I also have a degree in graphic design as well. It wasn't until 2013 when I really invested in documenting and shooting intentionally.
Sometimes grief, has a way of making you do a sudden, “about face”. Intense loss for me brought a semblance to what is most important in life. For me, how important time and family is. It made me realize how much of this chaotic life I am going to miss someday, when empty nest sets in or the people who show value in the time that we have together is. It also made me realize how much a gift all of these memories will be to my kids someday. While I may not be in all of the photos, they will at least know how much I loved every moment, of their childhood someday.
What's in your camera bag right now?
Canon 6D, Canon 70-200 2.8 Sigma Art 35mm 1.4, Sigma Fisheye 15mm 2.8, Canon 24-70 2.8 (least used)
What is your dream shoot or project?
I don’t work, right now, due to lack of time. I am a stay at home mom that is bombarded with sports (year round) between both of my bigger kids. Life is too crazy to have the time commitment involved between shooting and editing. The financial expense is also too costly, to do work halfway, and be worth all the stress of the work involved.
If I decide to photograph as a job eventually, it will probably be shooting Day in the Life sessions. I love real life storytelling. My heart also is inspired to eventually document goodwill type work as well. Shooting NICU, hospice, health journeys, Memorials, ect.
What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?
When I started all of this I made the (hugely common) mistake of thinking this was going to be such a cheap, fast and easy way to make money. I thought that I already owned a camera and the only cost would be pushing a button and editing. I thought I would just announce I was opening a business, start up a Facebook Page and the flood doors would open, and I would be banking in tons of money all of the time.
:Insert hysterical laugh from photographers all over the world:
Lessons have to be learned. I didn't realize how much individuality and personality plays a part into success. It takes time as an artist to figure out who you are and portray that. The flood gates will open for people wanting you to photograph them but the flood gates to money...let's just say will take a long time for the right people to see worth. To love your style and for you to cultivate it. It's expensive and the business side is overwhelming but as an artist it can be so fulfilling when you figure out what makes your heart sing. When you have worked so hard and so long, the day someone tells you that they knew who took your picture without even looking, is the greatest compliment of your life.
What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?
- Owning a camera does not require you to work. It is ok to say, “No”.
- Your day to day life and messes can often be as beautiful and wall worthy as high end portraits.
- Shoot as much as possible. Especially when you are NOT working.
- Shooting in Manual is everything.
- Be the photographer that inspires everyone else to copy them.
- Time is priceless and no one will value it more than you do. If you don't believe in it's worth don't expect anyone else to.
- Back Button Focus is awesome. Start sooner than later.
- Community over Competition
Feel free to follow me or message me if you ever have any questions!