Guest Judge//Jodi Lynn Buckles//Jodi Lynn Photography

This week we have the amazingly talented Jodi Lynn Buckles of Jodi Lynn Photography as our guest judge! Get to know her a little in the interview below and look through some of her beautiful work! 

Tell us about yourself...

I am a natural-light lifestyle photographer in beautiful Sonoma County, California and there is nothing I love more than documenting the inherent beauty of families as Art; creating something true and beautiful that tells their story. I love to capture families from the outside in and create authentic, timeless keepsakes they will forever cherish. I am a Mother to three beautiful souls and a wife, daughter and teacher. I feel so lucky to be raising my children in my hometown and to have a job that allows me to be a part of my community and get to know so many amazing, creative, passionate people. I am beginning to teach photography this year through The Narrative Society and am looking forward to seeing where this journey of teaching my passion goes next.

What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

I received my first DSLR digital camera as a gift after the birth of our second son and wanted to capture his life unfolding, and a hobby soon became a passion. Photography was also my Minor in college so I learned initially shooting film which really helped me understand the mechanics of photography. As my hobby turned more into a career, the true meaning and value of photography became so true for me and I wanted to share this gift with families, creating authentic keepsakes for them. I think now for me it is knowing I am documenting such a beautiful season of many people's lives, giving them such poignant reminders of the family they have created. Capturing honest, true connections and emotion moves me and keeps me inspired. I also love to challenge myself with different lighting situations and hope to always keep chasing that light.

What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

I shoot with a Canon 5D, Mark IV and my go to lens' are my Canon 35 mm 1.4, Canon 85 mm 1.2 and Canon 135 mm 1.4; I shoot all prime lens. My 35 mm barely leaves my camera, I love the focal length and the sharpness of the lens. I use my 135 the least but do pull it out for the few weddings and elopements I shoot, it is a beautiful lens, the bokeh is insane. 

What’s your dream project or shoot?

My dream would be to do more travel sessions and be able to take my family on trips while documenting families. If our children were younger, we would truly probably sell everything we owned and travel the country in our Airstream while I work. 

What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

Self doubt and comparison, 100%. As much as social media is such a phenomenal platform for creating connections and sharing your art, it is also a double edged sword. Self doubt and comparing my work to others creeps in sometimes and I always have to remind myself that if my work speaks me to ME and moves ME and if my clients are happy, I have done my job. As I grow older though, I am caring less about how many people like my work and more about if the work I am creating makes me proud and if I am moved by what I see and create. I have no problem turning down jobs that don't speak to me and am getting better and listening to my heart.

If you had $500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it?

I should probably invest in an online business management system or getting my gear cleaned more often.

How do you wish you could spend it?

Buy a new lens or travel somewhere with my family we have never been to photograph there, such as Moab, Utah or the Black Hills in South Dakota.

How would you really spend it?

Realistically, I would put it towards a Canon 50 mm 1.2, a lens I used to have, sold and now wish I had again. It is such an incredible lens and would be a great addition to my arsenal.

Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey? 

For sure to trust in yourself and your journey and continue to stay inspired, however that looks for you. Shoot for yourself, say no to the jobs that do not move you and don't compare yourself to others. Also, that ruts and creative lulls are absolutely normal and you can and will find your way out of one. I think if you are passionate about what you are shooting and are inspired, you will indeed always create something beautiful, something you are proud of. And that, right there, is everything.