all photographs by Christy Williams of Addy Lane
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Christy Williams is the amazing photographer behind Addy Lane. She is a talented, giving soul who seems to have gracefully conquered being an artist, a mother and a successful business owner. She is an inspiration to me, and I know she will be to you as well! So keep reading for a peek into her photography inspiration, organization and her love for capturing the moments of childhood. Oh, and to see more of her beautiful photographs…
1) How has motherhood changed your perspective on the importance of historical documentation? Having regrets as a mom to teenagers has definitely given me new perspective now with my little ones. Looking back, there are chunks of time missing from my sons’ albums (and shoe boxes – there was no digital back then!) and it is perhaps the worst feeling knowing that I cannot get that time back. Now, with my young daughters, I wince if I let even a week go by without documenting them in some fashion, either creatively or with a point and shoot.
2) How often do you take pictures of your kids & are they planned sessions? Or on whim? When I first became serious about photography, everything had to be planned. But over time I realized just how much I was missing in between all the effort. Now, I just go with the moment and try to shoot a few times a week, even if its just the kids in pj’s eating breakfast. Even if something is happening in bad light I go for it. The everyday stuff is what calls to me now.
3) How do you organize and backup your photos? Over the years I have found that if the process for anything computer related takes more than a few minutes, I will most likely procrastinate and not stick to it consistently so I set up a system that keeps me super organized but only takes seconds to complete each time I shoot or fill up a card. At the beginning of each year I create a main folder for the year, and sub-folders for each month. I change my camera settings so that the files names never reset, this way I can continuously dump my cards into the current month and not have to rename anything. If there is a specific event for the month, such as a birthday party or Halloween, I may create a subcategory inside that month. The last thing I do is set up 1 Edit or Favorites folder inside each month so that as I edit my favorites, they can be saved to that folder for ease of finding at a later date. This makes creating albums and printing that much easier. When I behave, I back-up to two external hard drives, but do try to print regularly because we all know drives will eventually fail. A little paranoid about that!
4)What about time – running a successful business & also being a mother – how do you do it? Aside from my business, I also work outside the home part time in my primary profession within the medical field. Just when I think we have the logistics of our life all figured out, life throws a curve ball so finding balance is a daily struggle. I am an avid list keeper and keep a constant running list of to-dos. Its simple but this is my fall back when things get crazy: keep family first, money and everything else second. Pretty basic but it’s easy to loose focus sometimes with deadlines and the constant call of the computer/internet. An absolute must is scheduling time on my calendar for activities with the family. I am not the most spontaneous person so scheduling is essential. My biggest challenge is giving each child my 100% undivided attention (especially when all 4 want a piece of me at the same time) so I try to plan “dates” with each of them alone, even if its just a drive or hitting a fast food joint. Most importantly, I try to work on my business at night or when the kids are away, which means I have sacrificed things like being crazy successful with Facebook and social networking, but I am completely ok with that. Work will always be there, but this precious time with my littles will not last forever.
5) Was being a mother a driving force in your passion for photography – or do you think you would have found it regardless? It found me long before I had kids. My Grandmother was an amazing photographer. She was and is this mysterious, gentle soul. Incredibly quiet and reserved yet her photography was her voice. She was a hobbyist, but had mastered her cameras and developed the most beautiful prints of Hawaiian landscape and self portraits. My draw to the mystery of photographs and how they both spoke to and moved me started at a very young age, and evolved as I had my own children into that desire to capture beautiful images of their childhood.
6) What was the inspiration behind Addy Lane and how did it start? My first daughter, Addy was my inspiration. She was a new beginning for me. This culmination of my past and my present. So 6 years ago I began the journey into photography, and slowly built up my photography business. But I was becoming so overwhelmed by the business side of things and trying to be an amazing mommy and maintain a full time job all at the same time. It was too much, and my relationships were strained. At the same time I was finding that I enjoyed writing actions and learning Photoshop much more than working with clients. It became clear that I needed to move in that direction and hence Addy Lane was born. I have since stopped taking on clients, and am free to write actions on my own schedule and have found it to be so much more rewarding.
7) What’s the hardest thing about running a business and also being a mom? The hardest part is keeping myself on a schedule so that I don’t ever have to shoo the kids away and tell them “Not now, mommy is working”. Its so much easier to punch a clock and walk away from a job at the end of the day. When you have your own business, it is almost impossible to walk away and the temptation to sit at the computer all day and work is never ending.
8) What has surprised you most about being a mom? The intense feeling of being vulnerable. Looking into my baby’s face, I sometimes feel absolutely crushed by how much I love her, its like I can’t breath. Even after 17 years, the intensity of those feelings still catches me by surprise.
9) Can you share with us your favorite photograph of your kid/kids to date? And why is it your favorite? I love the image of all 4 of my kids, because it is the only real picture I have of all of them together. The generational gap in our home presents a challenge in gathering them all up for pictures.
10) What tips can you offer mamas who want amazing pictures of their children but can’t afford a professional photographer very often? Turn off your flash, and move your kids close to an open window with soft light and let the light fall on them from the side or at an angle. Those two simple things will make a huge difference. Most importantly, work on learning to use the settings on your camera, and with time and practice you will always be ready to catch the moment.
11) What camera would you recommend for a new mommie? My first SLR was a Canon Elan 7E, which shot film. Gasp! But a great starter camera would be a Canon Rebel body with a 50mm 1.8 lens. A budget friendly combo and much easier to learn about f-stops with a fixed aperture lens. Best advice would be not to get caught up in gear. Keep it simple. Its learning to use your tools manually and how light affects your subject that will make YOU take great pictures, not your camera.