My Photography Love Story

Lately I’ve been getting the question, “What made you want to be a photographer?”

The simple version of the answer is: I just have a burning desire to capture beauty.

While the simple answer is very true, there’s a bit more to the story.

I’ve always been in love with photography. When I was 7 years old, my mom gave me a toy camera for Christmas. It was a clear pink plastic wind-up camera. She probably gifted me the toy camera because she had gotten tired of getting me the disposable cameras since I had spent that year filling them up and taking them to the drug store to get developed. How I loved that little toy camera. I would stalk my family and friends, waiting for the perfect moment to capture the perfect expression. I was fascinated by capturing people then, and still am now.

Starting in middle school, I became known by my friends and classmates to always have a camera on me. I couldn’t quite describe the burning desire to “freeze time,” as I would say, but it was there, and it was strong, and it never ceased.

I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but I thought the only way was to work for someone else.

546
“The Belly that Started it All” – Self Portrait, TeAirra Mitchell 

In 2013 we were expecting our first child, and that burning desire became even stronger. Naturally, I wanted to record as much of our daughter’s milestones as I possibly could, but I also wanted to finally figure out how to become a photographer. So, I typed into the Google search engine “how to be a photographer.” Expecting to see articles explaining the process of being an intern at some magazine firm or newspaper, I was surprised to see pages and pages of blogs and articles explaining how to start a photography business.

Instantly, that burning desire turned into a full fire, and the rest is history.

There I was, sitting for hours in the dark at our kitchen table, realizing that I could not only make my dream of being a professional photographer come true, but I could start a business that would allow me the flexibility to be the mom I wanted to be. At the time, it sounded simple enough: write a business plan, set some prices, build a portfolio, and open the business. Boom, instant professional photographer.

Needless to say, it wasn’t that simple.

Once our daughter arrived, I could not wait to begin creating beautiful portraits of her and recording all her milestones with all of the amazingly adorable ideas I put into my portfolio plans. When she was 7 days old, I shot her newborn photos— well, I attempted to shoot her newborn photos.

During the “shoot,” I was so excited. I was swooning over the little headbands I bought from Burlington’s, so proud of how I matched them against the swirly fur fabric I found at Joann’s, and so in love with how precious my little one looked.

I imported the images to Lightroom, picked my favorites to edit, and completed my first set of newborn photos. Unfortunately, my excitement didn’t last much longer once I posted the images in a photography group I found on Facebook.

They ripped those pictures of my precious little girl apart (they were pretty bad though lol). I was crushed. I had failed my first newborn shoot. More importantly, I failed to get those beautiful portraits of my first-born that I had desperately wanted.

Although I’ve had moments where I wanted to quit, this wasn’t one of them. Instead, my failure pushed me to get it right. I knew I still had some things to learn before I was ready to be a professional photographer.

I took to Google, looking for any resources on photography basics. Google searches led to free blogs and articles, which led to YouTube gurus, and finally, I began investing in education. I spent every possible minute soaking up anything I could about the business and art of photography. Even in all the researching, studying, and practicing, I still didn’t quite understand why this was all so important to me.

What was it about photography that could drive me to go months without sleep in a quest to “get it right”?

Time went by, and I started working with my first paying clients. After we worked together, I would often hear things like, “Oh, I love these pictures, thank you!” and, that was nice and all, but I still felt like something was missing.

It wasn’t until I tried my hand at boudoir portraits that it finally clicked.

At my first boudoir event, I worked with four ladies. Each lady had all of these things they didn’t like about themselves, but I didn’t really understand what they didn’t like. They were all gorgeous to me, and whenever they would tell me their biggest insecurities about their bodies, I remember thinking, “What? Why don’t you like your [insert body part]?” Which was often followed by me thinking “I would KILL to have [insert body part] like yours!”

The responses I got from those ladies once they received their images literally brought tears to my eyes.

Boudoir Photography
Portrait from very first TMP boudoir event. (2015)

 

Every one of them told me that they couldn’t believe it was them in their portraits, that they never thought they could look that beautiful. One of the husbands of the ladies even sent an email to thank me because his wife was more confident than he had seen in a long time since she’d received her images.

When I look at a person, I see more than their face, more than their insecurities, I see a story. When I talk to that same person, I can see the story come to life before my eyes. I see beyond their physical features, I feel their energy; then their energy just radiates in front of me and I HAVE to capture it, I HAVE to tell their story so that they can see what I see. So they can see the beauty in their story, even when it may not be the picture perfect fairy tale they hoped for.

It may sound cliché, but everyone has a beauty about them.

Everyone: the mom preparing to bring a life into this world, the new baby gracing the earth with their innocence, the woman who just found out she’s ill, the child that would rather throw a tantrum than give a hug, the family that bickers about everything, the sisters who barely see each other, the young lady who’s about to become a wife, the grandmother who found out she’ll have a great granddaughter soon; the women who think they have 20 pounds to lose, the women who have 20 pounds they want to gain, and the women who just want to be loved for who they are.

We all have a story to be told, and we all have beauty to capture. I believe this with every fiber of my being, and THAT is why I wanted to open TeAirra Mitchell Photography.

Gallery-30

Advertisements

Milestone Mini Sessions – July 7th 2018

2018MilestoneMinis

 

Get adorable portraits of your favorite baby this July with a photoshoot specially crafted to capture the tiny features of babies 30 days to 12 months old. TeAirra Mitchell Photography is hosting a one-day Milestone Minis special to give moms a memorable portrait experience with their little ones Saturday, July 7th, in Oakland, CA.

This 30-minute portrait reservation includes the props and outfits needed for the session, along with a full-set of poses to give moms a gallery of beautiful “no-fuss” portraits to remember these precious moments of her sweet baby.

Perfect for mom’s who want to update their baby’s memory book, or get some cute shots for this year’s holiday cards, the Milestone Minis special includes wardrobe and props provided for baby, a 30-minute photo shoot, a viewing gallery of 12 fully-retouched images, one 5×5″ photobook of 10 images, and 3 digital downloads available in an online gallery. All for a limited-time offer of $300

 

To book your Milestone Mini-Session, you can visit our online store by clicking here.

For more specials from TeAirra Mitchell Photography, visit our newest page on the site: www.teairramitchell.com/Oakland-Photo-Specials

 

For moms who want to be in the photos with their babies, ask about our Motherly Package upgrade; an additional setup to include mom all dressed-up with her baby, with hair and makeup provided. 

Open for 2018

TMP is officially back from Winter Break!

2017 was a pretty good year for us: we had a new baby, I finally began working full-time as a photographer, and I was graced with a many humbling life-lessons, which I’m always grateful for.

One major thing that happened last year was the Revamp. I had planned on keeping everyone updated on the in’s and out’s of everything that was happening as it happened, but, I’m not going to lie, adjusting to full-time momtrepreneur was more than I anticipated. With that said, the Revamp brought many changes internally, that shouldn’t affect you all too much, and some changes that you won’t help but be able to notice.

Ultimately, the Revamp was the first step to turning TMP into a full-service Wedding and Portrait Studio. A larger studio space is in the works, but it was absolutely necessary to establish some new systems to make sure our clients have a portrait experience they’ll never forget.

mom and baby newborn photo

Refined Booking System
I’m excited to say that we have been booking more and more sessions (you may want to check out our FAQ about how early to book your sessions), which also meant we needed to revisit some things to create a system that allows us to take in more inquiries without them getting lost among the many other emails coming in.

Now, when you’re ready to book your portrait reservation, we have a new client portal system to keep track of all of the details of your session and portrait order. The best part, all you have to do is send the inquiry from our Inquiry Form and you’ll automatically be sent booking information and be added into our studio queue.

 

Custom Styling + Styling Guide
In the past, clients often came to me saying that they didn’t know what to wear to their session, or how to do their hair and makeup, and since this was for their portraits, it could sometimes be stressful. To ensure you get the best experience when planning for your portraits, you will have a one-on-one style consult where we’ll talk about how you want to look in your portraits and go over every detail.

We will discuss everything from basic wardrobe, to hair and makeup, and even any insecurities you may have about your body so that I can plan on how to pose you. The goal for every session is to create beautiful pictures that you love with all of your heart, and the Custom Styling + Styling Guide allows you to truly design the perfect portrait session.

 

frames

In-Person Reveal + Order Session
Ok, so in the past, figuring out how to sell portrait products was tough for me, but there is something so powerful in holding a physical portrait. I cannot begin to describe the joy that wells up in my heart when I hold portraits of my own family. And if I’m truly being transparent, I get the feeling as I’m putting the final touches of my client’s orders. Seriously, printing your portraits is such an important part of your portrait process, and I want all of my clients to have gorgeous heirloom portraits that leave a legacy for their family’s future generations.  

When your portraits are ready, clients are invited to return to see their images and choose their favorites to build their Portrait Order using our simple pricing menu. Being in-person allows whatever questions you have to be answered right then, taking out the hassle of sending emails back and forth, playing phone tag, and putting more time between you and your final product. We want you to get excited about designing your portrait display, and we’re here to help however we can.

 

hair and makeup for photos

New Service
Remember how I said clients often were overwhelmed by hair and makeup? Well, now we will have (drumroll please!)….

HAIR AND MAKEUP STYLING WITH SESSION BOOKINGS!

Yes, friends! TMP now has a hair and makeup artist to help ease the stress of achieving that picture-perfect look for  your portraits.

“Who is this artist?” you may ask, well, that is a blog saved for another day, so stay tuned for the big introduction.

 

Well, friends, that’s all I have for you this post. I’ll be back to share some stories from TMP and give more insight into who we are as a company, but for now I just want to say: thank you for reading.

 


You can find TMP online at www.teairramitchell.com.

Follow me on IG @teairramitchell for day-to-day updates on TMP, quotes, tips, and my life as a Momtrepreneur.

Like us on Facebook for more TMP updates, DIY’s and behind-the-scenes.

 

Best Ways to Contact

Phone calls are by appointment only

Email: info@teairramitchell.com

Inquiries: www.teairramitchell.com/inquiry

Styling Your Fall Family Portraits

One of the most common things I hear from clients is, “I have no idea how we should dress.”

No worries, I’ve got you covered.

Keller 2017 1

Portraits are created to immortalize a moment in time, and often, these portraits are displayed front and center in your home. The pressure to look good is a little heavy, and that’s where I step in with my clients.

During their Style Consult, we talk a lot about the look they are going for. Sometimes clients know exactly what they want, and other times they have no clue. When I sit down to plan a client’s session, here’s what we do:

  1. Choose a style. 
    When you submit an inquiry form on our website, we ask how you would like to be photographed, and include some examples to choose from; this is your desired Style (or Styles).
    The mom from this Fall Family Portrait session knew she wanted everyone to dress classically: dressy attire, but not too over the top. So we went from there.

    Keller 2017 4

  2. Decide on colors. 
    How are you planning to display your portraits? If you’re thinking of a room in your home, you may want to consider having a pallet that compliments the room you have in mind. Or maybe there is a holiday card design you’ve been eyeing, think of colors that will look good in that layout.
    We wanted to go for a gold and cream look here, and we knew Burgundy would offer a nice contrast, especially considering our shooting location.

    TMP17_portFam_AKel-22

  3. Book hair and makeup appointments. 
    Even if you feel you can do your own hair and makeup, take it from me, it’s so much better to treat yourself to booking with a stylist and makeup artist. Not only are you guaranteed to look amazing for your shoot, but you’ll also be a lot more relaxed with one less thing to worry about.
    For this shoot, the mom’s hair was styled by @taylordhair and her makeup was done by @allieyamaguchi. Be sure to check out these ladies’ Instagrams, especially if you’re looking for artists for the upcoming holidays.

    TMP17_portFam_AKel-19

  4. Accessorize.
    Accessories will truly make or break your shoot. Sure, “less is more,” but I would love to style a session with many shiny and sparkly pieces. =]
    The dress was our accessory for this shoot. I found it in my studio stash and instantly knew it would be perfect for this style. (Yes, I do look for outfits for my clients, but only if they let me.)

  5. Rock the shoot! 
    Now that you have all the styling components for your shoot, get out there and work it! Even if you’re a bit nervous, your photographer should be able to direct you into poses that flatter you. No need to worry about if you “look good,” your photographer has that under control.
    As I tell my clients, “Relax, and be beautiful!”

    TMP17_portFam_AKel-25

Just remember, your portrait experience should be enjoyable. And with a little planning and preparation, you will absolutely love them.

To see more images from this session, click here. If you would like more information on booking services with TeAirra Mitchell Photography, please reach out on our website. We’d love to hear from you!

Want inspiration on what to wear for your Fall Family Portraits, check out our board on Pinterest. 

Re-Introduction

Last week, I published a TMP blog for the first times in a long time (since June, I believe), and the one post was an entire ordeal that felt like such a struggle for me.
But first, a bit of an introduction may be in order due to my absence for such a period of time. I’m TeAirra; most people call me TeAirra, or some affectionate name they’ve bestowed upon me. I am a wife, mother, and budding entrepreneur (photography isn’t my only passion). I stay home with my littles, running my business whilst being Mommy. My life can sometimes seem overwhelming, but, oh, how I love every moment of sweet, agonizingly amazing love and chaos– and I mean that with every piece of my soul.
When I first began Light From My Soul– I can only rub my forehead and chuckle– I had no idea what I was doing.
I knew I wanted it to have at least some personal touch. After all, “Light From My Soul” seems a bit deeper than just some marketing pieces here and there, but that’s what happened; the blog slowly began to fill up with TMP marketing pieces here and there. And in a way, I feel like that’s what happened in my business. I began doing the things I thought I was suppose to do, the things that were required of every “professional photographer.”
Which worked pretty well for awhile, but photography began to lose it’s spark with me.
But then, after some soul searching and a many sleepless nights, I realized I still hadn’t accomplished what I set out to do. I’d become stuck in a cycle of “good enough”, and I wanted more. I wanted my clients to have more. I wanted the business to give more. TMP was always designed to be more of a luxury service, but we know the saying, “Rome wasn’t built overnight”
It was time to get back in gear. Thus, the Revamp.
And man, did the Revamp whip me into shape, but that’s a story for another day.
I made a decision, that no matter how many sleepless nights, how many mistakes, how many rejections, how many obstacles, I’m going to put this vision into action. I’m going to put ALL my visions into action. The only difference between those who are successful and those who are not is one put in the work, and one did not.  And I’m here to put in all the work.
Hello, I’m TeAirra, and I am here to live my life apologetically. I invite you to do the same.
KD_DBSnowdrops (1)Me-1marked.png