Tag Archives: holli margell

Turning Art Into A Living

I realized something earlier this week: aside from my business networks and friends in West Seattle, not very many of my friends know what I’m doing with my photography these days. They may remember some art show stuff or the Tree Woman Project from last year. And, yes I have a few creative side projects on the back burner, which when they’re ready, I’ll share here on Holli with an i.

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But, what am I doing now? I’m a portrait photographer focusing on serving the business community in Seattle with marketing photos, head shots and those images in between.

I’ve been focusing on business photography since January 2015, because it uses my skills and experience in a unique way that allows me to work while the kids are in school or after they’re in bed. And, yes, I’ve got a dedicated website at NativeLightPhoto.com as well as on Facebook.

The reason for the shift in my focus is quite honestly, because I need to make a living with my art. I wasn’t successful doing the art fair circuit selling my art nature photography. I got to the point where the art was paying for all of the fees and costs for production to be out selling, but it was a lot of work away from my family for about $43 in profit. This new business is another branch to my experience where I need to stretch out and try to see if I can really make a living from my art, even if it’s applied to a format that is more of a service than an art. This is kind of like the painter who turns to graphic design to make a living while painting on the weekends for fun. Yes, some painters make a living from their art printing it on pillows and canvass, but some need a day job too. This is my “day job” photography business.

Tree Woman Project In Review

A hearty Thank You to everyone who attended the Arts In Nature Festival last weekend.

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©Holli with an i photography

It was such a fun experience to not only show off a project I’ve worked so hard on over the past 10 months, but to also give a little bit of the “Tree Woman” experience by braiding hair and making crowns. Here is the first family group to get their crowns on to enjoy the festival in fashion:

Family of nature lovers!
Family of nature lovers!

The cabin exhibit was a sensory experience: I created a soundtrack from recordings during hikes this summer to capture the sounds of the forest. We added branches from our friend’s tree farm on the Olympic Peninsula to the shelves and walls of the cabin which surprised people the most: the pleasant sound of the trees! The visual part I worked the longest on for ways to display the Tree Women in a way that had variety. From tiny wood mounted prints to large canvasses and extra large prints hung from clothes pins…here are a few phone photos:

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The entrance of the cabin.
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A braided flower crown.
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Canvass mounted portraits.

And a few photos of me with a couple of me and the Tree Women as well as with the Art Program manager, Yeggy.

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The project was a success thanks to my wonderful community. I am thankful for everyone who help me pursue my crazy idea. Each model was a friend or acquaintance. One of them I had only met through Facebook and the parent community. Another I met at a model session a month before. My Mom and cousin helped make crowns and braid hair on the second day of the festival, which was wonderful since it seems twice as busy as the day before. And, the supplies of birch branches, willow and hydrangeas were from my family and friend’s gardens. The tree branches for the cabin came from our friend’s tree farm.

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My favorite moment from the event itself was a conversation I had with a boy who I believe was about 8 years old. You see, I had imagined the show would strike a cord in the imaginations of women, but it really engaged many men and people of all ages.

Boy: “What is that smell that’s so good?”

Me: “That’s the smell of the trees.”

Boy: “But why do they smell so good?”

Me: “It might be the type of tree. (knowing they were Noble Fir “Christmas tree “branches)”

Boy: “No, I mean, why do they smell like that in there (cabin) but not out here (outside)?”

Me: “The tree smells stronger when you cut it. Out here the trees haven’t been cut. The branches in there have and that is why they smell so much stronger for us.”

Being in Seattle and surrounded by amazing programs that get city kids into nature, I never would have imagined giving a boy the first opportunity to see what a tree really smells like.

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I wish that every Tree Woman model could have attended, and it’s difficult to find another venue that could provide another such experience. The best I can do for now is share a slideshow of the exhibit photos with the sound track…enjoy!

Tree Women Project: You’re Invited

You’re Invited!

The debut of this personal project celebrating the stages of womanhood and the seasons of nature through our connection to trees.

Arts In Nature Festival this August 22nd & 23rd

Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm, tickets and more info here: Arts In Nature Festival.

A Touch of Grace: Classic Portraits

We live in an era where everyone needs a proper portrait. With social media becoming our first impression, it’s more important now than it ever was to put our best face forward. And, that’s why I have started telling people that by the time they enter the working world, they need a good head shot.

All that said, there’s a big divide about what a proper portrait or head shot should look like and how to do one. I think the best are those that help a person shine, and engage the viewer. And so, that’s why I love finding that connection in the eyes and keeping the set up simple, yet classic.

I was thrilled to capture my cousin’s portrait. She’s full of beauty from the heart. My hope is that I was able to capture the grace she has as a woman and her fun personality.

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And, she deserves praise for being so patient to see her photos, as I captured her portraits just before leaving for Bolivia!

Tree Women Project: Bamboo

When I posted about this idea I had for the Tree Woman Project, I was pleasantly surprised. First, I was not expecting so many of my friends and family on Facebook to support the idea. Second, I was impressed by the number of volunteer models that emerged.
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Jackie is such a doll. When I met her we were children attending the same church. She was my friend’s younger sister. I always thought she was adorable, and so it was really like a mini-reunion dress up session to photographer her for this project.
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She’s a strong woman who never stops encouraging others…and with a flair for fun. She brought her own fairy wings that are special to her, and so we snapped a few of those too.

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Jackie was up for wandering around the Kubota Garden with me, so we tried a few other locations too. I think it was a pretty neat way to mark the half way point toward my goal to capture 12 Tree Women!

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Tree Women Project: Deodar Cedar

When I think of Christmas trees, I envision a classic Scandinavian Noble fir. As I was learning about trees this past summer, I saw the Deodar Cedar and thought it looks very much like a Noble, but was surprised to find it’s what some folks call a “real cedar” tree. They grow very tall and look like giant Christmas Trees.

My Dutch friend, Robin, was the chosen model for this tree because she is a strong woman. A mother of four, her reputation proceeded her as a woman who gets things done. Though our kids don’t know each other, we have become friends through Facebook. Exchanging comments through social media seems like a shallow way to make a friend, but I can honestly say that I admire and appreciate her.

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This was like getting together with an old friend to play dress up!

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As a mother of young kids, I really think it’s important to feel beautiful, and to be celebrated in the midst of seemingly thankless years of raising kids past toddlerhood. That transition for the kids to become independent is vital for both parties, because it’s so easy to get lost in the care and shuffle of daily living.

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A hearty thanks to Robin for being my model, and braving another “Seattle Winter” day – braving the cold and steady mist-like rain to show let me capture her beauty!

At The Courthouse: Short and Sweet Seattle Wedding

When I met Renee and Chris for a little family portrait session this summer, I immediately thought they made a beautiful couple. Loving, patient and kind to each other, I was so excited when Renee emailed me about photographing their wedding.

I started out as a Wedding Photography Assistant when I was 19 and loading Medium Format cameras with film. So, my first love and early training is with wedding photography, but as my life has changed and I’ve become a parent, I have focused more on portraits. Times like this, though, I make an exception.Wedding_HolliMargell 172

Photographing this short and sweet wedding reminded me of why I will always love weddings: it’s a beautiful day in the story of life, and capturing it to remember in photographs is truly an honor. There’s something magical about having such a momentous moment in your life documented. {Bonus points to Renee’s friends for gifting her some extra photography at the courthouse – seriously the best gift ever!}

How many people get ready for their wedding in the Jury Room?RCWedding_HolliMargell 157

Renee’s friends made it fun and helped keep Lila entertained so Mommy could get all dressed…

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Chris’ first look at his lovely bride…RCWedding_HolliMargell 162

They both wiped each other’s tears…

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Close friends and family were there, including Grandma via Facetime!Wedding_HolliMargell 173
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The wedding party migrated to the Bay Cafe to savor lunch and celebrate the new family.RCWedding_HolliMargell 166

Congratulations to Chris, Renee and little Lila!RCWedding_HolliMargell 171 RCWedding_HolliMargell 169 RCWedding_HolliMargell 170 RCWedding_HolliMargell 168 RCWedding_HolliMargell 167

xo, Holli

 

 

 

Tree Women Project: Wild Apple Tree

When I saw this old apple tree, I could not believe how big it had grown. It’s hiding in a green space where rumor has it there used to be an old military bunker. The story goes that they filled it with cement and it’s buried deep under a school nearby. Regardless of the old military presence, this part of the green space is home to many fruit trees. This apple tree is overgrown like a wild tree in a Dr. Seuss book.

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My mother loves apples, and so it was truly delightful to pair her session with the old wild apple tree.

The day we woke up to do our session, Seattle saw it’s first snow. It was bitter cold outside, but we decided to go for it anyway. Add to that the fact that my back was out of alignment, and you have two very determined artists stomping through the frozen forest to get these photographs.

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Kaarisa_HolliMargell 161We left the green space with frozen fingers and toes, but huge smiles as we had gone against the natural inclination to stay indoors and capture natural beauty.

Special thanks to my Mom for being my model, and camera assistant lugging around my old fashioned metal tripod and large camera bag. It was truly an adventure!

 

Tis the Season!

It’s the time of year that may fill you with joy and warmth as you gather with friends and family to celebrate the holidays. Or it may fill you with dread and stress as you painfully figure out what to buy to express your love and appreciation. It doesn’t help that everyone, everywhere is having a sale and telling you to “buy now, don’t miss out, last chance to save big!” That can get the jolliest person to feel a bit irritable. So, let’s look at cuteness for a second…

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Did that help? I hoped so! Kewpie dolls are like Gnomes – you either love them or hate them. I am hoping you love them, and that they make you smile as much as they do me!

This year, I decided to not join the masses in offering large discounts and trying to get you to “buy now” – instead I spent time with my family and have decided to just let you know that I am grateful, and tell you what’s shaking up for 2015.

Putting art on the back burner…

My fine art photography business is winding down. I have one last holiday pop-up shop on December 11th here in West Seattle. After this, I’m focusing all of my efforts on photographing people. I will keep my Etsy shop alive if you ever do want to get something fun with a photograph on it as a gift or to liven up your home. But, crunching the numbers for all of my sales so far, I have made about $22 from Etsy sales after all of my fees and costs were paid, about $70 from the art shows after booth fees and gallery portions were taken out. As I look forward to this last show, I am left hoping to sell at least enough to cover printing up some new cards and magnet sets. On average, artists take home about third of what their selling prices are listing.

Putting people first…

Last month, as I was preparing to say a final farewell to my Aunt who passed away from cancer, I took some time to go through my old film photographs. I saw how my first photographic focus was on people. Even with film costing money, I snapped hundreds of images of my family and friends. It’s really my first love, and so only natural that I return to it. The reason I started doing Fine Art photography was because my time was very limited with two small kids. The time has been well-spent as I have learned a lot about the local art scene, and met a wonderful variety of local artists.

I hope to merge the old love I have of people with a more fine art touch as I embark on photography as a service. The struggle of course will be to decided on what to focus on exactly. Most business books and experts recommend sticking to one thing. I’m not good at picking out one thing. I love people. Whether it’s capturing a laugh between two friends at a wedding or the spark that shines on someone’s face during a portrait session, I enjoy it all.

Stay tuned, dear readers, more changes as we ring in the New Year!

xo,

Holli with an i

p.s. Yes, I sell gift certificates if you should want to give someone special a portrait session.

Tree Women Project: Bigleaf Maple

There is something magical about the Bigleaf Maple tree leaves. I remember walking to elementary school and being completely excited when the maples along a street we walked started dropping these wonders of nature, their size and color still delight me. My brother and I would collect the ones with the most vibrant colors to give our mom as if they were as precious as wildflowers.

It seemed fitting to pair Donna with the Bigleaf Maple as she turns ingredients into magic at her shop, Stuffed Cakes. She is a culinary artist, and gets credit as the Make Up Artist for our session!

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I am truly delighted to be able to see this project come to life, and grateful for women like Donna who answered my call for a real woman model. Stay tuned as I hope to capture one dozen of these Tree Women Portraits by summer 2015. And, my then, I hope to have the experience and systems in place to offer these types of concept based portrait session next fall!

xo, Holli