Category Archives: Photography

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

Bolivia Update: moving forward!

Slowly but surely, I’m inching forward toward the goal of attending Workshops with a Purpose in Bolivia come April 2015. When I first applied, I thought I was jumping in at the last minute to join an immersion workshop to learn non-profit photography. As chance would have it, the workshop was postponed.

This has given me the chance to work hard at earning my way there – a tiny dream come true in and of itself. I am so grateful for the support of friends and family to get me started – to everyone who donated on my Indiegogo campaign when I started, and those who have purchased portrait sessions or a fine art print. Everything adds up and helps – almost half way there:

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And, to help keep you updated without filling the blog with incremental progress each week, I have added a Bolivia page so that you can read more about the progress.

THANK YOU for reading, sharing and helping me work toward the trip!
xo,
Holli

Tree Woman Project: Lawson Cypress

I have had a love for trees for quite some time now, and this past summer, I was able to volunteer with a Tree Ambassador program in Seattle by photographing trees for a self-guided tree walk map.

Capturing beauty in women is also a passion of mine. When I discovered Brooke Shaden, both of those passions merged into a lovely light bulb moment: I wanted to photograph women AND trees. This little idea further grew after meeting and hearing Jeremy Cowart speak during Creative Live’s Photo Week in September. His work is amazing, and his experimental nature inspired me to just jump in and start my idea: Tree Women – and did a first try with my daughter last month.

When I posted to my friends on Facebook asking for volunteer models and help with the project, I was so encouraged. Not only did I get volunteer models, a fellow photographer friend offered to assist. The morning of our photo session, it was super windy – like storm warning the night before windy. It was so gusty, that I almost cancelled for fear that we’d be in danger, but my model/friend Tasha was sure it would be okay.

And, boy was I glad we decided to go for it. Literally, the clouds parted and the sunshine came out toward the end of our session. It was beautiful!

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Jump!
Did I mention how great Tasha was for being willing to climb and jump from the tree?!
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Huge thank you to Tasha and Chris!

p.s. Check out Chris’ photography too!

Professional Portraits: Ready To Thrive

Do you have a professional portrait?

I’m not talking about the ones where your office wants to update the company directory and hires someone to come on in and photograph everyone in 5 minute intervals like you’re back in grade school. I’m talking about a portrait that you can be proud of and share across your social media channels.

Did you know that people judge you by your profile photo first? We might not want to admit it, but we are visual creatures.

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I’ve been studying fashion portraiture for a few years now, and while the fashion world doesn’t appeal to me, the art of it does. So, I apply some of that to my portraiture for professionals. This way, I can accentuate your features with the best lighting, and even offer wardrobe suggestions – are you looking for a new job or a sweetheart? Subtle things like the color of your shirt to your eye contact with the lens can make all the difference.

I had a client recently who suddenly found herself in need of a head shot for a professional event, and all she had was a passport photo of herself. She hates have her photograph taken, and I was certain I could do better than that myself. Luckily, I was able to rush her session, and help her put her best face forward.

So, if you’re thinking about getting your portrait taken, but don’t feel like the most photogenic person, trust me, get it done. Find a photographer whose personality you click with and get out in front of the camera. No one should be stuck using a passport photograph!

From online dating to a new LinkedIn profile portrait, a professional portrait will help you shine.

Dancing with the trees

Life is too short to wait until I feel old enough to reach for my dreams. I’ve felt that very deeply lately after losing a mentor and watching my aunt struggle with cancer. The problem with being me is that I have many dreams and yet a very real sense of duty and responsibility to focus on my photography business in a traditional business model.

My dream is to use photography to capture fine art portraits based on whimsical concepts AND to help through non-profit photography. While I’ve been focusing on my business and learning non-profit photography (planning on learning through Workshops With A Purpose in April 2015), I’ve decided to jump into the other side of my dream – concept based fine art portraiture.

I have this idea to photograph women in the woods with the shoot designed around specific types of trees to highlight the beauty of both nature an real women. So, I shared the idea on my facebook page, and the response was encouraging! So, a new personal project has been born, and I look forward to filling my portfolio for the day when I can offer concept based fine art portraits…

That look a little something like this:

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TreeGirl©HolliMargell 1Everything about this session with my daughter was amazingly fulfilling. From creating her head pieces to scouting the locations to actually giving her a piggyback ride once her shoes were off so she could stand on that tree barefoot was so much fun. It was like playing dress up and watching a dream come true. Now, I have challenged myself to do 10 more of these sessions with the same concept so that I can fill a portfolio and streamline the process to create an enjoyable client experience.

So, thank you for watching me grow my fine art creative portraiture branch!

 

A Fall Day At The Beach: family portraits

There is something beautiful about a fall day in Seattle. Though it’s usually overcast this time of year with a layer of gray clouds, it’s rather beautiful in a quiet serene sort of way.That’s why I was actually a bit excited when the day of our family portrait session was overcast, because I think it provides the best light for a fall feel and the colors really stand out.

LeonardEdits_HolliMargell 1The Leonard family has a growing soon to be 2-year-old who loves to RUN! Thankfully Jack Block park provided lots of space for him to explore between takes trying to capture a family portrait.

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I have to say, it’s truly an honor to photograph a family year after year – to be a part of capturing their family tree as it grows is pretty neat.We brought umbrellas just in case the clouds decided to open up and downpour, but instead the sun came out. But, the wee lad had been so eager to use them, we let him try it out just for fun!

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Ready For The Journey

I like to think of life like a surfing metaphor – there are always waves, some are stronger than others, and some will even carry you along when you didn’t want it to but sometimes you can pick which one to ride. The ride can end in a crash or leave you exhilarated and ready for another.  While I haven’t surfed since I was 19, I have experienced the beauty of riding along some big changes in my life.PacificWaves_HolliMargell (1)

Learning and doing non-profit photography is one wave I want to ride. For the Workshops With A Purpose Bolivia trip, it has been postponed until April 2015. It’s like a wave I know I want to ride, but it’s farther out than I expected. Which, after the initial disappointment is actually a good thing. I will have more time to get our family into a routine with the school year, and more time to earn the funds to go.

So, while it might appear like I’m putting this goal on the back burner, I’m actually working on it through my other endeavors. Every portrait session and all of my art photography sold will go toward my Bolivia Trip. I started a Bolivia page here on the site so that you can check out my progress, and I’ll only post an update once a month. That way, this site can get back to business!

Speaking of business, I am happy to share that I now offer studio sessions – we no longer have to schedule around the weather. These are at no additional cost, and are available at your request.

Thank you for reading,

Holli

 

A Photo Of My Feelings

I spied this scene while out walking with my family on Sunday evening. I would not have even noticed if my daughter hadn’t asked for a water break. So, we stopped underneath  two Holly trees that create an arbor over the sidewalk. As the kids drank water in their peckish and slow way, I looked up. The golden sunlight was streaming into the nooks and crannies of the Holly leaves. That’s when I spied this:

How I Feel: blurry, stuck and ready to let the wind set me free.
How I Feel: blurry, stuck and ready to let the wind set me free.

After a rough Monday wrestling with how to proceed in fundraising for the Bolivia workshop, today I announced that I am suspending my efforts until the workshop has a firm date. And, while that left me feeling rather down, I am inspired by this photograph.

It shows exactly how I feel. After sharing it on my personal Facebook page, my friend summed it up perfectly: “I see a seed who probably gave false hope to a spider who hoped to devour it. Seed is in no danger and is getting a prolonged sky view before landing and sprouting. You are full of life and encouragement even if you feel stuck! Enjoy the view sweetie and don’t forget Im always up for taking you out to coffee when you are here!”

And, I actually love Dandelions.