Me! It's me behind the camera!! That seems simple enough but then that wouldn't make for a very interesting blog would it? Nope, grab some snacks and a drink and I'll tell you a bit about me and how I got here. Brace yourself Bridgette, it's story time.
Where is here? Home is the Central Coast of California for the last 27 or so years. I moved here from Southern California when I agreed to torment my husband for the rest of our days. I have evidence as far back as middle school that a camera was rarely out of my reach, though that should all be locked in evidence for criminal conduct. WOW were they bad, but the desire was there. There was no question that I loved to take photos...a lot. The photo bug stuck with me through high school and really didn't get much better, but I have memories and smiles in boxes that would have otherwise been gone.
It is harder than I thought to talk about me, and keep you all here interested and reading! okay, all 4 of you, hi mom! I digress, or if you're a fan of Gregisms on TikTok, I digreg... In all of the adventures over my 5 decades here, I have always tried to get at least a few photos to commemorate the occasion. Rose Parade Float Crew Chief was a HUGE part of my time as a teenager and well into my 20's and included about a decade as an assistant driver in the New Year's Day Parade...you betcha, I took photos. When I got pregnant with my oldest son, I didn't fit inside the float so I had to throw in the towel that year. I can recall running amok with my friend Debi to different clubs in Orange County and a few occasions she handed me a camera to have fun with. We also had a fun photoshoot with her and her cousin where I was in front of the camera for a change! There are many occasions there that I wish I had a camera more. The bands we saw, the places we adventured, intentionally and unintentionally, these were definitely moments of "pics or it didn't happen."
Then I met my knight in blackened armor. I admit was smitten and even the camera couldn't tear me away for a while. However, he's a handsome fella and I couldn't resist getting some photos of him too. When we got married, I knew I would want photos. I knew this would be a one and done thing. So the photographer was going to be the most important vendor of the day. I skimped on the dress, minimal flowers, and the gents had their jackets, so anywhere I could save money to put more towards the photographer and art work, I did. Do I remember how much I spent on the photographer, wedding album, and wall art? Nope, I don't, but I know that it was money well spent. The artwork is on the wall 25+ years later, and the wedding album comes out about once a year, sometimes more to reminisce. Go back and check out my first blog post "It's Just a Piece of Paper".
First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes babies in baby carriages! All of you Gen X'ers are going to curse me for that one. We had our first son, and I wasn't about to miss a moment, a small fortune in film and developing was spent taking photos of him. I still wasn't terribly good, but the photos are all keepers and happily placed in albums and memory boxes here and there. The internet was becoming more accessible, so I could read more on photographic techniques and learn new skills. Baby boy number 2 arrived just after DSLR's were hitting the public market, but I was going to be a traditionalist and stick to film. Drat all these kids and their new fangled technology. Until a digital camera fell into my lap. The Canon EOS Rebel XTi with an 18-55mm basic kit lens. Let me tell ya...game changer! Grayson and Garrett were my constant models with their cuteness and antics.
I no longer had to wait for film, I had instant feedback on whether I got the shot right, and the savings in $$ on developing was euphoric! The hook was set deep and there was no turning back. Baby number 3 was on the way! Knowing she would be the last, I wanted this memory to last forever, albeit without the contractions! My sister in law, who went to school for photography, stepped up with her skills and excitement to capture the arrival of her beautiful niece. Some of the most incredibly powerful photos that will never be public, but preserved in an album to remember the unusual events that transpired as Guinevere made her way into the world. I would absolutely love to be a birth photographer because it is such an incredible event, but I suspect I would be so swept up in the emotions I would put the camera down and miss everything.
Three beautiful lively kids, who wouldn't want a bajillion photos of them??? I set up scenes to take their photos, I chased them around on the trampoline, through the pastures, on the horses, with the cats and dogs. They grew up with the sound of the shutter clicking non stop. Was I any good? Meh, I was a mom with a camera and tons of photos of my kids, so I was happy.
I shared with my bestie to the north, who I met in a horse group online, and we became fast friends. Theresa has an eye for photography, graphic design, and shenanigans. She has helped me grow and strive to do better for over 2 decades! In that time we have gone back and forth to visit each other, mostly her coming here since my beasties adore her and consider her an Aunt. We would go on photo walks, stroll on the beach, and find trouble where we could. She introduced me to my first "big lens" I'm not sure if I should thank her or kick her in the booty. Some of the photos in the gallery below are thanks to her photo skills. Then I was asked to go back to work as a vet technician and breeding manager. Working with horses was my other passion, and getting to welcome foals into the world, AMAZING! HELLO BIRTH PHOTOGRAPHY!! I had a good balance of all the things for several years, even being asked to take photos at the vet hospital from time to time. When vet tech hours were slow, I was asked to join the vet's other company selling diagnostic equipment. Of course, bring my camera to get photos of the products and products in action.
It was not until I started playing rugby in 2008 (might have been 2009) that life got even more amazing. Sports photography. I didn't make the connection right away, and I was AWFUL to start with. Then I started taking the camera to the kids' sporting events to practice more. Each time I got that perfect action shot, I fell more and more in love with action photography. I scooped up any photos that the pros at the time would get at the soccer fields...I studied what sold, I learned new skills, and I kept improving. My little Rebel was starting to wear out! Still with me? no? okay cool, someone, somewhere is going to be entertained by all of this. With hundreds if not thousands of photos of the kids, animals, sports, trees, flowers and anything I could think of, I was on fire. Guin would model for me more and more. I am fortunate that none of my beasties ever suffered with what we call in the industry "photographer's child syndrome". These kiddos rarely, if ever, cooperate for photos, instead they make ridiculous faces, run and hide, or are just plain sour. My charmers would instead make adorable moves, be cute together, and be very patient with me practicing whatever I had been learning in my spare time. I let them be themselves and I was rewarded with fun photos, improved skills, and happy kiddos.
Outside of work, running around with kid stuff, and rugby, there wasn't much time for photography, but I still had that bug. I was asked to do engagement photos, save the date photos, and senior portraits for people. The more I did, the better I got and the more I learned what I enjoyed most. I joined a group on Facebook, Fire and Ice Photography Society and was smitten with the professionals that shared their work, inspired others, and truly loved what they did. This group is responsible for catapulting my skills to where I am today. It was not all sunshine and roses. I took some knocks, dealt with some disappointment, but overall, I am indebted to the founders for creating a safe space for photographers of all stages in their journey to share, learn, and grow. Without Fire and Ice, I would not have met many of the wonderful mentors I now call friends. It seems like an eternity since the pandemic struck us all dumbfounded. Many businesses were crippled without the ability to work normally, my new found friends in the photography industry were hit by a Mack truck. Social distancing wasn't the problem. The lenses we have available allow us to work well over 6' from our clients and stick to the guidelines to minimize the impact of this new age plague. The problem was events being banned, gyms shutting down, businesses unable to open their doors, there was nothing to photograph and earn wages. I was concerned for us all that weren't considered essential. I had been considering going full time as a photographer for a while, but never had the push I really needed. This was it. My oh so wise brain made Kiss My Aperture into a full blown LLC in the craziest year imaginable. So here I am, a full time professional photographer. It really sunk in when someone asked what I did for a living and I said it out loud. I own a photography business. Any questions? Anything? Bueller? Bueller? Once again, Gen X, you're welcome. (scroll over any of the images for the caption. Alt Text for photo credit when known)