Tuesday, August 12, 2014

I'm Social Media Sober: Some Thoughts on my Facebook Hiatus

"Hello, my name is Kristin and I have been social media sober for 33 days."

Sounds like something one might say in front of a support group, which might not be far off at the rate people are becoming overly active on social media. Who wouldn't need support while extricating themselves from a behavior that has become a part of almost everyone's daily life?

33 days ago, I made the bold decision to attempt to go 99 days without logging in and checking Facebook. I am proud to say I have not yet buckled and taken even a quick peek.

As a professional photographer, this is more than just a fleeting commitment. Facebook is driven by visual perception - something I have learned to capitalize on in my profession through the use of tagging and sharing and having my clients do the same. I should clarify that I am still using the Pages App on my iPad, which only allows me to post as my pages and promote those posts if I choose to do so. I have no ability to see personal profiles, the newsfeed  or any of the interactions between those who like my page or those who are my "friends". (Yep, I just put "friends" in quotes...I'll talk about that in a sec.) I like how the Pages app is stripped down and its sole purpose is for business promotion. I know I'm not missing the opportunity to take advantage of Facebook's robust advertising system. In addition to the Pages App, I also have Messenger installed on the iPad. This allows me to reach out to people if I feel the need and vice versa. Again, no ability to see anything else.

Remember when I mentioned my "friends"?.  Let's define "friend" first to illustrate my point. According to Merriam-Webster.com, a friend is one attached to another by affection of esteem. Their simple definition for the word is a person you like and enjoy being with. Enjoy being with. Like physically able to tolerate and maybe even enjoy their presence and existence.

Facebook, especially for young users, creates a false sense of community that literally feels like being in a room full of your so-called friends. Complete with drama, judgement, superficiality and the attributes we all have as errant human beings, only they're magnified and in your face, even written down for all to see. It's like a parade of our deeply flawed perception of who we "are". But it really isn't who we are, is it?

If young minds are subjected to this kind of damaging social culture, how can they be expected to function as productive, well-adjusted adults?

One thing being away from the pool of lies that Facebook truly is has made me realize that I have forgotten how to be truly present. To be okay with where I am right now, which is sitting in my living room, listening to good music and my kids playing quietly in the other room while I handwrite this blog post on a pad of paper. Yes, hand write. It's refreshing.

These two will never forget their childhood because it's all been captured on camera. But what keeps me coming back to this image (shot with my Olympus Tough TG-1, if you wanna know) is the process of getting them down on this rock from the steep bank above. The true beauty of the surroundings, the sounds of Box Canyon Creek, my 5-year-old stepping in the glacier-cold water and freaking out and having to abort the mission entirely. That is the stuff memories are made of.

As a photographer in the digital age, I've found I've gotten sucked down a rabbit hole of capturing these moments on camera almost fanatically, often forgetting to actually enjoy the moment because I am too busy trying to adjust the exposure on my screen and apply a pretty little filter so my "moment" will have that ethereal glow and all my "friends" will "like" it and think I'm this super deep, intelligent person living a glamorous life in the suburbs.

I am actually shaking my head and snickering to myself as I write this because I actually am a pretty cool person, like to think of myself as fairly intelligent and am blessed with an incredibly wonderful life. But why isn't it good enough that only I and perhaps a handful of my friends and family members are aware of this and love me for it? And not all my family members because, let's be honest, we've all got a psycho or two who we are inexplicably connected to by blood and nothing else.

The fact is, it is good enough. In fact, it's better. But we need to take the time to realize this, which often means identifying the things in our lives that take us away from what truly matters. This is not to say we should altogether cease to use the technology that is available to us to snap a quick pic of our kid's first lost tooth or a video of him riding his bike without training wheels because hey, film is expensive and CamCorders are bulky. But next time you feel the urge to share those moments, think about your audience and who you really want to share that moment with.

I could go into detail about how this pertains to what I do as a professional photographer and how truly important it is to invest in quality photography because of it but that, my "friend", is another blog post.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Highsmith Family • March 2014

Yes, March. Yes, I'm really that behind. Wow. Oh, well! I'm getting it done! Right??

I was so pleased this family was my first shoot of the spring season. To make a commitment to getting family portraits with an infant is a big one and even though their littlest one was feeling a little grouchy, we were still able to nab a few beautiful shots. Okay, a lot. This family are pretty effortlessly adorable.

See for yourself…

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Spring 2014 Newsletter

After a long winter of rain, cold and indoor activities, the first signs of new life beckons us outdoors for much-needed fresh air and open space. At least that is what it means for me and my family! We are lucky enough to live in one of the most beautiful places in the nation and I have spent the winter running to stay sane but also to stake out new locations that are unseen by car. I’ve had the pleasure of shooting with some diehards during the cold winter months at these new locations and spring will transform these places into lush, open spaces perfect for Spring portraits for families, children and seniors. Speaking of seniors, read on for some exciting new things happening this senior season!

We've made some changes to make your experience with us better:
  •  While it might seem counterintuitive, we believe the less you have to choose from, the easier the decision-making process is. That is why we have taken the time to reduce  our product menu to a carefully-selected collection of items based on what was most popular last year. We are known for the ease of our image selection and ordering process and now it is even easier. You have to experience it to believe it.
  • To strengthen our focus on this product-centric philosophy, we are pleased to announce that we have lowered our booking fees across the board by about 12%. We stand behind the quality of all the work we do and we want to enable our clients to reap the full benefits of working with us without being concerned about breaking the bank. While we still believe good photography is an investment no matter who you hire, we also want good photography to be available to anyone who has a desire to make reasonable room in their budget for images they'll treasure forever.Last year, our senior program was the best it’s ever been. Developing a relationship with a great salon enabled us to offer all-inclusive hair and makeup services factored right into the booking fee, leaving the scheduling and coordinating to us. The program was so successful, we decided it deserved to be in the echelons of our commercial and executive portraiture. With this in mind, we’ve developed a separate division where all of our more grown-up portraiture will exist. Thus, Kristin Tetuán Photography was born. Go check out the new page by clicking the new logo to the right. (Don't worry! TPD  Studios will still be the place you find the fun, youthful brand of kid and family portraiture we have become known for!)

Sunday, March 9, 2014

It's been a long while…here is a little update!

I needed to get something into the blog to let whose who follow me know I am still here! I guess I'm still enjoying the quiet the rainy season tends to bring me since so much of the shooting I do is outside.

It has given me a lot of time to think about how I want to approach the new year. What my goals are as a photographer and artist and where I see myself going over the course of this year and years to come.

As a freelancer, I am often alone in finding ways to advance my craft and take the next step in making better work and seeking out the steps I have to take in order to get to the next level. The new year is a perfect time to reflect and seek out opportunities, which is exactly what I began to do in January.

While browsing freelance opportunities, I found an opening for a part time position that fit almost my exact skill set. Not only that, they were right under my nose here in the Valley. I now find myself a part of a small but very talented and powerful design team where I have already begun undergoing a dramatic personal and professional transformation, which I am still coming to understand.

(Queue Talking Heads Once in a Lifetime. ;) )

If you have a chance to check out this little design powerhouse, click here, watch the reel and explore the site. And think of me as a liaison to the services The Medium offers, including web, print, identity, illustration and now photography. I am humbled and very proud to be a part of this team.

As professional creatives, we often rely on our intuition and heart to guide us in the right direction and show us the path we must take. Happening upon this opportunity was exactly that: a sort of "life path opening up before me" type thing.

What does it mean for my studio, you might ask? Well, let me address the question that almost all of the few people I have divulged this to: What will happen to your photography studio? (Many automatically assume I'll be quitting. Ha!)

Contrary to popular belief, this new adventure will only make me a better photographer. Because I am expected to meet a higher creative standard within my position, that higher expectation will carry over into the work that I create on my own. I will be a more deliberate photographer. I will be more relaxed in guiding my clients through my creative vision. I will be a better business owner. This will be the year I begin creating the work that has been in my head for years.

It is important to me to stay honest with my clients and keep you posted on what is going on here at the studio which is the motivation behind this post. I am also so excited for the coming year and what we will make together. Being a continued part of your lives and capturing beautiful images along the way is still and will always be my passion.

Have a question? I'm an open book. Email me at photographer@kristintetuan.com or call me at 425.281.8312.

(And a little tiny reminder that Springtime is coming! March is already filling fast so book your Spring sessions while I still have openings!)

Here is to daydreams and making them a reality!

Friday, January 3, 2014

Nugent Family • December 2013 • North Bend, WA

Happy New Year, all! The passing of Christmas means I get to blog some past shoots I have been sitting on. Yay!

Despite the frigid temperatures (no lie, it was below 30), this family was committed to getting some beautiful shots and that we did! The benefit of also being a runner? I discover gorgeous locations you can't see when you are driving, which is exactly how I found this gem. I can't wait to keep coming back to this place because the light, background and open space is truly magical.