TempeArizonaPortraitPhotographer

Sloane Sivek - 4th of July Portraits on Tempe Town Lake - Arizona Senior Photographer

I tried to think of a clever title for this blog post, but all the patriotic song titles were a little too cliche for me. 

I put together this session super last minute. People in Arizona don't exactly celebrate the 4th to the extent that everyone does in Indiana, but who would I be if I passed up the opportunity for a themed session. 

There's a high risk fire danger throughout all of Arizona currently (and most of the West), so I passed on my typical sparkler and smoke bomb portraits and went with some cute, simple photos down on Tempe Town Lake. 

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After it took Sloane & I 45 minutes to find each other, we finally got to take some gorgeous photos at the end of golden hour & beginning of blue hour. 

These portraits were super simple, but honestly some of my favorites (sometimes simple is the best I've learned). 

Hope everyone has an amazing & safe 4th of July! 

Technicolor Difficulties - The Barrett Brothers

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Back in March shortly before I left Indiana, I got to do one of the coolest collab sessions I have ever done. I had wanted to do some more creative studio work before I moved & Bryndon Barrett reached out to me when I posted a model call on Instagram. We had a few different ideas in mind & then eventually added his two brothers, @breydonbarrett & @tarbyy to the mix. 

We wanted colors & posing to really drive most of the photos. Bryndon had the idea of primary colors for a bold statement, and since the three of them almost look like triplets (which they're not), in the photos you can focus on them as a whole, not just individually. After a snow storm delaying our session & multiple outfit decisions to be made, we finally got to make some photo magic & here are my final edits. 

 

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There wasn't a complete set plan for all the photos, but we wanted a connected feeling for most of the shots. Here are my top picks: 

This is the first installment of this session with the Barrett Brothers, I'll be sharing the other set of photos in a couple weeks! I'm hoping to get into more creative, styled work this year & this session was the perfect stepping stone for creativity & different ideas. 

Chasing Sunset Dreams - My Life in ArizonA As a Photographer

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Two months ago, my mom and I set out on a trip out West along Route 66. I'll save my details of the trip for another time, but today I'm mostly just talking about emotions. 

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I was so ready to get out of the city (and state) of Muncie, IN. I was born, raised, and grew up in that small city. I went to college there, I met all my closest friends there, and of course my mom is there. I am so grateful for my experiences and everything in between that Muncie gave me, but it was time to leave. 

I think people get comfortable, sometimes too comfortable and we don't like to talk about it. I could have easily stayed in my hometown. I had made a lot of good connections there and my business was taking OFF which was one of the hardest things to think about. I had just graduated college, I was starting to have a steady income from my photography business that I started all on my own, so why would I leave that? 

I was ready for change and to be inspired by something new (and I'm sure some of you are saying, "what a millennial thing to do.") It's true though. People need to see new places, do new things, and like so many people say, get out of their comfort zone. 

So I decided to leave, and move in with my long-time boyfriend, Brannon (who moved out to Arizona six months before for a software development job). 

It's obviously not all rainbows and butterflies though, I want to be honest and realistic. Arizona has been everything I ever dreamed, waking up someplace where I can see mountains out my bedroom window in the distance, palm trees and cacti lining every street you turn down, and there's so much stuff to do everywhere you go. Moving your photography business across the country though? Not so easy. Don't get me wrong, I know what I'm doing with my life. I often joke with my friends or family, or the internet for that matter by saying, "I have no clue what I'm doing with my life." The thing is though, I do know. I'm a portrait, lifestyle, wedding, and anything else in between photographer, and I own my own business, and I want to be successful and have this be my full-time career. 

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It's been a process, and I've only been here for two months and I've already gotten discouraged a number of times. I'm not used to not being busy taking photos, editing, and talking to clients nonstop. For the last year that had been my life, so moving across the country, hardly knowing anyone, I should have been prepared for the halt in business. I wasn't though. Most recently I spend my days reading about marketing and business (I highly suggest John Harrington's book, Best Business Practices for Photographers, Third Edition), connecting with other photographers, learning about advertising, and updating my social media as often as possible to stay relevant.

When you're staying in your apartment during the greater part of the day and only taking photos 2-3 times a week (when that's your career) you tend to feel a little lazy. If I'm being honest, I'm just winging it. I don't have an exact plan, I wish I had a more set direction of how to do what I'm doing and reach my goals (I've done a couple thousand Google searches though and I haven't found a direct map of how to become successful), and there's not.

A real life photo of me chasing sunsets + dreams in Moab, Utah. 

A real life photo of me chasing sunsets + dreams in Moab, Utah. 

So here I am, writing a blog post talking about my feelings and what I'm doing with my life, hoping people will take the time to read it. I don't know exactly where I'm going or where this is going to take me, but for now I'm just riding the adventure wave and doing everything I can to get to the top (was that too cliche?) 

Until next time.

-S

 

 

Now booking ALL Arizona sessions + Indiana sessions for the month of October, click the Contact button below to send me a message. 

Polaroid Memories

Isn't time a funny thing?

My mom and I always say that. Because time is a funny thing. It's a really weird thing. Life tends to sneak up on people. That famous quote from One Tree Hill describes it pretty well, 

“One day, you’re 17 and you’re planning for someday. And then quietly, without you ever really noticing, someday is today. And then someday is yesterday. And this is your life.” 

Don't get me wrong though, I am so glad I'm not 17 anymore. Life changes for a reason, we grow up, we change, we meet new people. It's the moments in the middle that make me nostalgic though. All the family holidays that you think will never end when you're younger. The car rides with your dog in the middle of summer. Decorating for your birthday parties with your mom. Your first date. The people you meet throughout your life, when you're in high school or college, that are sometimes just in your life for a short glimpse of your whole life in retrospect. The moments we don't think about until later on though. 

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I love photos, polaroids especially. I'm sure you're sitting there thinking, "of course you do Samantha, you're a photographer" and who doesn't like photographs? I'm such a nostalgic person though, photos just make me feel a certain way. I don't know how to explain it, but it's a happy-sad feeling. I love that photos can take us back in time, make us remember memories or relive moments. They also make me sad though, knowing there's certain memories or places you'll never look at the same. There's certain people you may never see again. People move away. Animals (and people) pass away. Traditions change. 

Back home I spent a lot of time looking at old photographs. From when I was younger or before I was born. I loved looking at my grandma's old photo albums, trying to figure out what the feeling was like when the photo was taken. My grandpa passed away when I was only 4 so I've spent a lot of time over the years looking at photos of him and asking my mom questions because I want to feel like I know him more. All the photos have helped with that. 

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I guess that's what people would say is the beauty of it all though and what's so nice about photographs. Because even if people do leave and things change, you'll always have that memory and that photo to remember it all. 

And I call these Polaroid Memories because I treat polaroids a little differently than other photos. In today's world we're so lucky to have high-tech phones that let us take photos so easily. We can pretty much capture every moment of every day on our smart phone. And with my DSLR have unlimited shots that I can take (well about 3,000 when both my memory cards are empty). We constantly snap away. We post our photos on Snapchat, and Facebook, and Instagram, and we share it with all our friends and followers to see. We have a tendency to not print photos out like we used to. I promise it's different holding a memory rather than just looking at it on your phone though. 

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That's why polaroids are extra special (and I'm sure all you avid film users are rolling your eyes or maybe agreeing) because you don't have endless shots to take. So you have to pick and choose what you want to document. I know a day or a moment meant a lot when I have a polaroid of it. 

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There's just some things I never want to forget, even if they make me a little sad. I hope I always remember my family's dog, Lizzy, the best beagle to ever grace this planet. And all the trips I took with my mom to California, Colorado, New York City, Chicago, and in between. And the holidays every year with my grandma, and siblings, and all my aunts, uncles, and cousins. And the adventures I took with my slendas.  All the photo shoots. My cat. And living with my best friend. Moments are so special. So don't forget the in betweens and the people you meet along the way. Make more polaroid memories. 

“Maybe it’s sad that these are now memories. And maybe it’s not sad.”

- The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

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Fast Food Photo Challenge - Taco Bell - KFC - McDonald's - Muncie, Indiana

Two days ago I got a text from my best photo friend, Reagan Allen, that read, "Do you ever see a very not photogenic place and think man, I could take a cool pic there. Going through the Starbucks drive through and I see the striped wall of KFC and want to take pics in front of it" 

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My reply: "Yes!! I've really wanted to shoot at a Taco Bell because I love tbell so much hahaha" 

Within 45 minutes we had decided on our locations and found someone to model for us the next day at 3 p.m. 

This wasn't a very serious session by any means, but since I'm moving half way across the country in less than three weeks, we decided we needed to just go for it and get some creativity out. 

 

You get a few funny looks when you go inside a fast food restaurant with your "fancy cameras", a model, and start looking for the best window light.

It was worth the stares though. 

Look at these photos from TACO BELL. I should add that I am obsessed with Taco Bell. I don't really eat a lot of fast food anymore, but I still make relatively regular 4th meal runs... I also drink A LOT of Baja Blast (probably an unhealthy amount), so I HAD to include it in some of these. 

(p.s. we did ask for permission before we started taking photos). 

We weren't sure if we really needed to go any place else after how much fun we had here, but we decided to still hit up KFC and possibly McDonald's. 

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KFC's red and white wall did not disappoint. 

 

After living in Indiana my whole life, I've always thought that I could look at things a little differently. We don't have mountains, or an ocean, or desert landscapes. We have a lot of corn, it's really flat (where I'm located), and we have A LOT of overcast days. So you learn to work with what you have in your backyard, or the side of a building. 

 

We finished off this random and hilarious session at the McDonald's in Muncie that still has one of the original signs. We decided to go through the drive-thru and get an order of fries and an ice cream cone to use as props (and eat). 

This McDonald's is on a pretty busy road in town so there was a lot of staring and some honking (which p.s. if you're one of those people that honks at people taking photos or getting their photo taken, we don't like or appreciate it). 

The golden arch and retro font were giving us all the vintage vibes that our 21 and 22 year old hearts love. 

This was such a fun, spontaneous session. I get asked a lot my fellow photographers, old classmates, or just Instagram followers how I practice or make time for fun sessions. I know plenty of other photographers say this, but honestly, just use what you have and make time. Wake up early or stay up late, reach out to people to model for you or to shoot with you, learn about your gear, what YouTube videos, just keep growing. You do not get better over night and you most definitely do not get better staring at other people's work and wondering why yours doesn't look like it. Every time I have a session, whether it's for a client or just for fun, I always look back at all my photos and take notes about what I could have improved on. I have such a long way to go, but having a fun, creative shoot with my best photo friend at fast food restaurants has helped push me just that much closer to where I want to be. Isn't it so cool that this is what I get to do for the rest of my life? 

Any suggestions on what weird place we should have a session at next? Let me know in the comments (seriously, do it)! 

Here's to the next crazy adventure. 

xx

Samantha  

Happy Valentine's Day - Photos of Love - Indiana Lifestyle Photographer

I had so much fun the first two weeks of February planning these sessions. I teamed up with Reagan Lynn Photography and we planned three photoshoots with different models. 

I've always thought Valentine's Day was a cute holiday, I admit that parts of it can be cheesy, but embracing the love in the air and all the cliches can be pretty fun. 

Whether you're celebrating with a lover, friends, family, or yourself, you can't deny all the flowers, balloons, and candy (especially when it's 50% off the next day), make you smile a little. Alright maybe they don't, but I hope these photos do. 

 

Our first session was with the beautiful Christine Tate. We picked up some tulips and carnations, embraced the cold weather, and then finished sipping warm drinks inside The Caffeinery in Downtown Muncie. 

 

Our second session was with the amazing Makindsay Carper and let me tell you this day was FREEZING. We took photos on top of one of the parking garages at Ball State University and the wind chill made it feel like it was in the negatives. It was worth it though. We bought a dozen heart shaped, helium filled balloons from Party City and took as many photos as we could as fast as we could (with a 10 minute warm-up in the middle). 

Our final session was one of my all-time favorite's (which I tend to say about every new session). We bought candy hearts, tons of balloons, heart decorations, face tattoos, and all the other stuff you find in the holiday craft section at Target. We worked with the beautiful Demi Vaugn. I'd say more, but I'll just let the photos do the talking. 

I hope you all have an amazing, love-filled day. 

xoxo

Samantha

Dreaming with my eyes open

Last night, I danced under the most perfect Indiana sky, surrounded by fog, camera in-hand, in one of my favorite outfits, with one of my best friends. 

I truly felt like I was dreaming with my eyes open. 

Photo by: Reagan Lynn Photography

Photo by: Reagan Lynn Photography

(Scroll to the bottom for photos)

Reagan and I had made a trip to downtown Indianapolis for a photographer meet-up hosted by one of our favorite photogs (@zacharyraber). We decided to make the trip a few weeks ago and wanted to make a day out of it. We arrived early to eat brunch at Cafe Patachou. 

We were a little pessimistic at first... it had been pouring down rain all morning, it was cold, and although we enjoyed our food, afterwards we couldn't get the parking meter to work. We looked at each other, with our camera gear around our necks and both in matching rain coats and said, "This better be worth it." 

Once we finally got parked and to the meet-up location at the Indiana State Museum, we couldn't find the group and had no clue where to go. It felt a little disorganized and we were still questioning if this trip was worth our precious gas money. 

After finding a group of people that were also lost, but also looking for the meet-up, we finally got to where we were supposed to be. There was a lot of disorganization and no one really knew what was going on (a model pointed out that a woman was clearly not in charge of this meet-up, haha). 

The day was filled with a couple hours of shooting along the canal, drizzling rain, a lot of squatting in bushes and bumping elbows with other photographers (oh and free hats!). Surrounded by 20 other creatives, it was an awesome day. A group of us went to a cute coffee shop afterwards called the Thirsty Scholar. We were all obsessing over the perfect lighting and marble tables the entire time. 

After an hour of talking, laughing, Instagram photos, and hand-modeling, it was time to get on the road home (making a quick stop in front of an ivy-wall in the parking lot). 

Reagan and I started the walk back to the car, talking about all of the wall art, abandoned buildings, and what a day it had been. We were satisfied. 

We had been on the road for about 10 minutes when we noticed how the fog was hanging low by the river. Before either of us commented on how breathtaking it looked, we both knew we had to stop. 

As Reagan drove forward, the sun was setting faster and we were getting discouraged that there would be no place to pull off on the side of the road. She took the first possible right that we approached and our hearts sunk a little when we saw that the river just didn't look quite as magical from that side. 

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Until we saw the bridge ahead, with the perfect pull-off location. The sun was the perfect hues of pink, blue, and orange and the fog was rolling in. We both jumped out of the car, screaming to each other with excitement. 

As we were running around, switching outfits, dancing around, freaking out about how this was the most perfect photo location and moment in the entire world, I felt so alive and inspired. 

I can't even begin to tell you how much I love what I do. Although, I sometimes have doubt about my career choice. My passion. My hobby. My whole life revolves around photography, and I have questioned if that was the right decision. Will I make enough money? Will I get enough business? Will I keep improving? Will I get burnt out? 

Let me tell you that tonight confirmed that I'm doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing. You see, photographers see the world differently and unless you are one, I can't really describe how it looks. Abandoned buildings, a row of matching trash cans, rusted down vehicles, a laundromat, raggedy clothes, parking garages, and crumbling walls all look magical to us. The perfect backdrop. So when you give us a PERFECT SUNSET and add fog to it, that's just something I can't put into words. 

I may not have it all figured out, but I would not give up the way I see the world and the way I photograph it for anything. 

So here's to the nights we feel alive and so in the moment that nothing else matters. I say that I felt like I was dreaming with my eyes open last night, but if we are being honest I get to dream with my eyes open every time I'm behind my camera. Oh how lucky I am. 

Here's to the next adventure. 

For bookings visit: http://www.samanthabrammerphotography.com/contact

2017: A Look Back

2017 was A YEAR. Let me tell you. 

There's a line in The Ready Set's song, "Fire in the Sky" that says, "Last year I lost my sense of self, falling apart like someone else." That's really the only way to describe this year in a sentence. 

You hear a lot about people trying to "find themselves" + I never really understood the whole sense of losing yourself until 2017. It was a wild + rough year. 

My biggest gain from this (past) year was how much I grew as a photographer. I completely invested myself into my work + really tried to push my creativity + my business. This was my first year having multiple photo sessions every month. My first year where I was actually starting to take my business to the next level. I got to work with SO MANY amazing people. From clients of all types, models, make-up artists, and fellow photographers. 

It has been crazy to see my photos progress + how I have developed a real style. I am SO excited for 2018. To express my creative eye. Grow to completely new levels. And hopefully see a lot of new places + meet a lot of new people. I am so excited for all the adventures to come. I'm ready for change. I hope you're ready to watch the crazy ride. 

Here is a look back at all of my photo sessions from 2017. 

(p.s. I know this post is LONG because I included a ton of photos, but I hope you scroll to the end + let me know what your favorite photo was of mine from 2017). 

Here's to the next adventure. 

--

SENIORS.

Families, kids, couples, special moments. 

Weddings: My favorite love stories. 

Creative Work: Stylized sessions, models, studio portraits, concerts, film sets, performances, self portraits + anything else in between.