Olivia White Photography

I’m starting to believe that the best way to grow as an artist is to know the difference between a failure and a motivation.

First Bridal Portrait Session

So yesterday was my first bridal portrait session.  The whole week was saying rain, rain, rain and Crystal and I were both wanting to get the portraits done before I went back to school this Saturday so we were praying for no rain.  We first scheduled Monday but it poured, so we rescheduled Wednesday and it rained a little bit at first that day, but later it didn’t so we went ahead with it and thankfully there was no rain.  Crystal and Chandler were my guinea pigs when I did their engagement session (because it was my first engagement session) and so Crystal was also my guinea pig for the bridal session.

 

I feel like mostly everything went really well and went pretty fast.  I might have said in a blog before how it really helps to know the location beforehand, so using my own home has worked great with shooting portraits lately. I can look for certain spots I want to shoot, and if I need to use a prop, I can go ahead and put it there and I can move really fast.  I know one thing I wish I could’ve changed was the time to shoot.  I started realizing that the sun fell behind our trees quicker than I thought, but I still was able to get the shots I basically wanted. I did wish I had a couple more off camera lights to use, but I only had one to use.  There were little annoyances like bugs that kept crawling in her gown and veil that you had to keep a look out for, and it was really humid so her bangs kept falling in her face, and also because this was her bridal gown, you had to watch out for it not getting ruined.  I mainly just used a white sheet to put under her where she sat or where she stood when she got in the woods.  It was great to have one of her friends there to assist her with her gown and her hair when I couldn’t.  One huge inconvenience was when they walked by some yellow jackets and both got stung, and I was thinking…. yeah this isn’t good. Ha. But they were both really great about it and wanted to keep shooting so I thought that was awesome.  I really want my clients to get the best out of me that they can, so even when my clients are like… “ah I don’t really care what you do, you can just put me next to a tree and make me stand there and I’d good with that!”  Even when they say that, I still want to try my best and take the time to get props such as a love seat to put outside or a vanity set with a mirror in a field or whatever else to give her something different.

 

I’m going through the photos and editing them and I’m actually pretty surprised that my first bridal portraits turned out better than I expected!  When I edit, I try to do as little as possible so I don’t completely kill the image. Sometimes I’ll just go for a little bit of a warm look and sometimes I very it with cooler tones so they can pick what they like best.  I also usually use the same image I kept in color and duplicate it as a black and white or duotone copy to see what they like best.  I’m starting to really love using Duotone which instead of using black and white I use black and a brown tone and give it (or hopefully give it) more richer tones.  I used to get carried away with editing at first because all the fun things you can do with photoshop, but really it’s the lighting that makes the image.  I still have a lot to learn with lighting though.  I usually just use ambient light cause sometimes that’s all I have.  The main thing though I try to look for when just using sunlight is watching out for hotspots or at least that’s what I call them.  It’s when the direct sunlight hits their face in an unflattering way and creates these random highlights and shadows. The best way that I’ll get rid of that is by putting them under shade or using an umbrella to shield them.  Overcast days are the best days to shoot.  

 

Well, I won’t put the images I took from the bridal shoot up online until after her wedding which is in October.  If anyone would like to take a look at them, just let me know!  I think I’m going to really enjoy shooting more bridal portraits in the future. 

They tell you where you need to go
They tell you when you’ll need to leave
They tell you what you need to know
They tell you who you need to be

But everything inside you knows
There’s more than what you’ve heard
There’s so much more than empty conversations
Filled with empty words

And you’re on fire
When He’s near you
You’re on fire
When He speaks
You’re on fire
Burning at these mysteries

— Switchfoot

The Father and the House

One thing that I always find unique are dreams.  

Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been extremely visual.  The way I saw the world was in a way I could never tangibly express which is why I turned to drawing and painting and making things.  Art has always been a visual expression of mine even if it wasn’t that skillfully great or even if it didn’t really make any sense.  Dreams for me come very visually detailed and sometimes so realistic I can’t get them out of my head for days, months, even years.  This dream in particular stood out to me as something more symbolic and personal than others. You can interpret it however you want, but this is just how I felt led to it…

Lately I’ve been reading the Word more than I have been and the other night before I fell asleep I could not help myself but get completely emotional because I just couldnt digest why God loved me so much when all I am is completely worthless, and I don’t deserve anything that he graciously gives me.  Then when I went to sleep I had this dream:

In the dream, I was with a boy, maybe around 10 years old and we were in a neighborhood in front of a house. 

He had an older friend or a brother with him and at first I was an on-looker but then I guess I was his sibling and we were going to his father’s house or “our” father’s house. The boy said that he would just walk there as if he does it all the time and his brother said he would race him… it was like this typical game as if they played it all the time where one would ride in the car and the other would run chasing alongside the sidewalk…. but I was on the sidewalk with the boy running with him and his father was there and he was running with us and picking us up and twirling us around and there was just this pure joy there.  

And then the scenes changed where I was in the truck with the father… and we pull up to the house and it was beautiful.  At least I thought so.  It was peaceful in the country and the landscape was beautiful, it reminded me of my home but at the same time it was nothing like my home and I started becoming emotional because apparently it was making me homesick.  I remember we drove past their barn and there were chickens everywhere and maybe a pond or a lake somewhere behind the barn.  And then me and the father start to get out of the truck and he stopped and saw I left some sort of sketchbook in the truck and he took a look at it and wanted me to explain some things I had sketched and so I did and he seemed pleased and told me what I good job I did and I thanked him and we started walking towards the house.

Then the scenes changed again and I was in this house with this family and I remember seeing a lot more people in the house and they were all just hanging out socializing and playing games like it was some sort of party or family reunion. and It was a really nice home, and for some reason I was there to stay with the family but I just felt like I didn’t belong there.  And right when I started feeling alone the father hugged me and I just stayed wrapped in his arms and I just felt like a small child again the way he hugged me and the way I felt safe with him.  …And thats all I remember.

When I woke up the next morning and starting trying to comprehend it all, I just got emotional again.  I felt like through the dream the Lord was assuring me that he loves me and is with me.  And of course to others it might sound ridiculous, but reading through Genesis and Exodus so far, the Lord many times would assure or show things through dreams to ordinary people too.  I felt like He was telling me through the boy in the dream that He will always be there with us whether we’re chasing after him or chasing after something else, He’ll never leave our side.  He showed me that we live in this world, and even if we feel alone, ultimately we feel and know that we don’t belong here and it doesn’t even compare to our real home in eternity.  I felt like through the scene where he looked at my sketchbook that my Father was either telling me that he’s pleased at the gifts and talents He’s given me because they’re his that he graciously gave me to use and He can see that it brings me joy, or a friend told me it might symbolize the Judgement Seat of Christ and the sketchbook was showing my works and faith b/c faith without works is useless. My friend gave me their input and summed it up by saying that… “The point is, we don’t deserve to be in God’s House, but He accepts us anyway because he loves us in a way we will never fully understand.  No matter the burden you may bear, the pain there is going to be, Heaven is coming before you know it.  That is our resting place, but we cannot rest here.  We are not of this world. We are soldiers in a spiritual war, the race will come to an end and the battle will too. There we will have joy and perfect rest.”

Ephesians 1:5

John 15:18-19

Hebrews 12:1

An artist shouldn’t be defined as someone who has to be skillful at what they do…. You just know you’re an artist when your appetite hungers for creativity.

—Olivia White

Daddy’s Little Girl

Somehow I got into finding my poetry that I’ve written.  Most of them are really really cheesy and ridiculous from when I was 13 years old haha.  But theres a select few I still like.  This one was one I thought I’d share.  Sorry It’s long.

Daddy’s Little Girl

by Olivia White


She’s 6 years old

And alone

In the dark


She’s calling for help

The monsters are near

And nobody comes

She’s fighting the fear


The only one

Who heard her cry

Was her daddy

Her savior

As he held her high


He was all she ever needed

She’s crying for air

She’s down

on the ground

To realize

She found

That somewhere

He’s there

In His arms

He cared

She was 6 years old

She was daddy’s little girl


She’s 13 years old

And maturing

In her teens


She’s still a little girl

But stubborn and naive

She says I don’t need my daddy now

I’m fine

You can leave


I found somebody, Daddy

He’s really a great guy

He might not meet your standards

But he promised he’d never lie


A couple months later

She cries on her bed

She has scars on her body

On her heart

In her head.


She cries

I’m sorry Daddy

I should have listened to what you said

You were right about the guy

But I ignored you instead.


He was all she ever needed

She’s crying for air

She’s down

on the ground

To realize

She found

That somewhere

He’s there

In His arms

He cared

She was 13 years old

she was still daddy’s little girl


She’s 19 years old

And adjusting

In college


She’s grown up now

But still dependent and learning

She says I don’t need my Daddy now

I’m older and yearning


I’ve found a different path

Not the one you chose

You say what’s best

But what do you know


There’s a party tonight

I’m going to be late

I’m a little buzzed already

Its going to be great


Later that night

She cries in the E.R.

She had way to much to drink

She couldn’t stop

Didn’t think


She said

I’m sorry Daddy

Temptation is hard

Please forgive me

Please regard

My stupid mistake

And the habits to break


He was all she ever needed

She’s crying for air

She’s down

on the ground

To realize

She found

That somewhere

He’s there

In his arms

He cared

She was 19 years old

she was still Daddy’s little girl


6 years later

not alone

But lonely


She’s calling for help

And doesn’t know why

Misplaced

Disgraced

Confused

And misused


She said

There’s something missing

My Daddy isn’t here

I’m in the wrong places

And seeing the wrong faces


This feeling I’m feeling

Is not going away

I walked away 

from my Daddy

My savior

Who’s always been there.


But He’s always been there

He’s always cared

She needs to let go

of her past

It shouldn’t last

She needs to accept

He’s forgiven her of her mistakes

and taken away her aches

He’s never left her

No matter what she did

Her Daddy up there

Has always been near

And taken away her fear

Her Father in Heaven

The Lord of all Lords


Does she not realize…


That he was all she ever needed

When she was crying for air

When she’s down

on the ground

and realized

She found

That somewhere

He’s there

In His arms

He cared

That she was and will always be

Daddy’s

Little

Girl

"…But I always pick it right back up"

So recently I’ve been doing a little bit of shooting and a little bit of modeling and its been fun!

Earlier this month I was a second shooter for a wedding with head photographer, Steven Skelton.  Steven is a photographer from Georgia and a friend of mine who’s been helping me out a lot lately with my photography.   The wedding was extremely nerve racking and I’ve definitely realized that although you can make a butt load of money doing wedding photography…. it’s a lot more work than people think it is and one of the most stressful jobs.  All the pressure really is on the photographer because in the future… all you have are the photos to look back on… and you definitely don’t want to look back on the photos and the first thing that pops into your mind is…… “we should have gotten a better photographer!”  …..Yeeeeah… no photographer wants that!  So I’ve realized wedding photography is something I’m trying to avoid in the future except for the 3 weddings I had already promised people ha. (eeek! nervous!!) I might try to do a little second shooting again sometime, but still try to avoid weddings as much as possible.  But I am glad that I’m getting my feet wet in different areas and getting oportunities to do so!

In return for payment from the second shooting, I got a brand new 50mm lens that shoots an aperture of f1.8 which was really exciting for me cause my regular lens only goes as wide as like between f4-f3.6 or somewhere like that.  I loved the more shallow depth of field it gives me.  And I got to try it out on the engagement session this past Saturday!

I believe the engagement session went really well…. Crystal Medlin was a co-worker of mine a couple years ago so it was great being able to work with someone you can talk to on a more personal level and goof off with and not just a quick aquaintance.  It really helps to REALLY get to know the people… at least i’m starting to learn.  Sometimes I get so caught up in… okay… what do i need to do… I need to remember this… I need to get that… I need to watch for this…. and I completely forget that I’m actually here to make the people feel comfortable and relaxed and have a good time!  I had the session outside my home in the front and back yard where we have plenty of wonderful places to take portraiture that I’m starting to realize and I love it!  I was able to really spot out beforehand where I wanted them to be and how I wanted them to be at each spot.  I’m learning that it really really helps tremendously if you locate your location either a day or so beforehand and think of what you want to do and how you’re going to do it before the actual date.  Sometimes thats not possible which makes the shoot more difficult… but if you CAN scope out the location beforehand… definitely definitely do it.  Write things down if you need to!  Maybe write down ideas… poses… equipment you’re going to use for each different spot…. or if you can sketch… sketch it out! Things like that really help.

I also need to be more confident in myself.  

I lack confidence and people can read it all over my face most of the time.  Being a very young looking, female photographer is very very hard sometimes.  I’ve had incidents where men have just tried to hit on me…. where men have stared me down like what the heck is this girl thinking or doing here???…. I’ve had men try to tell me how I should shoot…. I’ve had someone try to take a job opportunity away from me…. and try to tell me that I should let someone else handle what I’m doing.  And I know that the enemy tries to tear me down, and sometimes I’ll put my camera down.  But I always pick it right back up because I love photography and I’m passionate about it.  I know that half of the time I have no clue what I’m doing…. but more glory to God for that because somehow I still have people who tell me consistently that they enjoy my photos and at the end of the day thats all I need to keep me going.  I just need to have confidence.  I’m also debating whether or not to raise my price in shooting portraits because sometimes people even end up paying me more than I ask them to!  I think they’re crazy lol.. but again… its about having confidence. 

Yesterday I modeled for Steven Skelton because he was working on doing something a little different than what he already had in his portfolio.  He got me to wear my blue poofy prom dress and he got this box that he put in the water for me to stand on.  Things were kind of complicated because the box wouldnt stay down… the waves in the lake kept pushing it.  But he eventually got it down and he set up his AB light… and I was really nervous b/c he said something about if it fell over in the water then I would basically be dead.  So I thought… GREAT…. But everything turned out really well.  Some people came and went that were watching… and I had a few little girls following me to the restroom to change which was really uncomfortable cause I’m terrible with kids.  I made one of them unhook my dress for me so at least I made them productive hahaha.  The shoot was really fun and I eventually changed into a black dress and got in the water a little bit.  At first when I started doing a little bit of modeling for photographer friends of mine, it made me really uncomfortable being IN FRONT of the camera instead of behind it, but I’m starting to get a little used to it now and trying to have a little more confidence modeling.  I think it will really help me in the future too when I’m shooting models b/c I’ll just pose myself and they can mirror me.  A few others have asked me to model for them in the future so I’ll see where that takes me!  Its fun!

So yeah thanks to everyone who has supported me….. given me advise… let me borrow they’re equipment…. who have mentored me…. and just encouraged me in their compliments.  I’m looking forward to hopefully more shoots in the future even if there’s not a lot.  And although every single shoot makes me really nervous lol, I know I need to have more confidence in myself.  Hopefully I’ll grow more in what I’m doing over the rest of the summer and when I go back into taking classes in the fall.  I’m looking forward to that :)  

I’m terrible with blogs.

I’m terrible with blogs.

I havent done a whole lot lately, but one late night recently I did a random photo shoot with some friends, Haley Patterson and Sahar Joudeh modeling prom dresses!  Photographer and friend of mine, Jake Simpson came over also and helped out a lot!  It was really fun, mainly because us girls got all ready in prom dresses and every girl’s favorite part about “prom” is the getting ready part! (and yes, I did end up taking the pictures wearing a big poofy prom dress.) The idea behind it was basically…. that we didn’t really even have an idea behind it!  Haley said, “lets do a fun shoot”. I said, “Okay, what do you want?”  She said, “something flowy!”  I said, “got prom dresses?” and BAM. we ended up doing a shoot in prom dresses at 1:00 in the morning. Although the result I suppose wasn’t exactly “flowy” but you can never expect a shoot to go exactly how you said it was going to be at the beginning. It was one of those shoots where one thing just led to another and you just kinda went with it!  I’m really thankful Jake let me use some of his lighting equipment and showed me some things.  

I’m learning that lighting really is one of the most important elements in what makes a photograph great.  The other thing is vision.

I’ve been having a few conversations with photographers lately about it and I greatly appreciate the little motivational speech Atlanta photographer, Zach Arias and California photographer, Syl Arena gave the other night at a mixer I attended recently. They got into talking about how being a great photographer comes down to vision, networking, a few other things. 

I look around and it seems like EVERYONE is becoming a photographer now because everyone not only loves taking pictures but nice cameras and editing programs are so accessible and affordable to more and more people these days.  And in reality… everyone in the future is going to be able to get their hands on technology that can “do it all for you” where technical skill is going to be worth nothing and all you have left is vision. I hear more and more from people who have bought a really nice DSLR that’s much nicer than my little Rebel Xti and say “Yeah I just got it! but i dont know how to use it!”  Whatever you do, don’t EVER tell a photographer “You’re photos are great! You must have a really nice camera!” That photographer might smile and laugh in response, but only because they’re trying to keep themselves from ringing your neck.  The thing is…. you can get the best camera out there but it doesnt mean you’re photographs are going to look better. It doesnt mean your photographs are going to more interesting. It’s NOT the camera that makes the photograph.  

I sometimes envy those who have nicer equipment than I do, but then I just have to remind myself that it’s not always about the equipment.  Experimenting with what you do have and what you can get your hands on forces you to be more creative.  Everything comes down to vision. I’m starting to have to engrave that into my head now because getting caught up in getting more “stuff” can only help to a point. If you don’t have vision or the determination and perseverance to constantly challenge yourself creatively and to follow through with that vision, then you might as well stop with what you’re doing. To be honest, I sometimes just want to give up with trying to think of something more creative or just look at my work and say, “This sucks!” But I know I can’t just simply give up.  If you have passion and feel like you have the vision or at least can work on your vision as a photographer, then go for it!  By the end, it really comes down to those who have stuck through not only their success but also their failures.

Also, as artists we need to constantly have others critique our work.  Constructive criticism is very important in growing as an artist.  Constantly hearing from others, or telling others… “Good stuff!” “I like it!” “Nice!” is great and all…. but we love to hear from those that specifically say…. “Nice composition, great colors, maybe watch out for cutting off your models’ limbs in the frame though.”  Stuff like that really helps.  If you aren’t in school and cant ask classmates, then get involved in a workshop near your area.

The last thing I just want to bring up that I’m learning that’s important is social networking.  Wow.  Networking is amazing.  Befriend other photographers, befriend musicians, befriend graphic designers, befriend makeup artists, fashion designers, models, people who run businesses, people who know people…. whenever there’s a chance to help someone out, do it, b/c they can help you one day!  Trust me.  The main way photographers are successful doesn’t necesarily mean that they’re MORE talented than you are…. it might simply mean that they just had some really great connections!  So don’t be afraid to get you’re work out there to people.  

I know that i’m not a GREAT photographer.  I know there are soooo many things I need to work on and I really need to practice more, but I know that I do have some potential and maybe if you’re a photographer reading this, you might feel the same way about yourself.  Just get out there, shoot, try new things, mess up, try again, be patient, don’t be afraid to show you’re work to people, take constructive criticism and make connections.  You never know….

Zombies

I’ve been cleaning/reorganizing my room at home…. and I came across this paper on my desk…..

In my 2D1 class my first semester of my freshman year…. my professor always picked on me for random things… such as my “southern accent”.  Well one day as the class was debating about zombies… yea… zombies.  I mentioned how I despise zombies so OF COURSE the professor turned to me and told me that for MY homework… just me…. he wanted me to research about zombies and discuss with the class what I found out the next day we met.  Of course. 

And so I did it.

of course.

So this is my “paper” about zombies I actually typed up and presented to the class.

And he thought I wouldnt do it bahaha.

Facts:

  • Zombies are undead creatures either by supernatural means or a virus
  • They are after brains or just simply human flesh
  • They move either fast or slow
  • They are oblivious and relentless to pain
  • Usually anyone the zombie kills or bites, becomes a zombie.
  • There is no cure.

What to do:

  • Obviously run. If it’s a slow zombie and you can’t defend yourself or outrun it, you deserve to die.
  • IF they are after brains… Alcohol kills brain cells, therefore drink yourself stupid and youll be less attractive to zombies.
  • Get a weapon preferably a shot gun but also anything witha  blade b/c you don’t have to reload blades.
  • The only way to permanently un-animate a zombie is to destroy its brain either by gun shot to head or decapitation will work too.
  • Don’t wear t-shirts or anything they can easily bite through. This is just stupid. Thick leather and motorcycle helmets will work.
  • In case of a large group of zombies… get a combine. This is a power operated harvesting machine that cuts and threshes. Enough said.
  • If you need a place to hide… go for either a place that’s high with limited access so its easily protected and defendable… or for the long run a Walmart b/c it only has a couple entrances to guard and it basically has everything you need.
  • If you are bitten…. save everyone the time and energy and just take your life.

I still hate zombies.

Ivey

"And there we were

standing amid thousands of parents and families

looking… watching… waiting…

to see her…

and then she was there -

a tiny speck amid the sea of black cloaked graduates.

And as she began to look around the large colliseum -

searching for us…

we waved and waved and finally she saw us…

that tiny little speck with her big smile waving joyeously back at us…

she found us…

and we found her…

our pride and joy.  

And like the 3 year old we watched in her playschool Christmas program,

her face was beaming…

just waving and smiling from ear to ear…

my little girl…

she suddenly seemed small again to me…

my little “ray of sunshine”

cloaked in black cap and gown but shining like a star

sending a beam of light back to us across that big colliseum.  

And what a beautiful,

bright star

she will be

in this big ol’ world!”

— Glenda Y White

(a poem my mom scribbled on a program booklet.)