Shutter Sisters is an inspiring community of women who are passionate about photography. Their blog offers vignettes from their lives along with tips on how you can add photography to your everyday life as well. Last year they started Camp Shutter Sisters, a three day meet-up that is now a Shutter Sisters annual tradition. Lensbaby lenses were a big hit at Camp Shutter Sisters, as you can see in the above video.
Read the rest of their story, complete with great advice for your photo blog!
Interview with Shutter Sisters’ founder Tracey Clark and contributors Meredith Winn, Kristin Zecchinelli, Xanthe Berkeley, and Chris Sneddon.
Getting Started – Why did you create Camp Shutter Sisters?
Tracey: After years of gathering online at Shutter Sisters, we felt it was time to get together in real life. There is so much support, encouragement, love and respect between us; I couldn’t imagine not offering Camp – a place to spend time together as photographers and as friends.
We had our inaugural Camp last October on the coast of Northern California in Pacific Grove. It really felt like camp (for grown-ups). This year we’re offering it at an entirely different kind of venue in Palm Springs, California. It’s going to be amazing!
Shutter Sisters has grown as both a blog and as an event – your Shutter Sisters 2011 Camp was sold out early! What do you do to grow your community?
Kristin: I came on board the Shutter Sister team after being a member of the Sisterhood community, so I was a “fan” before I was a contributor. Shutter Sisters drew me in because, no matter the skill level – pro or beginner – we were all encouraged and inspired by the safe space.
I connected with so many other women/moms/photographers online via Flickr and blogs. I continue to nurture those relationships, and our community, by simply being “present”. By this I mean commenting on photos and posts as well as reaching beyond the screen to make real connections with the person behind the work. That is where I am inspired. I want to know more about the women behind the lens. I strive in my work at Shutter Sisters to continue that realness and openness.
Photo by Meredith Winn
Advice for Others – Many photographers want to build connections through blogging but have trouble posting on a regular basis. How do you incorporate writing into your life as a photographer? Are there easy ways to write regularly?
Meredith: Write to cultivate your own unique voice. If you try to force blog posting into a tight schedule it won’t come from a place of authenticity. Stay true to yourself.
You probably take photos everyday. Think of your images as a foundation or outline of a story. If you give yourself a specific day for writing, you will become mindful (throughout the week) of all the stories around you waiting to be told. I tend to keep a journal with me and jot notes when ideas arrive. I also email myself reminders of links I’d like to share online (my inbox acts as sticky note central!)
Once-a-week posting can be as simple as sharing your favorite photo and its backstory. There are many ways to stay connected even if you don’t blog on a daily basis. Submersing yourself in your creative circle is important. Visit blogs and participate in communities like Shutter Sisters by commenting and sharing links and images. Ideas and inspiration come from many sources; you might try projects that get you shooting and writing more (like joining a 365 project or 30 Days of Gratitude project). Any photography project can get your creative juices flowing and the words seem to follow. As you network through Flickr and Instagram, practice incorporating writing into your photography through descriptions, captions, and titles.
Think of it as haiku or prose… images make a great diving board to writing! Just like anything, the more you do it, the easier it becomes.
Photo by Xanthe Berkeley
What do you most enjoy seeing on another photographer’s blog?
Xanthe: I’m really drawn to a lovely mix of the blogger’s life, work and what inspires them. I like to see what creates the whole person, how they see the world through their lens, whether it’s everyday stuff or what sessions they are shooting. I also love to see what inspires people, whether it’s a jacket color, signage written in a café, other photographer’s work or magazine articles.
How have your Camp attendees responded to Lensbaby lenses?
Chris: Once they played with the lens and became comfortable with it, they had a blast. Once we were all back from Camp, some of the girls purchased Lensbaby lenses of their own!
Nostalgia Time! Tell us about your first camera.
Kristin: The first camera I remember being “mine” was my dad’s handed down Minolta. He gifted it to me my senior year in high school when I decided to take a photography class and needed a fully manual film camera (thanks dad). We shot all black and white film and learned how to develop our images in the dark room. For years I kept a few of those B&W’s in a photo album, but after many years and many life moves I have no idea where they wound up. I wish I did. As for the Minolta, I clearly remember having to sell it at a time in my life when I really needed the funds. That decision pained me then but if I had known that 15 years later my passion for photography would be reignited I would have held onto that camera fiercely. A life lesson.
Meredith: When I was in college, my brother handed down a Pentax K1000 he had outgrown. It was originally my fathers and had seen hundreds of rolls of film! The broken light meter got me experimenting with creative exposure from an early age. I still have my Pentax, it lives with my collection of other inherited cameras (like my father’s Afga Billy Record) as a reminder of our family’s photographic roots.
Xanthe: My first camera was given to me by parents when I was 14: a Canon point and shoot. I used all my allowance developing photos of friends. The photography bug really kicked in at art college where I shot with a Lomo LC-A+, (given to me by my now husband) and Polaroid. I created sketch books full of my photos and college projects – a sort-of visual diary, which I still have and treasure greatly.
Chris: My first camera was a Pentax K1000 that my dad bought me for my high school photography class. I used that camera endlessly! Now it is lovingly displayed in my home where I see it everyday.
Tracey: I had a number of small point and shoots growing up (remember the disc camera with the microscopic negative disc?). But the camera that lit my photographic spark was the one handed down to me from my step-father. It was the Pentax K1000 he learned on and he gave it to me when I took my first photography class in college. I’ll never get rid of it. It changed my whole life!
Find more stories of success along with lots of creative advice in our Art of Success category page.