I’m so excited to introduce a new series that I’m calling A Day With Amy Alumni. I’ve been teaching A Day With Amy Photography Workshops for three years and I just love it! During that time I’ve taught over 300 people how to use their cameras to capture moments that they love and cherish. One of my favorite things about this workshop is that we have a Facebook group for the alumni where they can share images, ask questions, support and be supported. I adore watching their progress and I’m so proud of all of them! They have put in the hard work and practice that it takes and are now creating breathtaking images! Some use their skills to photograph their children, some photograph friends and family, and others have started businesses!
I’m going to use this new series to share their talent with you! They deserve to be spotlighted!
First up… Lindsay Cournia from Palm Harbor, Florida!
1. Can you start by telling us a little about who you are and how you got involved with photography?
I am the wife of a handsome Coast Guard rescue swimmer and stay-at-home mom to two rambunctious kids (ages 2 and 4). I first picked up a DSLR camera when I worked as a news reporter in Alaska six years ago. I often had to take photographs to accompany my news articles, so after a few months of borrowing the office camera, I bought my own: a Canon Rebel XTi. I also bought an 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 zoom lens and a 50mm f/1.8 prime lens. I didn’t know a thing about how a camera actually functions, so I only used my zoom lens (assuming the bigger lens was better) and only shot in auto mode.
Here are a few images from before Amy’s workshop:
2. How did taking A Day With Amy: Inclusive help you with your photography journey?
By the time I took Amy’s Inclusive class last summer, I had been using my camera in auto mode for five years. I wanted to stop using my camera like an oversized point-and-shoot, especially to take better photos of my kids. I had tried reading my camera manual and messing with the settings in different modes, but never with good results so I was frustrated. A Day With Amy: Inclusive changed everything. It really did. I left the class that day with a wealth of information and with my camera in manual mode. I finally understood how to adjust my camera settings (on purpose!) to get the results I wanted, in all kinds of photo situations. The difference in my photos was immediate. And I continue to improve every time I take my camera out. I still take a lot of terrible pictures, but now I know what made them turn out terrible and what I need to do to take better ones next time. And taking A Day with Amy: Photoshop last fall kicked things up another notch as well, providing foundational instruction in Photoshop Elements. Amy broke down an intimidating, complicated program like Photoshop Elements and made it accessible.
But even more than the technical information Amy taught me in her classes, she gave me a gift: a practical, creative, portable hobby that works with (and even enhances) my life as a busy mom. I have a creative outlet that I can do while I’m mothering my kids and still scratches my artsy itch.
3. What are your favorite subjects to shoot?
My favorites also happen to be my toughest: my kids. They go through phases of hating and loving being in front of the camera, but even on days when they don’t cooperate or I just set my camera down to avoid meltdowns and pick it up another day, I love photographing them. I love chronicling their lives – the big moments and the tiny, otherwise forgettable ones. But I also love photographing my mom friends. I love giving a girlfriend a photo of herself that she loves and that makes her feel beautiful.
4. What equipment do your currently use? Do you have a lens that you prefer? Any equipment you are drooling over?
I still have my trusty Canon Rebel, and I use my 50mm f/1.8 lens exclusively with it. I am slooowly saving for a Canon 6D and 35mm f/1.4 lens. At the rate I’m saving I might have it in time for my kids’ high school photos, but as badly as I want it, I’m determined to keep mastering the equipment I have in the meantime.
5. What would your dream photo session look like?
I haven’t photographed in many unique situations yet, but I would love to do a misty sunrise session with my kids someday. There is something so magical about the rising sun.
6. What are your goals with photography?
I don’t have lofty professional aspirations for my photography. I really am happy to remain a hobbyist and learn as much about natural light portraiture as possible. But friends and acquaintances have recently begun soliciting my services, which has been fun and a little intimidating. I’ve begun charging for sessions, but I also love giving them as gifts. I’ve even been known to barter photography services for babysitting! But at the end of the day I really just love seeing my own sweet family on the other side of my lens.
Here is a sample of Lindsay’s current work! You can keep up with Lindsay at her blog Stay at Home Mayhem.