Guest Photographer: Starla Steward Holl

Take 5 – by Starla Steward Holl

How many stories have you heard where a person loved photography as a hobby but after they went professional for a while, they lost their passion. Their reason? Going professional took the enjoyment out of photography. I believe that photography should only become more fun and enjoyable the more you know your craft. I think the problem is when we forget to create the images that WE want.

The reason we all started our photography businesses is because we were absolutely in love with photography. I know I am! I get asked this question a lot: “I’m just starting out in photography, what advice do you have for me?” To which I reply, “First of all you have to have a stronger passion for it every day. Secondly, it is a lot more work than you think. Shooting is probably only 10% of photography. The rest of the time is spent with emails, phone calls, setting up appointments, editing, ordering, doing taxes, and so on.”  (Can I hear an amen?) Obviously everyone’s goal is to grow their business large enough where one person takes care of appointments, one for ordering, one for everything financial, and so on, but that’s not a reality for everyone starting off. No matter what stage you are at in your business, we all can get so wrapped up in the other facets that we lose our passion from time to time.

My challenge for you is to “Take 5.” Take five minutes from every shoot and do five shots that are only for you. Here at Starla Steward Photography, we strive to make the most of each session with new and creative ideas but sometimes I find that it’s easy to go to my safe poses. I’m sure we all have those sessions where we finish feeling less than inspired. But what if we all took a few minutes to do an image that makes us happy. If you tell the client that they are such a great model that you are going to take a few shots just for you, they’ll feel honored. Or if you don’t want them to know what you are doing, then simply don’t tell them. They’ll never know how many frames you really shot. I encourage you to get the shots you need to make your client happy and then take five minutes to try a new pose, new lighting or an interesting crop that’s just for you. Whether it is just a time to make mistakes and learn from them or to take a stellar shot for your website, this is YOUR time. If you are brand new at photography and you are still shooting on automatic, take five minutes to switch that dial over to manual and bracket. Bracketing is taking a series of at least three images of the same subject with varying exposures. Set your exposure where you think it’s correct then dial one or two stops in either direction. If you are a seasoned photographer but you’ve not learned what kind of interesting lighting you can achieve with your off camera flash, take five minutes to flash someone. You might just find an entire new form of photography that you love (I did!). Maybe you want to achieve a really pleasing bokeh, now is your time to try. Maybe you saw a really awkward pose that was amazing in a photo, go ahead and try it. The worst that can happen is you’ll ditch the image but you could also find a signature look for you. Those five minutes of no pressure, totally fun and carefree photography could lead up to fifteen minutes and maybe you’ll find that you can do your entire shoot like this. My clients come to me for my creative photos and 9 times out of 10 their favorite photo is when I’m at my best during a Take 5 moment. I look forward to hearing about your own Take 5 moment.

Do you want to see how we take five during our day? We Flash People: Go to

This image was taken by calling the client driving in front of me to our destination and asking them to pull over on the side of the road because the clouds looked amazing. This Take 5 is one of her favorites.

This Take 5 is now hanging up in my studio as a 30×40 gallery wrap canvas.