What I Learned About Being an Introverted Photographer




So you may or may not know this but I am an introvert. That means I generally don’t like being around people for too long, I’m terrible at starting up conversations, I like shopping by myself, and I like silence and alone time. Being introverted is a challenge, especially when you own your own business. I have to step out of my comfort zone to talk to clients and have to get to know people I’ve never met so I can best service them during their shoot. Since starting my business, I have learned a few things about myself and my introvertedness and thought I would share what I have discovered.


  1. I get awkared if you touch me- A hug is fine but anything past that and I might freak out. Physical touch is one of my love languages but only if I’ve known you for a long time. If you touch me (like put your hand on my shoulder) I literally don’t know what to do. Do I touch your shoulder back? Do I touch your hand on my shoulder? Your hand is on my shoulder, how do I not think about it being there? I just get really awkward and I learned that because one of my clients had so much fun during our session she couldn’t stop hugging me and patting my shoulder. Like, your welcome but, please stop lol.
  2. Do you need me? Email or text please- It’s true. I don’t like talking on the phone. I know it’s a little absured for someone who has a business but I much prefer emails. I will talk on the phone if a client asks or calls me first but I never look forward to it. A phone call for me takes mental preparations so a warning before you call will be appreciated!
  3. I just finished a wedding, I don’t want to go out for days- Weddings are one of my favorite things to photograph but after 6-10 hours of constantly being “on” and being around so many people, recoup days are definitely necessary. Not only am I usually physically tired but also I’m mentally and emotionally drained and need some major recharging.

So there you have it. Us introverts may be quiet, may need some alone time, and may not liked to be touched but it’s not because we don’t like you. It’s just ’cause we were born that way.



A Huge List of Hashtags to Grow Your Instagram Community

Hashtag list to grow your InstagramHashtags are still a puzzler for most people when it comes to how they’re used. On Facebook they apparently don’t work very well so don’t bother. Some research has shown that posts on Facebook without hashtags perform those that do. Despite that, hashtags are a great way to expand your reach on Instagram. Even though Instagram has some new structure to their newsfeed that had us all upset, hashtags are still a really great way to be found.

Hashtags are clickable links on Instagram that will show you all the posts from everyone who has that hashtag on one of their posts. It’s a great way to find people you like and to be found. I put together a few categories of popular hashtags that I’ve used and see a lot of other peeps using too. So if you really want to grow your feed, pick out a few you like and start adding them to your photos on Instagram and see if it makes any changes.

Instagram-Related – #‎instagram‬ ‪#‎instagrammers‬ ‪#‎igers‬ ‪#‎instalove‬ ‪#‎instagood‬‪ #‎followme‬ ‪#‎insta‬ ‪#‎instadaily‬ ‪#‎instalovers‬ ‪#‎tagsforlikes‬ ‪#‎follow‬

Photography – #‎portrait‬ ‪#‎portraits‬ ‪#‎portraiture‬ ‪#‎feelgoodphoto‬ ‪#‎lessismore‬‪#‎negativespace‬  ‪#‎blackandwhite‬ ‪#‎bnw‬ ‪#‎monochrome‬ ‪#‎photo‬ ‪#‎photos ‬‪#‎photographer‬ ‪#‎photooftheday‬ ‪#‎color‬ ‪#‎capture‬ ‪#‎chasinglight‬ ‪#‎justgoshoot‬‪ #‎lifeofaphotographer‬ ‪#‎canon‬

General – #creative #artsy #beautiful #art #me #tbt #throwbackthursday #cute #happy #smile #lifestyle #success #passion #dreams #happiness #believe #strength #morningslikethese #mymondaymugshot #humpday #transformationtuesday #flashbackfriday #followfriday #fridayintroductions #sundayfunday #mcm #wcw

Entrepreneur and Business – #entrepreneur #business #mindset #wontstop #businessowner #smallbiz #entrepreneurlife #leadership #mentoring #onlinebusiness #coaching #inspire #ambition #wisdom #thinkbig #hardworkpaysoff #workhardplayhard #beyourownboss #smallbusiness #future #biztip #b2b #howto #innovation #marketing #solopreneur #bosslady #womeninbusiness

Creative – #calledtobecreative #creativepreneur #creativityisfound #designisinthedetails #dowhatyoulove #exploretocreate #fromwhereistand #lifeofanartist #liveauthentic #livefullyalive #makeithappen #makersgonnamake #makersmovement #pursuepretty #sayyestosuccess #thehappynow #communityovercompetition #tuesdaystogether #risingtidesociety #tablescapetuesday #flashesofdelight #ohwowyes #thatsdarling #theeverydayproject #creatives

Wedding Photography – #howheasked #thedailywedding #theknot #theknotrings #brideandgroom #weddingdress #weddingphotographer #weddingphotography #wedding #weddingphoto #weddingring #realweddings #weddinginspo #strictlyweddings #matrimonyhomies #weddingsquad #bridalbrigade #friendsofhonor – I also post my businesshashtags here.

Travel – #tasteintravel #traveltuesday #travel #wanderlust #jetsetting #dametraveler

Dogs – #weeklyfluff #delight_pets #dogsofinstagram #inspiredbypets #mydogiscutest #petfancy #petstagram #instadog #doglover #dogs_of_instagram #instagramdogs #dogoftheday #ilovemydog #dogstagram #lovedogs

If you don’t know what any of these mean, ask in the comments, search Google, or better yet – search Instagram. Here’s a couple extra tips I recommend when using hashtags.

  • They go great in the first comment instead of the actual caption. That way if your posts are shared automatically from Instagram to things like Facebook and Twitter, they translate better because the first comment doesn’t come with them.
  • You don’t need to go out and overload your posts with tons of hashtags.
  • Instagram does have a limit to how many hashtags you can use on a post, so keep that in mind.
  • Use location based hashtags as well for where you’re at. You can search Instagram for popular hashtags that are local to your areas and start using them to reach more local clients!

If you want to learn more awesome behind the business stuff like this make sure you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below, where we’ll be giving out extra special discounts and a few free products only for subscribers this Winter. You can also join our Facebook group, follow us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, and even follow me on Pinterest where I love to pin social media, blogging, business, and photography tips from all over the web! If you subscribe to our newsletter you’ll need to head on over to your email after you hit the submit button here to confirm your subscription. If you don’t see a confirmation check your junk/spam!


Four Ways to Instagram for Your Brand


Happy Monday Awesomesaucers! I’m sure you’ve all seen that Instgram is rolling out some big changes, making it harder and harder to reach your audience. While change is hard, today I’m sharing three ways to Instagram for your brand, creating consistency and reaching your audience.

1.) Mix it Up – Only showing business posts can get boring, out of all the mediums, Instagram gives your audience the easiest access to you and your awesome personality. Post pictures of -gasp- yourself every few posts. Your feed doesn’t have to be non stop styled perfect everything, a mix of personal posts showing who you are and what you like PLUS images showing what you want to shoot is a great way to curate your brand beyond your website.

2.) Be Consistent – While it’s fun to go crazy with your personal posts, remember you are still building up your brand. Consistent editing of the photos you post will keep your Instagram feed clean, you can even try to use your branding color palate as inspiration, and stick to those colors. Try to be consistent with your posting day too, so you aren’t going weeks without new content.

3.) Know Your Message – Instagram’s not only to show your recent work, but to attract future clients. Once you know your message, use that to your advantage. As yourself, does this photo portray my message? If so, post it! If not, find another one that speaks to your ideal client. If your message is lets say, bright and fun, posting dark, super moody serious images isn’t helping you attract the type of client you want down the road. Pick two or three words that define your ideal client and use those as the threshold to what work gets posted online.

4.) Interact with Your Audience – Encourage questions, and spend a little bit of time each day commenting and replying to comments on Instagram. The more interaction you have, the more likely those people are going to see your photos in your feed (yes, sometimes you have to put the social in social media). The biggest thing that has helped this not take over my life has been turning off notifications (counter intuitive right? No….totally works!). I found I’m much more motivated to interact and schedule in 5-10 minutes to comment and reply to posters if I haven’t been seeing notifications all day long. Instagram should be fun, so don’t make it a chore!

While we have no control over Instagram’s features, we do have control over what content we create which will attract an audience that can help your brand. Get out there, take a selfie, and connect to your ideal client!

How to Create In-Camera Double Exposure Portraits

In-Camera Double Exposure
A Beginner’s Guide to making dreamy in-camera double exposure portraits using your DSLR.


Every now and then I get bored with my portraits.

Sacrilege, I know! But it’s true. My heart craves expression and creativity.  Like, I don’t know why I would even be a photographer if I couldn’t also express myself through my work. One of the ways I keep myself from getting into a rut is with creative photography techniques. I have a few tricks up my sleeve and one of my of-the-moment favorites is in-camera double exposure.

Multiple exposures are a fun trick to add a little creative edge to your portfolio. I like to throw a double exposure portrait or two in the mix during a session to keep things interesting. Plus the dreamy, whimsical look totally suits my photography style. Bonus Points: my clients dig them! This “How To” is written for beginners who either haven’t tried in-camera double exposure yet or maybe you have, but you just aren’t sure how to get the look you want. Hopefully, the background and tips here will give you a better idea of how multiple exposures work so you can get out, try it for yourself, and decide if you want to add it to your photography toolbox.

Making use of in-camera double exposure during a senior portrait session.

Begin at the Beginning

My background shooting film won’t allow me to talk about double exposure without talking about where it comes from. So bear with me for a moment. For the younger souls reading this, the whole idea of multiple exposures comes from film photography. I’m going to oversimplify this, but back in the film age you could accomplish multiple exposures in two main ways.

Double Exposure with Film Photography

  • In camera: by exposing your film to one image and then exposing that same frame of film again to a second image – the result being two overlapping images on a single frame of film.
  • In post-processing: by overlapping and exposing two different film negatives to the same piece of photographic paper during the developing process.

Before sitting down to write this I had imagined that double exposures originated as accidents – like someone forgetting to manually wind their camera between shots – but somewhere along the line it became a form of art and expression. I hadn’t given it a ton of thought, but when I started writing this post I became curious. Did the art form start somewhere around the psychedelic 60s? Earlier? A little research lead me to an interesting discovery: the art of creating multiple exposures actually goes all the way back to the 1800s! It was called “spirit photography” – the idea of creating ghostly apparitions in photographs.   If you’re a nerd like me, you can read more about this early form of multiple exposure HERE (even if you don’t feel like reading it, you should totally still skip through for the cool 1800’s photos).

This was one of my first in-camera double exposure portrait attempts using a DSLR.
This was one of my first in-camera double exposure portrait attempts using my DSLR.

Fast Forward to the Digital Age

DSLRs change the way we create multiple exposures for one obvious reason: we are no longer using film! Even though there’s no film involved, digital multiple exposure works in two surprisingly similar ways (or maybe not so surprising if you are already familiar with the technique).

Double Exposure with Digital Photography

  • In camera: Most DSLRs will have a multiple exposure setting in the menu.
  • In post-processing: By layering images in Photoshop – you can draw your own connections between that and layering film negatives in a darkroom.

How To Create In-Camera Double Exposure with Your DSLR

You were beginning to wonder if I’d ever get here, right? While I have tried all of the above methods at some point in my lifetime, at the present moment, my preferred method is in-camera double exposure on my DSLR. I just love the organic nature of doing it in-camera paired with the instant gratification of digital photography. As a tutorial, I’m going to focus on the texture overlapping a silhouette look because it’s probably the simplest method to start with.

  1. Find your multiple exposure setting.

    On my Nikon cameras, I go to the “Shooting Menu” then “Multiple Exposure” and then choose the number of exposures (images) I want to overlap. I’m pretty sure most cameras are similar, but you might need to consult your manual or Google to find your setting.

  2. Capture your first image

    • Silhouettes against a white background work really well for the first image. An overcast sky or a background without a lot of detail will work nicely.
    • Keep in mind that the more underexposed or darker places on your first image are generally where your overlapping image is most pronounced.
    • Exposure is key! Remember your settings so if you don’t get the look you want on your first try, it’s easier to get it right on the next one.
  3. Capture your overlapping image 

    • Textures like a field of flowers or a line of trees work really well for the overlapping image.
    • Remember to adjust your settings and expose for the overlapping image.
    • Live View vs. Viewfinder: I prefer to use my viewfinder, but if you want more control over the placement of your overlapping image, you can use your camera’s live view.

In-camera Double Exposure Self PortraitThat’s it! Now you have a double-exposure image created in camera!

Sounds too easy, right? The tricky part isn’t so much doing it, as it is getting the results you want. Experiment with different settings to create a look that fits your style. For me that means my double exposure images are moody, organic and raw around the edges, but if you are more of a light and airy photographer, you might experiment with a cleaner look using solid white background and a more defined silhouette.

I hope this post is helpful to those who want to try out in-camera double exposure techniques to see if it’s something you want to add to your portrait toolkit. I don’t consider myself an expert, but I am happy to answer any questions you might have. If reading this inspires you to go out and try something new, I would love to see what you came up with! Share it with me in the comments, on Facebook, or in the Awesomesauce community. <3

Seriously, I want to see!

In-camera Double Exposure Engagement Session BW


5 Tips for Getting Started with UNDERWATER Portraits


If you’re anything like me, the first time you saw an underwater portrait, you gasped out loud. There’s something about the ethereal beauty and movement captured in a well-done underwater image is something pretty magical. As an underwater photographer myself, I remember vividly the first time I nervously entertained the idea of taking my professional camera equipment under the surface. There was this lovely couple I’d worked with a few times before (both engagement and wedding by that point) and they were going to Kauai for their 1st anniversary for a sort of combination “real” honeymoon and anniversary celebration. And they wanted some epic photos.  Lucky for me, they not only called me to create these images with them (which meant flying me and my assistant-hubby out to Kauai…. #hardworkbutsomeonehastodoit….#amiright?), they wanted to cliff-dive and get IN the water. Which meant me and my camera were going to be IN the water. Which meant I better do some work.

I reached out to a few underwater photographers and paid for lessons. I bought a water bag to house my camera and I set to work scouring the internet for input on exactly how to do what I needed to do. I had no idea the can of worms I’d be opening or just how much I’d fall in love with this particular medium of photography! The images in Kauai were so much fun that I spend the next year paying for more lessons, tracking down more articles, and practicing whenever I could. I also spent a lot of time with scuba instructors and other personnel who could give me advice and training on water safety and tips that I could pass on to clients. Over a year after that first experience, I finally opened up my underwater “studio” to clients. This past weekend marked the opening of my 3rd underwater season available to clients and I can’t tell you how good it felt to be back in the water!

All of that backstory to say there are a few details you should know to get YOU started before you *ahem* dive in.

Step 1: Take a water safety course. I know that sounds sorta lame, but I’m totally serious. Before you or a a friend/client/excited-mermaid-tail-owner get in the water with electronic equipment, please do your due diligence to keep all of you safe. Things like can you all swim and don’t get in the water with a heavy dress ever because you’ll drown are all key things to know before you risk your life or anyone else’s. This is ESPECIALLY true of pregnant women! Mini-rant: do NOT risk a pregnant woman’s life or the life of her baby because you didn’t research if or how long they can safely hold their breath. Remember, this type of shooting requires one or all of you to be without oxygen (you know, a basic element required for being alive…) while shooting. Don’t take any of that lightly. Be safe. Make good choices.

Step 2: Try your first few sessions in a nice warm pool (preferably one with saline instead of chlorine). This is partly due to Step 1 above (safety first, kids!) but also because it will give you a chance to focus (literally) on all the other elements that come in to play while shooting before adding things like “I’m so cold I can’t feel my fingers” or “Where is the current taking us” to the mix. Keep everyone, especially yourself, as comfortable as possible to get used to how this crazy thing works so you can troubleshoot without the pressure of, oh you know, hypothermia because you’re in a freshwater glacier-fed lake.

Step 3: Try out water bag housing on your camera. If you’re serious about giving underwater photography a go, you’re going to want to use your “real” camera and that means putting it in a housing. Hard case housings have some advantages (and disadvantages) but they biggest issue there is that you’re likely to spend anywhere between $1500-5000 for a housing that fits exactly one very specific camera and one very specific lens. That’s a LOT to invest in if you’re not sure you’re going to really pursue this and you’re just wanting to get your feet wet (hahaha).  My personal recommendation is to go with EWA Marine bags. A single water bag can fit multiple setups and they’re pretty fool-proof to put on your camera correctly (as opposed to some other water bag companies). They’re fantastic quality and they’re not going to break the bank. Extra bonus? If for some reason the bag did leak, water bags are a very slooow leak which gives you time to catch it and fix it. With a hard case housing, if there’s a leak, your housing floods and your equipment is toast.

Step 4: Use a wide angle lens. This lets you stay as close to your subject as possible and that’s pretty key for clarity under the water. You’ll find that the water itself behaves like another lens and the further you are from your client, the harder it is to get a sharp image and the more scatter in the water will show up for you. It can create an almost painted look (which can be great if that’s what you are going for!) but for clear shots, stay close and shoot wide.

Step 5: Find a community of other photographers who you can troubleshoot with. There’s a lot of troubleshooting to do with underwater photography, trust me. The water itself has it’s own personality every time you get in and there is so much to take into account when getting under the surface (lighting, what aperture to use, getting clients to look relaxed under the water, how long to stay under, etc). Also, spoiler alert, there’s a ton of back-end post production work that is absolutely necessary with underwater imagery. It simply is a part of the equation because of what happens with light and color when it hits water. Plus, again, safety concerns mean that sometime compositing images is the only way to keep everyone safe while creating a specific type of image. The post-production is over half of the work with underwater images so get comfy with photoshop and lightroom. And join a group where you can ask questions. To have a moment of self-promotion, I run a group just like this on Facebook called Mermaid Sessions — Photographer Group. We’re friendly, we’re happy to share tips, and we like supporting this community.


Ready to take the plunge? (hahaha, I’m full of them today!) Sebastian had it right; it IS better down where it’s wetter. Join the community, post questions, contact me directly, and dive in! You can also find me on Periscope broadcasting my underwater sessions LIVE (including the underwater part!) by going to http://periscope.tv/briennemichelle or follow along on Instagram with the hashtag #MermaidSessions.