What a treat to get to learn more about Laura Penley, known on Instagram by thousands as @lauraslensonlife, and get some amazing advice from her! I have been so inspired by her vision and her way of reaching across the web and making me feel like we are friends in real life! I am sure so many of you who already follow her feel the same way. Thank you Laura for sharing here!
I was born and raised on a farm in Central Indiana and loved the country life. My curiosity, however, was too great to keep me contained by a rural lifestyle. Following college, I made a move to New York City to work as an Operations Manager at Tiffany & Co. After about a year, I transferred to the Chicago flagship location so that I could be closer to my family. While I’m a country girl at heart, I fell in love with city life and eventually with a city boy. The two of us have been blessed with a pair of beautiful brothers and reside on the north side of Chicago, where I am fortunate to spend my days with our youngsters while my husband works to support our family. I’m a lover of white, pretty spaces, fashion and photography. By nature, I am a very private person, so sharing my photography publicly was not an easy thing to do. With the support and encouragement of friends and family, I made that leap earlier this year and opened and Instagram account and am so thankful that I did. I absolutely love sharing the beauty of my life and the people in it with you all.
My single regret in life is that I did not pick up photography sooner. I thought that you had to be a certain breed of person to be a photographer and that learning to shoot in manual was a skill that I could never acquire, so I never even considered trying. So foolish. It is so much easier than I ever could have imagined and if I hadn’t let the idea that it was too hard, or that I could never capture compelling images get in my way, I would have everyday photos of both of my boys from the time that they were just born, and I don’t. With my first, my Blackberry and Galaxy Blaze (yes….old school) were frequently used and then my Nikon1, in Auto, as he got a little older. With my youngest, I was fumbling my way through learning manual for several months, so there were many missed captures then as well, but I’m doing what I can to make up for all of those missed moments now.
I’ve always loved pictures and have a huge collection of them in shoe boxes at my parent’s house. My parents actually gave me a Nikon N80 for one of my birthdays when I was younger; I was crazy excited about it, but never took the time to learn how to take it out of Auto and use it; it actually sat, collecting dust most of the time. In college I always had my trusty little Canon Elph in my pocket almost everywhere I went. I’ve never believed in having too many photos and actually, I feel as though I don’t have enough from various points in my life. When my first child arrived, photos were a must; every 3 months until 18 months and then a 2 year shoot and after that, annually. Same with my second. I had two newborn shoots for my second, actually. Crazy, right? Most people think so, but I don’t. I’ve always told my husband that I don’t need to be gifted with jewels, I just want photos. Well, he indulges me this, and he actually decided to purchase me my first DSLR just before the birth of my second child. I almost returned it thinking that I would never be able to learn how to use it and it sat collecting dust until after the second of our two newborn shoots when my photographer told me to give manual a try; “it’s super easy.” she said. I was skeptical, but thankfully I was blessed with a baby who needed to be held in my arms all day and night to sleep for over half of the first year of his life, and while I held and rocked him, I studied up on Photography on my phone or iPad. The Pioneer Woman and Ashley Campbell were my go-to sources for learning. I’d study the different lessons on Ree Drummond’s site and then look through every single image on Ashley’s, taking note of the settings used (she’s awesome about posting these!) and after a night full of learning, I was anxious to begin each sleepless day giving some of the things that I had learned a shot and you know what, it is easy. In the beginning it’s crazy frustrating, but after a ton of practice, it all becomes second nature and you’re adjusting your settings faster than you could have ever imagined. I look back at photos that I was taking a year ago, still pretty new into manual, and I can’t even believe that I ever kept those as “good”. It’s amazing how much you can grow with practice and thankfully I have two subjects (three if you count my husband) who let me do this.
Get sneak peeks of theme announcements, weekly tips, and more insider info delivered straight to your inbox! You may even increase your chances of being featured by tagging to our theme early.