Susan Hill: Blog en-us (C) Susan Hill (Susan Hill) Fri, 25 Dec 2020 08:45:00 GMT Fri, 25 Dec 2020 08:45:00 GMT Susan Hill: Blog 90 120 How I found photography as a teenager My heart belongs to photography, and like so many happened serendipitously. Freshman year in high school was ending and I was passionate about science. I wanted to become a marine biologist because of my love for the ocean and marine animals. My mom and aunt worked in the science field but were interested in starting a photography business. They would take portraits of all of us kids and we loved it. I needed an elective class for my sophomore year and decided to take photography so I could gather free information for my mom and my aunt. Little did I know that I would be hooked for life.

I remember vividly, our first prints we made (photograms) in the darkroom. It was absolute magic watching images appear in these liquid filled trays. And photography, especially that first year, was challenging. I wasn't very good at first, and was shocked getting low and average marks on assignments. Looking back, part of it was me making every assignment extra difficult. Pinhole photographs was a perfect example.

Our teacher instructed us to find cardboard boxes and gave us a tip that oatmeal boxes were ideal. I rejected the idea of anything other than a perfect cube box. I couldn’t find the cube box of my dreams, so I made one. So many light leaks in that “perfect” box. It took me days to fully seal all the light leaks and actually make a decent exposure. But the joy I got from overcoming the challenges I set for myself reinforced my love for photography.

It’s been almost 20 years, and I still have this undying passion for photography. Part of that passion is because photography is always changing and evolving. There is so much to learn and it’s impossible to know everything in this field. Combining that aspect with the love of challenging myself, and I find photography as an endless source of joy and adventure. Burke Uzzle said it best, “Photography is a love affair with life.”


(Susan Hill) Sun, 07 Apr 2019 23:39:08 GMT
I graduate this May with a BFA in... Photography! ^_^      May 18th I graduate from CSUEB! Finishing college has taken some time while raising my daughter, but I definitely think it's been better this way. I really appreciate my education in all the different skills, classes and experiences I've had. When I was younger, I only thought about different techniques in photography and very little to conveying a deeper message. Now, I plan series with a concept. More good news, I got accepted into the teaching credential program! Soon I'll be a high school photography teacher! I can't wait to share the magic of photography with high schoolers. It was life changing for me. :)

(Susan Hill) Sun, 07 Apr 2019 23:26:55 GMT
To edit, or not to edit. That is the question.... blogediterblogediter

     Like many photographers, I've struggled with trying to be the full package in any and all ways I can think of. This includes editing. It isn't my strong suit but I can do some basic things. But about a year or so ago, I really started considering paying someone to do the post production for me. Why? Because I naturally slow down doing it, over analyze every detail, my hands hurt from doing too much in one day (last minute stuff usually) and from not knowing better techniques (so it takes me twice as long or more than someone with the knowledge and experience.) So when my friend offered her experience, I jumped at the chance. Hopefully things work out and she can be my go-to editor. If not, the search will continue. Because me thinking I'm not a "real photographer" by not doing my own post production is a silly and counter productive thought. By the way, I should mention that I assisted a wedding photographer who rented her lenses, and sent out for post production. And it didn't make her any less of a photographer. :) Sometimes our pride and crazy thoughts hold us back, but are clear when projected onto someone else. 

(Susan Hill) Wed, 01 Jul 2015 23:13:00 GMT
This hummingbird is laying eggs!


Updating everything in my life, and thank goodness my website is on the top of that list! I feel like I just laid a couple of eggs! Deleted a lot of old albums and now it feels a lot cleaner and easier to navigate. I decided all customer albums will stay up for 3 months. There will be lots being added online: new products, new images, new blogs, and sample backgrounds and locations. :) I got lots more eggs to lay. LoL 

(Susan Hill) Wed, 25 Jun 2014 03:34:04 GMT
Love 9 Ups





Had a blast with my man at Pick N Pull today. :) Got some awesome ideas on how to personalize and enhance portraits. Doesn't get any better. :)

(Susan Hill) Tue, 05 Nov 2013 07:57:55 GMT
On Location Only!



Due to recent life changes, I will only be photographing on location. This means I can do portraits anywhere you want! At the beach, amusement park, muir woods, ANYWHERE! :) Think of the possibilities! Also... I'll be saving up for an underwater housing system soon! YAY! (who wants pictures underwater?! I DO!)

(Susan Hill) Thu, 27 Jun 2013 04:30:24 GMT
My Birth @ Sears Portrait Studio This last week, I found out that CPI (Sears Portrait Studio, and Walmart Portrait Studio) has officially closed their doors. I started photography in high school but as far as professionally, it was CPI that gave me the chance to shine. I was hired in 2003 as just holiday seasonal help and eventually became assistant manager, later to leave and come back as manager. I grew the most during these years. I learned so much about photography, business, customer service. A chunk of my heart is broken knowing that they are no longer in business. At the same time I have mixed feelings because this is an excellent time for all independent photographers (which really, it's about time.) :) I am grateful for all CPI gave and taught me; and believe me, it was a lot. Hands down the best thing I learned from them was outreaching; without this simple idea business cannot grow. It's the sunshine your plant needs. So CPI, this is a goodbye but really this is a Thank You. Thank you for showing a teenage girl that she could be the most amazing photographer. Thank you for telling that same girl that she could be a savvy business-lady. And thank you for allowing me to grow through excellent customer service. It's been the attribute that sets me apart from everyone else. Sears Portrait Studio will always be a part of who I am.

(Susan Hill) Thu, 11 Apr 2013 18:15:50 GMT
OMG I Refound A Bride I Photographed! I cannot believe how incredibly small this world is! I was going through old sessions on my website and stumbled through some wedding albums...when I put 2 & 2 together I realized I've been photographing a past customer and somehow never put the connection together! Two years ago I shot their wedding and for the past few months, their new daughter and family for portraits. :) I'll be making her a surprise gift tomorrow and it shall be quite a funny conversation! I love life's little surprises like this!

(Susan Hill) Mon, 01 Apr 2013 05:48:25 GMT
New Idea - Shooting on Micro SD cards! So yesterday I was waiting to shoot a golf team when I thought of something... I wanted to be able to instantly upload a picture of a session I recently did to facebook (to build excitement for that customer and to say thanx in a fun way). I happened to have a bunch of random cords in my purse (usb (mini, micro, and 2.0) and tried hard to figure out how to get pictures off my standard sd card onto my android phone... alas it did not work. There are cords for charging and cords for transferring, which I knew but never tested. But the idea persisted, I wanted the freedom to be able to upload my gorgeous pictures no matter where I was! I happened to go to Best Buy last night and so I'm talking this poor girl's ear off when it dawned on both of us... Shoot on a micro inside an adapter and THEN put it in your phone etc.! So frantically we try to look for opened goods so we can experiment. Everything was sealed tight so I experimented when I got home. IT WAS FREAKING AWESOME! Not only did it work, it put it automatically in gallery where I found it super quick. I was able to edit it w/ instagram and upload as I saw fit. I also was nervous it'd do something to my other files but nope... it was just divine how flawless it worked! So now... I need more micro sd cards LoL because this cute 2 gb isn't gonna do much. I still have much experimentation to do...but I am SOOOO juiced! I can't believe I never thought of this before! OH! And for those looking for a good free photo editing app that doesn't harshly compress your photos... (cause instagram makes the file WAY too small) I suggest pixlr-o-matic (and now i will OFFICIALLY be buying the extras! YAY!  ^_^ Did I mention I can upload pictures to zenfolio quicker?! It just gets better and better!

(Susan Hill) Fri, 29 Mar 2013 18:14:26 GMT
Discovering My "Style" I have a ways to go in developing my personal style, but so far I can safely say I OFTEN unknowingly shoot with a diagonal (almost alwayz coming from the top left corner to the bottom right corner, and a lot of times from a horizontal image.) The only reason I'm thinking about this today is because I was talking with my good friend (who is really more like a sister to me than anything else) and we were discussing her style. She is an AMAZING photographer. And she too shoots with a line; instead of a diagonal, she has a straight line horizontally (usually through vertical images perfectly dividing the image.) Another style I have are extreme close ups. I can't seem to get enough of them! (obviously this is more flattering on babies than adults. i surely wouldn't want an extreme close up of my face!) :) Me and Lea (my sister from another mother) share this style attribute. We both do them, slightly different of course. She has this other characteristic where she vertically divides her face (when shooting portraits) with only one side showing. It's so hard to analyze your OWN style versus someone else's. Not entirely sure why. I know I prefer high contrast and usually warmer skin tones. I am fascinated with shadows and am barely starting to play with that. I adore vignettes and want them to look natural and from the lens (which I have much to experiment with.) I love the vintage look and the wide range of tones and looks that go with that. I LOVE square format. I love black borders, thin to medium thickness. I am a studio shooter, I want to control my lighting. I am starting to really understand direction and proper usage of movement and light working together. How important light is, it's the difference between good/bad, purpose/accident, art/snapshot.... Also, i prefer simple colored bkgs to patterned or busy ones. You should have seen my face the day I discovered colored gels on black backgrounds! LoL THAT was one of the best days of my life, hands down. LoL (vignetting +  any color bkg. yes i squealed like a little girl!) It's interesting to think, I've spent most of my time mastering composition and framing, and now comes the lighting aspect. :) I'm so excited to be on this journey of self-expression and discovery. Photography, you give me a way to voice myself through creation; for this I am eternally grateful.

(Susan Hill) Thu, 03 May 2012 06:03:23 GMT
My love for medium format... I played with it once in high school because our teacher introduced it to us. But I never thought twice about it after the assignment. And to be honest, had my film camera not been stolen a few years ago (she hasn't been replaced either) I probably wouldn't have picked up a Holga and a Kodak Duaflex (the duaflex I used for ttv photography). But thank God I did. Last semester (I just went back to college this year) I only did my projects with it. :) And although most seasoned photographers have dabbled, this was my first real discovery of medium format and all the beautiful things about it. I felt like I had my old camera with me again in some ways. But this was new, I had to learn on my own how to load, develop and print from this new film type. In a nutshell, I'm now a medium format user for life. The square print does something for me, huge negatives (which means BETTER prints), rolling onto metal reels, and the smell of fixer I had missed so much. (If you've developed film for more than a year, it's safe to say this is a nostalgic smell to you as well.) Last week I was leaving school and this lady was stranded on the side of the road holding her arms out with jumper cables and a look of "please don't be the 100th car to pass me by." I remember those days too, when my car frequently wouldn't start. So I gladly pull over and help her. We're talking about the classes we're taking and we finish up starting her car. She insists she give me something for my troubles. I tell her it's really no big deal, I've been there plenty of times myself. But she opens her trunk and hands me my new Kodak Reflex II. :) All smiles and yes, there was jumping up and down; I asked her if she was seriously giving this to me. She nodded and said yes. I had never even held a medium format camera with dials on it. LoL Randomly tonight, my boyfriend calls me with the most amazing lines (which I can't even fully remember), "Baby, I just called you to tell you that I shoot digital and medium format films. I mostly use available light. I try to capture the best of the moment for your memories". I'm still smiling over it. :) He even agreed to rolling 120 film onto 620 spools with me. That's love. <3 Medium format, we got lots of playing to do!

(Susan Hill) Tue, 27 Mar 2012 07:39:21 GMT
Redesigned Packages & Prices I've simplified the packages tonight. Thank goodness. I had 4 before and now with 3 it makes so much more sense. Thank you Zenfolio for writing that article last week! Now with that checked off my list, it's time for me to create my gift certificates that can be purchased from my website! (I think writing blogs is making me more productive... YES!) Also, I'm thinking of making a photo only blog. yep...I'm doing it. Right now. :)   HA! Who knew blogs were motivators?!

::: 2 minutes later :::

Alright, turns out you can't have organized blogs... but at least I attempted. However... I WILL be adding photos to my blogs. It needs color, emotion, and well... more fun. :) CIAO!

(Susan Hill) Fri, 23 Mar 2012 08:38:42 GMT
I'm EXCITED we can blog! I shall be thinking of very important things to say.


1st important thing on the list: I LOVE ICE CREAM! :)

2nd : I have plans on building a studio.

3rd: Babies 6-12 months are my absolute favorite!

(Susan Hill) Sat, 17 Mar 2012 22:07:10 GMT