On Inspiration and Practice

When I first began my photography journey, it was because of my love for the still image. I loved seeking out and preserving individual moments. I spent four years at RIT learning the art and science of image capture.

But when I went out on my own to start a business, and pursue the dream of self employment, I quickly learned how little I knew about being a business owner. So I joined professional groups (GRPP) and attended conferences to focus on learning how to create a sustainable business.

And for several years, I have worked on skills in marketing, social media, accounting, and bookkeeping - all in addition to making pictures. Somewhere along the line, I got comfortable, complacent in my photography skills. I know how to use my equipment inside and out, to the point that it's now second nature. I know how to pose groups and work quickly within time constraints. I am proud of all these accomplishments.

We now have amazing clients that trust us with their family legacies. And now that the business side of things is stable, I wanted to shift my focus slightly away from business and back to the art. The Inspire Photo Retreat is exactly what it sounds like, and exactly what I needed.

Erin and I traveled to Newport, Rhode Island to spend three days with photographers from all over the country in a welcoming environment. We met some amazing people, all with their own stories and situations. Some we were able to help, some helped us. It was as it sounds, inspiring.

The biggest thing I walked away with was a renewed passion for the documentary style of shooting. That is what I chose to major in way back in 2004. At Inspire, I studied with photographer Kirsten Lewis, a Denver based family photojournalist, who provided just the right amount of inspiration and encouragement to grow my personal vision.

The best part, and usually the hardest thing to do after a conference, is putting new knowledge into immediate practice. Lucky me, I got home and the next day headed out for a road trip to see friends and family. I was immediately able to practice this shooting style. Rather than using my telephoto lens (which I love), I used a 35mm lens, which forced me to get closer to my subjects.

We stayed with friends in Pittsburgh our first night, and I photographed their two kids. These are some of the moments I was able to witness with them.

Continuing on, we covered a couple more states to see our newest nephew be baptized in Kentucky. With 8 adults and 5 children under one roof, there was always something to photograph. I was able to spend time with three nieces and two nephews; playing, reading, and eating together. I wanted to capture the little moments.

So to sum up this long post: I'm reinvigorated with inspiration, and can't wait to share this with you on your next photo shoot! I'd love to know who this strikes a cord with, so if you like the documentary look, leave a comment below! 


Lori Coleman

The daughter of filmmakers, Lori may have been predestined for a life in the creative world. She met her husband, John, while studying photography at RIT. When not creating heirlooms for her friends, family, and clients, she can usually be found in the woods or on a yoga mat. Either way, her dogs Molley and Mouse are never far away.