Then and Now..a little about SOAR!

Knock Knock…who’s there? “Wendy Zippwald on behalf of Me Ra Koh to present you with the SOAR! Scholarship. Will you accept it?” Me: Ahhhhhh! Baby: Waaahhhh!!! Wasn’t it just yesterday that I scared my 5 month old baby when I found out I was a SOAR! recipient? Nope. That was about 10 months ago. Holy Cow!!!! Did this year just fly by or is it just me?

This year I have grown in so many ways. I have learned so many things from so many different people. I have found comfort and certainty where before there was none. I have added a new title for myself. Heck, I learned how to use a digital SLR camera!

After Wendy and Christine left my house, I was still in shock. I was so excited, honored, and scared! I was so nervous about being able to run a business while still being mommy. I was nervous I’d fail and let all of you down. I was simply nervous about learning to use the camera! Then my husband reminded that’s what this year was for-to learn. Who cares if my pictures weren’t perfect every time? (I did) Who cares that I might not have a booming business at the end of 2011? (I did) As long as I took in everything that was given and offered to me this year, it would be a success. He was right. (such a rare occurrence ;) And I truly feel that this year was a success. I have learned everything from what shutter speed is to how to figure out my target audience and almost everything in between.
When I first applied, I had just received my first dslr a week prior. I asked a girlfriend the best way to learn to use it. She pointed me one direction. Then the next day she emailed me and told me about SOAR! and that I should apply because I’d make a good photographer. And so I did. And here I am. I’ve always loved taking pictures (and being in them-not gonna lie!), I just never knew how much I loved it until this year. I never knew I could make a difference by capturing special moments. That’s another thing I figured out this year-what I want to do with my life. I want to make a difference in someone’s (or many people’s) life. Be it through photography or fitness (or a combo of the two-wouldn’t that be unreal!?), that is my life’s dream. Thanks to SOAR! I am completely confident that I can do just that!
Oh my word! I just looked at a couple of pictures from before my SOAR! time. Yipes! So many things….let’s take a look.

1.all the distractions on the floor, on the wall. 2. the yellow tint–ahh the yellow, story of my life before SOAR! 3. How about that line coming out of Pete’s head. 4. the shadows. oy.
Dont’ get me wrong-I love this picture! It was something they did together at that time and I love having captured it. Now, I know how to make it better for next time.

Or this one..

the distractions on the side. the flash. oy!

Fast forward……I have Me Ra’s workshop under my belt. Whoop!

Taken at the workshop. Not perfect, I cut off some of her head and his knees. But Much better than before!!!

And most recently…..


Captured at the first military homecoming I photographed. Though you can’t see his eyes, I don’t think you need to. Emotion, love, happiness. All right there. Bam! Now I’m on to something.

As the year has gone on, with my skills growing, so has my confidence. When I went into my first shoot, I was a wreck! I was so busy worrying about all the details that I don’t think I totally captured the essence of the little boy. His parents were happy, but I wasn’t overjoyed. Now, I go into a shoot and I’ve still got those nerves, just on a smaller level. I know that when I show the family their pictures, mom’s gonna love ‘em. Here’s one thing that I really, really love about how I’ve grown—most of the pictures I put in the proof gallery are unedited! That’s right…..I know that I know my camera because I”m not spending hours on end editing-that, folks, is something to be proud of!

I cannot say “THANK YOU!!!” enough to Me Ra and all the partners for giving me this awesome gift. You have changed my life more than you can imagine. Me Ra, your goal is to empower women-you have done that for me with this Scholarship-thank you isn’t enough.
I wouldn’t be right without thanking my husband-he is my biggest supporter. I love you-forever, a day, and then some.

And with that, I am ready to SOAR!

Smile an Go For It!

Rachel

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