Most people dread this kind of blog post. They have to break out old photos and admit that they once weren’t good. But guess what? Every single photographer ever was NOT good. It’s true! Immediately when Heather told us we were going to reflect on our photography journey and growth, I knew I wanted to share this Ira Glass video. Here is an excerpt from that talk.

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

I started my photography journey in late fall of 2010 when I started portfolio building. About a year later I left my part time marketing job with the encouragement of my husband and (yes) my current at the time boss. Photography was something I had always loved. I carried around my camera with me through middle school and high school. I was “the girl with the camera” but I wasn’t doing it for any other reason than I liked documenting. I always loved art. I wanted to make it no matter what. I love music, painting, ceramics, drawing….you name it. But I wasn’t very good at any of them. It wasn’t until I took some black and white film courses in college that my passion really started. I had no clue that being a photographer could be a reality so it wasn’t until after I had my own children and digital photography became affordable that I started to go towards the path that I am now on.

Photography was the one thing that I was obsessed with learning. I refused to take classes except I did do one Photoshop class (with Heather when we met!) because for the life of me I could not figure it out. I’m not sure why learning on my own was so important but I guess looking back I thought it would make me feel more authentic.

I want to take a moment to discuss creativity and finding you voice and style. When anyone learns something they look at others that inspire you. It’s how we get better but there comes a time when you need to give that up and trust in yourself that the best work you’ll ever do is when it comes from your heart and your mind. Let me ask you.. have you ever seen a photo that you just loved? that moved you so much? Maybe you tried to replicate it and its just missing that wow factor that the original had? It’s because it wasn’t in your heart to begin with. It wasn’t your true vision. I love this quote by Austin Kleon who wrote the book Steal Like an Artist (a must read IMO) “What a good artist understands is that nothing comes from nowhere. All creative work builds on what came before. Nothing is completely original”. This is so true so find inspiration and then go out and make more true art!

Here are some photos that I took in 2010/2011 next to photos from 2016. I really hope you can tell the difference! Ha! I hope this was helpful and as always feel free to leave questions and comments! xo, Taryn

This first photo I took as I was practicing. Clearly the photos whites were blown and I think when I tried to “edit it”, i got this crazy processing.

Blu Hippo Photography

I wanted to include a picture of my kids. It is not the same child but I loved the shallow depth of field so much in the 2011 photo that I didn’t care that the eyes weren’t really in focus. ha!

Blu Hippo Photography

This was my first paid newborn client. This photo was on my website for a long time. Now I love a more lifestyle approach to newborn photography.

Blu Hippo Photography

You can see in the photo that in the beginning I always loved observing kids being kids. At one point I became to focused on what other people were doing that I lost my way for awhile and did more with props (which if done right is amazing but its just not my style).

Blu Hippo Photography

Using props here. Not my style and why this photos looks crazy.

The processing here is crazy and

Sometimes you get lucky. I loved showing this because in 2011 I took the left photo of my little cousin. It was my “money” photo. The light was perfect and the editing wasn’t awful but I still made plenty of mistakes (and stilled!) after this.

Blu Hippo Photography

This was my first maternity shoot. I was obsessed with backlighting. I just had to learn how to use it properly.

Blu Hippo Photography

I thought it would be fun to include a before and after of this. This was one of my favorite newborn sessions I did that year and the little boy in the right picture is that baby!I photographed his new little brother in October and what a difference. I love the emotional side of lifestyle!

Blu Hippo Photography


I hope you had a little laugh and enjoyed seeing my journey and if you’re new remember, “You’ve just gotta fight your way through” until you’re making art and you love it.

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