Today, we are so thrilled to share the amazingly talented Summer Murdock with you. She has an ability to capture children in a way that is so natural and beautiful! Learn more about Summer in our Photographer Spotlight and visit her at her website Summer Murdock Photography. Thank you so much Summer for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I have always loved imagery since I was a little girl. I used to walk around the neigborhood with my little wind up 35 mm or my parents polaroid taking picturesof whatever I could. I took a film class in college but the dark room was very tedious for an impatient girl like myself. Like many photographers these days, I didn’t get a 100 % grip on manual mode until after the birth of my second child. I have pretty much been obsessed ever since then. I have always been inspired by the light and this gorgeous world we live in but when I had kids something clicked. The trifecta of inspiration for are my kids in pretty light discovering the world around them. Childhood is pure magic to me and I do my best to create images that convey that!
How would you describe your photography style?
Authentic and full of light and life.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I took a B&W film class in college and a Photoshop 5.0 class at a local community college while I was pregnant with my first child. Everything else I learned by scouring books, online tutorials, and hours upon hours of experimenting and practice.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot a Canon 5D Mark II. I only have four lenses. I use them all pretty regularly but my 24-70 is my most used lens. It’s perfect for the way I shoot because I am able to capture fast moving kids, zoom wide to get the whole scene as well as take nice flattering portraits at 70mm. If that lens went down to 1.8 it would probably never come off my camera. A girl can dream right?
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Light is everywhere. When I first started this journey, I was told that certain types of light just weren’t good. I have definitely learned that all light is not equal but that with a little bit of vision and creativity you can take a cool image in almost any kind of light. You just have to think outside the box a little bit. I pay attention to the light pretty much every waking hour. I can’t turn it off now. It has just become part of how I see. My advice is to simply pay attention to the light and be conscious of it and practice, practice, practice in all kinds of light.There really is no magic bullet in finding the light.
What is the most challenging thing about photographing children?
My number one goal when working with children is to get authentic images, so for me it has been letting go and letting them sort of tell me how they want to be captured. All kids are different. You can’t fit them all into one box. You have to make them feel comfortable to be themselves. I just try to let the kids be kids. That requires me to be REALLY flexible. I can’t get stuck on getting this one shot I had in my head. I have to take cues they give me and roll with it. Some kids are really easy and other make you really work for it. Just encourage them to play and play right along with them capturing them all the way though.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
This business can be all consuming. I have learned a lot about balance this year. I can’t do it all. I am a Wife, and a Mom to four awesome kids who are my priority right now. I have learned (or am trying to learn) to be more present with them. My emails and Facebook comments can wait for responses sometimes. I have set times for work and I try really hard to stick to it. This lesson is one I am still learning and is my biggest challenge right now!
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Shoot what you love. Make sure you leave time to shoot for yourself. If you get too bogged down with client work, you will likely get burnt out and forget why you love photography in the first place. Tune out all the noise and find the place where you can find your own voice and shoot with vision. Shoot what speaks to your soul. That’s when the magic starts to happen.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
To me being a photographer is a passion and it’s magic. It allows me to pause time in a sense. Childhood is so fleeting. Kids grow up and change so much and so fast. When I am shooting my own children I almost always have the thought in my head “I never want to forget this moment”. When I photograph my kids, it’s really an expression of my deep love for them. I shoot clients this way too. I focus on creating images that will forever preserve memories of this particular stage in these families lives. Authentic, interactive, visual memories that hopefully will last a lifetime.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
You know 5 years is a long time. One thing I have learned is that you just can’t predict the turns in the road that life can take but I really see myself continuing down the road I am now following. I hope to continue to strengthen my vision as an artist and be able to continually learn and grow. I feel so blessed to be able to do something that I love so much. I’ll just take life as it comes to me. Life always seems to be an adventure and a challenge that never quite turns out like you thought it would. I’ll just keep plugging along and trying to be the best human being, mother, and artist I can.
About the Artist: I’m Summer Murdock and i’m an on location, natural light photographer located in the Salt Lake City, Utah area. I adore my husband, my four kids, Diet Coke, new places, Bit O’Honey, sunshine and pretty light, photo gear, reality tv, instagram, the beach, pop corn, mid century modern anything, quirky movies, bike rides, a good book, starting new projects (that I often don’t finish), and being outside exploring whenever possible. Life is good and I am blessed!