Bailey was my model for the day! She responded to an online model call earlier in the summer. Sometimes, I host model calls where I’m looking for very specific things to photograph in order to test new equipment or techniques, venture to new locations, or as in this case, try and capture some images worthy of image competition. Even though Bailey is an extremely beautiful girl with an equally attractive personality, it was ultimately her dress that sold me on choosing her for the shoot among the dozens of applications I received.
Little did I know, it took over five hours of sitting in one dress shop, help from her father, and trying on more than 17 dresses multiple times to pick out this dress. I have a thing for unique prom dresses and I have to say, I think Bailey (and her father) do too! This dress is stunning! And Bailey does the most excellent job at wearing it!! I can’t wait to see what perfection she picks out for her senior prom!
Back to competition. I’m happy to say, I will be entering at least one of these images in competition. (Which one do you think it will be? It is posted below.) Each year for the past several years, I have been entering the WPPI 16×20 Image Competition. Sadly, I have yet to merit. But, that doesn’t discourage me. Entering in the image comps has
afforded me the opportunity forced me to expand my skill. In trying to merit and keep up with the masters, you have no choice but to continually get better with your craft.
San Antonio Portrait Session
The masters are constantly raising the bar!! At this point.. I’m not even keeping the same pace as they are. Here are the results of the last competition. To put my progress in an analogy, if the winners of these categories are improving at a speed and raising the bar at 80 mph, I am only improving at 40 mph. However, I am still improving and that’s the good news. One day I will merit and one day, probably in the far future, I will be a master photographer.
I know and have been told by a WPPI Master and AIPP Grand Master that this is the second-hardest image competition in the world! I am competing on an international level. I am competing against photographers who are already masters, double masters, triple masters and grand masters! I am competing against thousands of other images. I am being judged by my peers who have already attained a level of mastery photography. I am competing against artists and visionaries who are constantly raising the bar and making it harder and more difficult to stand out in this industry! But, that’s precisely the beauty of this journey! My mere willingness to compete and be harshly judged speaks volumes about the level of seriousness I take in this craft. If I can continually learn and make my art better… even if I never reach their level of fluent expertise… I am benefiting from this passage.
Until then, I must keep my head up and keep pressing my shutter button. Practice makes perfect. Henri Cartier-Bresson once said, “Your first 10,000 photographs are your worst.”
In today’s digital world, you must change that number to at least 1,000,000. I’m probably somewhere just over the 500,000 mark.
If you’d like to see all the images from this portrait session, please enjoy this video. For the best quality, be sure to change the video player settings to 1080 HD.
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I am a San Antonio-based wedding photographer and I cater to outdoor-loving couples who prefer to have all the realness captured on their wedding days. I am the wedding photographer for the outdoor adventurers, the romantics, the laid back, the snugglers, and those who wish to capture all their realness.
I am absolutely in love with capturing the kinds of weddings where there are more hugs than handshakes, the dance floor rumbles all night long, and chairs are pretty much rendered useless after dinner. Whiskey bottles are passed around, most of the wedding party has been best-best friends since kindergarten, Grams is likely to lose her shoes and your partner is much more emotional than you are. These kinds of weddings are my jam!
I started Ata-Girl Photography Co., LLC in 2010. I firmly believe that the unique set of circumstances I have faced in life has prepared me to take a personal and genuine interest in my photography clients. I enjoy documenting the important milestones and captivating moments in people’s lives. I love being a part of people’s journey and consider myself privileged to document their legacies.
I am a WPPI-C certified professional, full-time wedding photographer. I specialize in a 10-day image delivery, same-day prints, same-day slideshows, Italian handcrafted wedding albums and I have a mobile meeting space.
When I’m not behind my camera, you can find me hiking, cycling, backpacking, camping, enjoying water sports, listening to music (Elvis and Prince), hunting for arrowheads, reading audiobooks, occasionally eating a few glazed donuts (my only weakness to sweets) and then re-starting my keto diet about every 10 days. The most important things in life are for me to see my two daughters happy and to create a family history my grandparents and grandson would be proud of.
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