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Grow Your Nest When Your Muse Flies Away

24 March, by Zee Jenkins[ —]

Kelly, a geological consultant by day, built the rest of her life around her family: husband, daughter, two dogs. From the outside her suburban house looks like a sweet, comfortable place to build a family. Inside the soft fragrances of the season make you think you walked into a Hallmark commercial.

be still::week 38

“For years I followed my daughter everywhere with the camera,” Kelly explained, a self-labeled scrapbook mom and family documentarian. “We’re a unit – my husband, daughter and myself. For eighteen years that’s how things were. We’ve just always done everything together.”

One day, however, it struck Kelly like a freight train. Her daughter would soon be moving out to go to college.

“Oh shit, what am I going to do now!?” she wondered. “For years it was the three of us (my husband, myself, and my daughter). We were a unit. And now the muse, for this thing that I like to do, is gone. What does that mean for me?”

She weathered the storm of her ‘super dramatic midlife crisis’ and, all the while, continued taking pictures. Without her daughter around Kelly “learned to see life through the camera a little bit differently; I began to see myself and my whole life a little bit differently.”

It isn’t uncommon for mothers to feel the pains of an empty nest. So much of a mother’s identity revolves around her home and her children that, when they’re gone, can be tough for some to deal with. During this transition, Kelly decided to take a ‘Big Picture’ photography class taught by Tracey Clark, a formidable lifestyle photography and motherhood blogger. In this time she learned some new technical skills, but ultimately began to understand more about the heart and emotion behind the genre of everyday photography.

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“That totally spoke to me. That’s what turned around my empty nest and gave it a little room to grow.”

In this transition she also started a blog. Though no longer in the mommy-blogger niche, her site Minding My Nest touches on many common family and crafty themes that female photographers would be interested in. Unknowingly, as she discovered editing tools for her photography, Kelly developed a consistent tone and feel for her photography.

“The softer tones and matte finish feel right for me. It’s timeless,” she explained. “I don’t know if I set out specifically to shoot for a homey and cozy vibe. The idea of layers and slight color adjustments just feel natural for me (because of my technical dayjob). I aim to take technically good photos first and then enhance the mood of the photo slightly in Lightroom. It’s just another tool in my arsenal.”

A few years after she really began to dig into photography, as a hobby, tragedy struck her family. An extended family member committed suicide, and it hit Kelly’s family pretty hard. Where previously much of her photography was very light hearted and bright, in this time she found herself in some personal darkness.

“It wasn’t that I was personally or consciously in a dark place, but this experience made me face darkness fact to face.” Though the morose emotions worried her a bit, she embraced the feelings and began “exploring the idea of shadow and light in my own photos to mirror how I was experiencing darkness in my own life.”

Amidst her blogging in this time a John Gay quote stood out to her – ‘A shadow owes its birth to light.’

be still::one thing

Particularly it struck her that a shadow is only darkness because of its contrast to light. Light is only a bright and shining moment because of the depth and darkness that is created by shadows. One is not one without the other. Since then, even though emotionally Kelly has recovered her footing and moves forward every day, she has echoed this idea in her photographs.

“Photography is a way for me to deal with struggles for myself first, and if it somehow inspires or brings comfort to someone else [through my photos or blog] that’s worth it.”

Along her journey, Kelly has become an active member of the Shutter Sisters, a gang of female bloggers and Flickr photographers that has come together around photography of, by, and for women.

Kelly took a moment to show us the world #ThroughHerLens. It is filled with quaint moments that she draws inspiration from. Her home, her family, and her female FlickrFam drive purpose and infuse her photography with emotive sunrays that drift through her curtained windows.

Like what you see? Check out Kelly Ishmael’s Flickr Photostream or join the Shutter Sisters for more inspiration. Many artists here would be happy to show you the world #ThroughHerLens. Kelly also has a number of Lightroom tutorials available on her website. Check them out!

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November 28, 2015

Flickr Heroes of the Week

20 March, by Leticia Roncero[ —]

Our new Flickr Heroines of the Week are ‘Bride’s Morning’ by You Fight Me on Facebook & Google+ and ‘‘Dandelion Art’‘ by Yasmine Hens on Twitter & Tumblr. Congratulations to the winners!

Bride's Morning
dandelion art- 7DWF-2016

Flickr Heroines Honorable Mentions:

Freedom - Seagull Over Skaha Lake
Sunset. Spanish Bay, USA

If you want your photo to be considered for a Flickr Hero feature, submit it to the Flickr Heroes group pool by Monday morning next week!


20 March, by Zee Jenkins[ —]

Mondays on Flickr are a beautiful time. Explore fills with wonderfully close-up images centered around changing weekly themes. Users are always surprised by the seemingly random photos of eggs, or pens, or buttons. Every week is different, meaning every Monday has new macro photos to explore thanks to the Macro Monday group.

Macro Monday, one of the most engaging groups on Flickr, turns 10 this week. With almost 11k members and 120k photos, the group boasts an impressive number of Explored photos each week. Images in this group focus on beautiful, subtle details 3” and smaller.

Macro Monday group members have also popularized the tag HMM (Happy Macro Monday) which trends every single week, along with their weekly theme.

Instead of singing Happy Birthday, we’re saying HBMM to this wonderful FlickrFam. We invite you to join the Macro Monday group and submit an image for this week’s theme: ‘HAPPY 10 YEARS!’ Simply take a birthday themed macro photo, add it to the group and add the tag ‘HAPPY10YEARS!’

The Macro Monday group opens for submissions at 0-GMT and only accepts macro photography that fits the weekly theme.

Original photo by artsychameleon | fotografi


Macro Mondays photo challenge:
Let there be Light & Life
Symmetrical Repeats
Carry That Weight - The Beatles.. (E x p l o r e d)


Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!

17 March, by Leticia Roncero[ —]
Saint Patty lass

Saint Patrick’s Day is a religious and cultural holiday celebrating the heritage and culture of the Irish. On March 17, millions of people around the world, especially those of Irish descent, dress up in their best green attire, dance to Gaelic folk songs, drink, and feast to honor their cultural identity and ancestral roots. A wide-spread holiday, Saint Patrick’s Day is now commemorated by people of many ethnic backgrounds in different cities across the globe. New York the city hosts the world’s largest parade — it lasts up to 6 hours!

But who is Saint Patrick? Simply put, he is Ireland’s Patron Saint, a Romano-British Christian missionary who died in 461 AD and who was said to have used the three leaves of a shamrock to explain the Holy Trinity to the pagan Irish. Though it was traditionally a religious festivity, Saint Patrick’s Day has now become an opportunity to showcase Irish culture to the world.

In honor of this great celebration, we’ve put together a collection of images featuring the best moments from this year’s thematic parades!


Lá fhéile Pádraig sona dhaoibh!

2017 White Water Center Green River Revival
St Paddies day 3

Tender Moments in Tumultuous Cities

15 March, by Leticia Roncero[ —]
Red Vespa

Nina Romani, known on Flickr as ‘ninasclicks’, is an IT professional and part time photographer from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Though she’s never focused on photography as a career, it has served as a lifetime passion and, more recently, a major creative outlet.

“About 7 years ago, my husband and I decided to travel to London and Paris after a particularly rough year in our lives. I really enjoyed the trip and one of the things I enjoyed the most was taking photographs,” she explained, so as soon as she got back from her European adventure, she opened a Flickr account.

“I love to travel and wander around a city or town and find the special corners, the details, the things that I think are beautiful or special. And when I am not traveling, I do the same at home.”

Following that trip, Nina began taking photography more seriously. She tried to learn new techniques, practice more often, and enjoy every part of the process. Her efforts paid off just a few months later when she was contacted by a number of stock photography agencies, magazines, home decor firms and people who wanted to buy prints of her work.

Have a great week!

Nina takes photos on a variety of subjects, ranging from flowers and streets to food and vintage vehicles. “I like to capture the beauty, joy, and calm hiding in the midst of the chaos and speed of the city.”

There’s a tender, intimate touch to her photographs. Inherently subtle and calm, her eye has also helped her amass a supportive fanbase. Nina’s followers praise her ability to transform ordinary objects into soft-lighted, beautiful scenes full of good vibes.

“My shots are not staged, I just find things, details, corners, a light that I am attracted to and then I compose the shot to capture a moment before it is gone and cannot be reproduced.”

All she needs to compose a beautiful image is good lightning and a little bokeh. “I use a lot of selective focus and shallow depth of field as a way to convey an emotion or mood and sometimes to make the viewer complete the story with their imagination.”

Travel - Viajes
Let's go!

“I think it all comes down to reading about light and then practice and watch, paying attention to the light, the quality of it, how it reflects on some buildings, the kind of shadows it produces, how it can make an object special.”

After exploring and taking photos, Nina lets her work sit for a few days before editing it. “Time can make you look at your photos in a different way,” she explained.

Happy Valentine!

Nina’s will venture to Copenhagen, Denmark or Japan next. “I would like to visit Japan not only because it is such a beautiful place but also because it is a very different culture that I would like to experience and photograph.”

The table is ready

For more tender moments and beautifully soft, quiet city scenes check out Nina’s Flickr Photostream to see how she captures and shares the world #ThroughHerLens.

Flickr Heroes of the Week

13 March, by Leticia Roncero[ —]

Our new Flickr Heroines of the Week are ‘Water’ by Nancy Romero on Facebook & Google+ and ‘‘ by on Twitter & Tumblr. Congratulations to the winners!

drifting through a dream

Flickr Heroines Honorable Mentions:

I give you my Spring
Studiously ignoring one another
Chou à la crème

If you want your photo to be considered for a Flickr Hero feature, submit it to the Flickr Heroes group pool by Monday morning next week!

What is a ‘Woman’s Job’?

10 March, by Leticia Roncero[ —]

Yuliya grew up in Russia and wanted to become a painter. While studying Fine Arts at the University of Siberia, her interest in photography turned into a vocation. She would go out equipped with her camera, searching for stories, shooting what she saw — animals, street scenes, passers-by — being curious about other people’s lives. “I’ve always wondered how other people live, what they do, how they dress and what they love.”

At one point, Yuliya decided to be part of something a bit more intimate. She wanted to learn more about her subjects, so she put out an ad. She wanted to photograph a wedding, but almost all the photographers she met in the photography community online echoed a similar sentiment, that wedding photography was “a ‘low’ genre” and “absolutely not a woman’s job.” However, once she discovered that her new job was an endless source of creativity, she felt in love and didn’t doubt herself.

For Yuliya, being a wedding photographer means playing multiple roles. “You need to be a portrait photographer to get the best out of your heroes, a fashion photographer to enhance the beauty of their costumes, a still life photographer who pays attention to details, a landscape photographer who documents where it all happens, and of course, an avid reporter who rushes into the scene and watches over the shoulder.”

Die Freudentränen

Every picture Yuliya takes is part of a bigger story that includes a setting, two main characters, a plot, and a logical conclusion. “It is very important to work with people who relate to your style and are open to communication.” Yuliya tunes out the rest of gender-biased criticisms. Her work begins long before the wedding day with several client consultations — her longest one lasted seven hours — where her clients discuss all the details that can play a key role in the event later. “On a bride’s special day not everything goes as planned, but that’s great! In such situations, people show their real character, their real emotions. They don’t follow normal patterns of behavior.”

According to Yuliya’s perspective on wedding photography, you must document the day and the relationship(s) in the most authentic and honest way possible. “A wedding is primarily a family celebration, a day for the bride, the groom, and their closest ones. The couple must have fun and not work as models. I avoid directly posing them.” And when a little modeling is needed, she relaxes her clients to keep it casual. “If they like movement, we’ll run and jump. If they prefer to relax for a while, we can sit under a tree.”

Wedding guests
Santorini Bride

Hiring a photographer for a wedding can be a nerve-wracking experience. Luckily, Yuliya has some tips for those still searching for just the right one.

“Don’t choose the photographer, choose the person. The person with which you will be the most comfortable and whose advice you trust. Trust is the key to the relationship between photographer and client. Your trust allows the photographer to show not only his professionalism but also the soul in his or her work.”


For clients, she urges brides and grooms to “determine your priorities, think about what you would like to see on your wedding day. Share your thoughts with your parents, friends, guests … but remember that the ultimate decision should be left up to you.”


“Try to make your wedding day the most comfortable and relaxed experience you can. Organizing such an important life celebration is not simple, so there is no need to make things more complicated than they need to be. Brides don’t need to choose extravagant locations for the photo shoot or plan lots of activities for guests who prefer to be calm and talk to each other.”

Bridal Preparations

As a wedding photographer, Yuliya has little control over the places where the work needs to be done, but that’s what she likes the most about her job. “I travel for weddings to different points: from the Fjords of Denmark to the French Alps, to places I’ve never been to before. New places inspire me and give me a reason to take even more interesting and diverse shots.”

Tasty Bridal Bouquet
Bavaria Wedding
Tender Light

Follow Yuliya’s photostream for more wedding and family pictures and to learn more about her latest project. She is looking for families around the world who are willing to devote their lives to her for a few weeks! To know and understand her clients is a key element to capturing their love, with and #ThroughHerLens.

Fifty of the Fiercest Female Photographers on Flickr

8 March, by Zee Jenkins[ —]

Her shutter shifts and her flash fires. Her moments are captured and shared with the world. For International Women’s Day, Flickr continues our work featuring the beautiful photography of female artists with a round-up of 50 of Flickr’s Best Female Photographers. Their stories range from surreal and ethereal queens to the homey mommy blogger’s day to day live. They are food fanatics and outdoorsy women, and we celebrate the best of their work. If you aren’t following these artists we encourage you to. Click to their profiles and see the world #ThroughHerLens!

The devil made me do it
breathing dew
Daughter of Spring...

View the full 50 for Women’s Day here.

If you have a female photographer you think we should add to the list link a photo of her’s in the comment section below using the format [FLICKR LINK].

Introducing Similarity Search

7 March, by Zee Jenkins[ —]

With billions of photos on Flickr, finding the ones you want by searching based on tags and descriptions only gets you so far. Today, we’re introducing similarity search, which uses advanced technology to allow you to discover visually similar photos without much work on your end. After your initial search, whether you’re looking for your favorite succulent or the perfect image of a ‘67 Mustang (not the horse), just click the “…” in the upper right of the photo you’re excited about. We’ll surface similar images for you.

Say you want to find pictures of tabby cats. You can search for the keyword “cat” and filter by color, but you’ll likely have to scroll through pages and pages of images before manually picking out the photos that match what you’re looking for. Now, simply hover over an image of a cat and click the “…” menu. From there, we’ll show you photos that look similar. No more guessing the search terms that would give you the most relevant results!

Do an image search and give this new similarity tool a try! Please let us know what you think on our Community Forum – we’d love to hear your feedback.

Seeing Wonder Like Iwona

7 March, by Zee Jenkins[ —]

Iwona Podlasinska, a Polish mother of two boys, has set out to elevate the quality of what otherwise could be generic family photos. As an architect by day, this mother dedicated herself to learning photography at night when her oldest son was three months old.

“Creating family albums was an important tradition in my family,” Iwona explained. “I like to make everything esthetically pleasant, so when taking photos of my own children I want them to be unique.”

As Iwona developed her personal photography style, shooting manually on relatively cheap cameras, she joined Flickr to create albums and galleries to share with her family. It wasn’t until nearly half a year later that she got a handful of followers and finally started to realize the creative power of the community on Flickr.

Now, with over 20k followers, she carefully crafts her children’s stories. “Creating that stream for me is like writing a book. My viewers know the background and the main plot – the story of happy, magical childhood. It’s also important to me that viewers see the same places, the same kids, but changing through time.”

Most of the photos in Iwona’s photostream are taken in Polish suburbia outside of Kielce, where she spends weekends and holidays with her family, a place she says is the best to take photos of the kids.

“I spend all evenings chasing [the kids] with my camera. I can let them run, even barefoot, sit on the street, or ride their bikes without having to look around all the time for any kind of danger. We feel safe there.

“To get meaningful photos of children I have to keep my mind focused on them. It’s much easier when I remind myself how I felt as a child and how I felt about the world.”


Most of her photos are candid, taken spontaneously as the boys run around and play. Iwona estimates roughly one out of every three or four hundred photos is good enough to publish.

“One or two years ago they didn’t realize they had their photos taken. Now I have to stay invisible to capture their real poses and emotion. I can choose the time, the angle, or sometimes give the kids some props but I can’t control their body language. They move a lot so I really capture moments that last sometimes seconds. I take lots of photos to have that perfect one.”

spot the cat 5/?

In 2015, about a year after joining Flickr, Iwona’s photos started appearing in Explore with regularity, as the charm of her photography resonated with her followers. Top positions of Explore, which at the time were mostly dominated by landscape and wildlife photography, started having a softer touch. She was able to resonate with different genres of photography by blending in natural elements from the suburban Polish village. One of her biggest achievements as a photographer and artist occurred towards the end of 2015 when Flickr announced the Top Photos of the Year. One of her photos ranked #5.


“We don’t have farm animals. Neighbors in the village keep chickens, ducks, geese, cows. They sometimes invite us and let the kids see their animals. I got a very nice natural frame from the leaves of the tree and bushes around,” Iwona explained, thinking back to the day she captured this image. “The light of a setting sun created a cozy and dreamy feeling … Because the light and the composition of this shot was perfect I didn’t have to do anything special in post production.”

That’s the magic.

Enchanted forest

“I remember how everything seemed big and mysterious. I try to capture that amazement. I love to see them soaked into their little children world or to see them daydreaming. This year while spending time by the sea I was reminded of the first time I saw the sea and how it felt. I remembered flying kites on the beach and want to capture something like that [wonder] with my kids.”

Iwona’s perspective and photographic mission are specifically to see and view the world through her children’s lenses. Her sense of wonder and beauty, as a mother, is magnified by their wonder.

That’s the magic of Iwona’s world seen with wonder, #ThroughHerLens.

early morning by the lake
The secret path to the land of dreams.

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