Yes, I am a mom of 5 and a photographer.
I don’t know how you do it, are they all yours? Can you work and have 5 children?
These are just some of the questions I am asked every day and the truth is that yes, I have been able to (and you can too) and I am very happy.
But of course not everything is rosy, and you have to work to achieve it.
THAT’S THE INTERESTING PART, YOUR SUCCESS WILL ALWAYS BE THE SAME SIZE AS YOUR EFFORT!
I want to share with you how photography came into my life and how my family has been a fundamental part of my personal and professional development. Everything I have lived through has helped me to learn, grow and improve as a person, a mother and a photographer.
My professional history is perhaps a little different to many, because I started this career when my children were already grown up and I was quite “adult”, not to go into age details😂, but I think that the previous years were just preparing me for this.
I WOULD LIKE TO TELL YOU A LITTLE MORE ABOUT MY STORY HERE,
WILL YOU JOIN ME?
MY SUPER TEAM!
Once upon a time…
What I am going to tell you in this post is not a story, but an adventure, my personal adventure as a mother and photographer.
We come from large families, so the issue of having multiple children was a no-brainer. The 5 children were born in a span of 11 years, it sounds crazy, and yes it was! but I can’t imagine my life any other way. It was quite a lot of work, and kids need “a lot of mom”, but I would say it is the most rewarding and inspiring job anyone can have.
It hasn’t all been easy, do you think my kids woke up, played together, were quiet, weren’t bored, ate all their food, did great in school and never fought or got sick? The correct answer is NO!
We had all the experiences you can imagine: from small accidents at home, fights, various punishments, reconciliations, children who did not want to eat, several hospitalizations (and when I say several I mean more than 40😱), but the truth is that none of this was an obstacle to move forward and solve things no matter what!
THEY ALWAYS SAY THAT THE “PERFECT IS THE ENEMY OF THE GOOD”, AND I THINK THIS IS PART OF OUR FAMILY HISTORY.
We are a normal family, with a normal mom, dad and children, with all the good and the not so good.
I wasn’t an amusement park mom either, I didn’t have much patience, I didn’t play on the floor with them, but rather accompanied them (that’s why I could always do my own things, I studied, painted, drew, and worked) and they came up with all kinds of ideas, which included everything from clay to hammer. My husband, a great collaborator of this type of ideas, was to let them investigate and invent things and watch them from afar so as not to restrain them.
The only thing that couldn’t be missed were my mother’s photos of everything that was going on. And I still didn’t even think of becoming a photographer.
Today they are all grown up, but for me they are still “my children”, I learned and learn a lot from them, I developed a lot of patience and we are a clan, united above all and they are the most important thing in my life and the best gift I have received.
Each of my five children is special and different, they fill me with joy and make every day a better day, and they are also my number one fans, and the ones who help me the most to be able to work and run the house, they encourage me to grow in my career, they help me, they demand and also congratulate me.
With all this in mind you can understand more about composition. However, like everything in life, it requires a lot of study, practice and more practice.
And after all that blah blah blah, how did I start my career as a photographer?
Oops, I went off the deep end, I’ll get to that!
I think photography found me and not me it.
Since I got my first camera when I was 11 years old, no one was spared from being photographed by me, but I took pictures in automatic mode, letting the camera think for me, and taking great care of each shot, since the development was very expensive (in Kodak I liked) and my dad always supported me and always paid me for the development. Of course it cost him and I knew that, so I made an effort to get the best pictures possible.
I think it was at that time that I started to learn about composition, by trial and error.
My childhood was in the country, with my cousins and siblings, there were many of us! and we had a great time together. The imagination and creativity they instilled in us is something unique and something I love to have memories of. My grandparents, parents and uncles helped us develop many hobbies, among them my love for photography, and I think it is something that distinguishes us as a family.
I later decided to study photography to make my photos better and more beautiful.
It also helped me to distract myself a bit at a time when my youngest daughter was quite ill and needed a lot of care, and photography and all art in general nourishes the soul, and it was very rewarding.
My first models were already my children, I had photos of them at every stage, photos that even today we all see together and it is a family picture.
Little by little I became more and more enchanted with this “hobby” and I wanted to learn more.
I bet everything to dedicate myself to photography, I left my job in decorations to dedicate myself completely to train as a family photographer.
“PHOTOGRAPHS OPEN DOORS TO THE PAST, BUT THEY ALSO PROVIDE A GLIMPSE INTO THE FUTURE.”
I love this quote by Sally Mann because it perfectly reflects how my love for photography was born.
Short story: one of my sisters told me “make an Instagram account” to show your photos because they are very good, it was sisterly love. I didn’t even know what she was talking about, I thought, how am I going to be showing pictures to strangers ( I got over my fear of course 🤣) , but it was the right thing to do, otherwise who would know me?
And it all started: some friends of my sister asked me for a photo session for their family, and I knew the technique very well, I had studied a lot, I had my first professional camera a Canon 60 D and a 50mm f1.8 lens.
I studied many hours how to use Lightroom to deliver more professional photos, I went crazy using every tool there was, again trial and error. I did several sessions, charged dirt cheap, delivered 170 photos, all edited in Lightroom, almost a nightmare….
But you know what happened to me?
I felt I needed more, I felt a little insecure, I didn’t know how to look for the light well, I didn’t know anything about editing. I would say that the only thing I was good at, and more than good at, was guiding children. It was the right time to take this opportunity to grow.
I admired with all my heart the Russian photographer Elena Shumilova, unattainable for me, as she gave her courses in Europe. And surprise! Elena would give her first workshop in the United States, in the city of Los Angeles, for me it was “next door”, only 14 hours by plane and a very high investment.
My husband, always supporting me, told me that I should take that opportunity, even though our family economy was quite complicated, he would take care of the children, including several trips to school, and we had a few months to raise the money. It was book that day or never because the quotas were very few, and I signed up 🙌🏻.
It was time to take the risk, all or nothing: I was going anyway, I was taking the reins of my career, I was brave and so with hard work and dedication I raised the money and got to meet my admired Elena, a humble, simple, talented and generous person who taught me to see the light in a very special way.
Result: I discovered that I knew so little, that I needed to study more, I had to know Photoshop, look for special places, but my photographs improved a lot and I found my first signs of the style I wanted to have.
Back home, with the support and help of my dear family I started this new stage in my life.
My sixth child, my photography business
The investment I made traveling to the Workshop, I recovered it with more than enough, I managed to start as “Bernardita Aguirre Photography”, that which I wanted so much and cost me so much work, was finally more real.
And not only that, with 3 friends with whom we became friends thanks to that course, we formed Dreamlight Academy, and we have given workshops to several photographers outside Chile.
My path had already begun, there were risks, it was difficult, there is a lot of competition, YES; but so what?
I worked very hard, I continued training with different photographers,
- I took 3 basic Photoshop courses and yet I hated it enough😬, to be able to take more advanced courses afterwards,
- I studied portrait and landscape photography.
- I trained in several skin editing courses.
- I practiced so much that I even broke the shutter of my first Full Frame camera, which I had worked so hard to have, and I had to change the shutter
- I made a web page, sent my first mails, raised my prices, in terror that nobody would pay me, but people wanted their family sessions to be professional, but also artistic.
- I started to give classes, I prepared practical and didactic material.
Many friends wanted to learn with me, then people I didn’t know, it was a very nice word of mouth and my career as a trainer began, which I like as much as taking pictures.
I started to have my own team of assistants:
- My mom made me, and makes me now too, the dresses I wore in my sessions and courses.
- My sister made the knitted things for me
- My eldest son recorded promotional videos for me, edited the first tutorials I recorded, my daughters and nephews were my models for all the crazy ideas I came up with. My daughters are my prettiest models, the other two help me along with my husband in crazy things like taking horses to the place where I want to do the session (up to 4 hours have been delayed, walking through the hills).
- My sisters lend me their children for each of my “inspirations”.
- My friends support me and advise me in every new step I take.
- My niece helps me in this blog, in the mails and in various subjects.
And teamwork is fundamental for me!
Here is the first video my son Rafa made for me.
Then came my first invitation to a congress, in Lima, and I went with my mom, then I traveled to the United States to a photo shoot in English (and my English is definitely bad), I went with my partner, my husband, another congress, I went with my daughters. All these trips have been a gift and even more to be able to go with my family.
I began to give my first workshops in Chile and other countries, with incredible students with whom we are now friends, many of them are already great photographers, which makes me very proud.
MY PHOTOGRAPHIC PATH STARTED AS A HOBBY, MY FAMILY AND FRIENDS WERE MY STAR MODELS (SOME OF THEM STILL ARE) AND MY MAIN INSPIRATION.
Welcome 2020 with “Mr. Coronavirus”, in which we have all reinvented ourselves in one way or another with online work. Once again it was time to combine work and family, this time we were all locked up, but with good spirits, optimism and creativity, anything is possible!
And you, have you already started your journey?
I wanted to share my experience with you so that you know that you always have to look for your passion and be perseverant.
When you find what you really like and are passionate about, you have to fight for it. Give your all for that dream you want to fulfill so much, because every step is a new adventure, exciting and special.
And yes, I am a mom of 5 and I am a photographer, it has cost me, it is a challenge every day, my house is never very clean, the food is not ready on time, and it is a team effort, my children have had to learn to be very independent since they were kids and their unconditional support, that of my friends and family in general, I know I can go ahead and dream bigger and bigger.
I invite you to grow in what you like, to keep discovering what makes you happy and to take advantage of what life gives you every day.
SOMETIMES THE INSPIRATION OR THE PUSH WE NEED COMES FROM WHERE WE LEAST EXPECT IT.
If you like photography, and life’s important moments, you’re in the right place!
Let’s keep moving forward and growing together on these topics.
I would love to hear your story, are you having a hard time on the road? If so, can I help you?
Tell me below in the comments!
Best regards, Berni
¡Hello! I´m Bernardita Aguirre
I am a Chilean photographer and I help photographers to find their unique stamp and families to capture priceless moments.
I studied pedagogy at the University, but I have dedicated almost all my life to the artistic area, and I have been able to unite my two passions and turn them into my work: teaching and the art of photography!
I will share with you my methodology, my art and my photography. If you want to learn with me I offer several courses that can help you.
Some courses that may interest you
Master Composition like a pro
Lightroom from scratch
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