For the Love of Light: Reigniting the Creative Spark in Your Photography with D’Ann Boal
After moving to the Caribbean with her husband and young son, D’Ann Boal discovered photography and never looked back. And today, she’s a full-on fan of studio lighting and all the magic (and flexibility) it can bring to a photo shoot. She has inspired me to play around with different equipment in my own photography.
In today’s episode, D’Ann and I have a lovely chat about mobile photography, studio lighting, photography equipment, the importance of personal projects, and how to prioritize creativity. We also discuss breaking free from burn out, the guilt of missing important moments when you overwork, and how learning keeps you fresh in your business.
We dig into the vulnerable side of this work that we do, and I hope that this episode gets you thinking about new ways to learn and new things to try as well as finding a personal project of your own to spark some joy in your work.
What’s in this episode:
- [03:20] D’Ann’s experience with Pro Photo, and her advice for getting into studio lighting
- [06:57] How D’Ann got into photography, and how she equates photography to cooking
- [14:36] Thoughts on AI and how it could affect the photography industry
- [18:05] Why personal projects are important to creativity
- [24:16] D’Ann’s advice for someone feeling uninspired in their business and how to break free from burn out and get back to creativity
- [33:02] The important of maintaining the mindset of a learner, and what D’Ann is currently interested in learning
Tune in to this episode with D’Ann Boal to get inspiration for reigniting your creativity and building a business of abundance!
Want to put an end to awkward moments in your photo sessions and create genuine connection? Download The Storyteller’s Toolkit today, featuring 200+ emotive photography prompts, so you’re never left wondering what to say.
D’Ann graduated with a Master’s degree in education, but it wasn’t until her son was born and she moved to the Caribbean that she picked up a camera and never looked back. Today she runs a successful photography boutique specializing in newborn, child and family photography. She teaches around the country, leads photography retreats and workshops, is an instructor at Click Photo School, a mentor at Click Community, has spoken at Imaging, Click Away, and has won several photography awards including the Voice award, and Pro Prints Billboard Award.
Connect with D’Ann
Did this episode with D’Ann Boal inspire you to get your creative juices flowing? Check out this episode from Scott Robert Lim that offers you even more insight on finding alignment in your business!
[00:00:00] D’Ann Boal We will let down our inner circle to say yes and to not let down people that we don’t even know. I don’t know what that is about our culture. And I think it’s it’s hard to turn down money. And there’s I think there’s this whole model of scarcity versus abundance. But once you just, like, lean into abundance and you prioritize and you even, like, take pictures of and hang them up of what your priorities are, you write them down and you say yes to those things. It changes your life. I wish I had known that sooner because I said yes to everything when my kids were little and I grew my business and I made a ton of money and I missed a lot of nights with them and I was stressed. I was like, so stressed. I look back, I’m like, Oh my gosh, life is so peaceful now. And I’m like a fun, nice mom. I don’t think my kids even realize I have a job and I work really hard and I create a lot of content, but I’m not stressed doing it.
[00:01:00] Lisa DiGeso Welcome to the Art and Soul Show where we dive into heart opening chats on photography, business life and that messy in between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso, a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur, and I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because let’s face it, having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the art and soul show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show today. I’m super excited to dive into today’s conversation with D’ann Boal. Diane graduated with a master’s degree in education, but it wasn’t until her son was born she moved to the Caribbean that she picked up a camera and never looked back. Today, she runs a successful photography boutique specializing in newborn child and family photography. She teaches around the country, leads, photography, retreats and workshops, is an instructor at Click photo school. A mentor at Click community has spoken at Imaging, Click Away and has won several photography awards, including the Voice Award and Pro Print Billboard Award. If you guys are not already following smitten and swoon on Instagram, you have to go find her and check her out because her work is stunning, especially her use of light. So without further ado, here is D’Ann. Welcome.
[00:02:35] D’Ann Boal Thank you, Lisa. Thanks for that nice introduction.
[00:02:38] Lisa DiGeso So tell us who you are and what you are passionate about.
[00:02:43] D’Ann Boal So I am a photographer, a mom, a former teacher of little kids and now a teacher of photographers. And I love light. Light is what drew me in to photography in the first place. And it’s really the challenge of light and the challenge of photography that has really kept me interested and kept me here and kept me wanting to learn. It’s such a multifaceted career and art that I feel like there’s just always so much more to learn. And that’s what really keeps me here.
[00:03:20] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Well, I love following you and I love following you, especially on Instagram, because you always share these super interesting behind the scenes, typically sharing some form of studio light. Because I am a studio light nerd myself. I absolutely love my lights. But you’ve been shooting with Pro photo, is that right? Yes. So tell me a little bit about those, because I’m so close to pulling the trigger on buy Myself a new lighting kit, especially something that’s mobile. And so tell me about your experience with Pro Photo and maybe if someone is maybe just getting started with studio lighting where they would want to look at and maybe the one that you would recommend.
[00:03:52] D’Ann Boal My gosh, how much time do we have.
[00:03:55] Lisa DiGeso Right?
[00:03:55] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, that was 25 questions.
[00:03:58] D’Ann Boal No it was great. I love it. There’s just so much to talk about with this. Okay. I had a Westcott Lite that was continuous. That was my very first studio light, but I didn’t really have a deep understanding of light back then when I was using it. So once I had a really deep understanding of light was when I kind of consider that’s when I got my first light and it was the pro photo B10 and having a deep understanding of light when I got that light really gave me an aha the moment that I fired it. I just like got it out of the box and turned it on and put it behind my subject and fired it. And I was like, Oh my goodness, this is just like having the sun wherever I want it. And then I popped it. I got a modifier and I popped a modifier on. It’s like, it’s like I have a north facing window like, Oh my gosh, this is amazing. And the pro photo system is incredible because the batteries last forever. You can take I can do a whole shoot on location outside using high speed sync, which takes more battery on one battery. So I always have extra battery packs, but I never really need them in the middle of a shoot. They’re so intuitive. They’re just three buttons. It’s just they’re really powerful. They’re small for their power and you can take them with you. And the new eight a series, they have this soda cans. It’s like the size of my teacup. It’s literally this size and I use it all the time. I now have a bunch of them and I use all of them and there’s all these different modifiers you can click on. But the battery again lasts forever. You can take them everywhere and you just can make the light that you want. So instead of waiting for golden hour to get backlight, instead of waiting for like the afternoon when you know the light’s going to spill through the window in a certain way, you can just make it. And so it’s amazing. It’s kind of like magic. I love it. So I love sharing it. I’m really I really love Light, it again. It’s like it’s what brought me to photography. And so I feel like sharing it with others because I think off camera flash can feel really daunting. So I feel like I just I love sharing it with others and showing others what can be done really easily.
[00:05:59] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Well, because what I love I have been a Paul Buff user for like the past 12 years. I got like all the all the things right. And I’ve had a vagabond, but it’s never been like my love. And mine actually just died in there. Like, actually it to replace it now. And I was like. So now I’m like, Well, I’ve been seeing all your posts and I’m like, Oh, I think this girl’s going to be going shopping. So.
[00:06:20] Lisa DiGeso Oh, I want to.
[00:06:21] Lisa DiGeso Play with on location.
[00:06:23] D’Ann Boal Yeah, I have it. I have a link in my bio of my Instagram. If you click the link in my bio, a few things pull up and one thing is my lighting kit so that you can click there and then there’s a link to get everything. But the new a2, with all the click modifiers, are so fun.
[00:06:42] Lisa DiGeso So. Yeah, I love it. I love it. I mean, if I’m going to check that out and we will make sure to include all that info in the show notes as well for listeners. So I want to hear a little bit about moving to the Caribbean and becoming a photographer. So can you share a little bit about your journey with that?
[00:06:57] D’Ann Boal Sure. So I was a teacher. I taught fifth grade and I loved that job with all my heart. It was really what I felt like I was put on the earth to do. I wanted to be a teacher my entire life, and I just felt like all my dreams came true to have a classroom of my own. And it was sparkly. And there were plants and there was a a pond with koi fish and lights. It was just like it was the most beautiful space. And I loved the children that I taught. And my husband was applying to vet school and he was playing to several, but he got into one in the Caribbean and he’s a surfer and he’s always kind of had this. He’s had a little wild dream to try to travel like he didn’t want to. He wasn’t ready to grow roots. I was ready to grow roots and have my classroom. But he wasn’t. And so and he wanted to be a veterinarian. And so for him, it was like two dreams that weren’t three dreams at once. He could travel, he could surf and become a vet. And I was pregnant. And he said, Yeah, he accepted. And so our son was born and four weeks later he moved to the Caribbean. And then I had to wait another four weeks till my son Kelvin, was old enough to fly there. And we moved there. And so I left the classroom and my Andrew my husband’s parents had given me a camera for Christmas the year before, and I brought that with me and it was just like me and my son. And there’s this was a it’s a developing island. And so there wasn’t really there was there’s no like Mom and me yoga class. There’s no, like, safe walk to take. There’s no library there. It was just me and my son in our little house. And we’d go to the beach and I’d wrap him in mosquito netting or, you know. And as he got older, I just started taking pictures of him. And it evolved. Like so many of us moms into a business. So by the time my husband was done with vet school, my daughter had been born and I was starting to take clients.
[00:08:42] Lisa DiGeso It’s so fun. And honestly, actually, that brings me to my next point because I am a lifetime learner and I actually just got your new course for the love of light. And I really love your analogy on editing a soup. So would you mind sharing a little bit of that analogy with our listeners?
[00:08:58] D’Ann Boal Sure. So I talk in that video about how when I was in college, I always liked to cook. But you know, when you’re in college, it’s like your first time where your for some of us, for lots of us, where you’re like making all your own meals. And I got a Barefoot Contessa Ina Garten cookbook and I cooked my way through every single recipe in the book. And then I got another one. And I just like, I cooked all her recipes. She really taught me how to really cook well. And the thing that I realized was when you’re looking at like, a pan of soup or sorry, a pan and wondering how to make all these vegetables turn into soup, how there is like there’s a method for what she does. You know, she starts with olive oil and butter and then she adds in onions and then and then more flavors and vegetables and then the broth. And and there’s a method for what she does, and it’s repeated throughout. And then you get another cook and their cookbook, and you see they might do something a little bit different, but they still have a very similar method. And I kind of I remember when I was looking at Photoshop for the first time, just being like, What in the world? How does anyone even know where to start or Lightroom? Like, where do you even start? What do you even know to do? How does anyone know to do anything?
[00:10:06] D’Ann Boal This overwhelming, It’s like another language. What are the color curves?
[00:10:16] D’Ann Boal Color grading? why do we have to learn this? Why can’t we just, like, apply a preset?
[00:10:21] Lisa DiGeso Yeah.
[00:10:21] D’Ann Boal But now that I, you know, I’m, like, fluent in these and these software programs, I realize that it is a lot like making soup. Like, you start with something like skin softening or cleaning up the image first and then skin softening, and then you maybe apply some warmth and then you do contrast. There’s the real method to it where it doesn’t have to be so overwhelming. And like every chef kind of has a different way that they go about making soup. Artists do too we might, you know, we might not all do it the same, but there can be a method and most artists will have a method for how they do things.
[00:10:55] Lisa DiGeso I love that because that was something that I’ve noticed over, oh gosh, probably the last five years or so, because I’m always I’m always like buying a new editing course and it’s like finding what everyone is like. Their initial recipe was like, Do they do the backdrop first.
[00:11:09] Lisa DiGeso Do they do the skin like they dodge and burr And like, do they like I want to know. Everything. But then what happens is I stop thinking for myself. I forget that I’m like. And I start to try to piece everyone else’s recipes. And I’m like, okay, calm down, calm down, calm down. Go within. What’s your recipe? What’s your recipe? Remember your recipe.
[00:11:29] D’Ann Boal Totally. And I think it takes learning other recipes for a long time until you really understand what they’re doing. And when you have a deep understanding for what they’re doing, then you can make your own. It’s just like cooking. Like once I know what like putting ginger and garlic does and turmeric and cumin, like that’s for something that’s not like an Italian soup, that’s for a curry or something. It’s this. It’s the same way with photography. And I just think a cooking analogy is nice because we all have a relationship with food in some way, whether we cook or not. So we all kind of understand the kitchen and the oven and the stovetop.
[00:12:04] Lisa DiGeso So I love it. I grew up in a family where we didn’t. We, my parents don’t follow recipes. My dad like they will. They are so creative in the kitchen and they can make a meal literally out of anything. And so I kind of grew up with having this no fear in the kitchen, which is funny because when it comes to pulling up an image in Photoshop, I get the fear comes up and I am trying to approach it in the same way I would approach making something in the kitchen. Like the worst case scenario is I’m going to make a really bad salmon curry and I’m going to throw it in the garbage and I’m going to order pizza. Like that’s like the worst thing. So I have to remind myself to not take it so seriously and to remember to enjoy it and play right.
[00:12:46] D’Ann Boal Because art and there’s the other is so much freedom. And I, I learned that same lesson when we moved to the Caribbean. There would often be weeks where there wouldn’t. They were there were so many months of this where there would the boats would go on strike that would deliver food to the islands. There would be whole weeks where there was no new food and the grocery stores would have like a soggy eggplant. That was all that would be in produce. I took pictures like there would be an eggplant in the product section and like, no milk. And I’m like trying to raise a kid. And I loved to cook at this point. And I was from Boulder, Colorado, like a natural organic hippie town and used to my, you know, like organic food. And so I learned to make do with an eggplant. And and that was really where I was able to apply some freedom with cooking. This is not a cooking show, but.
[00:13:36] Lisa DiGeso I know, right, it’s art and soul.
[00:13:40] D’Ann Boal But they apply. Totally they apply.
[00:13:42] D’Ann Boal So if we take that back to photography, I love so I used to use like recipes, like what other photographers would do and what I’d see them doing and buy presets and actions from them. And then as I’ve evolved, I really like to do my own homemade edits. I don’t like to buy actions or presets or or overlays from others. I really like to make and create my own. So it’s a completely homemade image.
[00:14:06] Lisa DiGeso We’re cut from the same cloth and the same. Yeah, shooting my own skies. Like I’m just like, Yeah.
[00:14:10] D’Ann Boal Oh, totally.
[00:14:11] Lisa DiGeso Right. Like, yeah, there’s just something when it when it feels homemade and even like, I don’t know if you’ve played it at all with the AI that’s happening and seen that in the industry. But it’s really, it’s interesting, like there’s a lot of different views on it, but I have done some playing with it and I’m like, I could see how this could be a part of a recipe, but not like the whole ingredient. Like what if you just like little pieces and then made your art on top of that?
[00:14:36] D’Ann Boal Gosh, I you and I feel like we could talk about this for the rest of the time. I am so I am so not even torn. I feel like I. I wish I was more torn about AI. I feel so resistant to it. I feel like my husband was telling me about it. He was writing a newsletter for his vet practice and he wanted it’s like heartworm time. So, you know, and pets are needing to get heartworm. And he he was like, I should write, I’m going to write an article on heartworm prevention. And he went into chatGPT.
[00:15:09] D’Ann Boal And he was like, write me a 300 page article on heartworm prevention. And it did in 30 seconds. And then he said, Now make it and make it a little funny. And it made it a little funny. And he said, Now make it in the Hunter Hunter Thompson style and make it old English. And in 5 seconds it came up with this. And so he he actually wrote a newsletter about what does this mean for all of the industries. But as he was telling me about this, I just felt like, what a blow. Like, what is going to happen to photography and why even look for pretty like why a field of flowers in back light isn’t going to mean as much because anyone can just sit on their computer and type in a few words and something more beautiful could come up. So I don’t know what’s going to happen, especially with the photography industry.
[00:15:56] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I find it’s really fascinating because I can see it really going either way. Like it’s like either you adapt and you adopt, but like, what does that do to creativity?
[00:16:08] D’Ann Boal I know.
[00:16:09] Lisa DiGeso And that’s like I have so many I have so many questions around it and even like. I’ve used ChatGPT, and I’m curious about it. Right. But I’m like, I think this would be a great tool used as a like a base. And then you build and you add your own story and your personal experiences and your own heart and like like like you would do in photography. Like, I don’t think you can AI your heart.
[00:16:33] D’Ann Boal Totally and you can’t AI moments. And that is something that does give me some reassurance. You can’t fake a moment. You can’t create that. So I just feel like it’s going it’s going to go so fast and I feel like it needs some incubation time to make sure it’s safe and for kids and school and writing papers and stuff I was a lit major. So yeah, think about all the papers I wrote that can now just be written.
[00:17:00] Lisa DiGeso Just like, like 30 seconds. I know. It’s just it’s mind boggling. And even though I hope it’s like, kind of like Bitcoin, like I don’t really hear anything about Bitcoin now. I don’t know if it’s a thing, so I don’t know if you guys are listeners or like Bitcoin people and like, I don’t know. No one talks about Bitcoin, so I’m hoping that maybe it’s just like Bitcoin.
[00:17:20] D’Ann Boal I know, I hope it is too, but I don’t think it is, Lisa.
[00:17:22] Lisa DiGeso I don’t know. I really don’t. I hope it’s not how computers take over the world.
[00:17:26] D’Ann Boal I think it’s an exponential. I think it’s gonna it’s something that’s really right.
[00:17:32] Lisa DiGeso And even just even being able to tell like what’s original, what is original, what’s originality like Because you put a a prompt into AI software. Does that mean it’s original? Who owns the the content?
[00:17:43] D’Ann Boal Right. Totally. And then when you’re reading a book, how do you know that the author didn’t write it from chatGPT? And maybe it’s a great bestseller, but yeah, it’s crazy.
[00:17:56] Lisa DiGeso I don’t know. There’s like an emptiness to it, right? Like, I don’t know.
[00:17:59] Lisa DiGeso I know.
[00:18:00] Lisa DiGeso It’ll be interesting.
[00:18:01] D’Ann Boal I know.
[00:18:01] Lisa DiGeso Well, we went on a tangent there. I love it.
[00:18:03] D’Ann Boal I know. Sorry.
[00:18:05] Lisa DiGeso I know. One of the first videos I watched from your course was one of your daughter in a boat at Sunrise. Now, can you share a little bit on the importance of personal projects, especially when it comes to our creativity?
[00:18:18] D’Ann Boal Yes. So I first of all, I’m just so thankful that my daughter is willing and happy to be my muse and my son will too. My work is just very feminine, so it’s often lands on my daughter. But I, I love when I have an idea that is kind of pushing out of my comfort zone or something that like an image that I want to create to print that can serve as a reminder for where I want to go or what I want more of in my life and making that image happen. And I feel like the most growth that has happened with me has come from personal projects where I have challenged myself to do something on my own that is outside of a client’s expectations. That’s just one image, and it’s so nice to also just shoot one for one image. Sometimes, though I don’t know if I answered your question very well, but but I rely on personal projects to push me creatively and to also remind me of where I want to be and what my priorities are.
[00:19:23] Lisa DiGeso I love that for me, personal projects, I get overwhelmed and I get almost like on this hamster wheel of busy, busy, busy, busy, busy. And I start to get sad. And it’s not that I suffer from depression per se, it’s just that I feel, I guess, creative stagnation and that really is not a good place for me to be in. And so this past year I started doing personal projects where I am photographing myself. And part of the reason that came was because every time I would do a model call and do a personal project, I would take forever to edit and it would make me feel bad like I was. Now they’re waiting for me and that now it’s no longer for me, it’s now for them. And that wasn’t the purpose of doing the personal project in the first place. And now everything feels crappy because now I feel like I owe them, like I owe my clients. And it’s creativity on demand, not because I’m creating from my heart.
[00:20:19] D’Ann Boal Which was the reason you wanted to do it. Yeah.
[00:20:22] Lisa DiGeso So when I made myself the model, it’s been really transformative on just like it can be a month or two and I haven’t done one. And I’m like, You know what? I’m going to go down and I’m going to make a piece of art today and I’m the subject and I might not edit it for two months and that’s fine. But I think that it’s so important that we remember to create for ourselves.
[00:20:42] D’Ann Boal Oh my gosh, it’s everything. And I think also is the Lindsey Adler, the keynote speaker at Click Away last year. And one of the one of the brilliant things that I loved that she said was that she used for a long time. I don’t know if she still does, but Sundays as her personal project day. And she would just kind of research and think about it throughout the week, plan ahead of time, and then she’d get a shot that she wanted to shoot like on Sundays. And I have I’m not that disciplined with it. Because I like you. I like so many forks in the fire. Yeah, so many things. And sometimes I really need to honor just like that. It’s Sunday, and I need to rest. But that has those personal projects. I just love them. They help me, they push me, they help me try new lighting. They help me try all kinds of new things. And I can I feel like I can speak from my heart, especially when it’s like a self-portrait or if it’s with one of my family members. It’s really can be heart centered.
[00:21:39] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I love that. Well, you did a really neat one with your I think it was your mom and your daughter and the knitting and the pups. And that was such a cool one. You and you shared that in me in the course as well.
[00:21:50] D’Ann Boal In my that Yeah. We were all sitting there knitting and my mom was like, I love a picture of three generations knitting. And I was like, Well, I can make that happen.
[00:22:00] Lisa DiGeso You’re like, I know the girl to do that.
[00:22:02] D’Ann Boal Yeah, let’s let’s do this right now. Do you really want that? Are you sure? Because now you’re getting it.
[00:22:08] Lisa DiGeso I know, right?
[00:22:09] Lisa DiGeso It was funny because you have the the. Is that right? I actually bought that because I did you my self-portrait. Because I saw you use that. And I was like, Woo, I need this. This is like waiving, changing back and forth like huge game user. Yeah. So thanks for sharing that because it helped me so much.
[00:22:25] D’Ann Boal Yeah. Now you can just like dial everything in and then on.
[00:22:28] D’Ann Boal Your.
[00:22:29] D’Ann Boal Phone and your phone and then you can stuff your phone in your pocket or just pop it on a chair nearby and you can change the white balance, You can change all the settings and then you can have it go to a timer. My Nikon gear will only let me take ten frames when I’m using the timer, but this will let you take a 100 and I mean as many as you want. I’ll do ten because I don’t like to cull that many, but. Or maybe sometimes I’ll do 15, but then you can tell it how long you want them apart. It’s amazing.
[00:22:57] Lisa DiGeso I love it. I love it. You’re Nikon too.
[00:22:59] D’Ann Boal Yeah.
[00:23:00] D’Ann Boal You are. What do you have?
[00:23:02] Lisa DiGeso I got the Zed seven two. And it’s funny because I was shooting I, I’ve been shooting the D oh gosh the D five mm. For like eons and Yeah. So I bought this the z72 and I am such a slow adopter of mirrorless like it is a huge adjustment for me. Like I.
[00:23:24] D’Ann Boal Yeah. The size alone is, is a lot different. Right. I have the Z nine which is the same I.
[00:23:32] Lisa DiGeso Had, I bought the battery grips. so it felt bigger. Yeah.
[00:23:35] D’Ann Boal Right.
[00:23:35] D’Ann Boal Well if you wanna lose a lot of money from your wallet the Z nine is, it’s kind of their, it’s their flagship right now and it’s as big as like the D it’s this big is the D five and it kind of looks like it has a battery pack but it doesn’t in the batteries giant But it’s incredible. I love it. I’ve never loved a camera so much.
[00:23:58] Lisa DiGeso I love it. Well, it’s been about three years since I upgraded so.
[00:24:00] D’Ann Boal Might be you need some pro photo gear.
[00:24:05] Lisa DiGeso Z nine. Sponsorship. No, just kidding. Totally kidding.
[00:24:12] D’Ann Boal No, but totally. Yeah, right.
[00:24:14] D’Ann Boal You’re like, No, I’m not kidding.
[00:24:16] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, that would be nice. I love it. So can you maybe share your advice for someone who really is just kind of feeling uninspired, stuck, and just in the monotony of their business? And maybe how you can extract yourself from exhaustion and burnout to get back to creativity.
[00:24:33] D’Ann Boal That’s a good one. So this would be for like, for the business owner, right? This question?
[00:24:38] Lisa DiGeso Yeah.
[00:24:39] D’Ann Boal The best piece of advice that I have is to give is something that was really hard for me, is saying, no, I only do two sessions a week now. I used to do like 10 to 15 in the summer and fall. I also take July and August off because I want to be with my kids. I can’t take June off because it’s just too pretty. And, you know, and I feel like I need another pretty month too, because Colorado can be so brown and gray. So I do shoot through June, but take less work. Yeah, and I know that’s really hard, but your art will be so much better and you will be so much better of a human being. I am like, never stressed any more because I just do two shoots a week and I can totally manage that, plus teaching, plus my kids, plus having friends and like going to sleep early, which I like to do, you know? I can. Yeah, I can manage to clients week If I didn’t have children and I wasn’t teaching, then I could do 10 to 12 clients week. But if you have other forks in the fire and you’re wanting to grow in other areas, just do less. I feel like we push ourselves and we grind and we’re so scared of saying no to people and we just say yes to everything. Even the things that don’t necessarily spark joy. We find ourselves saying yes. We’re like, Why did I say yes to that? I didn’t even want to do that. But when you do less and you just say yes to the things that really spark joy in your heart. Every everything about your life is better. And you’re I’m so much more inspired. I’m constantly inspired. And I haven’t had a drought in a long time. And I know I’m sure one is coming, but I think it’s because I have room in my life to breathe and I’m not over packing my schedule.
[00:26:20] Lisa DiGeso It’s so true for me. I realized that when the pandemic hit and I was still shooting probably 10 to 12 clients, maybe 20 clients a month was what I was averaging and running two companies. And I was so burnt out that when when I finally had to like just slam and hit the wall and then start a startup again, I was like, I don’t know if this is what I want anymore. And it finally gave that space just to have that reflection of going, okay, well, I really do have the opportunity to design the business and life that I want. So we got one shot here on this earth. Am I living it the way I want to be?
[00:26:57] D’Ann Boal Absolutely. I think COVID was such a time for people to reassess and reprioritize. And also just to it’s like when you remove sugar from your diet for a while and then you reintroduce that and it’s like kind of shocking how much how much it affects you. I think that happened with all of us with just kind of unplugging and then realizing that we have a choice about what we say yes to and how much that can really, like you said, impact designing the life that you love and how we can all be obsessed with our lives if we want. We can love our lives. And I think it really is about saying no a lot more than we are trained to do.
[00:27:37] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, what I found this past fall was actually the first of all, I didn’t do any fall family sessions and normally I’m shooting like 2 to 3 every night. And so my, my, I don’t cook dinner. My family doesn’t see me. And so this past year, like, my son and my husband were like, well, well-fed. I think we will gained 10 lbs.
[00:28:10] D’Ann Boal Right. It’s fascinating that we will we will let down our inner circle to say yes and to not let down people that we don’t even know. I don’t know what that is about our culture. And I think it’s it’s hard to turn down money. And there’s I think there’s this whole model of scarcity versus abundance. But once you just, like, lean into abundance and you prioritize and you even, like, take pictures of and hang them up of what your priorities are, you write them down and you say yes to those things. It changes your life. I wish I had known that sooner because I said yes to everything when my kids were little and I grew my business and I made a ton of money and I missed a lot of nights with them. And I was stressed, like so stressed. I look back and I’m like, Oh my gosh, life is so peaceful now. And I’m like a fun, nice mom. I don’t think my kids even realize I have a job and I, I work really hard and I create a lot of content, but I’m not stressed doing it.
[00:29:10] Lisa DiGeso I’m I’ve had the exact same journey and it’s just been like I want to say like, I don’t want to say regret, but I do have regret. Like, I feel like I, I don’t know if it’s mother’s guilt or like regret or that I didn’t realize how finite the time that we have with our children is in the moment. And I think like because I was working so hard and just trying to like, be the best photographer and like. And I really achieved a lot of goals and money that I wanted. But there was a cost and I didn’t see it at the time.
[00:29:42] D’Ann Boal And sometimes I do wonder, though, if instead that, you know, now I would I would go back and do things differently if I could. But now I can choose. I have clients that wait a year to book me and that pay four and five figures at every session. And that did come on the back of all that hard work and all those years that I put in. And so I think there is also value in that and value in our kids seeing that we have to sacrifice to work really hard and look what can happen pretty quickly when you do work pretty hard, like we still have kids to raise and we’ve prioritized it, you know. So I do wonder how much.
[00:30:21] Lisa DiGeso You created some business boundaries, which I think that, you know, you kind of have to go through it to realize it. It’s part of the journey.
[00:30:28] Lisa DiGeso Right?
[00:30:29] D’Ann Boal Right. And if you have boundaries, really strong boundaries at the beginning, you’re you might not build your business. You know, you kind of do have to stretch out and then you can scale back.
[00:30:40] Lisa DiGeso Gosh, good conversation. Okay. So I want to talk about Wacom tablets because I have two Wacom tablets, I have one display Wacom tablet and I still edit on my trackpad with.
[00:30:51] D’Ann Boal Oh girl.
[00:30:52] Lisa DiGeso So I’ve.
[00:30:53] Lisa DiGeso Never learned how to use them properly. So what advice do you have on learning how to use it? So I can. I can. I know. Actually. You know what? I’m lying. I have three of them out of the display.
[00:31:04] D’Ann Boal Okay. So in my it’s pretty small and here’s a pen and it has this, like, fancy fountain pen holder. So it’s like, feels like I’m the only difference between this and a mouse is that if you want to be here, I’ll show you. Like, if you want it to be up, can you see? Okay. Yep. So let’s say you’re this is your picture, this black. The tablet is your picture. And you want to be up here with your mouse. Well, with a mouse or you want to be up here with your cursor with a mouse, you can be up, up on the top of the screen wherever your mouse is. But with a pen, you can only be at the top when you’re pens on top. So it’s it’s like a drawing. It’s like a piece of paper. So if you want to be down here, there’s no dragging. You just draw down here. And if you want to be in the middle, you just touch the middle. And I think it takes 20 minutes of just only using your pen. Yeah. Like do emails and poke around and then you’ll get it.
[00:32:02] Lisa DiGeso Okay, this may sound like this is like the silliest question. Okay, So is the pen actually touching the pad or am I hovering over top of it?
[00:32:12] D’Ann Boal Touching it, touching it. You’re actually drawing on it and and it’ll get like mine. I probably need to put a new little nib in there because it it’ll wear down kind of like a pencil because you’re drawing so much and it comes with new little ones.
[00:32:26] Lisa DiGeso Because I think what’s happening is I’m taking mine and I’m actually hovering over top and my hand is getting sore because I’m just hovering like an extra like trying to click a pen on the pad. Yeah. Okay.
[00:32:39] D’Ann Boal Pro tip.
[00:32:43] D’Ann Boal You draw right on it.
[00:32:45] Lisa DiGeso Right on it. Okay. I think I’ve just been afraid to, like, scratch it or I don’t know if I. You buy another.
[00:32:50] D’Ann Boal You have.
[00:32:50] D’Ann Boal Enough.
[00:32:53] Lisa DiGeso And seriously.
[00:32:56] Lisa DiGeso I learning how to use that.
[00:32:57] D’Ann Boal Okay. Yeah. That makes a huge difference with editing. You can go so much more fine tuned. Yeah.
[00:33:02] Lisa DiGeso Right. I’m going to try it. So I think one of the most important things as a creative is maintaining the mindset of always being a learner and that there is always something new to learn. So I have to ask you, what are you interested in learning?
[00:33:17] D’Ann Boal Always late. I feel like there’s always more to learn with light and more advanced lighting setups, learning how to really like sculpt light and shape it and fine tune it. Let it like wrap around my subject. So I’m always learning light. And I think posing is something that I’m really focusing on a little bit more right now. I know, you know, I’ve been doing this for 12 years, but I think posing is something that I’m wanting to get a little more fine tuned with. So those are some things I’m learning right now. I love learning and pushing myself to grow. I think that is another thing that really keeps me inspired to keep creating is when I’m challenging myself. Otherwise it just gets boring.
[00:34:04] Lisa DiGeso I know right like I love just watching someone else edit something and going, Oh, that’s how they do it. Like I do it this way. But like, well, I want to try that. Like, how do they do that?
[00:34:15] D’Ann Boal I know I need to learn more editing. I need to watch more editing other people’s editing.
[00:34:20] Lisa DiGeso Oh.
[00:34:21] Lisa DiGeso I love editing. I love it. I have so many memberships. I have way too many.
[00:34:25] D’Ann Boal What do you besides.
[00:34:26] D’Ann Boal Adobe.
[00:34:28] Lisa DiGeso More for like educational memberships I like. So because we’ve got so many teachers at the Milky Way and like. Incredible. Artists. And I’m always like, I always just want to know how people do things. So I’ll just sign up for everybody’s stuff and happily give my money and support teachers and learn stuff.
[00:34:46] D’Ann Boal Yeah, you’re amazing. It’s it’s so important to keep learning even the basics.
[00:34:51] Lisa DiGeso Yes.
[00:34:52] Lisa DiGeso Because the basics even change, right? Like Lightroom is always coming out with new things, like the whole masking stuff, then, like. Yeah. Yeah. Like, that’s kind of where we first started.
[00:35:03] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I know it is.
[00:35:05] Lisa DiGeso Kind of AI.
[00:35:06] D’Ann Boal It finds the sky for you. Yeah. Or the subject’s eyes. I mean, it’s crazy. Yeah.
[00:35:13] Lisa DiGeso It is a little creepy, but I use it.
[00:35:15] D’Ann Boal I do too. I love it. There’s my line. There’s my AI line. I like what Lightroom is dishing out.
[00:35:22] Lisa DiGeso I love it.
[00:35:24] Lisa DiGeso Have you heard about their new one? Adobe Firefly. That’s coming out? It is. They’re coming up with their own AI. I’ve just signed up for the beta, so I’m curious because I’m so curious.
[00:35:34] D’Ann Boal Oh, where you can make images?
[00:35:37] Lisa DiGeso I don’t know. Like, it sounds like you can make images and text. And I’m like, very just very curious about that. And I got to know about it before I use it.
[00:35:46] D’Ann Boal Gosh you’re great. I love your. That is such a sign of a learner because I am so resistant to that. I’m just like, feel like old fashioned that I don’t. I’m just like, no, I don’t want AI.
[00:35:57] Lisa DiGeso I think just curious. And I’m like, how can I use this as a tool and not as something that has to be all? You know what I mean? Like, it’s kind of like when when film camera came and digital, like digital cameras came. Yeah. And it’s like, okay, well, these amazing digital cameras that we are now putting on auto. And I was like, Well, why wouldn’t you shoot manual, right?
[00:36:17] D’Ann Boal You don’t even need to know how to shoot to get that. Yeah, it is kind of like cheating.
[00:36:22] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, like, but don’t you want to know?
[00:36:25] Lisa DiGeso Like.
[00:36:26] Lisa DiGeso I want to know. So.
[00:36:28] D’Ann Boal Yeah. Okay. All right. I’m going to. I’m going to follow your AI journey and yeah.
[00:36:33] Lisa DiGeso Delved into it a little bit. You know, the tip for tip toe. Anyway, so you ready for a lightning round?
[00:36:39] D’Ann Boal Sure.
[00:36:40] Lisa DiGeso Okay. Oceans or mountains? And why.
[00:36:43] D’Ann Boal Mountains because I love the seasons too much. Although I’m a mermaid heart. And I love to swim. But I to live. I’m going to say mountains.
[00:36:52] Lisa DiGeso What was your favorite TV show as a kid?
[00:36:54] D’Ann Boal I didn’t really watch TV as a kid, but I loved the Disney movie The Little Mermaid. My sister and I had a summer where we watched that movie every single day and memorized every word of that entire movie. We could recite the movie like on a car ride.
[00:37:11] Lisa DiGeso I love that my sisters and I were like that. With Grease, we can still laugh. We still know all the words.
[00:37:17] D’Ann Boal Now that’s long term memory right there.
[00:37:20] Lisa DiGeso Right. Last thing you did for yourself as an indulgence.
[00:37:24] D’Ann Boal Went to Paris. That was indulgent.
[00:37:28] Lisa DiGeso What did you want to be when you grew up?
[00:37:30] D’Ann Boal A teacher.
[00:37:31] Lisa DiGeso Do you have any personal projects going on right now? And if you can share. What is it?
[00:37:36] D’Ann Boal I mean, I’m always working on, like, a personal flower through the Seasons project. I need to work on my project with my son. I have a measuring his height and hugs project that I do, and I need to update that because he’s now taller than me. I guess those two those two are top of mind right now.
[00:37:56] Lisa DiGeso Favorite Guilty or not so guilty pleasure.
[00:37:59] D’Ann Boal Dark chocolate. Yeah.
[00:38:02] D’Ann Boal And a glass of wine while I’m cooking dinner.
[00:38:05] Lisa DiGeso Nice. Next question. What’s for dinner tonight?
[00:38:09] D’Ann Boal What’s for dinner tonight? Oh, you know what? I’m going to make those fajitas. I think his name is actually on Instagram. David Prescott. Oh, I’ll get back to you on his name. He’s this amazing chef. And he made these pan fajitas where he put everything all in the pan like veggies, and he used chicken. I’m a vegetarian, but he put chicken and then like, paprika and all these spices and lime zest and lime and then put it in the oven and roasted it, and then came out and put like the cheese sauce and stuff, and then just scooped it up and put it in tortilla. That’s what I’m gonna make for dinner tonight.
[00:38:43] Lisa DiGeso Nice. I love it. We’re making beef stroganoff.
[00:38:47] D’Ann Boal Oh, yum. That’s good. That’s comforting.
[00:38:50] Lisa DiGeso Comfort food. What is something you’ve accomplished as an adult that your younger self would be proud of?
[00:38:57] D’Ann Boal Oh, that’s a really nice question. My family, the safe house that I live in, My sweet husband. Just this life. The safe, trauma free. There’s lots of traumas in life, but this, like, this safe home. I’m so proud of that.
[00:39:13] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Where do you feel most authentically yourself?
[00:39:18] D’Ann Boal In the water when I’m swimming.
[00:39:20] Lisa DiGeso What would your dream shoot be?
[00:39:23] D’Ann Boal You know, I feel like I get to do my dream shoots all the time, just under a big sky with beautiful light or even in my studio. And I’m creating beautiful light with flowers, flowers, sky light. Those are the ingredients for my perfect shoot. And then throw in a subject that I love. And that’s it.
[00:39:42] Lisa DiGeso What has been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given?
[00:39:46] D’Ann Boal It came from one of my dearest friends. She’s a just a sister to me. She’s a photographer. We met at a workshop many, many years ago and she runs an incredible business. And she told me to value myself from the beginning. And that just became just imprinted in every single thing that I did for my business. And it has just shaped my whole career.
[00:40:12] Lisa DiGeso What advice do you have for someone who is just starting out?
[00:40:16] D’Ann Boal You know, make sure you have your priorities set and your heart and keep them at the forefront of every single thing that you say yes to.
[00:40:26] Lisa DiGeso So where can I listeners learn more from you?
[00:40:29] D’Ann Boal I announce everything on my Instagram. Smitten and swoon. So any upcoming classes I have there. I have several things coming up. I have the classes you mentioned right now. It’s called For the Love of Light, and it’s a video based and there’s 18 videos I show behind the scenes and edits of 15 images. I have a farm in fairy tale workshop that I it’s it’s sold out. It’s in my backyard. And it’s going to be in August and September. I did two of them because there’s so many people interested, which was amazing. So I’ll probably do that again next year. And I have a business workshop actually coming out in a few weeks through click photo school as well. It’s called The Art of Abundance, and it’s business strategies for the boutique photographer. So lots coming up. I’m going to click away. Teaching there.
[00:41:23] Lisa DiGeso I love that. So I love to end my interviews just with this last question. And it is what are you currently curious about or artistically curious about?
[00:41:33] D’Ann Boal Oh that’s a good question. I wasn’t prepared for this one. I think what I said before, what I’m trying to learn right now is just more advanced lighting, just like really honing in on the fine tuned details of how to shape light and how to how to really sculpt with light in a more fine tuned way. That is something that I’m really curious about lately and I’m trying to really pay attention to.
[00:41:55] Lisa DiGeso Well, Dan’Ann, thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:41:57] D’Ann Boal Thanks, Lisa. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:42:02] Lisa DiGeso Oh, my beautiful friends, I hope you love this conversation just as much as I did. I am sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. We’ll see you next time. Thank you so much for listening to the Art and Soul show. If you’re the kind of person that likes helping others, please share this podcast with your photographer friends. Sharing is caring, and it’s our mission to help as many photographers create a business and life they are truly passionate about. I’m here to support you on your journey, and if you have any questions, topics, or guests you would love to hear from, please shoot me a note at lisa@theMilkyWay.ca. And we may even feature your question in an upcoming episode.
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