Play, Prompts, and Passion: How Liz Devinny Creates Playful Photography Masterpieces

For Liz Devinny, photography isn’t her only interest. In fact, her passion for art and education (she’s a middle school and high school teacher!) led her into her photography career. Along the way, she’s developed her own playful, bright style by experimenting with color and using her teaching experiences to set all of the family members at her photo shoots at ease.

In this episode, Liz shares how she got started in photography, how she created her signature style and encourages her students to do the same, and how she gets older children to open up and feel more comfortable at her photo sessions.

Later in the episode, Liz and Lisa brainstorm some brilliant ideas to get dads more involved and interested when it comes to family photos as well!

If you’re looking to add more ease and fun into your family photography sessions,  you can’t miss this episode. Let’s dive in!

What’s in this episode:

  • [02:57] Liz introduces herself and her passions, including education, art, and photography
  • [05:09] How Liz helps her students develop their own signature style through experimentation and exploration
  • [09:20] The techniques Liz uses to help her clients loosen up so she can catch relaxed, fun feelings on camera
  • [14:48] Liz’s advice for how photographs can avoid and recover from burnout
  • [20:13] How to set boundaries for a photographer – and why you really need them
  • [24:22] Liz’s advice for getting older children to feel more comfortable and participate in photoshoots
  • [33:13] Details on Liz’s upcoming workshop in Ireland and how you can plan your own international workshops

Tune in to this episode to learn how Liz Devinny fosters a playful atmosphere at every photo session!

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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. 

Meet Liz Devinny

Liz DeVinny is a Photography Educator, Lifestyle Portrait Photographer, and Lightroom Preset Creator located in Northern California. She directs and advises the Digital Media and Yearbook programs at Eagle Peak Middle School in Redwood Valley, CA. She was the California League of Middle Schools Educator of the Year in 2020 and runs a Jostens Program of Excellence, while her students have been featured in multiple Jostens Look Books and have been award winners in multiple categories of the Jostens Photo Contest, including a grand prize winner. Her work has been featured in multiple publications and she has been chosen as a leader for the Bold, Emotional, Colorful Photography Platform as well as accepted as a Click Pro Elite and All Heart Access Top 100 photographer of the year. Outside of photography, she is most at home when traveling, spending time with her two little boys, and drinking epic amounts of coffee.

Connect with Liz

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Did this episode with Liz Devinny inspire you to up your game when it comes to engaging clients of all ages at your photo sessions? Check out this episode In the Wild: Adventure Family Photography with Rebecca Lueck that shares how another photographer started their career!


[00:00:00] Liz Devinny: I really ended up like straying more towards the, like the bold colors and it felt like a rich, warm hug. I don’t know if I’m better to scream it other than that. And I was like, Oh, this is what I love. And I love being able to capture more natural, candid moments, not having to feel too posed. It feels like art.

[00:00:19] And then as I was starting to edit and that idea of painting with light and coming in with my brushes and making it more like a piece of art, that really spoke to my art background. And so I feel like that was kind of how my style developed. And then working with other professional photographers and teaching them, I really want everybody to find their own unique style the same way that I was kind of able to.

[00:00:44] And so. Talking with people. I’m like, I don’t want you to edit just like me, you know, I don’t need 50 Liz Devinnys running around I want you to be the best version of you that you can be so If I can help you find that whatever it is, then I want to be able to help you find it.[00:01:00] 

[00:01:03] 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.

[00:01:25] 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 And inspiration to pick up your camera.

[00:01:44] This is the art and soul show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the Art and Soul show. I’m super excited to dive into today’s conversation with Liz Devinny. Liz is a photographer, educator, lifestyle portrait photographer, and Lightroom preset [00:02:00] creator located in Northern California. She directs and advises the Digital media and yearbook programs at Eagle Peak Middle School in Redwood Valley.

[00:02:08] She was the California League of Middle School Educator of the Year in 2020 and runs a Jostens program of excellence where her students have been featured in multiple Jostens lookbook and have been awarded winners in multiple categories of the photo contest, including a grand prize winner. Now her work has been featured in multiple publications and she’s been a chosen.

[00:02:28] As a leader for the bold, emotional, colorful photography platform, as well as accepted as a click pro elite and all heart access top 100 photographer of the year. Now, outside of photography, she is most at home when traveling, spending time with her two little boys and drinking epic amounts of coffee. So without further ado, here’s Liz.

[00:02:49] Welcome. Thank you. It’s good to be here. So beyond that, tell us who you are and what you’re super passionate about. 

[00:02:57] Liz Devinny: Well, gosh, I am super [00:03:00] passionate about just photography in general. I love it. I could talk about it all day, every day. And I do with my students. I love it. I love being able to talk with them about literally everything from the beginning steps to editing.

[00:03:14] I love being able to talk about photography with students. photographers that are in their professional walk of life that are wanting to get better. I love to create beautiful art. So anytime I see pretty light or am able to style something and capture beautiful connection and you know, just like those moments that we all want to remember forever, it just lights up my heart.

[00:03:34] I love that. 

[00:03:34] Lisa DiGeso: So share a little bit of your photographer journey. How did you find yourself in the photography world? 

[00:03:40] Liz Devinny: Well, actually, I mean, so my college degree is in art, so I really started in painting and drawing. And that was where I thought, you know, that was the be all end all for me. And then as I continued along that journey, I got my first job as a teacher and they needed photography and yearbook.

[00:03:58] And so I [00:04:00] started teaching it to students and then found, I actually really love this. And then when I had my own two kids, that was when it really took off for me because I wanted to be able to capture them. And I was like, Oh, this is just a whole new thing. 

[00:04:13] Lisa DiGeso: Oh, I love that. So when moving into the education, it’s, you know, it’s funny because we all have this imposter syndrome thinking that there’s going to be someone that swoops down and bops us on the head and said, guess what?

[00:04:23] You’re ready to be an educator. Yeah. But that is actually not the case at all. So can you share like about your journey going into the education side and how that seemed maybe a natural fit for you since you already are an educator? Yeah, 

[00:04:35] Liz Devinny: you know, I feel like I have always been passionate about education first, actually, art and education.

[00:04:42] It’s always been. I’ve been teaching for 15 years, middle school and high school students, and I love it. I love, you know, like being able to help people find. The things they’re passionate about and developing that within them. And so being able to do that with middle and high school students, it seemed pretty natural that once I had figured [00:05:00] out my own business and my own style of photography and my own journey as a professional photographer that I would, you know, Want to help mentor other professional photographers as well.

[00:05:09] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. Now, I can always pick your work out immediately when I see it pop up in my feed. So can you share maybe your journey on discovering your own distinctive style and maybe how you help your students uncover this too? 

[00:05:21] Liz Devinny: Yeah, you know, it’s funny. I, when I started, I, I just kept looking at all these beautiful images on Instagram and I, and I would see a lot of desaturated greens and a lot of, You know, those like orange golden tones.

[00:05:32] And when I first started editing, I was trying to emulate that really. And I was like, I just, it just doesn’t feel like me when I was editing. And so I really ended up like straying more towards the bold colors and it felt Like a rich, warm hug. I don’t know how to better describe it other than that. And I was like, Oh, this is what I love.

[00:05:54] And I love being able to capture more natural, candid moments, not having to feel too posed. [00:06:00] It feels like art. And then, you know, as I was starting to edit and that idea of painting with light and coming in with You know, my brushes and making it more like a piece of art that really spoke to my art background.

[00:06:13] And so I feel like that was kind of how my style developed. 

[00:06:17] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. 

[00:06:18] Liz Devinny: And then, you know, working with other, you know, professional photographers and teaching them, I really want everybody to find their own unique style the same way that I was kind of able to. And so. You know, in talking with people, I’m like, you know, I don’t want you to edit just like me.

[00:06:33] You know, I don’t need 50 Liz Devinnys running around. I want you to be the best version of you that you can be. So if I can help you find that, whatever it is, then, you know, I want to be able to help you find it. 

[00:06:45] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. And you know, what’s funny is like, I’ve been at this game for like 15 years as a photographer.

[00:06:50] And a few years ago, I really got And I was like, I don’t have a style. I don’t know what my style is. And then I looked at all my work and I was [00:07:00] like, Oh my gosh, I do have a style. And it’s funny because I like to look at the world through rose colored glasses and my work tends to have a little bit of a pinky purple tint to it.

[00:07:11] Oh, that’s cool. And I was like. I do have a style after all.

[00:07:20] I didn’t notice, someone else actually, one of my clients pointed that out. And I was like, oh my gosh, thank you. I do have a style. 

[00:07:26] Liz Devinny: We’re fine. Yeah, I do. I mean, and I look at my stuff when you put it all together and I’m like, oh, yeah. It all does look like it comes from me, you know. It’s funny how that works out and I’ll look at other people’s and just kind of jump back and forth between Instagram profiles looking at grids and be like, yeah, people have this, you know, and their own unique thing.

[00:07:49] And it’s super cool to see how that 

[00:07:50] Lisa DiGeso: plays out. Yeah, I love it. So let’s talk a little bit about imposter syndrome. I know that’s something you cover with your own students in your fearless program. So can you maybe [00:08:00] share what to do when fear really feels paralyzing? Bye. 

[00:08:02] Liz Devinny: You know, I think it always kind of comes back to recognizing who you are and what your own talents really are, you know, I think we can look at other people and be like, you know, Oh my gosh, this person really has it together or Oh, this this style is what I really want, or they seem like they know what they’re doing.

[00:08:21] And in reality, they may. And I think it all all comes back to you. what we’re able to see within ourselves. When I was first starting as an educator 15 years ago, one of my employers had me do the strengths finder thing and, and looking through it and doing the strengths finder and recognizing what my top five strengths are, I think really helps me come back to when I’m feeling that imposter syndrome or I’m feeling fear being like, No, no, like the things that make me who I am are these kinds of things that I can value, right?

[00:08:53] I’m special because I have these things that that make me that way and I can come back to that and say no no [00:09:00] The truth is that I am enough. I am special in these ways, right? And we’re each unique and different. And so if we can always have something that we come back to, to remind ourselves of that, I think that matters a lot when you’re feeling like you’re overcome with imposter syndrome or like you’re not measuring up.

[00:09:20] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. And I think, you know, it’s so easy to get in your head, especially when you’re looking at social media and you’re starting to compare what you see on the back of your camera to what you’re seeing as someone who’s polished work on, in a feed. And it really, cause that’s something that I, it was a game I used to like to play with myself.

[00:09:35] I would look at my camera and like, well, it doesn’t look like so and so. So why should I even bother trying? Like, because you’re giving me apples and oranges, you goof. Like what are you doing? Totally. Totally. Totally. So silly. So the first thing I notice in your work is there’s so much movement, joy, and play infused in it.

[00:09:55] And I know that so many photographers are really terrified of working in that way because they don’t really know where to [00:10:00] start. And we hear that clients are really stiff and they’re really posed. So how do you work with your own clients to make sure that you’re achieving that look and style that is really so indicative of your work?

[00:10:10] Liz Devinny: You know, I think and again, I think people get in their heads about it being something more than it is. You know, I, I literally, when I have a family and I take them to, you know, I already know it’s going to be beautiful no matter what I do because I’ve worked with them on styling. We picked a location, right?

[00:10:27] We show up and I’m like, anything else that happens, I can just deal with it as it comes. And it doesn’t always work out perfectly. And you know, with posing, it’s more like I will put my clients into a shape. Right. And I’ll look at their outfits and I’ll be like, okay, I’m going to have this person stand next to this person.

[00:10:45] Right. And I’m going to start with this kind of a shape where I like the, the way that it looks right. And once they’re standing where I want them to stand, then I back up and I just start prompting. And I think it’s important right off the bat for me [00:11:00] to remember everyone’s name. I think people, They love to be called by name.

[00:11:05] They love to be engaged personally, right? And so when I show up, even if it’s a family with eight people, I’ve learned their names within the first two minutes because I want to be able to stand back and prompt them by saying things like, okay, you know, sweet girl using her name. I want you to, you know, look at daddy.

[00:11:26] I want you to give daddy a kiss. Right? And then while I’ve given her that prompt. I can look at two other kids and say, okay, now I’m going to have you guys have a staring contest. Let’s see who laughs first, you know, something like that. Or, oh, I’m going to have you snuggle with mom. Can you give mom the biggest leg hug ever?

[00:11:44] And if you don’t know their names, then a lot of times they don’t know who you’re talking to and that can trip you up. You know, or if you’re having to like walk in and tap them and be like, okay, I’m going to have you do this now, you know, but if I can stand back and be [00:12:00] like, you do this and you do this and you do this, then I can give them things to do and those actions really prompt.

[00:12:06] Connection and they prompt emotion and when somebody has something to do They don’t feel as awkward in front of the camera. And so then they’re having these natural connective moments. They’re laughing They’re interacting. They’re not worried about what do I what am I doing with my hands? 

[00:12:23] Lisa DiGeso: I love that.

[00:12:24] One of my favorites is I send kids on scavenger hunts and i’m like go find yellow flowers go find me A green rock like just random things and it’s so funny Like it’s either i’m getting the great Photos of them interacting together, like trying to find it or. It’s like I’ve just given them something to do while I’m working on something else.

[00:12:43] So 

[00:12:43] Liz Devinny: totally, 

[00:12:45] Lisa DiGeso: I mean, 

[00:12:46] Liz Devinny: the kid, they need something to do. Dad needs to know what to do with his hands. You know, if I’m like lift the baby up into the air, bring him down and give him a kiss on the nose. Dad knows exactly what to do. I haven’t given him a moment to question me or [00:13:00] to feel awkward or to like me.

[00:13:02] You know, look at his wife like, Oh my God, I have to do this right now. It’s like, no, it’s, it’s an obvious thing to do. And so then they’re able to have fun and relax and everybody is, it just works out so nicely. 

[00:13:13] Lisa DiGeso: I love that you mentioned hands because that’s like literally the number one question we get is like, what do I do with my hands?

[00:13:19] And it’s like, but hands are so important. Like they are right there. Like you don’t realize until you look at an image. With the hands, like either they’re, if they’re clenched or like what they’re doing, or if like you’ve got a ghost hand somewhere or, or the teenage boys, 

[00:13:35] Liz Devinny: the teenage boys will stuff both their hands in their pockets.

[00:13:38] And then it looks like they don’t have any hands or there’s, you know, bulging pockets and things. And I’m like, that’s gotta give you something to do with your 

[00:13:46] Lisa DiGeso: hands. Oh my gosh. Well, the funniest too is like, is getting dads to like take everything out of their pockets. There was a Tik Tok I just saw. I don’t know.

[00:13:53] I wrote, don’t recall who did it, but it was the funniest thing. It was like almost like Mary Poppins bag of like 

[00:13:58] Liz Devinny: coming 

[00:13:59] Lisa DiGeso: out[00:14:00] 

[00:14:02] to make one of those, because that’s 

[00:14:04] Liz Devinny: the number one thing. And when I was a beginner, I used to forget it all the time. And I get halfway through the session and be like, Oh no, dad’s going to have a square pocket because I forgot to tell him to take out 

[00:14:13] Lisa DiGeso: his 

[00:14:14] Liz Devinny: phone. I think it would be really obvious. 

[00:14:16] Lisa DiGeso: Is doing a session with like, you know, those giant foam hands, but like, or tiny baby hands, like doing a session with those in there.

[00:14:23] Like, what do we do with our hands? You’re giving me great ideas. 

[00:14:28] Liz Devinny: I can write these down. Don’t think that would make a good laugh. The giant foam hands, foam fingers, right? What do we do with our hands?

[00:14:41] Like my middle school students would get a kick out of a tiny baby hands thing and do a TikTok about that. They would laugh. So hard. So good. 

[00:14:48] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. I love it. So let’s talk about photography and burnout because that is really, really, really big in our industry, taking on too many projects when we probably should be [00:15:00] saying no and just not filling our own cups.

[00:15:02] So do you have any advice on if you reach burnout, when you reach burnout, or just maintaining your boundaries so you avoid it? 

[00:15:10] Liz Devinny: Yeah. I mean, I am a people pleaser at heart. That is 100 percent me. I, I hate saying no. It’s really hard. And I feel like the longer I’ve done this, the more it’s come around to where I do feel more comfortable because I know realistically what I can handle.

[00:15:27] And I have so many inquiries that I have to, right? And so being comfortable with saying no is important. But also I think for a lot of us in general, burnout happens because we are so connected to our world in a way that we really never have been before with social media, with news, with our phones, with all of it.

[00:15:47] And I think often if you think about your circle of control, Right. The things that you can control and the things that are outside of your control. I think a lot of times for us, especially, you know, as women and as [00:16:00] parents, we tend to get focused on some of the things that are outside our control and worry and worry and worry.

[00:16:06] And, you know, I, I think I especially found myself doing that when it was, you know, 20, 20 year old at home, I did a lot, you know, and I had to come back to like the things that I can control. Yeah. Burnout happens when. those things, you know, I start to kind of let go of and I start worrying about the things that I can’t control.

[00:16:27] So when you think about things you can control, those are things like how much sleep you’re getting at night, right? Whether or not you’re exercising your body, whether or not you’re intentionally getting up in the morning and saying, Okay, I’m going to take time to do my gratitude journal, I’m going to take time to Do my hair, put on makeup, right?

[00:16:46] Attack the day, right? Plan out on my calendar, exactly how many clients I can handle per month and how long it takes me to edit a session, the types of sessions that I want to take on. Right. All of these [00:17:00] things that are inside my control and be really intentional with my time. That helps a lot with burnout.

[00:17:05] And then the things that are outside of our control, like. Things that are happening in the larger world, right? Things that, you know, on the news that might freak us out, right? Some of the things you can go down the rabbit hole spiral with, right? Intentionally letting those go. Intentionally limiting our time that we’re spending.

[00:17:24] On our phone scrolling, right? And leaning into the things that we can control and the things that are healthy for our own minds and our own boundaries really, really can help with that. And doing some creative projects that really stimulate you. That is a huge one for me. You know, I think I felt a little bit of that happening this winter when I was like, Oh, the reins.

[00:17:47] I’m not feeling super inspired by some of my sessions. And so I was like, I’m going to do a model call just for me. You know, I’m going to do something that just makes me feel creative and artistic and I don’t have to deliver something specific. [00:18:00] And that helps too. 

[00:18:01] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. It’s such a thing in our industry.

[00:18:04] And I think also, I don’t know, like I, like when I was first starting, it wasn’t so much with social media. I mean, Facebook was kind of just getting out out there. We just started having pages and so then Instagram and it just seems to be, I don’t want to say more competitive, but it almost feels like you’re trying to just always stay caught up.

[00:18:25] You know what I mean? Like it just feels like the wheel just gets faster and faster and faster. And if you don’t step on it, you’re going to. You’re going to be missed. You know what I mean? Like you’re going to miss, like you’re, you miss your opportunity and you miss your being seen or, and it’s just, it’s so funny cause that’s what I, that’s how I get and I really have to remind myself that, you know what, like if I don’t post, if I don’t do anything, it’s going to be fine.

[00:18:47] It’s going to be fine. No one’s actually going to notice. It’s going to be absolutely fine. But it’s really funny how we get in our own heads and it’s just this feeling of like, I have to do it. I have to do it. I have to do it. I have to do it. Right? And then for me, that’s what leads to burnout. It’s [00:19:00] like, instead of, it starts to be a have to, not a get to.

[00:19:04] Liz Devinny: Yeah. Totally. When I live my life, 

[00:19:05] Lisa DiGeso: when I get to do things, like that feels so fun and like free. But when it’s have to, it feels like just heavy and full of obligation and not very joyful. So it’s like, I love that. Thinking about, I get to. Get two and a half too, right? It’s just a mindset shift. It’s like I get to cook dinner tonight.

[00:19:26] It’s like, awesome, what do I get to cook? Or like, I have to cook dinner. Oh my god, what, I have to make these people meals again? Right? It’s like, they’re not going to like it, enjoy it, they’re just going to complain about it. You’re going to hide it in the garbage anyway. You’re like, no, what do I get to make them?

[00:19:40] Right? Like, is there a new recipe I want to try? Right? And if you approach things I just, it’s just a little mindset tweak. And for me, that’s made all the difference in the world. I love that. I’m totally going to 

[00:19:50] Liz Devinny: take that away from here. I get to post on social media today. I get to share this section that I loved working on, you know, 

[00:19:59] Lisa DiGeso: because then it just has [00:20:00] this different energy behind it.

[00:20:02] Liz Devinny: Totally. 

[00:20:02] Lisa DiGeso: Yep. So I love, actually, this leads to my next question. I love how you teach about having healthy boundaries with social media. So can you maybe share some advice on this? Oh, boundaries. You know, I think 

[00:20:13] Liz Devinny: again, you know, this is one thing where like I really believe in having being intentional with your time.

[00:20:20] Right. And planning it out. I feel like I have so many things to do all this time as we all do. Right. I’m like. My kids and their schedule. I still teach full time. You know, I’ve got my photography, you know, job. I’ve got the social media that goes along with the photography piece, right? And all the things.

[00:20:36] So I really have to be intentional. And I think with social media, there’s the algorithm really plays into what we are doing. Searching and what we go down the rabbit hole with and I think it’s important sometimes to just take a step back and look at what that exactly is, right? And to say, okay, here are the things that I want to be filling [00:21:00] into my brain and into my heart because those are the things that I’m, you know, when I’m spending my time on social media, that’s what it’s sending me.

[00:21:08] And so I’m really intentional about that. I also think that having just a set amount of time That you spend on it is really important, right? You know, I plan out in advance like whenever I have an idea i’m like, oh here’s my idea for this post that i’m gonna do and being intentional about i’m gonna spend half an hour engaging with people that are following me with people that are You know, part of my circle, I’m going to spend half an hour, you know, engaging with new people because that’s fun.

[00:21:38] And I’m going to, you know, enjoy finding new people that inspire me and make me feel more creative. And I’m going to save things that make me feel that way. And I think all of that feeds into the algorithm too. And it’s recognizing what I’m looking at and it sends me that. So it keeps it into a more healthy place for me.

[00:21:58] And if social media and seeing [00:22:00] other photographers work is not inspiring to you, and it’s something that is taking you and making you feel like you have imposter syndrome, then finding something else to look at when you’re on is probably better, you know, or just limiting your time and saying, I’m not going to spend three hours scrolling through and wishing I was a different kind of photographer tonight.

[00:22:20] Intentional. 100%. 

[00:22:22] Lisa DiGeso: I actually made up a completely different account where I just go on and I have, like, I look up recipes and like crafts and like just things that have nothing to do with photography at all. And if I want to have a little break, I just go do that. 

[00:22:35] Liz Devinny: Yes. Right. I love that. Totally. Finding the things outside of photography that inspire you and make you feel excited that you can go scroll through and yeah.

[00:22:45] Two separate things. 

[00:22:46] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. Often it’s also Facebook marketplace where I come home with things. My husband. Oh gosh. 

[00:22:54] Liz Devinny: I’m like that kind of things. I spent more money today. See, I go down the rabbit [00:23:00] hole on dresses. Like I’ll, you know, I’ll be following people and I’ll see all these like fashion influencers where they’re wearing like these beautiful dresses and like cities in Europe.

[00:23:07] And I’ll be like, Oh, where did they get that dress from? Oh, where did they get that dress from? And start like searching for different 

[00:23:12] Lisa DiGeso: dresses. Do you know how you that you can take like the photo of it and then put that in the search and like reverse signed it up just with the photo? Oh yeah. Yes. That’s my favorite thing to do too.

[00:23:23] Liz Devinny: That’s one of my new favorites. Like the reverse image search and I’ll just screenshot it. And go see if I can find it somewhere. Half the time they’re more, more money than I want to spend. So I’m able to walk away, but sometimes 

[00:23:34] Lisa DiGeso:

[00:23:34] Liz Devinny: know, 

[00:23:35] Lisa DiGeso: I know, especially for client closet stuff too, like my goodness. 

[00:23:40] Liz Devinny: Well, and sometimes they just give me great ideas for creative shoes.

[00:23:43] Yes. I’m like, I see it and I’m like, Oh, I have a whole vision around this dress. Yeah. I do 

[00:23:48] Lisa DiGeso: find like when I’m really feeling tapped creatively, just going on Pinterest sometimes. Just like. Just gets the wheels going and it’s just like yeah, what is it gonna serve me up because I have a very eclectic [00:24:00] feed

[00:24:03] Liz Devinny: Yeah, yeah or even just like searching up random words on Pinterest sometimes if you’re like I feel the vibe of This and I’m gonna type these few words and see what it pops up with and what I’m gonna fire in that vibe There are so many different things for creative ideas and getting yourself motivated to do something just for you.

[00:24:21] I love that. 

[00:24:22] Lisa DiGeso: So one thing that I’ve been really struggling with is my own little muse is now 14 and does not want to be photographed anymore or have his image on social media. And I’m finding it makes me a little bit sad. I’m not really wanting to pick up my camera as much anymore. And I think that’s such a common struggle as our children get older in front of our lenses.

[00:24:40] So do you find that your own children’s willingness is changing and how are you navigating that? 

[00:24:45] Liz Devinny: You know, my Children are still little. So they’re they’re pretty good about doing pictures with me still. However, as a middle school and high school educator, I know that the middle [00:25:00] school brain at at this point, and you know, when they’re between 12 and 16 years old, they are really trying to figure out how to have their own autonomy, right?

[00:25:11] How to have their own control over pieces of their life. And, and they really respond to respect when respect is given respect, they will give it back. Right. And I think that, you know, it’s important at that point with kids to really remind them that, you know, We are human beings. They are human beings. We see you and I want you to see me the same way.

[00:25:37] And I think often it can be like, you can craft it. So it’s like, I want you to have more control over this process. So I’m not going to pull out my camera when you’re sitting on the couch and trying to have relaxed time and you’re not feeling your best. I’m not going to force you into it. I’m not going to take your photo when you’re not expecting it.

[00:25:54] I’m going to craft some things where we can work together. Yeah. And, and [00:26:00] ask, that child at that point and say, okay, what is it that you would like to have photographed? What is it that’s important to you that we can come up with a creative idea together to do some kind of photo photo shoot that involves what you’re interested in?

[00:26:16] That would be one. You know, and another is when I think about things that matter, asking our, our kiddos, what matters to you. What would be something that would really light you up if I was to spend time doing with you and be prepared to play video games because it might be that, right? Whatever it is, this is the thing that matters to them and they want to spend time on it.

[00:26:36] And then, okay, photos are something that matter to me. I would really like to spend time on that. So if we could find a day in your schedule where we could spend an hour doing photos for me, right? And we can work on what it is, then let’s spend an hour after that doing something for you. I will give you an hour of my time on whatever activity it is that you want to do so that we can engage with each other.

[00:26:59] On [00:27:00] things that we love and are interested in, right? Like, I mean, that’s the way I have to do with my husband too, right? With his interests, he’s interested in golf and flying airplanes and, you know, I, I, I don’t know that I really can engage in a lot of that, but I could sit and listen to him talk about airplanes for 20 minutes, and then he can sit and listen to me talk about photography for 20 minutes, you know?

[00:27:21] Like, we can engage each other on that. You know, I’ll go flying with you. You can come and do a self portrait session where I set up my camera on a tripod and we do photos in front of your airplane. How about that? 

[00:27:32] Lisa DiGeso: You know? I love that. I love that. Yeah. I do feel 

[00:27:36] Liz Devinny: like there’s some of that. 

[00:27:37] Lisa DiGeso: I really, I think that’s so important.

[00:27:39] And, and even like I, I started giving him a voice and telling me yes or no, like even with family photos or anything I do, you know, we just snap an image. I’m like, I will never put anything on the internet without your permission 

[00:27:50] Liz Devinny: and 

[00:27:51] Lisa DiGeso: Because I think it was, he was about 12 and I was like, oh my gosh, I didn’t realize that he never had a say of what I put out of him his whole life.[00:28:00] 

[00:28:00] And I was like, wow. I never even thought of that. I thought of him as mine, not his own individual person. And now that he’s older, I’m like, wow, I really need to respect that. And for his own privacy of what he wants to put out there. And 

[00:28:15] Liz Devinny: I do think, you know, when I have teenagers at photo sessions, family sessions specifically, and even senior sessions, you know, half the time, you know, I could tell they don’t really want to be there.

[00:28:27] That’s not their cup of tea. It’s for mom. Right. And a lot of times I’ll just level with them and I’ll be like, Hey dude, like. I know this isn’t your cup of tea. I know you don’t really want to be here. I’m going to try to make it as painless as possible. But let me tell you something right now. This is going to make your mom’s entire year.

[00:28:45] Yeah. If you can give 30 minutes to giving her a hug. being present, putting on a smiling face. And if you can give me 30 minutes, I can be done in 30 minutes. And they identify with that. I will [00:29:00] talk to them and I’ll give it to them straight. And I will say that, and they’ll look at me and they’ll be like, okay, yeah, yeah, you can do that.

[00:29:07] And usually that’s all it takes because they see that they do when you point it out. And if you don’t point it out, a lot of times they miss it, right? The same way that we probably would too, right? Because we’re all so involved in our own self and what our own self is doing. 

[00:29:23] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, it’s so true. I mean, honestly, like it’s, if my husband came up and said to me, you know what?

[00:29:28] It would mean, it would make my whole year if you just sit on the couch with me and watch the Skinwalker documentary. Yeah! I’d be like, okay. I’ll do that for you. 

[00:29:40] Liz Devinny: Yep, absolutely. And then we’re watching a Hallmark movie. Yeah, I think being able to voice the things that matter to you and to say, this matters, please give me, right, as opposed to a lot of times I think we as women, when we We spend all the time behind the scenes getting all the outfits together.

[00:29:57] We spend all the time getting ready. And [00:30:00] so, in our brains, we’re like, I have put 30 hours into this. It matters so much to me, but all anybody else sees is us stressing. Yeah, they see the stress. They respond to the stress. No one’s ever voiced to them. This matters to me. Yeah. You know, it really, I want to be able to frame these memories on our walls.

[00:30:21] I want to be able to capture you in the way that you are right now. Right. And I think, you know, they respond to that when you can present it in that way. You know, it’s funny. Is this 

[00:30:31] Lisa DiGeso: kind of sparked an idea and I wonder if this would work like, you know, like when you have a family session and you have the dad who shows up, who’s really not into it and he’s just like, like, let’s get this over with.

[00:30:42] And they probably had a fight on the way there. I’m like, what if you like had like a little fight? One minute video that you created that you said, okay, before your session, just play this for dad. And it would be all about, you know what? I know you don’t want to be here. I know that this is so important to your wife.

[00:30:57] We’re going to get through this in half an hour, dah, dah, dah, dah, dah. [00:31:00] But just like preparing him, just preparing something for him before the session. Like I’m curious to see if that would be effective. I would, I would think so. I actually really like that idea. Right? Like, why not? Like, just do it. Like, something special.

[00:31:13] Yeah. Like, because I just added video to my, I’ve been adding video to my website. I added a welcome video. When my clients book now, they get another video of me. When I have a model call, they get a video of me. It’s like just, and I’m like, I’m just curious. Or even like for the kids, like, hey guys, I’m Lisa.

[00:31:29] We’re gonna have fun. Like. Yeah. Made me a little bit nervous about coming. It’s really going to be a play time and like, that’s it, right? Yeah. So I’m just curious because we, these kids are getting so used to, we are getting so used to all the social media that, yeah, I’m curious if this idea might work.

[00:31:47] Liz Devinny: Yeah. I actually really like that. I heard it here, folks. Let, yeah, letting, letting them like think about it and prepare ahead of time and like be ready, you know? Totally. Right. Totally. Because they’re on their phone anyway and 

[00:31:58] Lisa DiGeso: who doesn’t have like 45 seconds? I [00:32:00] 

[00:32:00] Liz Devinny: mean, and I always do tell moms ahead of time, I’m like, Hey, moms of teenagers specifically, I’m like, Hey, in this session, I am going to prompt you, you know, when it’s you and your kiddos to have a moment where you look at each of your children and tell them what is one thing that makes you the most proud of them.

[00:32:17] I love those moments. Kids. bask in those moments. They love it. And I don’t ever want to put mom on the spot. So we’ll tell her ahead of time to plan for that. Yeah. And so then when I’m able to prompt it and mom is able to look at their child and say, this is what makes me proud of you. Those moments. Oh, I’d be crying.

[00:32:39] I would be ugly crying.

[00:32:45] And it’s, I mean, they respond to, they really do. They love having those moments and I think it just makes it so memorable and it’s just so sweet. Oh, I love that. 

[00:32:54] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. I hope you guys have a notebook today because this is just like all sorts of ideas. 

[00:32:59] Liz Devinny: [00:33:00] I’m going to have a bunch of ideas as soon as we end this call.

[00:33:02] I am going to be like writing down all these ideas. 

[00:33:05] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. I 

[00:33:06] Liz Devinny: love it. I’m going to have to just play it back. I’m going to listen to it and I’m going to be like, Oh yeah, that one. Oh yeah, that one. 

[00:33:12] Lisa DiGeso: Doing 

[00:33:13] Liz Devinny: it. 

[00:33:13] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. So tell us a little bit about your sold out upcoming retreat in Ireland because so many educators and students are often so terrified to go shoot and book workshops in their dream locations.

[00:33:28] So I love when I see people living out their dreams. So what advice do you have on this? 

[00:33:34] Liz Devinny: Oh, I’m so freaking excited. I can’t wait. You know, so Shannon is one of my good friends. I love her. She’s the best. I met her, you know, a handful of years ago at a retreat workshop when we were in Arizona. And we started, you know, talking about how we would potentially want to host.

[00:33:53] a workshop together in the future. That was before either of us was educating, right, which was, you know, forever ago. [00:34:00] And so once we, you know, had hosted our first workshop together, we were like, Oh, we like the traveling vibe. And then we started talking about ideal locations, places we would always want to go.

[00:34:11] Right. And so our Ireland dream was born. And so we started planning and it was just like, it happened. I am so excited. You know, I think when you have dreams of, you know, this is honestly like one big passion project for us, right? We have the most incredible models. We’re flying in a model from Russia that is like just absolutely gorgeous.

[00:34:36] She has the most beautiful red hair I have ever seen, right? And we have a couple that is, uh, like the tango dance. and just thinking about doing like the movement that’s going to happen and like letting them dance and having us capture it right and just family sessions and one of her favorite clients and friends is flying in from colorado to model for us like we just have the most [00:35:00] incredible lineup and as we’ve talked about our styling and what it’s going to look like we’re like we want to create the most epic workshop ever we’re literally staying in a castle We have like, gosh, the most incredible models.

[00:35:12] It could not be better. And I know it’s daunting sometimes to travel out of the country and it’s, it’s quite a few days away from family, you know, but I, I feel like sometimes you just, you kind of light your soul 

[00:35:24] Lisa DiGeso: on fire, right? I was this close to signing up for it and it coincided with some family trip.

[00:35:29] And I was like, 

[00:35:30] Liz Devinny: Oh 

[00:35:31] Lisa DiGeso: man, cause that’s my dream. I want to go there so bad, but I don’t want to teach. I just want to go. 

[00:35:37] Liz Devinny: Oh yeah. No, I, I just, I literally, I was like, I want to set my soul on fire. We’re going to have, we have just the most amazing models and the place to stay. It’s incredible. And we’re hopeful that this is just going to be one of many that we’re going to do epic destination workshops every year that I mean.

[00:35:54] That’s the hope. Yeah. That’s the dream. I love it. So, 

[00:35:57] Lisa DiGeso: hopefully more to come. 

[00:35:58] Liz Devinny: I love it. I love it [00:36:00] so much. I can’t wait. 

[00:36:02] Lisa DiGeso: Alright. You ready for our lightning round? 

[00:36:04] Liz Devinny: Yes, I think. What 

[00:36:05] Lisa DiGeso: three things do you want to be 

[00:36:06] Liz Devinny: remembered for? I don’t know if there’s three, but I always think of that Maya Angelou, uh, quote that’s like people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but they’ll always remember the way you make them feel.

[00:36:20] Yes. That is the number one thing. I hope that people walk away from me feeling loved and seen and like they matter. That’s my number one thing. Love that. What’s your favorite movie? I definitely don’t have an answer to that because I like movies of all kinds. However, I would say probably my favorites are actually documentaries and often documentaries about photography.

[00:36:44] I cry like a baby and my husband laughs at me. Yeah. Like the National Geographic documentary on photographers. There’s a really good one on Platon. on, uh, the Netflix series Abstract. Okay. I’m like, there’s all, you know, and they [00:37:00] just make me cry like a baby and I think it’s because I just identified. I love that.

[00:37:05] Lisa DiGeso: What did you want to be when you grew up as a kid? 

[00:37:07] Liz Devinny: I wanted to be a veterinarian until I was about 12. Go to song that lifts you up when you’re down. You’re gonna laugh at me. A lot of times they’re random things like an Eminem song that like puts me in the mindset of like going through the grind and like coming out the other side and being like, yeah, I got this.

[00:37:27] I’m one of those people driving to my session, listening to Eminem because I can’t listen to it at any other time with my kids around. Yeah, I love it. Well, mine 

[00:37:35] Lisa DiGeso: is Guns N Roses. I am Yes! Seriously, I was, I was joking to your friend. She’s like, oh my gosh, she’s like, Lisa, she’s like, which would you, would you prefer to go see?

[00:37:42] Do you think, uh, Madonna or a Michael Jackson concert? I’m like, neither. I would rather go see Guns N Roses and Metallica. She’s like, 100%. I’m 

[00:37:51] Liz Devinny: like, it’s true. My kids love Guns N Roses, so I for sure, like, that is Yes. We’re all about the classic rock chair. [00:38:00] Right. We are. Perfect. 

[00:38:01] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. What’s something you’ve accomplished as an adult that your younger self would be proud of?

[00:38:08] Honestly, 

[00:38:08] Liz Devinny: I mean, having my own business, like. That is amazing to me. You know, I never in a million years would have thought that I would have been somebody that could have started a business from nothing and grown it into something that I’m really incredibly proud of. So that. Love that. Where do you 

[00:38:28] Lisa DiGeso: feel most centered and happy?

[00:38:31] Liz Devinny: Most centered and happy. Probably when I’m on vacation with my family. I love being able to unplug from the day to day grind and just be somewhere experiencing something new with my family. What’s been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? You know, I think best piece of business advice would probably be like, not being afraid to fail.

[00:38:53] Yes. Right? You can’t always win, but you know, you always miss 100 percent of the chances [00:39:00] that you don’t try. And I have failed a lot. I have failed a lot. Like I got declined from ClickPro twice before I was accepted, right? Lots of failures. And I feel like I just always am like, no, I’m going to take this chance.

[00:39:14] I’m going to apply to speak here. I’m going to apply to do this education thing. I’m going to apply for this chance. I don’t always win. I don’t always get them. In fact, 50 percent of the time, I don’t. But 50 percent of the time I do, and then I get to take a leap forward, and it’s amazing, so. fail. I love that.

[00:39:32] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. So where can our listeners learn more from you? 

[00:39:37] Liz Devinny: On my Instagram is the link to my website, which is Liz Devaney photography. So if you, if you hop onto my website, you can see I have a couple of different courses available. One specifically for seniors. You know, I’m super excited about my upcoming session with Milky Way talking about natural light and.

[00:39:55] Bye guys. you know, moving from harsh light all the way into blue hour, you know, and posing a [00:40:00] large family, which is always really fun and challenging, but good. So there’s all of those. And then I also do mentorships, you know, I feel like really having one on one time to really engage with people. I love doing in person mentorships, you know, here in, you know, some people come to me here in Mendocino County.

[00:40:19] Sometimes I get to go to other people’s locations and teach them there. So I love to travel. I love to have people come to me and The more in person we can talk and learn and I can get to know people and pour into them, you know, and their education, the better. So yeah, Liz Devaney Photography on Instagram or Facebook to go to my website.

[00:40:40] Lisa DiGeso: 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? Off camera flash, 

[00:40:49] Liz Devinny: that has been my new thing. I went to the. Wedding and Portrait Photographers International Conference in Las Vegas last month at the beginning of [00:41:00] March and was super inspired by using some different lighting setups.

[00:41:05] And so I have been playing with using off camera flash with my senior sessions outdoor and loving it. It’s been awesome. Awesome. So that’s been my current kind of, you know, Yeah. Place of growth and obsession and wanting to learn more about it. It’s been super 

[00:41:21] Lisa DiGeso: awesome. I love that. You know, it’s so funny.

[00:41:22] I’m in the same boat. I just got an AD 300 from Godox and some gels and, and I love it because it’s completely wireless. And so you can take it all around outside wherever you want. And I’ve always been like, I’m a studio photographer, so it’s always been just my gear inside. And so I’m really excited to go play outside.

[00:41:41] And we actually have Deanna. Or no, Deanne from Smitten Swoon is going to be teaching on outdoor flash for the next retreat too. 

[00:41:49] Liz Devinny: And she’s awesome. I saw her speak at the WPPI conference. She’s amazing. Her stuff is so beautiful. So it’s totally worth watching. And I, and I’m so [00:42:00] inspired by all of that, you know, it’s amazing.

[00:42:02] So, yeah. Well, Liz, thank you so much for joining me today. 

[00:42:06] Lisa DiGeso: Thank you so much for having me. It was a pleasure. Oh, my beautiful friends. I hope you have loved this conversation and taken tons of notes. We’ve had so much fun chatting today. I’m sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day.

[00:42:23] We will see you next time.

[00:42:28] I wanted to take a moment to ask you a little favor. I so appreciate you spending your time with me and tuning in and listening to the show. I would be so incredibly grateful if you could take a quick moment to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. Your review helps other photographers discover the podcast and learn how to grow their own photography businesses and gain confidence to go after their dreams.

[00:42:52] It also means the world to me personally and helps me know what content you find most helpful. Thank you so much for your [00:43:00] support and for being part of our amazing community.

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