Take your Shot : How to Find Your Unique Photography Voice with Valerie Eidson

Before Valerie Eidson found photography, she tried every other creative field first. Eventually, she found herself behind a camera with a new problem: how to learn and develop her own voice and style.

In today’s episode, Valerie and I sit down to chat about the key decisions that helped her create her own unique perspective when it comes to her photography. She shares her best advice for other photographers just starting out (spoiler: you just have to keep shooting), and how she navigates the balance between fostering creativity, her business, and her family!

Plus, we dig deep into the AI technologies we’re both using right now, including some pros AND cons to consider.

This episode is full of amazing advice. Let’s jump in!

What’s in this episode:

  • [02:20] Valerie shares all the creative careers she tried before finding photography
  • [07:00] How Valerie navigates her way out of creative droughts
  • [11:25] How Valerie manages the demands of her family and her business
  • [16:25] How Lisa and Valerie are both experimenting with AI (and navigating the pros and cons of these new systems)
  • [22:59] Valerie’s advice for finding your own unique creative voice
  • [25:17] How Valerie tries to balance shooting vs editing in a way that doesn’t feel totally overwhelming
  • [31:15] Valerie’s lightning round

Tune in to this episode to learn more about the unique way Valerie developed her voice as a photographer!

SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify

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 Valerie Eidson

Valerie Eidson is a fine art photographer in Asheville, NC. She focuses on families, newborns and seniors as well as custom creative images. She has a background in fashion design and digital media and has been photographing for the past 7 years. She is a click pro elite, Ambassador for the NAPCP. She has won first place at the NAPCP international image competition in the child and senior categories and most recently received a silver merit in the family category in the Portrait Masters Image Competition.

Connect with Valerie

Visit Valerie’s website

Follow Valerie on Facebook

Follow Valerie on Instagram

Did this episode with Valerie give you food for thought about developing your own photography voice? Check out this episode The Art of Community: Local Marketing Strategies for Photographers – A Conversation with Karina Beck which shares how another photographer started their career!


[00:00:00] Valerie Eidson: To value myself, my work and my time. You know, again, that fear creeps in and we want to compare ourselves to what everyone else is doing. And we’re afraid no one’s going to value us like we value ourselves, but really learning to be like, no, my time, my talent is worth me making a profit and then going for it.

[00:00:28] And getting over that fear.

[00:00:34] 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.

[00:00:55] The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies [00:01:00] 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.

[00:01:15] 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 Valerie Eidson. Now she’s a fine art photographer in Asheville, North Carolina. She focuses on families, newborns and seniors, as well as custom creative images.

[00:01:34] She’s got a background in fashion design and digital media and has been photographing for the past seven years. She’s a ClickPro Elite ambassador for the NAPCP and has won first place at an APCP international image competition in the child and senior categories and most recently received a silver merit in the family category in the portrait masters image competition.

[00:01:56] I’ve been following her, I think, forever on [00:02:00] Instagram and I am so excited to dive into today’s conversation. So welcome Valerie. Thank you. I’m excited to be here. So it is so wonderful to have you on the show. Now, can you share maybe a little bit about your background in fashion design and digital media and how it sort of maybe led you to pursue a career in photography?

[00:02:20] Valerie Eidson: Sure, absolutely. I guess to start that story, I’ll back up a little further. So I was always into art and design growing up. And I had wanted to be an animator for Disney. I really set those, you know, lofty aspirations and actually went to school for that, but got in there and realized that that wasn’t really the thing for me, but I still really loved computer design and design in general.

[00:02:50] So when I graduated, I really didn’t have a focus on anything. So I ended up going to fashion design school [00:03:00] and I really, really loved that. I mean, it was so fun color. I learned all about color theory and textures and styling and continued using Photoshop and all, just all these wonderful creative, creative aspects that I really love to do.

[00:03:17] And I went to fashion school in New York City, lived there for two years, and just never really found my fit there. You know, I’m a small town southern girl, so moving to the big city by myself was, was hard. So, um, my roommate and I from Parsons School of Design in New York decided we were going to create our own clothing line so we could do it.

[00:03:42] at home. And so we moved, we ended up moving to Cincinnati, Ohio, where she is from. And we had a little clothing line we did for five years. We had some success along the way, but it was very difficult and we were very young. So after five years, we kind [00:04:00] of closed our business. And I would say I felt a little lost in those years after I ended up doing some personal training and working as a project manager at a few businesses.

[00:04:11] And then got pregnant with my first daughter and decided to stay home and be with her. And I just remember feeling so creatively empty. And just feeling like there was something else out there for me that was creative. And only 17 months later, my second daughter came along and I asked for a camera for Christmas.

[00:04:35] I was like, you know, we should probably invest. We’ve got a family now. And I remember opening it on Christmas and I was like, I’m never going to learn to use this. And it was just the complete opposite. It was like the perfect culmination of everything I had learned through digital media, animation, fashion design.

[00:04:57] I mean, I just felt like it was a gift from God and [00:05:00] I was like, this is it. This is my thing. So. And then, here I am, seven years later. I 

[00:05:07] Lisa DiGeso: love it. I love historical fashion. Like, that is my jam. And I have like a, I think, I don’t, I’m not going to call it a problem, I’m going to call it a collection. Sure. Of things, of like, costuming.

[00:05:19] Like, I love costumes so much. Do you find like, coming from a fashion background, that’s something that you’re naturally drawn to as well? 

[00:05:26] Valerie Eidson: Oh, yes, absolutely. I mean, I drive my kids nuts because when I want to photograph them, they’re like, Can I just wear this? And I’m like, No, a big piece of this photo is what you were wearing.

[00:05:39] It tells a story and but oh, yes, colors, the textures, the silhouettes. Yes, I love it. 

[00:05:48] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. I love watching movies and especially historical dramas. Like for me, it’s specifically like around. Between the 1850s to like early 1900s. Like I just [00:06:00] love the fashion and the sets and everything. Oh, absolutely.

[00:06:04] Right. Anything that is super nostalgic like that. It’s so funny. I know. So do you have a particular era that you’re really drawn to? 

[00:06:11] Valerie Eidson: I really love mid century. Um, like the Marvelous Miss Maisel. I don’t know if you’ve seen that show. Oh, I just was swooning the whole time. Yes, yes. And I just wanted to create.

[00:06:24] After watching 

[00:06:24] Lisa DiGeso: that, I loved it. Yeah. Yeah. I love it. It’s so funny how like those, those things can really be such a catalyst for inspiration. Yes. Yeah. And we were talking a little bit before we got started, how I was mentioning how I often have periods of where I’m like really, really creative and then periods where I’m like in a creativity drought.

[00:06:45] Sure. And I think that’s really common as creatives that it’s something that we fight it sometimes. And sometimes you just have to realize like it’s going to happen. It’s going to lean in. So do you have any techniques when you’re finding yourself in a creative drought? [00:07:00] 

[00:07:00] Valerie Eidson: Oh gosh, I know I’m the same way.

[00:07:02] It, it definitely ebbs and flows. And sometimes I want to create, but I don’t have the time. So I have found it’s very important to carve out that time, but I would say definitely I draw inspiration when I’m feeling kind of empty from our daily life, just things that are happening, songs, listening to music and like an ideal pop into my head and definitely TV shows and movies, those, those, those definitely get you going.

[00:07:32] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. And then 

[00:07:33] Valerie Eidson: sometimes just, you know, now that I’ve opened up this world of really creative images. You know, I, for lack of better words, put pressure on myself that every image has to be that. 

[00:07:46] Lisa DiGeso: Yes. But 

[00:07:47] Valerie Eidson: sometimes just going out in our yard with my kids like I did when I first started and just taking simple images will kind of get, kick that again.

[00:07:58] So just going back to the [00:08:00] basics. 

[00:08:01] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. I think you hit the nail on the head because we often forget like who we’re shooting for. We think, you know, like there is like, cause you, you put the things that you make in your heart. out on social media. And essentially you’re, you’re honestly probably looking for like your photography heroes to notice or like to say, wow, like you’re doing amazing.

[00:08:22] Right? Right. And it’s like, it’s something I think we all aspire to. And then we forget often, like, these are just, Sometimes our family memories, or this is a client session, and it’s okay, it doesn’t have to be an award winning image, but we put that pressure on ourselves. 

[00:08:39] Valerie Eidson: Yes, and I do think social media is a lot of that.

[00:08:45] You know, it’s, it’s the good and the bad of, of, of social media, but 

[00:08:49] Lisa DiGeso: yeah. Is what it is. So you’re based in Asheville, North Carolina, and it has some beautiful landscapes there. So do you find your surroundings sort of influenced your photography style, [00:09:00] especially when you’re capturing images outdoors? 

[00:09:01] Valerie Eidson: Oh, absolutely.

[00:09:02] I mean, like you said, it’s so beautiful here. The mountains. We have such pretty nature and I definitely, I love layers in a photo and a lot of depth and that’s really fun and unique to capture here because of the mountains. You know, they’re way off in the distance, but then you can usually get something in the foreground like tall pretty grass or flowers and then, and then you’ve got your subject in the middle.

[00:09:29] And so you have these really beautiful layers and depth and I, that’s just one of my favorite, favorite things. 

[00:09:36] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. And then of course sunsets, 

[00:09:38] Valerie Eidson: you know, sunsets over the mountain, you can’t beat that. What’s your go to lens? Ooh, for outdoors an 85mm 1. 4. Good choice. Yes. Yeah. Yeah, yeah, I used to only ever shoot families with a 35 and now it’s the complete opposite I mostly and rarely take it off when I have an outdoor session.[00:10:00] 

[00:10:00] Lisa DiGeso: I love it I for the longest time only shot families with the 200 Oh, wow, like so it was like I was I was like a mile away. Sure and right But now my sweet lens for outside is my 135. I find sort of that sweet spot where I get like the yummy blur I want. But I’m not as far away and having to use a megaphone like the 200.

[00:10:20] But I tried one time using the 35 during a family session. I felt like I was sitting in their lap. I know.

[00:10:31] Valerie Eidson: I know every now and then I’ll pop it on to get like a wide pretty landscape shot. But yeah, I’m the same way. I would love to try 135. Oh, yeah, 

[00:10:41] Lisa DiGeso: you got it. I love it. It has been it’s my workhorse for probably 14 years now. Really like it is my baby Yeah, I need to try one 

[00:10:49] Valerie Eidson: Well, 

[00:10:50] Lisa DiGeso: it’s funny because I found out that so when I switched from I just actually found this out I have the d5 I’m nikon.

[00:10:56] I have the d5. Okay, and I switched to the [00:11:00] mirrorless recently. Okay, and my original 135 lens doesn’t actually work on the mirrorless camera from my, from Nikon. Oh, interesting. Yeah. So I’m like, Oh, wow. There’s another reason I got upgraded my lenses. The shopping never 

[00:11:16] Valerie Eidson: ends. 

[00:11:18] Lisa DiGeso: There’s always something. So balancing your creativity and a business can really be challenging.

[00:11:25] So how do you manage staying inspired creative label trying to have the demands of running a family and a business? Sure. 

[00:11:32] Valerie Eidson: Yeah, it’s, it’s definitely really hard. And as my business has grown, I’ve had to back off of some of that personal creative work, which is really hard because that’s, you know, where I feel like I learn and grow and, you know, kind of it fulfills me also.

[00:11:50] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. 

[00:11:51] Valerie Eidson: But I really do. I try to carve out, I used to do it weekly. I just can’t anymore, especially as my kids are getting older and into sports and [00:12:00] activities. And I’m coaching my daughter’s softball team, which I love. So I, but I try once a month. To do something for myself. And I find that that’s been a really good balance.

[00:12:10] Just to kind of keep that spark going. But be able to keep up with the demands of the other thing. 

[00:12:17] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. I know. I’ve been, I’ve been trying to carve out some times on Fridays and then it’s funny because sometimes I’ll just be like, 

[00:12:24] Valerie Eidson: um, 

[00:12:25] Lisa DiGeso: I think actually I’m just going to do nothing. 

[00:12:27] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. Today’s just 

[00:12:28] Lisa DiGeso: like a nothing day.

[00:12:29] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. Or I need to clean this one room over here, or finally fold this. Three baskets of laundry. Yep. Yep. Just attack my ADHD piles. I know, I know. Sometimes, you know, I do feel guilty when I take that time, but I’ve had to really retrain my mind to be like, no, like this is important part of everything. Even my business, you know, and my self care and things like that.

[00:12:55] So 

[00:12:56] Lisa DiGeso: yeah, it’s funny because I really, I really struggle with my [00:13:00] personal projects, feel indulgent and you know what I mean? And it feels like I am. And it’s funny cause it really does. It feeds my soul. It makes me so happy. I love to create, but getting over that feeling of I’m being selfish with my time, I should be spending this time either on my business, my clients or my family.

[00:13:18] Sure. Sure. It’s, it’s a struggle. It is, yeah. 

[00:13:23] Valerie Eidson: But we deserve it. We gotta do it. Yep. Yep. It’s creative self care. Yes. We 

[00:13:29] Lisa DiGeso: should coin that phrase. Right? Exactly. We should, actually. So, we both share a passion for these personal projects, so can you maybe share your process when you come up with a new idea? Oh, sure.

[00:13:43] I don’t really know if it’s a process, 

[00:13:46] Valerie Eidson: but a lot of times, I mean, most of the really creative things I do are around my children. Um, so I’m just very inspired by them, you know, their imaginations, things that they’re really into at the moment, [00:14:00] you know, something about the phase they’re in that I want to remember, but in a very magical way.

[00:14:06] So for an example, last year, maybe when the musical Matilda came out, my oldest was just loved it and would sing the songs. And she was also in this phase of continuously turning cartwheels. I mean, she preferred that to walking and I kept thinking that, gosh, I really want to document these cartwheels somehow.

[00:14:28] And then when I watched that movie and Matilda was turning cartwheels on the roof of that house, I was like, that’s it. So just, you know, pulling that inspiration from, from my kiddos and things that, things that go through their mind or little phases they’re in really. 

[00:14:45] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that. That’s awesome.

[00:14:47] Yeah. Well, I love that you’ve entered and won so many image competitions. So maybe can you share your getting over the fear of good enough and pressing submit fear that we often all go through? [00:15:00] Sure. 

[00:15:00] Valerie Eidson: Well, I mean, I just always tell myself, you know, you miss 100 percent of the shots that you never take.

[00:15:08] Yeah. And I definitely through college, I was I definitely had that fear and I never, I would never submit. I would never, you know, all the little projects I had in college. I was like, there’s no way I would ever win that. There’s no way. And so I just wouldn’t. And I think it just took growing and maturing a little bit.

[00:15:34] And then, you know, getting to the point with my photography journey where I felt like maybe I found my voice. And then that definitely helped, but I mean, also it’s just. Nobody knows you submitted, so nobody knows if you don’t win, you know what I mean? Right? Yeah. And then if you do, it’s icing on the cake.

[00:15:55] And I definitely tell myself that, you know, I never, whenever I do submit [00:16:00] to a competition, my expectations are always, you know, because there’s so much talent out there and photography is subjective, so you never know what the judging panel is looking for, what they’re drawn to. And so you just go into it saying, you know, let’s just see what happens.

[00:16:18] Lisa DiGeso: Totally. 

[00:16:20] Valerie Eidson: I love you get those un emails that something fun happened. Totally. You’re like, yeah, I did 

[00:16:25] Lisa DiGeso: it. I love it. I love it. So, AI is really taking the world by storm right now. Yeah. Especially when it comes to being a digital medium and, and something that photographers can maybe start playing with a little bit too.

[00:16:38] Have you played much with it? Um, yeah. What are your thoughts 

[00:16:41] Valerie Eidson: on it? Yeah, absolutely. Done a ton in regards to true, I think, AI. I mean, I definitely use the generative fill. in Photoshop now to remove, remove unwanted things from a, not from a scene. I use a little plugin called Pixel [00:17:00] Squid and I think these are 3D generated images.

[00:17:03] So I don’t really know how much AI that is, but I’ll pull, if I am doing some sort of fantastical scene and need like a, I mean really anything like a fish or something, I can pull a fish in and then make it fit into That’s really as far as I’ve dabbled, but just in general, I feel like You know, this is the future and we’ve kind of got to learn to embrace it a little bit and not be scared of it.

[00:17:33] And you know, one thing I also think is AI doesn’t have ideas. AI can’t go out into a field and meet a family. You know, so I don’t really think. If it does, it gives them a lot of extra fingers and hands. Yeah, right? No, I don’t really feel scared of it in the aspect of it completely. Wiping out anything we’re doing.

[00:17:59] Lisa DiGeso: I [00:18:00] agree. Yeah, I’ve been playing with it a little bit. I’ve been using Mid journey. Okay, it’s called discord on discord mid journey. Whatever it’s called But I make backdrops with it and I’ve figured out how to how to like give it the prompts to create these really incredible Backdrops that I’ve been using to Photoshop myself into things.

[00:18:18] Valerie Eidson: Oh, 

[00:18:19] Lisa DiGeso: it’s been so fun and Yeah, that’s, that’s one thing that I’ve been really playing with and I’m like, like, it’s such a really great tool. I think as long as you’re not relying on it, like as you use it as something to like, what can I make out of this? Sure. I mean, like it’s an ingredient 

[00:18:36] Valerie Eidson: or a tool. Right.

[00:18:38] Definitely. I should definitely give it a try. 

[00:18:41] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. It’s really neat. 

[00:18:43] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. I think that one thing I struggle with too is as a photographer is, well, is it, you know, okay. To merge, do you know what I mean? Like sometimes it’s [00:19:00] like everything might need to be photographic in nature And is this okay? Or I couldn’t enter this in a competition.

[00:19:07] Not that that’s why I created it But because it has that and so I feel like those have limited me from trying But I keep hearing from so many people that I would really love it So I need to try it. 

[00:19:19] Lisa DiGeso: I think, I think you would. And I had the same struggle myself. Cause I was like, I’ve always had that, like, I will buy all the prompts.

[00:19:26] I will set up the scene. I will, I will do that. And then I was like, okay, well, why don’t I just try this? And I don’t have to show anybody if this doesn’t work out, I don’t have to show anybody. And I really started to like the results, but I also, I had the same sort of feeling like, am I really an artist if I’m using AI?

[00:19:48] Right. Right? You know what I mean? And, and I was like, well, if, I would say if I am using it as a backdrop, and I’m altering it in ways that I am creating the art with it, [00:20:00] yes. But if I am just simply plopping myself in there, or I’m just grabbing it and putting a prompt in, I don’t know if that’s really my art.

[00:20:09] Right. You know what I mean? Like, I, because I, I feel like I have like this, It’s very gray area of where I’m sort of navigating with AI as an artist and how I fit in with it. But I agree. 

[00:20:20] Valerie Eidson: Like, right? Like it’s 

[00:20:21] Lisa DiGeso: because it’s so new. Yeah. 

[00:20:23] Valerie Eidson: And it, yeah, it’s, it does. It feels like this, this fine line of like, well, um, and where even does this art belong?

[00:20:29] Do you know, you know what I mean? Yeah. 

[00:20:32] Lisa DiGeso: So. And what’s really interesting is a lot of the backdrops that you see from these backdrop companies have been created with AI. So we’re buying them as physical backdrops, but they’re still created with AI. So I’m like. Well. What’s the difference? If I don’t, what’s the difference?

[00:20:48] Exactly. Right? Like, so, so if I bought a AI generated backdrop and use that as real, but then did my scene on it and entered that in a [00:21:00] competition, would I still be able to use it? Hey, I’ve never thought about 

[00:21:04] Valerie Eidson: that, but that’s so 

[00:21:04] Lisa DiGeso: true. Yeah. Right. So it’s just like, it’s so interesting. Like all these, I don’t know, all these new rules and all these old rules and I know it’s a, it’s a wild west.

[00:21:15] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. And I mean, for me, I do feel like my strength lies mostly with computer, with the editing and the, 

[00:21:23] Lisa DiGeso: yeah. 

[00:21:24] Valerie Eidson: So that’s where I do enjoy creating more than I want to spend two hours. Setting up a scene and then have to clean it up. I would rather use these, you know, the design, the computer animation, the AI, the 

[00:21:43] Lisa DiGeso: stuff like that.

[00:21:43] So. One thing I have noticed with it is I’m actually with the discord journey. I’m actually on the paid program because what happened is I started, so I went in there and I was like trying it out, trying the free one and. And anybody can see what you’re [00:22:00] creating, and anybody can download what you’re creating.

[00:22:02] Oh, wow. And I was like, oh, like, I don’t know if I want that. Sure. Like, I would, I will pay for privacy. And so I’m on the paid program with it now where I just like create what I want, it goes into my file, no one else ever sees it, and I can do whatever I want with it. But that was a really interesting learning curve of feeling like, like all of a sudden like you’re on there and so you’re seeing everybody else’s and then you can see everyone’s like starting to download and take your stuff and you’re just like, Oh, but like, is this my stuff though?

[00:22:30] I made this. Is it my stuff though? Or does this belong to you? Does this look like it was just so very you. It was weird. It was a weird feeling. Oh, that’s so interesting. Where I felt like, oh, I need Right? Yeah. Like, so that was just sort of something that I went through that I was like, well, should I pay for it?

[00:22:44] I’m like, well, I’m going to pay for it. Whatever. Yeah. Right? Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. So it’s just been, yeah, it’s been, it’s been interesting, my journey with AI and feelings and is this good? Is this bad? I don’t know. 

[00:22:56] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. Right? 

[00:22:57] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. All right, I’m going to try. I 

[00:22:58] Valerie Eidson: need to do this. 

[00:22:59] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. I’ll let, [00:23:00] I’ll let you know what I do.

[00:23:01] Totally. All right. So let us talk about finding your creative voice or your creative vision. And what advice would you have for someone who’s maybe struggling to find their creative voice? Oh gosh. Good question. 

[00:23:16] Valerie Eidson: I would just say just keep shooting. I mean, you know, just it’s one of those things I think that, you know, there’s no magic one thing I think that helps you find it.

[00:23:30] And I just think it’s, it’s just part of your journey. And it’s ever evolving. So I don’t know how good of an answer that is to that question. But yeah, I think that’s one of the toughest things as a, as a photographer and as an artist is, is really just finding that and, you know, and staying with it. But, and I 

[00:23:52] Lisa DiGeso: think sometimes I think we’re also scared to evolve.

[00:23:56] That’s, that’s been my experience is I kind of, for the first maybe 10 [00:24:00] years or so, I really got myself into This is how I shoot, this is how I edit, and this is like my milk and honey factory. Sure. Like, I’ve got it, I’ve got a great process, like it’s streamlined, but did I feel creative? No. Like, I felt like I was just really pumping things out, even though my work was beautiful, it wasn’t inspirational to me.

[00:24:19] Right. And so I think that often we can put ourselves in a box and not deviate from things, and then we get a little bored. Sure. And, and it gets a little scary to admit, like. I’m not enjoying this anymore. And what do I do now? Like, how do I make this so I, I love it, but will I still have clients because they’re booking me for this one style?

[00:24:42] Right. So you kind of just get into this little self imposed box. Yeah. 

[00:24:47] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. I’ve definitely felt that. I feel like I’m very much known for families for this outdoor sunset work. Yeah, but the past couple years I’ve really started loving like studio stuff, too I still [00:25:00] love outdoor, you know, of course I do but I’m like, oh like this is fun I can move these right around and like do all this really cool stuff And yeah, so I’ve tried I put it out there, but most people still want to book me for Yeah.

[00:25:16] The outdoor stuff. 

[00:25:17] Lisa DiGeso: I know. I know. I actually just did a model call because I’ve, I’ve actually taken, I’m just coming off a year and a half sabbatical where I just didn’t book any photography clients. Oh, good for you. And so I’ll be coming, I’ll be, yeah, thank you. I’ve been, I’ll be coming back probably September ish.

[00:25:31] Okay. And so I would like, I want to do some model calls just to like get my juices flowing and like get back in the field. Like, literally, the feel. Sure. Yeah. And so, but it’s interesting because I love doing it. It’s just that I find that I’m really a slow editor, and so getting these images back, it ends up feeling like I have to, and I’m like, oh man, now I’m backed up on free editing.

[00:25:57] And like, so I just, I’m [00:26:00] having a hard time figuring out where my sweet spot is with that. So do you have any advice on 

[00:26:05] Valerie Eidson: that? Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Well, I’m probably a bad person to ask, because I’m also a very slow editor, and I’m often like, gosh, like, maybe I should outsource this, but it’s the one thing that, like, I, I can’t let go.

[00:26:19] I know. I can’t do it. So, yeah, I don’t know if I have a good answer for that. I do try, I have to put this, like, cap on, this, like, business cap on when I edit those, and I do have to just remind myself, like, Time is money here, so we’ve, we’ve gotta, we can’t do, you know, every image super creative and just maybe taking One or two and doing the, you know, something very creative and the rest just kind of have to be a rinse and repeat.

[00:26:51] Yeah, honestly, 

[00:26:53] Lisa DiGeso: I think, okay, I love that because I, I’ve always felt like, am I doing something wrong with this? Like, because I [00:27:00] love model calling. I love being in the field. I love it to the point where I have to just sit down and call because I overshoot. Okay. And then I’m like, okay, now I’m overwhelmed because I’ve overshot this.

[00:27:10] And now I feel like I have to give them a whole bunch But now because I want to give them a whole bunch it’s going to take longer and now it feels like I have to do This 

[00:27:18] Valerie Eidson: yeah, and 

[00:27:18] Lisa DiGeso: this was supposed to be I get to do this not have to do this Like this is supposed to be my fun creative project and now i’m like Now I’m just resentful and I’m not sure who I’m resentful for if I’m resentful for me for putting myself in the situation or I’m like resentful for them just wanting their images that they should of course want, right?

[00:27:35] Valerie Eidson: Yeah. No, I’ve definitely felt that before. I know. I know. I feel like the perfect thing would be, especially for people, you know, like us, it’s like a five image return where you get to just really pour it all into five images. Yeah. 

[00:27:53] Lisa DiGeso: And then, you know, yeah, but yeah. And then hold yourself to that. And I think that’s the problem is because like, I will, [00:28:00] I’ll be like, okay, well, I model code, but here’s 45.

[00:28:03] And I’m like, okay, Lisa, come on. I know. Of course you’re feeling overwhelmed. 

[00:28:10] Valerie Eidson: Yes, I know, but we’re so emotionally attached to all of those images. Right? And then we want our client to feel that too, and yes, it’s, it’s 

[00:28:20] Lisa DiGeso: hard. Yeah. Or like, and you don’t want the situation of them coming back and going, oh, there’s your, is there any more?

[00:28:25] Right. Or, and then you’re like, well, I, I don’t want to have to go through them a second time. Yes. So it’s just, yeah, I guess just get myself in these pickles and then I overthink it and then I do nothing. I know. Frozen by the, by the overwhelmingness. Seriously, right? It’s just this freeze. Anywho, I’m working on that guys.

[00:28:47] So what advice would you have for someone maybe struggling to stay organized and managing files as a photographer creative? Do you have any like good organization tips? [00:29:00] 

[00:29:00] Valerie Eidson: That’s also a tough one. I am not the most organized person. I mean, I use an external hard drive to keep my computer kind of free and not bogged down.

[00:29:13] And then everything is organized by year. So right now I’m 2024. And then I do have like a folder for client work, folder for personal work. And then, you know, kind of keep it, keep it like that. That’s pretty basic, but that’s yeah, that’s kind of how I how I do it again. I’m not probably the best person to get organized 

[00:29:39] Lisa DiGeso: Well, it’s funny cuz I in my former life I was an event planner which my family still laughs about because I’m literally the most Not organized person at all and I just care a lot.

[00:29:50] Sure So I would just like my heart would be bigger than my organizational skills So it would be perfect but only because I cared so much. Yeah [00:30:00] So, where I struggle is with all of the overlays and, like, all, like, right, and all the things that I’m downloading. Like, I’m just, like, okay, I don’t, am I, yeah, so I, I’m working on my organization with keeping that.

[00:30:13] So, if I have a system, I will let you know, because I’m working on it, too. 

[00:30:17] Valerie Eidson: I know. I do have an overlay folder. And then a composite, you know, image folder, but what I’m guilty of is downloading it and leaving it in that downloads folder. And then three months later, I’m like, wait, I have that. Yeah. And then I’m searching.

[00:30:31] Yeah. 

[00:30:34] Lisa DiGeso: What I started doing is I actually, cause I would bog my computer down with so many downloads. Is I now switched the download folder from Chrome into an external hard drive. Okay. So, ooh, it will, it will only download onto the external hard drive to this specific folder. So if it’s not plugged in, I can’t download anything.

[00:30:53] Okay. And nothing downloads. So it’s like, okay, so I can no longer bug up my computer because I’ve got that plugged in. So there’s, [00:31:00] if you go into Chrome settings, you can do that because I was like very cool. I constantly like, I would have like. 300 gigs just like of downloads all the time. Yes. Tutorials, all the things, right?

[00:31:12] Uh huh. 

[00:31:13] Valerie Eidson: Oh, that’s good to know. 

[00:31:14] Lisa DiGeso: So exciting. 

[00:31:15] Valerie Eidson: I’ll have to look into 

[00:31:15] Lisa DiGeso: that. All right. So, are you ready for our lightning round? Sure. If you like to cook, what do you like to cook the most? Tacos. You know what’s so funny? That is like such a common answer. Oh, I love that. Yeah. Everyone, who doesn’t love tacos? I know.

[00:31:32] So easy. So good. Right? 

[00:31:35] Valerie Eidson: What’s the best gift you’ve ever received? Oh, gosh, for Christmas, the year I moved to New York City, my parents got me a dog. Oh, and that was probably the best gift I’ve ever received. I know. I 

[00:31:52] Lisa DiGeso: love that. Where do you feel most centered and happy? 

[00:31:56] Valerie Eidson: At home with my family. 

[00:31:58] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. When you [00:32:00] were a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up?

[00:32:02] Valerie Eidson: An animator for 

[00:32:03] Lisa DiGeso: Disney. Yeah. I was like, I knew that. What three things do you want to be remembered for? I think love, kindness, and compassion. Do you have any personal projects going on right now? And if you do, what is it? Oh, I actually don’t. 

[00:32:25] Valerie Eidson: I’ve just been working on a lot of stuff for my business. So I haven’t done A personal project.

[00:32:33] But like I mentioned earlier, I do try once a month to create something for myself. So I actually just took a self portrait this morning, which I haven’t done in a year and a half. 

[00:32:43] Lisa DiGeso: Ah! So We’ll see. I love that. I love that. know what? It’s so funny because as of date, what really just came out this week was Taylor Swift’s new album.

[00:32:53] Oh, yeah. And so you know her, the cover art for the Tortured Poet Society. I want to [00:33:00] try that. I want to try doing a shoot like that with myself. Oh, yeah. And do a self portrait. Like, I think that would be fun, right? It would be fun. Yeah. So that’s my, that’s my next personal project. Thanks for creating it.

[00:33:08] I’ll try. Mine wasn’t that 

[00:33:10] Valerie Eidson: creative, but 

[00:33:10] Lisa DiGeso: I did it. I love it. That’s step one. Get in front of the camera. Right. So what’s been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? 

[00:33:20] Valerie Eidson: To value myself, my work and my time. I mean, I just think that’s, you know, again, that fear creeps in and we want to compare ourselves to every what everyone else is doing.

[00:33:32] And we’re afraid no one’s going to value, uh, value us like we value ourselves, but really learning to be like, no, I, My time, my talent is worth me making a profit and then going for it. 

[00:33:53] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. And getting over that 

[00:33:54] Valerie Eidson: fear. 

[00:33:55] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. What advice do you have for maybe someone who’s just starting out in [00:34:00] photography?

[00:34:00] Oh, 

[00:34:02] Valerie Eidson: I would say keep shooting. Like I said earlier, just the more you do it, the easier it’ll get. And the better you’ll become. And then stay true to yourself. I mean, definitely it’s, you know, awesome to be inspired by other artists and try new techniques, but definitely following what’s in your own, you know, heart and gut and life, I think helps you propel faster than trying to mimic others.

[00:34:34] Exactly. 

[00:34:36] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. So can you share a little bit what you’re going to be teaching for the online family retreat? 

[00:34:42] Valerie Eidson: Yeah, so I will be teaching all about fine art studio portraits for children. So we’re going to go behind the scenes on a fine art studio portrait and go all through all about shooting, lighting, [00:35:00] styling, and then we’re going to do a fine art edit on one of those and have a composite.

[00:35:06] in as well. 

[00:35:07] Lisa DiGeso: I love 

[00:35:07] Valerie Eidson: it. I’m so excited. I’m so 

[00:35:08] Lisa DiGeso: excited. 

[00:35:09] Valerie Eidson: Me too. 

[00:35:11] Lisa DiGeso: So where can our listeners learn more from you? 

[00:35:13] Valerie Eidson: Oh, well, I’m on Instagram at Valerie Edson, and then I have a website, ValerieEdson. com. I know, very, very creative. So those are probably the best two places where I’m constantly putting out content.

[00:35:29] 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? 

[00:35:38] Valerie Eidson: Ooh, oh gosh. Our, um, I think artistically right now, I’m very curious about lighting and off camera flash and just really learning more about all the different ways we can bend and shape light.

[00:35:55] I only have two lights right now and I really want a third and a fourth and more [00:36:00] modifiers and like I just have found that I’ve started to notice it in movies that I watch like where the lighting is coming from or just photos you see in magazines or you know anything like that so. 

[00:36:15] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. It’s a good answer.

[00:36:17] Well, Valerie, thank you so much for joining me today. Thank you. This was fun. I’m looking forward to everything. Oh, my beautiful friends, I hope you have loved this conversation just as much as I have. I’m sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. We will see you next time.

[00:36:43] 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 [00:37:00] photographers discover the podcast and learn how to grow their own photography businesses and gain confidence to go after their dreams.

[00:37:07] It also means the world to me personally and helps me grow.

[00:37:13] so much for your support and for being part of our amazing community.

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