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All About Me - In case anyone was curious!

My photography journey started like many other peoples - with photos of my own family and most specifically my own children. Back in the early 2000’s I had four small kids at home and I joined the ever growing ranks of scrapbook enthusiasts. Jumping in with both feet I started submitting my pages to magazines and publications - being published several times. At one point I received an offer to join a creative team for a local craft store. One of the things I very quickly realized was that the better the quality of my photos the better the feedback I received on my projects.

I purchased a simple film camera and started teaching myself the basics of photography. I focused on capturing the little moments, and creating keepsakes for my children to document their day to day lives.  

With the increasing availability of digital cameras I became quite the photography enthusiast. I remember how excited I was for that first 6 megapixel digital Lumix with a killer zoom lens! I never had any goal or intention of making photography a career choice. I studied color theory and composition. I dabbled in all the newest techniques - like selective color and those amazing colored vignettes! Oh boy!

As my kids got older I survived an ugly divorce and I became a single mom. Money became increasingly tight. One year I scraped together all of the extra money I had to purchase a small package of school photos for each of my four kids. I was so upset at the quality of them, devastated that I paid all of the money in my meger savings account to get photos of my kids that didn’t show one iota of their sweet personalities.

I decided that I could do better than that. I knew who my children were and I wanted to take photos of them myself that I could be proud to give my family and friends. I saved up fifty dollars to purchase a used Nikon from my local Facebook garage sale page.

Within a year I was actively shooting photographs on a daily basis. Friends and family were approaching me, asking me to photograph their own families and special events. At one point my best friend had a co-worker whose wedding photographer went MIA only weeks before their wedding. Like most situations in my life, I jumped in with both feet. After that first wedding...I was hooked.  

I’ve always been one to just take the risk. Do the thing. Put myself out there - and make something happen for myself. While most people do an internship, or assist a wedding photographer to learn the ropes - something I would highly suggest - I never had that opportunity. I took the jobs that were presented to me. I made opportunities when I couldn’t find them… and I slowly built a business learning as I went.  

My life was moving forward in so many amazing ways. I had met someone new, who came with a bonus...another daughter to love!  I had crawled my way from single parent poverty - living in a camper with my kids, to having a real house in an amazing little town. Shortly after that first wedding I decided to make another leap and start a photography business. Sashem Photography was born. I debated long and hard about using my name versus using something creative. SASHEM was a word I made up from the first letters of my children’s names: Samaria, Alaina, Shaelyn, Eliza, Madison.  

The second year I had been in business I shot 13 small weddings. Most were friends or family, or acquaintances of friends and family. These free and low cost weddings were where I really started to master my craft. I swiftly learned the flow of the wedding day, how to work with vendors, how to make the most of small spaces, and create images to be proud of in not so great locations. I started to develop the workflow for posing that I still use to this day. I spent every free moment taking online workshops, studying body mechanics, and photographing sessions to learn the ins and outs of my camera, lighting, and posing.  

I’m now several years into my photography career. I specialize in photographing couples and weddings. Additionally I photograph seniors and families. I enjoy taking a documentary approach to wedding photography, capturing the big and small moments of the wedding day as it unfolds. It’s very much like my early film days, photographing my children’s day to day lives.  

I’ve progressed past the selective coloring and the crazy colored vignettes - thank goodness, but many of those early skills I mastered stuck with me.  That desire to capture intimate moments stuck with me. This job gets into your blood. It’s like a high when you create an image that captures who a couple is at their core, when you can put them at ease, and they look in each other’s eyes and you get that magical moment - documented forever. I get to create tangible proof of people’s love and devotion - I’m not sure you can have a better job than that.