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Justine Gallien, Featured Photographer

My name is Justine Gallien. I am 33 years old. I am a self taught photographer. I am also the mother of 5 amazing, beautiful children who mean the world to me. They inspire me to keep pushing harder and aiming for greatness so that I can show them that they can do whatever they put their minds to.

Five and a half years ago, the reason that I ventured into photography was my kids. A friend of mine gave me the idea to invest in a professional quality camera in order to save money on pictures. Being a single mom, I was always trying to save money and thought that I couldn't afford a professional photographer. I would end up at places like Walmart and Sears and then end up paying over $200 every time I took family portraits. For me, that was a lot of money. That is what made the idea for me to purchase a DSLR camera seem like a great idea for me at the time.

I bought the cheapest one I could find, which at the time, was a Canon T1i Rebel for about $350. My goal was to just be able to capture memories of my kids as they were growing up, and also to be the one taking our family portraits. The day came when my camera finally arrived. That made me very excited. I remember running to this local spot that many photographers frequented. I had my parents, my sister and her daughter, and my kids with me. I set the camera to auto and started snapping.

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At the time, I thought that every image I shot was perfect. When I go back to look at them now, the reality of how horrible they were embarrasses me. Because they are of my family and kids, I will always treasure them.  There were blurry pictures. I had also taken some out of focus pictures. I also didn't know how to manually set my camera. That resulted in some blown out pictures. None of the pictures I took that day follow the rules of photography. Back then, I had my mom goggles on and posted every single photo from that first day and others that I took on line. I started getting inquiries to take pictures from others who saw those horrible photos.

I started taking in those people as clients (only charging them $30). I started researching photography when I realized how much I enjoyed everything about it. I spent my first year researching the basics of photography. Even though I consider myself self-taught, I have learned a lot of valuable information from other photographers who are now my friends.

Since then, I have become an award-winning and published photographer. It is amazing to look back and see how much I've grown and learned as a photographer. I now shoot in manual mode. I now plan every shot that I take. I think about exactly what I want my end result to be before I press the shutter. I'm not just snapping 1000 pictures and praying for a few good ones. My goal is to capture the beauty of what I am photographing as I see it when I am behind the camera. I aspire to create amazing images that will last for generations to come!  

My Favorite Session:

It is very hard to just choose one session as my favorite after shooting for over 5 years. All of my sessions are my favorites. My session with a senior named Miesha is one that stands out to me.

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Being in front of the camera came very easy to Miesha. Sweet, yet out-spoken, she was very easy to photograph. Miesha had seen a photograph that I had taken of my sister in an old vintage mustang and told her mom that she really wanted to do her senior pictures with me so she can take some pictures in the car, too.

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Naturally, I had to get some portraits of her with the car. They all came out so good. She told me that she wanted unique images that no one else had.

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I decided to also use an old tractor and an old 4 wheeler as props for her, too. And as you can see, she rocked her session.

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At the end of her session, Miesha let me know that I had exceeded her expectations. I believe that is because I gave her exactly what she had wanted. She had unique images that no one else had because the location and props were exclusive to me.

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Visit Basic Invite to order announcements for graduations.

If you'd like to see more of my work, feel free to visit my website.

COMPANY: PYP Portraits

WEBSITE: PYP Portraits, LLC

SOCIAL: Facebook

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