feature friday: memories for life photography

2013, August

i’ve been really excited about getting this feature up again on my blog space and i am extra excited about this very first one!

this week i got the chance to interview meghan levens. based in the uk, meg is a wife, a mother of an adorable 2-year-old and a fantastic photographer. she is the genius behind memories for life {mfl} photography, and i certainly don’t use the word genius lightly. meg has a powerful way of capturing life’s moments, from her own daughter to weddings and family portraits…

tell us a little about yourself
I am a Mum of one very funny and yet oh so dramatic toddler. I spend far too much time shopping and on Pinterest and am addicted to taking photographs! (especially of said toddler!) 

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this is meg’s bubba. those eyes! i could eat her {i’ve also wondered why that’s the phrase we use when we see cute littlies}…

I feed my imagination with reading, conversation, people watching, and every now and then will put pen to paper too. I LOVE to make lists, and sometimes indulge myself in the guilty pleasure of a good box set (right now, I am catching up on the world of Glee!) I am married to a super annoying man, but wouldn’t want to be annoyed by anyone else in the world more than him- and secretly think he’s fantastic! 

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how and when did you get into photography?
My parents started the bug for me! We are a family who takes photos. We wind my Mum up even to this day that she always wants us to ‘freeze’ a funny moment while she goes to grab her camera. As I grew up my parents captured everything on camera, so I naturally started to do the same. As a teenager I had a very simple point and press and would spend hours with my friends (and when I could convince them my brothers!) taking photos of each other, or things we would come across. I think my earliest memory of taking photographs was a camping holiday in Wales. We camped with a few other families in this big beautiful Welsh garden where there where the most amazing flowers growing everywhere. To me it looked like what I imagined the Secret Garden to look like. I asked my parents if I could use their camera to photograph the flowers and they let me! I must’ve only been about 9 or 10, so looking back- that was a lot of expensive equipment they handed to me to use, not to mention the cost of the film and then even more to develop it, but I wasn’t thinking of any of that! I just thought it was the best thing ever to be able to capture these beautiful flowers so I could hold that memory forever. My parents developed the film for me, and I’m certain my Mum has those photos still somewhere at her house! But I remember being hooked. 

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At 16, I choose my A level subjects for school and my school had just started a photography course. I joined straight away and it was the hardest yet most rewarding course I’ve ever taken! We had an Artist in Residence teacher, a French lady called ‘Corrine’. She was everything you’d expect from a French Female photographer! She was passionate and direct and fiery and loyal. I idolized her and she tolerated me! She would tell me when she thought my work was poor, when I hadn’t been creative enough. She spent well beyond the hours she was paid in the dark room going over techniques to make my developing clearer and sharper. She taught me how to un pack and prepare photographic roll in the pitch black in under 2 minutes, She would scream at anyone who dared to enter the darkroom without knocking to check the inside door was first closed. She would tell us when we had done well and she cried when we, her first class all received A’s in our exams. In short- she was fantastic! 

After school, I lost my passion for photography a bit. I don’t know what happened to it, it just seemed to fall by the wayside. Then I got married and felt re-ignited with photography, especially wedding photography! I LOVE having moments from my wedding frozen in time for me to be able to remember that day. Our wedding photographer used a digital SLR camera, which was still quite a new thing, but meant something fantastic- you could take EVEN MORE photos, then go through and edit them later- without having to worry about cost! We had thousands of wedding photos sent to us by friends and family as well as our photographer and it was like a dream come true! My parents bought me my own digital SLR for my 21st birthday and yet again, I found myself hooked! 

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Shortly after that, we had a few of our friends get married. I started to bring my camera along to weddings and take a few snaps. I loved it! For me, one of the best things still to this day about wedding photography- is that everything is already so beautiful, you just have to record it! Everyone’s dressed up and the brides always look so perfect, the decorations are always so beautiful- it’s like being in a real life Pinterest folder! I kept snapping away at friends weddings and sending them the photos I had taken so they could have their own copies, then one day the Father of the Groom of a wedding I’d taken a few photos at asked me how much would I like to be paid for my images! I was flabbergasted! I couldn’t believe that someone wanted to part with money for something I had photographed! He told me, I was missing a trick I didn’t get into wedding photography, especially considering how much I enjoyed it, and well- the rest is history! I slowly started photographing more and more weddings, then engagements and then families and I LOVE it! I transitioned slowly to full time photography and to this day I still quite can’t believe my luck at where I am, doing what I’m doing! 

do you have a favorite/awkward moment?
Well, I take a LOT of photos, especially of my daughter. She is two, but has spent more time in front of the camera than the average child. She’s pretty good at posing for me and I’d always seen this as a good thing. That was until we where at a wedding this summer! You see, if the camera is out- my little one thinks it’s for her to be photographed, because, in our home- it normally is! So this summer we attended a friends wedding as guests, and I’d left my camera at home (I was talking and pretty nervous about it, otherwise I may have remembered to bring the camera for a few shots myself too!) Anyway, we where mingling with other guests after the ceremony, when a friend of mine pointed out that Hollie seemed to be posing in the bridal party photos! I looked over and to my horror- there was my darling 2 year old front row and centre with the Bride smiling brightly for the photographer!!!!! Apparently a few people had tried to coax her away so the real Bridal party could have at least one photo without my photo crasher but she was adamant about staying put! Long story short- I have a very patient friend who now has a wedding photo in her living room with an added ‘extra’ flower girl!!!!! 

I could go on with embarrassing stories about myself while photographing- but that would be telling!

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what kind of gear do you use?
I am a Canon fan. It’s what my parents used, its what I’m used to! I’m lucky to have a family full of photograph fanatics so have a few different cameras I’m able to use. For me, the Canon EOS 5d is the camera of all cameras (sometimes I stop in Camera shops and just stare at the Canon EOS 5d mark III which came out in March last year). I think the most important thing when it comes to equipment though, is what works for you. There are so many amazing DSLR’s out there to choose from ranging from reasonable to mega expensive- but its what you’re able to do with the camera that counts. No matter how simple, or snazzy your equipment is- it’s your imagination, your ability to frame something just right, to capture the light in just a way or to turn something plain into something beautiful that makes the difference. The camera’s just a tool, it’s your creativity that’s important. (Although if Father Christmas wants to bring me that Canon EOS 5d mark III I would NOT be complaining!) 

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what do you use for editing?
For editing I use good old Photoshop CS6 & Lightroom. Like with the equipment- each to their own. For me, Photoshop is user friendly, which is what I need- but I’ve seen amazing photography done with all sorts of different software. 

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what is the one thing you wish you knew when you started taking photos?
Hard question! My experience with photography and becoming a photographer has been progressive. I’ve learnt a lot as I’ve developed as a person, as my taste has changed and as technology has rapidly advanced. For me, I feel blessed to have supportive husband and friends and family who have supported and encouraged me to do what I love. I’m glad I didn’t know it all when I started out and that I got to learn with real film and dark rooms and chemicals first. If I’d have known how fast photography would change- I may not have taken as much care to learn the ‘old’ way, and for me- that’s something I don’t regret. Maybe I wish I knew quite how good it is to do what I love and to get to meet so many great people along the way- then I may have gotten off the ground faster.

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what does photography mean to you?
Photography means EVERYTHING to me! For me, its a creative outlet. It’s also a way to pay the bills! The amount of times my husband has to ask me to put the camera down and just ‘enjoy’ the moment rather than photograph it I couldn’t count any more- but for me, part of enjoying life is capturing it, preserving it to recall on those harder, darker days. Pulling those photos from the drawer and seeing the smile of a friend you haven’t spoken to in years. Remembering how you felt that day you lay on the grass in the sunshine.

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I have the worst memory in history, so for me photos are important. There are times I wouldn’t remember at all where it not for a photograph jogging my memory! And as I get older, photographs just seem to be playing more and more of a significant role. Photos of me as a child, I have no memory of but my parents can take one look at that photo and tell me everything about that day, down to the smell of my hair. Photographs of my own little family now. My husband is a HUNK, so photos of him are always a winner for me, plus our little girl just seems to be on some form of Miracle Grow food plan where she’s more grown up everyday. Having the means to record her while she’s little so we can look back and remember these days, for me- that’s priceless. 

memories for life. it just makes sense right? meg sent me a few photos to use for this post and oh my word. i could have used every single one.

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meg resides in the uk with her hubby and bubba. check out mfl photography on facebook. like the page, enjoy the photos and if you want to capture moments of your life or big day {and you’re based in the uk of course} then contact meg via her facebook page.

it’s labor day weekend and i am absolutely ecstatic to pick up one of my bff’s from the airport tonight — all the way the from the uk. we’re going to have a blasty blast this weekend!

m.

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