When I called my mom yesterday afternoon, shortly after publishing my last post, she didn't say hello.
"You came out of the closet!"
I laughed. "Yeah, and it feels good."
To be honest, I was mostly worried about what the photojournalists I work with would think -- two of my friends in particular. They have given me tips over the years when I've asked, shown me different things to try and even helped me construct my camera goodies Christmas list after I invested in my first SLR.
But, much to my relief, both of them weren't too surprised. One even went so far as to say it was a natural fit.
"Your stuff of Allison is way better than any mall studio," he said, making me instantly want to hug him.
The other is coming over on Friday to give me tips on exterior lighting and hopefully allow me to take pictures of him and his wife, who is due with their first child in a few weeks.
Why was I so worried again?
Add that to all the support I've gotten here, and I have enough good-vibe fuel to propel me through this very demanding effort of getting established. Then again, the hard part is done. The fun part of taking photos comes next. I just have to round up some willing participants.
In the meantime, I plan to use the model I have constant access to: Alli.
Not wanting to blind her while I got used to firing my lights, I practiced on Jerry's Rambo bobblehead doll first. He was staring at me from his shelf in the kitchen as I looked around for something to shoot.
The first few shots were so bright it looked like he was lost in a blizzard. But once I toned down the output strength, he suddenly appeared in all his big-headed glory. Rambo looked amazing.
When Allison woke up from her nap, I stuffed her in a gorgeous hand-me-down dress, grabbed a beautiful antique chair my grandmother got her for Christmas, a teddy bear and went upstairs.
I didn't want anything overly posed, so I just tried to capture her as she played. I got about 10 minutes, maybe 15, before she ripped the dress over her head and dropped Rambo so hard on the rug that he broke both legs in a clean split at the shins.
And he had looked so tough with his machine gun.
But even in that short amount of time, I got three shots worth showing off to my family. It was so exhilarating to have the freedom of a studio. I didn't have to worry whether there was a wet towel on the bed in the background. Or a rogue sock on the floor.
It was just Allison. Lovely little Allison. Just being her expressive self.
After I toned each one, I shot off three overly excited e-mails to the relatives I thought would care, as well as the photographer from my hometown who helped me select equipment.
Granted, I'm sure no one would be brave enough to say, "Um, Kelly? You wasted your money. Try and recoup what you can on eBay."
But I still took their encouraging responses to heart.
In the meantime, I uploaded them to my Kodak Easy Share account so people could buy a print if they felt so inclined.
Then the e-mails came.
Kodak wouldn't fulfill any orders until they had written consent from the professional photographer who took the photos and owns copyrights.
I shot back a quick e-mail to my parents before faxing my consent.
"I'm sorry this is a complete pain in the ass, but SWEET!"
I know it's only three photos of my own kid, but it feels like I'm off to a good start.