Santana

Santana and I go back quite a ways. I met her when my daughter joined her children’s theater group. That was many, many years ago and through that time we’ve developed a relationship. I have photographed her and her husband before they were married, I photographed her bridals, their wedding, and the birth of their child. I’ve photographed their milestones, and non-milestones alike. I’ve been equally excited and honored for each of those things.

Santana and I have always felt that we have been born in the wrong era. This woman screams old Hollywood glam. Clearly she has always been meant for the stage no matter what year it may be. We had fun playing around with these gorgeous gowns.

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Amanda

I have photographed this woman on stage for years. Like most people who perform, they are more comfortable onstage being someone else, than they are in their own skin. To be in front of a camera as yourself can be intimidating. I am SO glad she decided to do this session with me. She did an amazing job, and is an amazing woman. Go check out her testimonial on the Word of Mouth page. I adored this session.

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Kelsi

I met Kelsi through a local theater group that I photograph years ago. She’s a pretty private young woman that’s very talented. Kelsi’s parents gifted her a session with me for Christmas and she was my first actual client in the new studio space. We discussed what she would wear and what sort of session she would want to have. On the day of the session Kelsi had a life changing event happen. She came for her session anyway. What a brave and deserving young woman. She is definitely an example of strength and perseverance. I am honored to be chosen as all of my clients photographer. But this session is one that I will truly remember for the rest of my days. Thank you Kelsi.

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What drives you?

Every day we have something that moves us forward to a place we may not even be aware that we are going to. Most of us are just simply unaware. We are living our lives and making little decisions that eventually end up leaving us with this loud realization of something. It is different for everyone, but when it happens it about hits you between the eyes. That phrase is funny until you realize that in essence “between the eyes” is really your third eye, or your mind’s eye.

I think it is accurate to say that most of us work towards one or two goals a year. They are usually big things that take nearly all year or more to achieve. In reality though, we are working through insane amounts of little goals all day, every day. So what are yours? Are you just thinking about the big picture, or are you seeing all the wonder in the little goals that succeed and fail? Those are the ones that aren’t celebrated nearly enough.

Celebrate a failure? Sure! It is one more thing you can cross off your list that didn’t work out - and that gets you closer to your success. Small successful goals like settling on a business card, or networking with someone face to face, genuinely, these are things that inch you closer and closer. Networking with someone face to face insincerely is just a failure that shows you businesses are living, breathing things that deserve our genuine care and interest. So it isn’t a waste, it is a lesson. Those are the things that make something grow - your business or your relationships.

I’m in business mode right now because I am going full steam ahead with mine. But you can’t do that successfully either unless you are paying attention to YOU. Your body, your mind, your spirit. You are the center of your business, and if that is weak, or unbalanced, everything else will suffer.

My life has been a gift. It hasn’t been easy, my marriage is hard, my kids are fantastic but they each have their own struggles because they are human. I don’t sugar coat anything. I’ve been a homeschool mom for years. I can’t imagine doing it any other way. I LOVE hanging out with my kids - I firmly believe I have created three of most awesome people alive. Their spirits are kind and generous. I’ve been a stay at home mom for the past 20 years, learning photography for the past 8 and doing it as a hobby. And while my husband and I don’t see eye to eye on nearly anything lol, he has afforded me this incredible privilege of being home to raise these incredible people. While he has done the 40+ hour a week grind, he has gifted me this time with my girls that no one else on this earth has been able to. I will forever be grateful for that.

In the last year my middle daughter was diagnosed with some really problematic health issues. I, myself, was feeling my brain fog and chronic migraines were taking over my life. I decided I needed to majorly shakeup my life in a good way. I decided to go and get a part time job out of the house. That turned into a full time position.

What I have learned from this is a) I AM a hard working, capable woman. b) my brain fog went away. I believe that the new stimulation exercised my brain and woke it up. THANKFUL. c) when I now look back on my struggles with taking my photography from a hobby to a business - it was me being unfocused and not driven to do so. d) I want SO badly to have work fill in the space of my life, and NOT life fill in the space of my work. Basically, more life and less work. In order to do that, I have to work smarter and not harder. Working full time only really affords you two days off to catch up on what (as a stay at home mom) I would do on the daily - laundry, dishes, cooking. Then you work year round for a couple weeks of vacation. I don’t want to play catch up. I don’t want to squeeze two weeks of memories and life in. And I want to afford my husband the ability to not have to worry about our retirement so much. I want to show my kids that life is short and there are a million ways to create income and make a living that doesn’t rob you of time with your family. This has been a major mindset shift for me. So it is not a failure, it is a lesson.

Success isn’t 40 hours a week, necessarily. Ask anyone who works 40 hours a week if they would rather work less hours, but get the same amount done for the same pay. I don’t want a set time on how long I have to be somewhere to get my job done. I’ve had jobs that may have started at 4 a.m. but you were done when you were done, for the same pay as a 40 hours a week job. I want to put my heart and soul into a session with a client, have an awesome energy exchange and not watch the clock to make sure I got the hours in. Then I want to be able to have time to enjoy my compensation with my family, in our lives.

I now have a new focus. I have a new mindset. And if you have read this far - my grammar, punctuation and the over use of commas is probably driving you crazy. I hope you stick around!

How about some photos of the new space? I am in LOVE with it!

On move in day, my girls surprised me with some sparkling cider. They told me they were proud of me, and that this day and this space had been a long time coming. I love them!

I am so ready to create beautiful, meaningful photos in this place.

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New website, new STUDIO.

I have never in my life wanted to have a studio space. I shoot very minimally, in both gear and distraction. I really like to just have my subject be the focus. But years ago I fell in love with a space, before I was even a photographer. I was just drawn to it, the energy, the feel, the looks of this light flooded space. I remember even saying “wow, I don’t know what this even is, but I want to be IN there”.

Fast forward a decade or so and I have had the incredible opportunity to lease the whole studio. I am still in shock. I am still scared. I am STILL in love.

Starting in January, Brooke Bikneris Photography will be moving to downtown Gadsden, Alabama to The 215 Studio. And the portraits I make, are about to be even more gorgeous than before. I am inspired!