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April Lawrence is the master of balance – she’s a military spouse who has honed her craft while moving across the world the last several years, finding her voice and improvising with what she has available (during COVID-19 lockdowns in two countries, no less!)
She describes her approach to photography as a way to use her creativity to capture a photo and the way it makes her feel. Join us as we discuss how to make connections in a new area, learning how to find a work/life balance with photography and your family, and how to stop holding yourself back and try new things.
One thing that I can say – photography does tend to take a toll on trying to find that balance, right? It’s kinda hard trying to find time for the family and trying to find time for your photography, but you make it work. Especially when you love both of them, you make it work.
- April Lawrence
Twyla Jones: Welcome April Lawrence. I am so happy that you’re here today. All the way from Hawaii.
April Lawrence: Yes. Yes. Thank you Twyla for having me today, I really appreciate this.
You don’t know how much it means to me cause you’re like, yeah, one of my like huge fans?
Twyla Jones: I feel like I’m your biggest fan. I love your work so much!
April Lawrence: Oh girl. You have no idea.
Twyla Jones: Every time I see your name post I’m like what now?
April Lawrence: Oh, wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. Wow. That’s amazing though. Seriously, you have been an inspiration to me when I first – since I first started.
Twyla Jones: That’s amazing. That really means a lot to me. And I just, I mean, especially because I see how amazing your work is. So I take that as a huge compliment.
April Lawrence: Oh yes. Cause I remember two and a half years ago. Cause I, you know, I’ve been doing photography now for three years. Yes. And I remember two and a half years ago, I was on Facebook, you know, just scrolling through. And I so happened to run on this page. And it was a mom and daughter in a wheat field. And the little girl had some really red ginger hair and this storm cloud over it. And I’m like, who’s this artist?
Ever since then, the image has been stuck in my head, like all the time. Like that was one of my favorite go-to “Oh, let me show you this photographer’s work!” Now I go straight to that photo.
Twyla Jones: I love that. I love finding an image that just kind of like resonates with you so strongly in that way that you can literally use it to, well, not that this is doing that for you, but I love making that connection with something that I can literally just like, think about it at literally any session I’m at, because it’s just really encapsulates, like everything I would want.
A picture to be, you know, like it’s like the essence of it.
April Lawrence: And it was definitely your photo Twyla like that photo. And I know you know what photo, I’m talking about! Oh my God!
Twyla Jones: You know, that photo…. that was when I was moving from Kansas to Florida, and that was just one of those days. It was a wheat field that my husband’s parents owned. Well, and why I went there was because there’s a house that was falling down and I really wanted to do photos there. So she brought her daughter and I did her and her daughter and the wheat first, but it was one of those things.
I was like, I gotta do all these cool places before we moved, because I won’t be able to, again. So anyway, it was, that session meant a lot to me. And I love that you feel that way about it. That’s so nice of you to say, but I want to know a lot more about you. So let me know. So you’ve been doing this three years now.
How did you decide to get into photography and what was that journey like for you?
April Lawrence: Okay, so three years ago, we’re in Oklahoma and I was a dental assistant actually. I worked for a dental clinic and her- Oh, the husband and the wife – see it’s early in the morning. Okay.
Twyla Jones: It is 7:45 AM where you are. Correct? And we were talking three hours ago or more.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Kind of,
Twyla Jones: yeah, we were talking just a few hours before that as well. So I just feel like, well, I feel like both of us never slept.
April Lawrence: No, no. I was too excited. I was too excited. Well actually the wife of the dentist that I worked for, she did fitness fight training.
And, I remember her working with a photographer, Casey Withers, and I remember seeing his photos of all the gorgeous women that he took. And I’m like, man, that’s pretty cool. You know, I’m originally, I’m a painter. So I was painting in my garage and I asked my husband, I was like, can I get a camera? He started laughing.
He was like, well, yeah, when you sell one of those paintings
So me and him made an agreement that I come up with half and he’ll come up the other half and I was able to buy my first camera. So I started taking pictures of my kids and a lot of people started asking me who took those photos, I was like I did. And they were like, no, no way. I was like, yep, that’d be me.
So eventually that’s how I got into it and I do recall, one of my family members having two stillborns and I remember her not being able to have like photos of those babies. And, and I also thought about like how cool it would be too. You know, empathize with her to be able to find families for image, like great quality images of their stillborns, you know?
So they kept memories of them. So I’ve thought about that as well, but I just didn’t know what the road, where the road is gonna lead me in photography.
Twyla Jones: Yeah.
April Lawrence: Yes.
Twyla Jones: And here you are.
April Lawrence: Yes, yes. Three years later. Right?
Twyla Jones: I feel like you’ve dabbled in a lot of different things in that three years. Right?
April Lawrence: A lot. I mean, in Italy, I pretty much say I grew a lot as a photographer.
You know, I shot babies, pets, my neighbors, kids, you know, I’ve tried to get all the experience I could , also remembered. I mean, I don’t know if you are familiar, but Italy has the “SOFA agreement” where we’re not allowed to charge for – well, not allowed to charge it or make a profit if you’re a military spouse there.
Twyla Jones: I did not know that!
April Lawrence: Yes, yes, girl. So that whole time I was in Italy, I did not make a profit at all.
Twyla Jones: Wow.
April Lawrence: Yes. Yes.
Twyla Jones: But I mean, I mean, I feel like it would be very challenging not to be paid for your work, but maybe like kind of liberating in a way that you don’t. I mean, You don’t have to exchange, I don’t know, basically your art and your creativity for like a monetary payment.
April Lawrence: mmhmm…exactly.
Twyla Jones: I always feel like that kind of carries a certain expectation or you feel like you have to do things in a certain way. Because it’s what you did before, because they expect something because they’re giving you money. And when you take that out of the equation, I feel like the art changes,
April Lawrence: I one hundred percent agree with you. So the whole time I was in Italy, I’ve really focused on enjoying what I do and that’s photographing families. Just anything that is photography related.
Twyla Jones: Yeah.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Any aspect of photography, I loved it. I love it. And let’s not mention the travel. Oh my God. That was amazing.
Twyla Jones: So you’ve been a military wife for 14 years. Is that right? You’ve been married 14 years.
April Lawrence: 14 years exactly.
Twyla Jones: Okay. So how many times have you had to move?
April Lawrence: Nine times.
Twyla Jones: Oh, Oh. And how many, since you’ve been a photographer, Oklahoma, Italy, Hawaii.
April Lawrence: That’s it.
Twyla Jones: That’s it? Okay. That’s still a lot. I mean, that’s like Oklahoma, Italy, Hawaii could you really go from like any two places that are more different from each other, from one place to the next.
Wow. Okay. So tell me about some of the biggest challenges that you faced relocating so often and how you were able to overcome them.
April Lawrence: Well, I guess it would be hardest on the kids for the most part. Yeah. But I guess military families always learned how to adapt to their surroundings after awhile. I guess you could say that.
Twyla Jones: Yeah.
April Lawrence: So I want to say it will be a challenge if we just learn to adapt, we just find it the norm, like it’s just normal to us, right about now?
Twyla Jones: Yeah. Yeah. Just kind of happy to start over and all of that. I feel like it’s always, it’s also been so different for you, like going to Italy, like you couldn’t make money from it, but any sort of like marketing techniques or any way of like getting your name out that you found effective?
April Lawrence: Oh man, girl, you know, this word of mouth is always the best thing. word of mouth! And I always tell people be who you are, like when you are on a shoot with a family or whoever you’re shooting with, be yourself. That’s who they want to see.
You know, you know, of course they love your photography, but- you yourself kind of present before your photography come a little bit. So I always tell people be yourself. Be yourself.
Twyla Jones: That’s so important, cause I feel like it totally affects the tone of the shoot as well, so I will think a certain way about things.
When I see somebody shooting, that’s very like outgoing and extroverted and those shoots seem like so much fun and just- bouncy? If I could describe a shoot that way? You know what I mean, but it’s not me, like, I love that and I think I personally would love a shoot like that, but I am just not that. I’m just very, very peaceful and like quiet and intentional and all of that, like whispering to people.
But I feel like I see that in my images as well. Like it’s just a lot of like these very tender, quiet moments, you know?
April Lawrence: Yes. Yes.
Twyla Jones: So what would you say your shooting style is then?
April Lawrence: Hm. As far as. That’s a good question. Bubbly?
Twyla Jones: What do you like? What do you like on a shoot?
April Lawrence: Man. I am very, very outspoken.
Twyla Jones: That’s how you get what you want though!
April Lawrence: Oh man. Lots of laughter. I mean, I guess every shoot I’ve done always got a story behind it. I always, I love making people laugh. I love, absolutely love making people laugh. I love making people smile. Just engaging with everybody and making sure that I bring out the best in each and in everything I do, you know, whoever I’m shooting, I think I really, really, really enjoyed that.
I really enjoy engaging with the clients like, that’s one of my things that I absolutely love.
Twyla Jones: I absolutely like could have told you that though, from looking at your work, it just feels so joyous. You know?
April Lawrence: A lot of them would tell you. Yeah, April’s a pretty funny character.
Twyla Jones: I love that. So where do you find your inspiration for posing and guiding your clients while you’re shooting them?
April Lawrence: well I do a little different techniques, like prompting a little bit. Maybe I have them do the drunk walk. Of course. That’s the classic one!
Twyla Jones: And is it ever? I love that one
April Lawrence: Usually clients are like, what? While I’m drunk walking?
Twyla Jones: Every time! Like, you’re crazy. Like, trust me
April Lawrence: Or kiss, just teeth. And they’re like, what, “Kiss with your teeth?” every time they Do that!
You know, a good tip is always have my camera on silent.
Twyla Jones: You do? What do you shoot with?
April Lawrence: I shoot with a Nikon, Sony , Nikon, Sony. I love both of them. So it all depends.
Twyla Jones: I am still shooting both of mine sometimes at the same time.
April Lawrence: Oh, me too!
Twyla Jones: Cause there’s just like, I mean, I just feel like could own every type of camera there is because some are just good at this one thing and I need this tool for this job.
And then this one is good for this other thing.
April Lawrence: I actually have to agree with you a hundred percent on that. If I’m shooting kids and I know they’re going to be moving really super fast, I’m going to pull out my Sony. Cause I feel like it’s so much faster. And then if I am doing studio backdrops. I love how the Nikon gives that like crisp shot.
I mean, not saying that Sony don’t, but, it just the color and a Nikon I think is a little bit better in.
Twyla Jones: well, and I also have better lenses for my Nikon, so I still only have one lens for the Sony.
April Lawrence: So girl, same here.
Sure. I’m not joking about that.
Twyla Jones: We probably could just buy better Sony lenses and only have one camera, but I’m just going to keep collecting them.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Right. And then I want to, I find my interest in film camera’s lately so I am looking to maybe getting one of those, you know, trying to play around with that.
Twyla Jones: I would love to see what you do with that.
April Lawrence: Yes, I have in the past, like a long, long, long, long time ago when I was in high school.. But I would love to do it again to see, you know, it was a photography class in high school, you know, that you have to take sometimes or elective that you have to take. So it was the one that was things that I did, but it was a long time ago, but I wouldn’t mind doing it again. And seriously.
Twyla Jones: Yes, I would love to do that. I have an old one from my grandpa. I’m looking at it right now on a shelf. So literally if I would just buy some film and throw it in there… I think the thing is, because I’ve never really done it. In like an intentional way. I think I did it when, like, that was the only kind of camera that existed, but not in like, you know, a type of way that I shoot now.
But I think mostly it’s that we think it’s way more complicated than it is.
April Lawrence: You know what? This is what I’m learning. Anytime you do something new or want to try something, we always tend to hold ourselves back. And I don’t know why is that? Yeah, if you don’t hold yourself back, just imagine what you can do.
Twyla Jones: Listen, one thing that I do to hold myself back April is I will just research the shit out of something like I’m going to read about this for the next six months. Not try it, but I’m just going to keep like, learning everything about it. When really, if you would just go out and try it one day. You’d probably learn like, even more than you would have whole six months of like, reading about how other people are doing it.And I think that that can be a problem too researching too much, or like looking for inspiration too much, because then it totally affects like your style and how you would have done it in a more natural way. If that was, it makes sense.
April Lawrence: Yes. A hundred percent. I agree with you. cause it’s like me and I want to do videos so bad. Great.
Twyla Jones: Just do it, just do it. I just did it. Actually. I’ll tell you what to do so you should learn a little bit, cause you do need to know a few technical things, but take Sarah Krieg’s class on ClickIn moms. It’s like $40 or something stupid like that, but you will learn everything you need to know.
It’s the filmmaking for photographers course- do that. Just consume it in a day. And then just change your settings on your camera and just start.
April Lawrence: Perfect.
Twyla Jones: I’ll tell you the other thing I’m learning about it is, also you have to edit the footage. If you want to learn anything about what you’ve done and how to do it better next time, because I keep making all these films, but not editing them together.
I’m just shooting it, you know? But when you edit is when you see your mistakes, it’s the same as in photography when you’re like, Oh, every single one of these is out of focus. I don’t know how to use my camera
April Lawrence: Girl. Did you know the first year, the first year I started photography, I did not edit one photo.
Twyla Jones: You didn’t?
April Lawrence: No. And then I had a friend of mine, so it’s like yo girl. You need to learn how to edit. And I was like, you might be right. So what I did was every week, I taught myself a new technique. Either it’s removing items out of photo, frequency separation, color, grading, curves and tones. Every week I taught myself different.
Twyla Jones: I love that. Well, that was my next question. I wanted to know how you developed your editing style because it is so beautiful. I love your colors. I love your skin tones. I love everything about it.
April Lawrence: Thank you. Thank you. Sometimes I do like of course hand edits and then sometimes I do use presets, you know, if I want a faster workflow.
Of course. Yeah. And, I do use Stephanie Cabrera’s A Wandering Tribe Presets and Sherie Angles Swanky Desktop Presets. I loved them too. but I have to tweak them to make them my own sometimes, but for the most part, yes. But for the most time, I kind of hand edit, especially when it comes to skin retouching.
Twyla Jones: Yes. Yeah. What do you like to do for that? Are you doing frequency, separation and Photoshop?
April Lawrence: Yes, definitely. Yeah.
You know, try to work on texture of the skin. You know, it’s a minute for me to get it, but I think I got it. I think I got it.
Twyla Jones: It’s like meditative. I used to do it for every single shoot, but I was only delivering like 20 images a gallery.
April Lawrence: Yes. And it’s time consuming too as well. Yes. Yes. I don’t think people realize that and I’m like, okay.
I just did a session. I just took maybe 200 photos, maybe more and that’s a lot of good ones in here. And I don’t think I can edit all of these, you know, but I’ll try. What I normally do is I’ll put like 10, like fully retouched images, in the gallery and then give them the rest in a separate gallery.
Twyla Jones: That’s The best way.
Yeah. Because, because really how many of these are going to go on your wall? How many are you even going to go to social media? You know,
April Lawrence: Exactly. I find some clients, they were like, I’m just going to flood a Facebook. And I literally put posts their whole gallery up, which I love. Cause it do be some like amazing shots in there.
Twyla Jones: I was just talking to someone else that is going to be on the podcast about this, about how we work so hard. On our images and spend so much time behind the computer. And like, I mean , the percentage of those images that nobody, or just like one person is ever going to see is so ridiculous.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Yes, yes. And of course you may love the image, but the client might not like that image. You like, “man. That’s the best image ever”. Honestly, like, You’re right. Because even on my Facebook, I barely post, like I post one or two from the shoot or three or four and they’ll have the rest, but it’d be some amazing shots, amazing shots. Okay.
Twyla Jones: Nobody’s seen like most of the work I’ve ever photographed because I’m also kind of bad about I’ve spent so much time with this session that it’s not, I don’t even know – I’m just onto the next thing already, instead of giving it’s time to be seen by other people, you know?
I need to be better about that. But I also think, I, I mean, I’m just really, really looking at, you know, the systems that I have in place and kind of what I’m really doing with my business and trying to make sure everything I’m doing is like bringing me joy and that I enjoyed the process because I’m not even spending any time on the finished product at this point, you know, I’m just like onto the next thing.
Am I enjoying that process and I am for sure, spending too much time behind the computer. So I would like to change that. So yeah, I’m really gonna start reevaluating, even like the things that I offer, how often I’m shooting and, I don’t know. I’m excited about what that’s going to look like though.
It’s like a whole new life.
April Lawrence: It is, because even for me, I was like, you know what, instead of me giving a hundred, 150 photos. I’m just going to now start giving out ten images.
Twyla Jones: Yes because nobody’s nobody appreciates that and I’ve always done it.
I mean, I, I honestly, I feel like it’s an insecurity because I’m like, “well, I mean, I know they’re going to like this one, but just in case, like they need this like slightly different angle or, you know, they might maybe they’ll like this one” instead of just like, this is the one that they they’re gonna love.
Like, I know this goes on the wall. Like sometimes it’s very obvious, you know,
April Lawrence: Yes I know exactly what you mean. Like, do you feel like I have a style, a certain style.
Twyla Jones: ,I mean, I don’t know, like I said, it just feels so joyous and happy to me. And what other words would I use? I don’t know, but I mean, I have to say, like, I would just be so happy to have 10 incredible images from you and to just see those 10 altogether.
Best of the best of like our time together. I think it’d be so impactful and especially, more so than if you gave me 100 images or something because sometimes I feel like those like, well, probably a hundred of yours would be all incredible, but you know, I feel like sometimes my, like the best of what I can do can get lost in such a heavy gallery.
April Lawrence: Yes. Okay. Okay. Yeah. Cause I was trying to figure that out lately. Cause I, you know, I see a lot of photographers sometime they style really light, airy. Someone’s like really dark and moody, you know, trying to find your ideal client base is like a challenge for me too, as well in the photography world. Yeah.
Twyla Jones: I think it evolves though, too, you know, because I don’t think because you find something and even. Because you do it well, or it resonates that, I mean, that doesn’t mean that you have to keep doing that forever to, you know, our tastes change. But I mean, for sure, you’re like, I don’t know, like bold and colorful!
April Lawrence: I love colors, girl.
I love colors.
Twyla Jones: Yes and I love your colors. That recent shoot you did with the bathtub.
April Lawrence: Oh girl, girl. Listen to me,
Twyla Jones: and the camera.
April Lawrence: Girl, that girl is stunning.
Her name is Jo-van. She’s actually a makeup artist as well. And she used to do a lot of modeling in the past. And when me and her worked together the other day, she was like, man, she’s like April, you know, she went to you. Pretty awesome. You know, and I was like, yeah, you gotta be fun. Right. You know, you don’t want to be, you know, just be yourself.
That’s all I was telling her, but she did so awesome. Oh my God. I loved that shoot. I love that shoot. It was so many images from there is ridiculous. Again, so many images, but I would love every image that I took of that girl. It was amazing.
Twyla Jones: They’re so good. Did you do that in Hawaii?
April Lawrence: Yes, I did. That was like my second shoot in Hawaii, I believe.
Twyla Jones: is that your own setup or is that like, where was that?
April Lawrence: It’s actually a, her, her name is Tracy Dudgeon I think and she has a small studio set in Hawaii with the bathtub the whole area, she also rent out dresses to other photographers, which I think is amazing. And now we’re shut down for covid on the beaches and stuff are closed.
So that was perfect. That was a perfect location for us to go. I mean, perfect. Perfect location to go. And Tiffany was amazing. I mean, just being able to do that for other photographers. I mean, that was absolutely perfect.
Twyla Jones: I’ve seen somebody and I don’t know if maybe you might know, I feel bad. I don’t know who the photographer is.
If we don’t know, I’ll figure it out and put it in the show notes, but someone that does these really incredible, like bathtub shoots, but with like a bunch of like hibiscus flowers and stuff, and it’s outside, do you know how it is?
April Lawrence: I don’t know, but that is very common here with the bathtub.
Now, when I shot Jo-van, I actually told her that I did not want to do the flowers.
Oh, I want to do something out of the box. You know, that’s why I tend to do, like, you know, you get inspiration for other photos, but then kind of turning into your own a little bit. Yes. And that was one of the things, but it’s several bathtubs in areas in Hawaii that you that someone have a pink bathtub, someone has a gold bathtub.
Yeah. It’s pretty cool actually.
Twyla Jones: I’m going to get one. We have a cool like jungle backyard and I’m going to do it.
April Lawrence: Yes.
Twyla Jones: And I’m gonna put you in it.
April Lawrence: Girl me in it?
That was funny.
I was like, girl, y’all coming over. What model’s can we get? and You like me? I’m like, what? Wait, wait, wait a minute.
Twyla Jones: You’re going to come over and get in my bathtub.
April Lawrence: Oh, my God . You know what, for you Twyla. I would actually do it. I’m actually trying to get more comfortable in front of camera, too. Oh man.
Twyla Jones: Yeah. It’s so important. I know. Yeah. I mean, not cause I, it’s not like I am or anything, but I understand how important that is. And I mean, for it, just for us to like show other clients too, because you don’t, I mean, you know, it’s just, it’s so easy to only want to show like a certain type of, I don’t know, person in your feed, because we mistakenly think like images like that might post better, you know?
And just how important it is to show like all types of like bodies in our feeds to normalize it and let people know that they also deserve to be photographed because there’s nothing, I hate more than someone reaching out and saying when I lose the baby weight or something, then I’ll book a shoot or something, you know?
April Lawrence: Yes, girl. Yes. I know exactly. I know exactly what you mean by that.
Twyla Jones: But you know, it’s a thing that gets put out there because if they are not seeing their bodies represented, then like why would they, you know, that it’s easy to think that way, like, I am not worthy of being photographed because my body is not good enough
April Lawrence: or they are the classic line.
“I don’t think I’m photogenic enough.” I’m like what? Like, I just feel like, honestly, I feel like everybody is absolutely like to me, has a point where they can actually be beautiful. It’s the photographer job to be able to capture that.
Twyla Jones: Yes. And we see it. Like we see the beauty and in everyone, but then sometimes it’s hard to turn that back onto ourselves
April Lawrence: girl.
Yes. Yeah. When you get that bathtub. Yes. Please call me. I’ll be there.
Twyla Jones: I mean, I can work that out today. I dunno.
I dunno. I dunno when you can fly next.
April Lawrence: Girl. Tell me about it. Cause everything is closed down. Oh my God. It’s insane.
Twyla Jones: Honestly I want to come to you. I am dying to come see Hawaii. I’ve never been.
April Lawrence: I’m so mad you didn’t come to Italy girl.
Twyla Jones: I know.
April Lawrence: Oh, it’s okay. You Hawaii is still beautiful. I feel like, I feel like your backyard looks like Hawaii.
Twyla Jones: It does a little bit like I’m in, I’m always seeking out places here in Florida that remind me of Hawaii. And it’s really hard because it’s so flat here, but I’ve got a couple good spots on the beach where you can, like, I don’t know, it feels like a flat part of Hawaii and I’m all right with that.
April Lawrence: But why you do have some amazing spots. Every other day before the whole shut down. Cause we were all locked down again. But before this, I was actually me and my husband will drive out scouting out locations and it was so many besides the beach, the beach is beautiful, but I was actually,
Twyla Jones: honestly, I feel like it’d be overwhelming.
Like I would just shut down. Like there’s too much. There’s too much beauty here too much to see
April Lawrence: that’s where I’m at right now. I’m like, man. Whew. So much what I’m gonna do next, you know, and yeah.
Twyla Jones: It’s like a relief that the beaches are shut down
April Lawrence: You might be right about that you might be right. You might be right about it.
I see a lot of photographers like panicking right now in Hawaii because the beaches are closed and they are not able to work. But I told one photographer to use this time to be creative, you know, think outside the box. Cause I know when I was in Italy and we got shut down, guess what? Only thing I had was a backdrop and I was photographing my daughter with it, you know, and I love that photo of her.
I’m obsessed with it. Oh my God. It’s the one with the butterflies. And she has like an orange jacket on with, and she got long braids. I love that photo of her. And that’s one of those things , when you put yourself in a corner like that and everything shuts down, you’re forced to create, you can sometimes you can do some really good magic, really good magic.
Twyla Jones: Honestly, I feel like this keeps coming up in the podcast, but I mean, it’s so true. Like when you could do anything in the world with all the things you feel like you need to go choose the best things. Right. And I feel like we’re often gonna gravitate kind of towards the same thing over and over again.
Like for me, I am going to the same beach over and over again because it’s the best beach here, but then all my photos are taken at the very same place. And then as far as like the clothing, because I’m picking it, I’m always picking flowy dresses. Right. So I for sure have this,I have a look, right, but it’s not really allowing me to like, be super creative.
So I actually just bought a bunch of backdrops and just like a cheap lighting set up so I can do stuff in my garage. Yeah. And I’ve been branching out into like, branding photography a little bit more like that’s really starting to interest me. So, I don’t know. I just, sometimes just having fewer options, like you can have these four things and go make a shoot out of it.
I think allows you to be a lot more creative and really just kind of like show off what you can do a little bit more. Right. I think if we all went to a beautiful beach and with somebody in a flowy dress, like, of course those pictures are going to be amazing, right? Like you don’t even have to try.
That’s why I do it. I’m like lazy. I’m just going to close my eyes and press this button. And then they’re all going to look good.
April Lawrence: No, but I would love to see what you come up with with the backdrops. What was that one girl? What’s her name. Oh my gosh. She’s so awesome. Oh my gosh. She’s amazing. She just recently started posting pictures of her, like going into an oven girl,
Twyla Jones: Chinelle!! Have you seen her feed lately, because now it’s like she figured it out.
It’s like a different color background. I was just looking at her earlier today. I love her. I have one of her prints on my wall, in my dining room.
April Lawrence: Oh my gosh. She is, she blows me away. I’m like, That recent one she did…..
Twyla Jones: She’s so good.
April Lawrence: Yes, she is. I have to agree. Like I love her work, like obsessed with it too. I mean, it’s a lot of photographers that I’m inspired by, of course, but man she thinks outside the box and I love for photographers that think outside the box.
Twyla Jones: She’s coming on the podcast soon.
April Lawrence: Oh, Oh, okay. I’m definitely looking for that one.
Twyla Jones: I can’t wait. I’m so excited. I love her. She has a self photography class out on her website, you can take.
April Lawrence: Yeah, I think I might, I might have to do that too.
Twyla Jones: Yeah. I would love to see you doing more. So you have like backdrops and stuff with you there?
April Lawrence: I do. You know, we’re still waiting on items to arrive from Italy. Of course.
Twyla Jones: Yeah. Your house is empty.
April Lawrence: Yes. Very empty. I’m still waiting on that stuff. My car gets here today, but yes, I cannot wait. but in the meantime I told myself, all right, April, I taught myself how to change colors in Photoshop of a wall.
So I think I’m gonna use my white wall and just fix it up in Photoshop. That’s what I’m thinking about right now, actually. And then I don’t have my oldest daughter here cause she’s in college. So of course my other two kids have child photography syndrome but I think,
Twyla Jones: You know, the auto focus on the Sony is so good and you can use your phone as the remote and get to it.
April Lawrence: I gotcha. I gotcha. I’m definitely going to do that. I’m definitely gonna do that. That’s probably one of my projects that I’m gonna do some more self portraits of myself, you know?
Twyla Jones: I can’t wait to see how you photograph yourself.
April Lawrence: You know, for the longest time nobody even knew, what I looked like,
Twyla Jones: Same with me, everybody thought I was the girl in the photo that you liked.
I show up places and people are like, I thought you had like long Auburn hair. I’m like, Hm. Sorry to disappoint you. It’s just me
April Lawrence: That’s funny. Yes. For the longest. I didn’t even have a profile picture and anything like that. So , yeah. Yeah, that’d be me. That’d be me too. Me too.
Twyla Jones: It is so fun and like satisfying to get some good images of yourself though.
I did. I took pictures of my family and myself with them. I don’t know, a couple months ago maybe. And I was like, if I could just get one good image, like I will be totally happy. And I ended literally- there were a hundred that I liked.
April Lawrence: I love those photos, you know, I’ve seen them, right.
Twyla Jones: It’s hard to know.
I never know like what anybody sees or not, you know, I feel like it’s a little bit empowering to like do it. And even if you do just get one, or even if you don’t get one, you went through the process already. And then, you know, it’s not like that hard to set it up and you can try it again, you know,
April Lawrence: trial and error, you know, Yeah, I would tell people don’t give up and just keep doing, you know, just keep trying.
Twyla Jones: Yeah. That’s the only way that you get better. like you have to suck first. You have to.
April Lawrence: Hey, you got any of your first photos ever taken.
Twyla Jones: Yeah.
I used to date a guy that was in, like a heavy like, Oh, it was like a screamo band.
April Lawrence: Oh my God.
Twyla Jones: I had my little point and shoot and I would take all the photos, but, and I didn’t understand anything about a camera, but they all had those like light blurs in it because the shutter speed was slow cause it was so dark, you know, but that was like it, and I would like take pictures of the other bands, like in the bathrooms or whatever.
And my logo was like, I called myself Twyla Kills Shots, and I think the Ls were like lightning bolts or something. I will send you, I will send you the watermarked photo.
April Lawrence: Oh gosh.
Twyla Jones: They were awful.
April Lawrence: Speaking of watermarks, you know, I don’t really. I don’t really like using them because I feel like it takes away from the photo, you know?
Twyla Jones: Yeah it does.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Recently I just got one just to get one, I guess, to put on the website, that’s just rebuilt and I’m trying to rebrand, you know, trying to start over a little bit.
Twyla Jones: I really like rebranding. Honestly. I love doing it.
April Lawrence: It feels kind of refreshing, right? .
Twyla Jones: It is
April Lawrence: Yeah. So I’m, I’m actually happy that I did it, you know, like it was just something new. People are like “oh no, I liked the name QNA.”
Right. And I’m like, no, I got tired of people saying. Question and answer.
So I was like, you know what, let me just switch this up a little bit. So I just, you don’t want something, you know, with my name, something more personal though, a little bit, you know, cause…
Twyla Jones: I always try to encourage people to do that. I have some friends that just don’t like their names though. I don’t know what to tell them, but, you know, it’s just nice to kind of like be your brand and be the face of it.
And for people to like, be able to make the connection that you are, that photographer, you know.
April Lawrence: I agree. I agree, man, girl. Yeah. My, I guess my nervousness went away a little bit when you asked me to be on here. I was actually kind of star struck. I was like, Oh my God. Oh yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes. I was. And I’m like, Oh my God. Hey guess what? I’m going to be on Twyla’s podcast! He was like, who?
Twyla Jones: Please remember that.
April Lawrence: You know, sometimes, sometime guys. Oh, I mean, I love my husband, you know, he’s been an amazing support system for me. I’m not gonna lie. Oh my God. He’s been amazing. one thing that I can say that, Photography does tend to take a toll on trying to find that balance, right? If that had to be, I’m trying to think, and it’s kinda hard, you know, trying to find time for the family and trying to find time for your photography, but you make it work, you know, especially when you love both of them, you know, you make it work.
You love photography and you love your family. You make it work.
Twyla Jones: Yes.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Make it work. And that’s what I’m learning. Just make it work, you know. Change your times, you know? You know, you’ve got two golden hours in a day, the blue hour, the golden hour of course. just try to tend to surround your shoots around those times.
That’s what I do. Trying to find a balance a little bit for everybody, but it’s hard.
Twyla Jones: Well, and I feel like, so if, since you’re a military spouse, I don’t know a lot about it, but I feel like maybe there are times when your husband’s gone. Is that right?
April Lawrence: Well, I know in Italy he was gone quite a few, so yes, that was hard. But I also had family in Italy. I had a cousin that lived there. So, yeah, so it was convenient for, I guess, both of us. I needed her to watch the kids while I go shooting, or she needs for me to watch the kids when she went away. So that was fine and I guess you could say that was the most of me being – having that experience as a military spouse and as a photographer is in Italy. Since I’ve only been doing photography for three years, but then now I’m here and my husband’s already telling me, well, I’m going to be working later. You know? So now it’s time for me to come up with a plan B. So I’m gonna have to find that balance again, you know, also it helped me Italy cause my daughter was 17, you know, 16.
She was able to watch the other two while I go shoot sometimes, but now it’s different. You know, we went from a family of, let’s see. No, you can forget how many family members in your family.
Twyla Jones: How many, and I have to count us every time! Everybody does that.
April Lawrence: So it’s kind of, it’s going to be different for me here cause that now I have to reevaluate everything.
Twyla Jones: Yeah, well, and just, I think finding that family. Again, you know, like it took us awhile here in Florida to just meet new friends that we just really trusted, you know?
April Lawrence: Yes..
Twyla Jones: So important to just, I mean, even if it’s only like one or two people, but to have that and because I left my whole family in Kansas, I didn’t have anybody here. And that was really hard.
April Lawrence: Oh girl, girl, girl, girl. Yes. It’s hard moving to a new place, but luckily I guess since I moved nine times like now I’ve actually already know people that’s living in Hawaii already. So it kind of…
Twyla Jones: You know, I have to say, sorry to interrupt, but I think that’s another nice thing about the photography community.
Like you kinda know somebody everywhere.
April Lawrence: Hmm. Yes, yes. And the photography community here is amazing. Not saying that photography wasn’t amazing in Italy, but, it was kinda more like a distant thing amongst everybody, but here it’s like, it seems like everybody’s so much closer. So much closer. Yeah. But I, I mean, I absolutely love it here, girl.
I love it here. Love it.
Twyla Jones: I’m so happy to hear that. How long have you been there now?
April Lawrence: Ooh, let’s see. Three weeks, three and a half weeks.
Twyla Jones: Yeah.
April Lawrence: Yeah, but it’s a different vibe. It’s a completely different vibe, you know, Italy, you know, gorgeous landscapes, you know, of course, but it’s a lot of gloomy days. I felt like there, not that many days, but you come to Hawaii.
I mean, you have. 80 degree weather, like every single day.
Twyla Jones: And now your light is completely different too. It’s just a whole new…
Do you just feel so like invigorated, like being there? Like I dunno. I just feel like everything’s exciting every day is exciting. To go explore something new.
April Lawrence: Oh yes, girl. Yes. I’m like, Oh my God.
We’re going to go see today. What w where we’re driving to? I love North shore. North shore has the most beautiful blue waters ever. Oh, my God North shore is amazing. it’s quiet right now. There’s hardly any people out there now due to COVID, but it’s so quiet. It’s so peaceful.
Twyla Jones: Well, I feel like also just, well, at least once they opened the beaches up again, like what a time to be there too, because are they still, like, you can’t really visit Hawaii, right? I imagine like tourism is down?
April Lawrence: It is, but every day it’s like something is changing every day. Every day something’s new right now, tourism is down. I think when you come to Hawaii, you have to be quarantined for two weeks. Of course. And then after two weeks you can kinda, but what was happening is that people really wasn’t quarantined and I think that’s why the numbers was going up. So.
Twyla Jones: Yeah. So now it’s like no more beach for you.
April Lawrence: Yes. No more beach. All parks. I can’t even go on a hike, but listen, I can go to a water park and I can go to the mall.
That’s exactly how it was. And I’m
Twyla Jones: like…
You know what? At our beach you can’t use the showers.
April Lawrence: Can’t what?
Twyla Jones: Yeah. You can’t use the shower is they’re like taped off with police tape.
April Lawrence: Oh my god.
Twyla Jones: You can go to the beach but you can’t take a shower. Like it’s outdoor showers. It’s not even in a building you just can’t use the showers at all.
April Lawrence: Oh, wow. Oh, wow. Oh, wow.
Twyla Jones: I’m thankful though. Like, I’ll take it if I can still go to the beach, like please.
But, I do want to talk a little bit about, like the, you know, kind of finding a balance between family and photography. Because I feel like it is so hard and for me, it just feels like I have to completely tip the scales before I realign again, you know, like I end up doing a week’s worth of like all nighters and all dayers like I’m doing right now before I’m like, this is not working anymore.
And I have to reevaluate something and figure out how to do this differently because it’s all work right now, you know?
April Lawrence: I think once you decide how many images you want to give to someone that that will really cut your work load like, literally like in half seriously.
Twyla Jones: Well, and I just take on so many different projects also.
I’m I just feel like I am doing 20 things at the same time. All of the time.
April Lawrence: Hmm. So you like to stay busy?
Twyla Jones: Yeah. I just got a second computer monitor and it’s changed my life. Cause I can, I can like be editing a video and images almost at the same time time.
April Lawrence: Wow. That’s amazing. That’s amazing.
Twyla Jones: Really. I would rather be at the beach and I like literally have not been for a while, and I really am excited about homeschooling my kids, but I still haven’t been able to start that because I’m just so busy working all day. So, yeah. I don’t know. I’m excited to like, kind of figure out a solution for myself.
April Lawrence: I think you should really just consider, like, I know we all got calendars, right?
But maybe a family time calendar, like, okay, I’m definitely going to do this from this time to this, especially …
Twyla Jones: And writing it down like a meeting, like unavailable, just like I’m recording a podcast.
April Lawrence: Exactly. I feel like it’s, it can be done. It can definitely be done. Cause I’m, I’m, I’m even starting to notice a difference, you know?
The kids are going to virtual school and I’m like, Oh my goodness. Virtual school? You know, me kinda school. Like this is like, everything is out the norm right now. So we all have to adapt and I think you should be able to do it.
Twyla Jones: Thank you. I appreciate your confidence in me.
April Lawrence: Yes of course you can do it. I’m pretty a hundred percent.
You can, I feel like once you, when they say you start doing something for what 30 days straight becomes a habit and a routine, am I saying that, right? So I think by yourself, like doing that, I think you’d be fine. I think you just do just fine. Just fine. So
Twyla Jones: I got to figure it out.
April Lawrence: Yes.
Twyla Jones: I know. I was thinking I would, I’ve been getting into TikTok a little bit,
April Lawrence: Girl,
Twyla Jones: I kinda want TikToks of Gary cooking.
I’m like, you be the face of things now, like we’re just going to focus on you. I’ll just hold the camera and you make the content.
April Lawrence: Isn’t TikTok addicting though?!
Twyla Jones: Here’s why here’s why TikTok is so beautiful. One. I especially love that more, I don’t know, diverse groups of people are getting onto it. So it’s not like all little kids or whatever it has now.
Cause you only get a minute. Every second has to count. Every second has to be like worthy content. You know, you’re getting information. So, you know, whatever you see, if it’s a recipe, you’re going to learn it in one minute. If it’s an editing technique, you’re going to learn it in one minute.
And I love that.
And I feel like, honestly, I need to take that approach to things and put it on my business because I, for sure it may work harder, not smarter, and a lot of things, you know, And it’s like giving too much and I don’t know, maybe almost like overcompensating for things. So I think, to take that approach and really just make everything count and only show the best of the best and you know, just all of that, could really cut down on like the time preparing a thing and then I can enjoy the creation of the thing a little.
April Lawrence: Oh girl, I’ll tell you my, when my friend first introduced me to TikTok. I was like, what? I don’t want to do this. And then I find myself , I went to a photo shoot with her one time and I find myself doing TikToks, doing it.
And I was like, seriously, are we really doing this right now. And I’m not gonna lie. I’m grateful for her because she actually encouraged me to be more in front of the camera. A lot more. And, because I had to do these TikTok videos.
All these dances and stuff like that. She said “April, but really it’s a great platform.” I didn’t realize it, but it’s a great platform. Even try to market yourself through TikTok is amazing.
Twyla Jones: It’s so good. And now like with the Instagram reels where now you only have 15 seconds, but the return is phenomenal right now. Yes. You need to be making Instagram reels.
April Lawrence: Okay. I’m gonna, I’m gonna get on that.
Twyla Jones: I posted one the other day and but it had like 9,000 views. I mean less than 24 hours.
April Lawrence: Wow. Okay. I’m definitely gonna look into that.
Twyla Jones: That’s your homework for the day.
April Lawrence: Yeah, I got a lot of homework.
Twyla Jones: I know you can reuse the TikTok and just cut it down to like the 15 seconds or if you have a short one.
April Lawrence: Oh, okay. That’s actually really cool. I love that. I love that. See videos is about to become a new thing a little bit. That’s why I’m trying to get to actually learn how to do videos.
So that way I can just imply it and use it into my photography business a little bit. Cause someone’s just asking me, did I do videos for ’em? I guess she makes clothes and she wanted, they want me to be able to like video her clothes and make short little videos. I’m trying to tap in there. And if someone also asked me to do wedding videos, which is a whole different ball game, Holy moly.
Twyla Jones: Honestly, it’s kind of easy. So I’ve gone to an elopement with a friend of mine that shoots weddings because I just wanted to try it. So I just, you know, like went for free just to like experience the day and see what it was like. And I really enjoyed it and it really is easy because it’s very hands off.
And so you just look for those like beautiful snippets of moments and, you know, just grab a few seconds here and there. And then it’s so fun to watch it come together. In the edit later. And it’s one thing that I’m really loving is that, of course, right now I’m not doing much intentionally, while I’m shooting.
Cause I don’t know what I’m doing, but the parallels that you can find between shots and then later kind of. Like that’s a whole art in itself, but like putting them together to transition into one another, that’s been kind of fun to like discover as I’m going through the process. So I’m liking that, but for sure, and I’m telling you just take Sarah’s course, cause it’s everything to get you started.
And then, and then you’ll be good to go. And I mean, by, I don’t know, by next week you will be more than qualified to do videos for them, for their clothes and stuff.
April Lawrence: Okay, awesome. I’m definitely gonna do that cause ah, Yeah, I’ve got a lot of homework ahead of me then I’m going to get on it.
Twyla Jones: I mean, I feel like my homework list is just never ending also, but I’m looking at your TikTok and these look so good.
Oh my God. I love the one of the two girls. Like I’m just looking at like the preview now they’re walking green shorts, white shorts.
April Lawrence: So my friend, my friend Marcy, actually did that one because I asked her. I said, “Hey, why don’t I put you in charge on my TikTok videos”, but actually she’s in the military.
So she was in the process of moving to California. So I kind of had to take it on my own a little bit. Cause I understood she was moving, but she’s really good at TikTok. I’m not gonna lie..She’s really good. She’s really good.
Twyla Jones: I’m trying to do sunflower videos.
April Lawrence: Girl. Yeah,
Twyla Jones: You’re so good.
April Lawrence: Oh, thank you girl. You are too.
Twyla Jones: Let me know. I want to know. before we wrap up, what you are most looking forward to like accomplish in your near future with your new life in Hawaii.
April Lawrence: Well, I want to shoot Beyonce.
Twyla Jones: Oh yeah. That was the first step. Well, I’m sure you’ve put that on the universe before, but now it’s out there a little further.
April Lawrence: I could dream a little bit, right?
I mean, dreams can come true!
Twyla Jones: I’m sure she’s listening to my podcast. I’m sure of it.
April Lawrence: I would love to shoot Beyonce, but you know, I mean, Honestly, I’m like,
Twyla Jones: Oh my god, I just, I can’t imagine you photographing her. Like, those would be the most beautiful photos that have ever been taken of her.
April Lawrence: Oh my God girl. It would be amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Twyla Jones: I’ll do whatever it takes to help make it happen.
April Lawrence: That’s so funny, girl, you gonna make me cry. Like seriously I’ll actually be over here crying.
But I’m looking forward to the future. I’m looking for like, just to grow my business. Better business wise too. Cause I think I’m slacking that little part, you know, trying to make sure I reach the ideal clients. I’m really, I really want to head into fashion a little bit more in photography.
Twyla Jones: Oh yeah. You’re good at that.
April Lawrence: Yeah. Oh, thank you. I was, you know, debating, for a little bit, but I think I really want to head into fashion, which I keep hearing like fashion it’s hard to get in to but honestly, I’m just going to go for it.
Twyla Jones: Yes just do it! And you’re going to do it well, and I feel like it’ll just fall into your lap, honestly.
April Lawrence: Yes, I hope so. I pray. So yes, but yes, Twyla but I’m definitely looking forward to that. You know, I have, several shoots lined up that I’m really, I’m always excited by shooting and I guess once it’s two weeks or. Gone, you know, after the whole, I guess, closing of COVID here, Hawaii. Hopefully I can get back – So things going back to normal and I can just get, get myself back out there.
Twyla Jones: Yeah, well, I will be following you on TikTok and watching and, DMing Beyonce.
April Lawrence: Say “Hey, I got this photographer. She lives in Hawaii.”
Twyla Jones: I mean, I’m going to tag her in all of your TikToks
April Lawrence: You know what I even think about doing that, but that’s like perfect though.
Twyla Jones: I don’t even know if that’s possible. I think it is. I think you can tag people in TikToks. We’ll have to see if she has one and then I’m going to do it.
April Lawrence: That’s funny.
Twyla Jones: Every day, I’m just going to wake up every day and I’m going, to tag Beyonce in whatever TikTok you’ve posted.
April Lawrence: That’s so funny. That’s so funny.
Twyla Jones: It was so nice talking with you and I want to talk to you more and I really want you to come to Florida. I’m going to get that bathtub. And I really want to come see one Hawaii.
April Lawrence: Yes girl. I will love that. Cannot wait. And we’re going to make it happen. We’re definitely gonna make it happen. Yeah,
Twyla Jones: We absolutely are. Well, if you ever need anything, you know, just reach out and I am here for you.
April Lawrence: Thank you so much, Twyla. Same, same.
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