Shadow & Light | The Studio Fort Worth Yoga

I took a class this morning at The Studio Yoga on South Jennings in the Near Southside. My client and friend Loren Boyd opened this studio this past summer, and I love how she’s beautified the space and built a strong brand. In addition to teaching yoga, she designs logos and websites, so it’s always exciting to collaborate with her and see how she incorporates the photos I create into her online presence. 

And, well, the yoga is incredible. Over the past year, I generally stretch on the floor in my living room because I spend my days hovered over a computer or with a camera in my hand. What was incredible? I mean, first of all, I didn’t get up to do a load of laundry in the middle of my practice. Also, there were no dogs and children playing underneath me in plank. 

My son frequently says, “Mum, you do yoga with me?” And, it feels like a dream come true. One, to have a son. Two, to have a son who asks me to do yoga. But, then, get this: after I begin practicing with him (he likes Cosmic Kids Yoga), he says, “Mum, you’re doing it all wrong!” 

Doesn’t he know who I think I am?! I taught yoga from 2011 to 2018, here in Fort Worth, when about six inches between mats was the norm. Sometimes in the evenings when people would be streaming in the door, I would joke “Two to a mat!” I think we’re all missing our community. The room at The Studio is socially distanced, unlike the days of old. And, there’s always a mix of women and men, younger and older folks. The yoga is hot and can be hard, but the teachers invite you to do what you like. As I used to say, “If you like, just skip it.” As a person with a part-time trauma therapy practice, I appreciate the ways in which  the yoga community continues to become more sensitive to trauma. 

After practicing Cosmic Kids Yoga for the past pandemic year, a class inside a studio was a dream. If you’re looking for a place to practice yoga or a space to rent for a yoga photoshoot, check out The Studio.

(don’t) look at me: the fear of being photographed

Several times a day, my son says to me, “Look at me!” For the record, I  feel I am always looking at him. (He’s 3.5). I’ve noticed it’s what I say when I photograph people, “Look at me.” Look at my lens. Look past my lens. See me. I’m not a threat. So many of us freeze with a camera in our face. And, in all honesty, many of us have what I call camera trauma. We sit in front of the camera at the age of 45, and all previous iterations of ourself take a seat, too. The part who was told she wasn’t photogenic, the part who was told her smile was crooked, the part who hates her asymmetrical eyes. All previous experiences being photographed come to pass in 1/125 of a second. 

The other day when my son was saying, “Look at me,” I started wondering: at what age does it become “Stop looking at me.” When do we decide we’re not worthy of being seen? 

This past month I photographed a longtime friend. And, it was vulnerable for her for a number of reasons that are unique to her and also universal to most of us. Being photographed is vulnerable for most of us. 

She described the process of going to hair and makeup and coming to my studio and doing the session and weeks later viewing the portraits as “powerful” and “healing.” Deep inside, I know this is what I do. It’s why I feel nervous sometimes when I send a woman a gallery of images of herself. But, most of the time my ego thinks “I take pitchers.” That’s how people in the South say it: “We fixing’ to get our pitchers taken.” And, sometimes I think why on Earth am I taking pitchers of people? With all of the suffering in the world, how does taking pitchers even matter?

Then the voice of Truth reminds me that who I am and what I do matters. What I do isn’t as important as how I do it. And, I hope I’m showing up and holding the space for women to overcome the vulnerability of being photographed, to show up in the world with more confidence, to see themselves as the world sees them. If all of the women in the world rejected society’s warped ideas around beauty and embraced themselves exactly as they are, it would be revolutionary. I think I’m here to create a more just and compassionate world. And, when the women I’ve photographed tell me how the portraits we’ve created have helped them heal, I realize I’m doing exactly what I’m here to do.

If you’d like to book a studio portrait session, send me an email through the contact form, or you can set up a phone call HERE

a mini branding session at Amber Shumake Creative | dfw branding photography

Around 2017, I began to offer branding photography mostly for people who were starting their businesses. What’s been beautiful over the past four years is to see how these images have helped them build a beautiful brand with their websites, social media, and newsletters. This past year, I found a beautiful studio space to call home. With its windows and skylights and white walls, it’s essentially a bright blank canvas. I work in this space every day, so I have design elements like desks, tables, chairs, plants, etc. So, I can create a scene that’s unique and authentic to your brand in a snap. Because I don’t have to schlep my equipment across town to sublease a space, I can offer these sessions at a lower rate than I once could. Whether you’re just starting your business or you’re pivoting your business model or would just simply like to hit refresh on your photos, I’d love to help. These sessions last 45-60 minutes allowing for 2-3 scenes and yielding about 15 images with the commercial license to use these images in ways that elevate your brand. If you’re interested in discussing or booking a session, you can do so HERE via my online schedule. Previous clients can enjoy 20% off. 

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