Sharon Dawson, lead photographer

Well, this is not exactly the most attractive photograph of me ever taken, but after learning how to do this website, I would say it might be one of the most accurate photos of me ever taken. And who says Dogs don't look like their owners? This would be Kodak, my boxer, who also doesn't resemble Beetlejuice as a given rule.

So a little about me, I've been a photographer for over 20 years professionally. I wound up getting into it almost by accident. I am also a fine artist and have had over 28 one woman shows. Photography was a means to an end for me in the early years, I simply photographed what I wanted to paint in the studio. (Painting on location is a miserable experience in my book. Nothing like bugs in the oil paints!) Well, apparently I was pretty good at the photography as well and by the time I was 20 several people had dragged my un-prepared self out into the wide wonderful world of portraiture and weddings. I will never forget my first wedding - I literally paced back and forth in the lab until I saw the negatives. I wasn't worried about the images themselves, fairly confident that they would be OK, but I was terrified that the negatives would be blank. Mercifully, they were not.

At about the same time I was "modeling". This was a very short-lived career born mostly of being too tall and too skinny so Mom thought this might be the way to go. I drove the photographers completely crazy. It was abundantly clear to me that they were having infinitely more fun that I was and I was the queen of questions. They finally got sick of photographing me asking those questions (such a pretty look, furrowed brow, pointing at some piece of equipment. Not exactly cover material!) and pulled me around to the other side. I loved it. And that experience, I believe, is what makes me compassionate on my side of the camera. I know how awkward it can feel to "make love to the camera" when the person on the other side has you scared to death. LOL.

And so, many years later, I'm still here, camera in hand, loving what I do. People ask me what I, specifically, bring to the table and my answer is talent, experience, personality and creative vision. Those things may sound "obvious" or even trite, but they are not. Talent is not as common as you might think in today's photographer. I feel too many are too heavily reliant upon special effects and photoshop to help them achieve what they should have achieved in camera. And digital has allowed for many people to just shoot away with this sort of "eventually-one-of-these-will-work" plan. Experience is not to be underrated, especially with weddings, fashion, and anything involving children. Its a great benefit to be so relaxed out there, know when to be somewhere and confident enough to try new things. The more experienced a person is, the more they see. And if you are at all nervous around a child, just forget it. Those little guys have instant radar for that and it's going south and its going south fast. Creative vision is more than composition and I fully believe that it takes years to be good at it. Creative vision is the ability to see, really see, things that might otherwise be overlooked. Anyone can see a beautiful rose garden as a background, or the ever-popular Golden Gate Bridge. But not everyone can see how to make the worlds ugliest Lion's Club building interesting and even beautiful. Its all well and good when you are given a beautiful sunset in Maui to work with, but that isn't going to happen all that often. I believe I can shoot anywhere and find something interesting in it. I think to me, this is the most interesting aspect of photography.

Here is my Blog. I'm a humour/opinion columnist so its mostly stories. I supposse I should set up a seperate one to just post photos and write about clients, but I think I will incorporate the two and, after all, I write about the cients here!

photos by Robert Cavalli, Still Moving Pictures

The Dawson Studios Secondary Shooters

Collin Dawson

BACK by popular demand, is my oldest son, Collin. At least for my southern California work. Collin has worked with me since he was 15, starting to do his own weddings at the age of 20. Last year he left for the US Navy, but I am happy to report that he will now be stationed in San Diego, CA and will be able to work with me again. In my opinion, Collin is one of the finest photographers I know. His work is consistently good, he has a great eye and people just love him. His portfolio is outstanding and as soon as I get yet MORE time to work on this site, will be posted here.

Mark Bauer

Mark was one of my grooms. When he and his lovely wife, Michelle, were planning their wedding, finding the photographer was Mark's job, given his love of photography. We immediately clicked. You could say we share a similar sense of humor. After the wedding he approached me with the idea of becoming my assistant and we've been shooting together ever sense. He is very easy going, the clients seem to respond to him very well and he does great work. One of the things that I truly appreciate about his work is that he is actually very different than I am. Collin tends to shoot like me, sometimes indistinguishably so, but Mark has his own way of seeing things and I feel this rounds out the collection and also makes me look at things differently and expand in my own art. (Same for him - LOL - nothing like a brutal Dawson critique to expand you!)

ShaColby Jackson

Another groom. I'm not sure what it is with me and the grooms, maybe I shouldn't be posting this! LOL - Shac came to work for me in exactly the same way Mark did, 6 months later. And, like Mark, he has proven to be a great asset to me. Shac is extra fun in that he, not only being a good photographer, is a techie, which Mark and I are assuredly NOT. So it is Shac who keeps me abreast of everything, shows me how to work any new equipment, hunts up new fun stuff for post production and all that kind of thing. He also has a vast knowledge of video which I have found to be an added advantage in having him in the field - he has the unique ability to see a full course of action as opposed to just a single shot. What I mean by this is that he will see a cute little girl doing something, take the shot, but also seems to know to stay with this and follow this moment through to its conclusion. This makes him quite thorough as a photographer.