Today the beautiful Amanda Zika or Dreaming Tree Photography is up on the blog! Amanda is one of the sweetest people I have ever met…and incredibly gifted, too! She has a unique gift of seeing the art in life as it happens around her. Her images of the every day are just gorgeous. Amanda blessed my family with photos that are truly a gift that I will pass down for future generations. There is a big story behind that session that I will share during the conference. Amanda was truly in the right place at the right time…thankful God has allowed her to be my friend and in my life.
Let’s get to know this photographer a little more…
What moves you?
I wanted to start with this question first for a few reasons. I hope after you read this you can then connect this with the way I photography families. I did not grow up in your typical American family. I was raised by my grandparents from birth to adulthood. They were amazing, beautiful people and tried to make my childhood as normal as possible. I had a lot of ups and downs as a child and wished all of my life to have a “normal” family. I think this is where my love for photography started. I was intrigued by photos of people just sharing life. Moments captured in time. So, what moves me? The uniqueness in each family no matter what the dynamic. Each family is beautiful and different and I want to capture that. I have learned through the years that as long as you have one person that loves you unconditionally, you can have the world.
Who inspires you? (personally or professionally?)
Wow! Isn’t this a deep question? I am inspired by so many people but I am most inspired by my children. They always give me light in the dark. Their giggles surround me at all times and I feel free. It is truly beautiful. With them I feel like I can conquer anything and any obstacle. Professionally, I am inspired by women photographers. There are so many amazing male photographers. There always have been, but I am seeing so many amazing women balancing it all. A career, children, household chores, school…It is inspiring. God made us to be strong and pillars. I hope that I can be an inspiration in this way for my family. I also have a lot of things that inspire the way I photograph. I love the color the fall leaves and the smell of fall, standing out on my deck in the cold, without a coat, taking in the silence and beauty of the first snowfall, watching my friends get married and having children, my favorite worship song coming on the radio, hugs and kisses from my sweet little man (those dimpled hands don’t last long!), holding hands with my husband and looking at old photojournalistic photos of my family.
What words of advice would you give to someone just starting out?
Always follow your heart. I truly believe that if you put your all into something it will work out. When I first started out I was so nervous. I thought no one would hire me and that I was wasting time and money. Thank God, I had a strong support system that pushed me along the way. I really think finding your style before you open your business makes a huge difference too. I knew how I wanted and what I wanted to photograph, but sometimes I felt lost and would go home not loving the images. That is why I wanted to answer “What moves you?’ and “What inspires you?’ first. I wanted to show you why I photograph in the style I do. Once you find your inspiration you will see such a huge difference in the way you photograph weddings and families. So, make a list. List your favorite times in your life, your favorite season, your favorite memories, your favorite photographers…just list it all and think about it. The things you love define part of your soul. Your outlet for those inspirations will come through in the way you capture people and things.
Did you ever think photography would be your career?
Yes! Yes! Yes! When I was in college studying photography and living life in the darkroom, I truly believed I would be getting calls from National Geographic (being one of their photographers is still a dream!). But, my family told me I would never make any money and to do something else. So, I did and I hated it. I spend 7.5 years in a career that suffocated me. When I took the plunge and decided to do what I love it was refreshing. My life and everything revolving around it changed. My husband is very supportive and told me to follow my heart. He is my rock and I would not be where I am without him.
If you could travel anywhere, where would you go?
Ireland! We were supposed to go this spring but decided against it because we didn’t want to leave the kids that long. I made Brett promise me that we will go with the kids within the next few years. I love to travel and have a huge list of places I would love to visit which include: Australia, Prince Edward Island (Holler if you remember Anne of Green Gables!), Paris, London, a tour of the upper-east coast in the fall. You get the idea. I love beautiful scenery.
It is a Bible verse that I have huge in my living room and remember every single day. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord, “plans for you to prosper and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11.
Favorite hot drink?
Coffee. Nuff’ said
If you could have any super power, which would you choose?
To fly!!!! Of course, I am afraid of heights so I probably would never make it off the ground. So, I will resort to my 2nd choice. I would love to be invisible when I wanted. That way, when I am in the bathroom taking a bath or whatever I am doing, the kids won’t have the desire to just walk in. I think most of us know that feeling!
I sometimes sneak and watch bad reality t.v. You know, RHWOC, Toddlers and Tiaras, Honey Boo Boo. Luckily, I only have time to watch these shows about once a year. But I still watch them and I enjoy it – even if watching does lose me a few brain cells!
Summary of what you hope to share with attendees of the reset conference.
I hope to share how I get people to feel comfortable with me. Comfortable enough to open up and just be themselves. I would also love to share how I try to balance kids and family life, volunteering, photography and household chores.
Best secret for working smarter not harder?
I work hard to spend more time with my family. I remember that every minute I spend procrastinating is time away from my kids. We all procrastinate in some way so we have to be self-disciplined. I also don’t work every day. I only have set days I work and for only a few hours. And guess what? I get it all done! I can discuss this more at the conference because it would take two pages for me to type out!
Amanda…thank you for being so gracious & for being willing to be a part of The Reset Conference! We just love you to pieces!
If you still haven’t registered, there are only a few seats left. You can grab one of them by registering and using coupon code AMANDA50 to save $50 on your registration!