What’s Love Got To Do With It?


Photography is very personal for me. My photography shines brightest when I point my lens toward subjects I have a connection with. Yes, that means my personal portfolio is filled with images of my son, my husband, my garden, and food. They are things I love. They are things that feed my soul.

I get labelled a “professional photographer” by others, and while there is truth and logic behind the title, it’s never felt like me.  I’ve photographed others for money. I’ve paid my share of taxes on my non-hobby income. But “professional photographer” not a shingle I hang. Why? It’s not were my passion is. My passion is in photographing MY everyday life. I’m not good at getting things edited in a timely way, nor do I want to spend my good light moments away from my family. That feeds some souls, but not mine.

In the quest to capture my everyday, opportunities do arise that feed my soul. And I grab those.

Photographing a family friend’s passion was one of those opportunities.

Imagine my family driving to his family’s home on a December afternoon. Just in time for perfect light. I’m loving this moment because I didn’t drive away saying, “I’ll be back in a couple of hours.” I’ve said that enough.

We arrive at Chad and Marie’s house and are greeted by an eager seven-year-old who is over the top excited to see Ian. Score one for mom! We are welcomed into their home as friends, because…we are friends. I’ve known Chad for two years. Our kids have shared a classroom, we’ve shared family dinners, we’ve spent hallway time together. This is different.

We head out to Chad’s shop to see where he makes his magic.  It is magic. The magic of wood and saws and varnish for practicing his art. I’ve spent time in their home before. I knew of his ukeleles, but I’d never been invited into the inner sanctum. Until today.

I’m armed with my camera and two lenses – my 100mm 2.8 macro for its dazzling portrait ability and the 70-200 f/2.8 because it’s amazing.

We’d already talked about what he wanted, so begins stringing a ukelele and explaining the process. I begin to shoot. I test the light to see what’s going to work before I step into my creativity. His story fascinates me, intrigues me, and leads me to questions. I love the questions. The more we can talk, the more I can understand, the easier it is to capture the art of the craft he dedicates his “spare” time to.

Chad Copher August Ukelele-4

Shea and Marie stand just outside the garage with me. They join us in this magical moment. We aren’t on a photo shoot, we are sharing our space together. We are sharing our passions with each other.  The photos are an awesome byproduct.

There is laughter from two kids. This process is completely additive. In this moment I’m borrowing nothing  from my family. I have enough distractions in my life that take away from them.

Chad Copher August Ukelele-2

I step back. I want a bigger picture. I want to capture the context. We talk more and we laugh. Chad shares his story. And then I capture my favorite photo of the day. This is the connection I seek. This is the photograph I want. This is what I love.  It has become my signature photo, eyes to the camera, real expression. Real, because it’s real.

This is the photograph I want. This is what I love.  I can’t force this.

Chad Copher August Ukelele-5

I reach the point when the light begins to shift and I deny the internal call to take “just one more.” I know I’ve done what I set out to do. I’ve captured Chad and his ukeleles. For today I’ve recorded his connection to his craft.

So we step inside. Two families. Connected through more than just my photography. We share dinner and wine and laugh. When there is no more light and little people look sleepy, my family heads home. It’s been a good day. And I know I’ve captured my everyday.

You can read more about Chad’s ukelele building in The Sacramento Business Journal or like his August Ukelele Facebook page. You might see a photo you recognize!


  1. Your post captures more than photos of your friend…as I read this, and your ‘awakening’ email which lead me here, I see your passion for the lens capturing the passion of your friend doing what he loves. Thank you for your words…and until you mentioned it, I didn’t realize how much I missed seeing your work.

  2. Kris Baker

    These photos and the accompanying narrative are spectacular. You captured passion at every turn. Wonderfully done!

  3. Katrina, like some of the others, I have wondered about your own photographs and postings, but being a somewhat newbie I did not venture to ask. I am glad that you have discovered the missing piece and that you are going to remedy the problem :). I look forward to seeing more of your life being captured. Thanks for all you do to help me grow in documenting mine.

  4. Peggy Pryor

    What a great story. It show how much you and Chad both love what you do? We all need to remember this. I’m go glad that you are going to be posting more of your photos. I loved the recent shots of your kitchen counter and can’t wait to see the finished rehab.

  5. Jenny Reid

    Katrina , It is so heart-warming to be reminded of doing things that are good for the soul. I joined our local camera club, to learn from others more skilled, on how to capture photos of wildlife ( I live in South Africa),but this did not materialse and I have just spent the last 2 years stressing each month to produce WOW factor photos of subjects I don’t even like, just to get star graded. No more, going forward it will be impromptu everyday type photos in my surroundings, when the light is right. 3rd time around to refresh in your Exposure course. thank you for the daily inspiration. Jenny

  6. Cindy Grohs

    I totally agree with Rhonda. I saw the photos and read the story and just wanted to encourage you to do more because this is what I need. Your beautiful photos inspire me and you write so meaningfully, right from the heart. I am so glad I found your site just barely 6 months ago. I have learned so much already and who knows, maybe someday I will be a 365 photographer.

  7. I think you are the best kind of photographer, and I mean that in so many ways. You don’t miss out on your life because of a business, you shaped your business to fit your life. I think that is brilliant. I was curious for a while now, being new to the site, why I wasn’t seeing your photos or recent blog posts. I meant to write you an email to ask about this very thing. I frequently clicked on “Katrina’s 365” but had not seen any new photos, and I know you are taking photos! So I wanted to say that I am glad that you are returning to what you must have done more of before. I had assumed you were just too busy, or something was going on in your life that was keeping you away. But you inspire everyone here, and we all want to see your photos, and hear your well written stories, your voice. That is what makes this place special.

  8. KarenP (kphike)

    Love this story and your photos! Thanks for sharing with us Katrina!!

  9. Linda_V

    Glad to have your inspiring stories return! Words can’t describe how much I am enjoying 365 and I am only 116 days in. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into this project!

  10. Rhadonda

    I’m fairly new to the 365 community but I have missed your presence. So glad you are back!!! I love the real life, natural life photos you capture. These are the ones in our lives that we come back to time after time. Thanks for sharing!!

  11. kathy crispino

    What a wonderful, heartfelt post. I have missed your writing…and images. Thanks for sharing this. Looking forward to more in the future.

  12. Lovely.
    Worth stopping and reading

  13. Jeannie

    Katrina, your photos truly captured the passion your friend has for his craft. The last photo is perfect! I too can almost here his laughter. Thank you for sharing!

  14. Claire Cummings

    Katrina, usually I just read and run (!) but was moved to comment. Your WRITING was so heartfelt and your photos, of course, are great. Particularly the last shot where I can almost hear the laughter in the workshop. Thank you for this.

  15. Thank you for giving us a peek into your talented friend’s passion and into a special day for your family.

  16. Love the fact that with 3 photos you can tell the whole story of what a craftsman Chad is and how much he loves what he does. To me that’s what photography is all about.

  17. Jodie Stahl

    This is wonderful Katrina! Beautiful story and gorgeous photos!

  18. Carol E.

    Love this post! Love those photos! Such gorgeous woods. I can imagine the love he puts into each of those ukulele’s. Priceless!

  19. Lovely, in every way. 🙂

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