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{low down, throw down with Sarah Long}

I am so lucky to get to introduce to you one of my best friends and wedding business partner, Sarah Long. We're the only two Maternal Lensers who live in the same town, and who knew each other on a live, in the flesh, day to day basis. For this reason, I feel like I can best introduce Sarah, tell you more about her than she'd even allow me to. (wink, wink) Not only is she my top choice of professional photographers, photographing my last two births (alright maybe SHE knows too much about ME), but she is also a very loving mother to two biological children as well as a mother by choice and love to two more very special girls. Currently in the fostering/adoption process. She's also fluent in American Sign Language and works as a sign language interpreter during the day at an elementary school. Sarah is very easy to be around, there's not a time we're together that we're not laughing, usually at each other. We've had some adventures together, from saving stray cats to most recently trying to fit a couch into a very small doorway very late at night. Sarah has a heart of gold, she's always been a great friend, loved by all, and admired for her wonderful ability to balance her day job, with photography, and motherhood. Her talent speaks for itself, through her photos you can feel the emotion, she captures a person's soul. Sit back, pour yourself Sarah's favorite drink, a chai tea, and prepare to feel joyful.

Sarah Long

Business Name:
(I am all of:)
(I am half of:)

Topeka, KS



Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:
Within my photography I strive to capture the realness of life, and the spirit of joy; all painted with beautiful light.

What's one thing everyone should know about you?
Hmmm, I am tempted to talk about my secret fear of balloons. Instead I guess I will note that my family is my world, and I am a child of God.

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started?
I have been 'doing' photography for about ten years...professionally about five...really seriously professionally about three. I got started because I wanted a hobby...it became more serious as I wanted to learn how to document my childrens' lives better. It took on a life of its own from there.

If they made a movie about your life, what would it be and who would play you?
I've always flinched a bit at this question—because it really made me think! I would have to say 'Victorious,' because in my life I have overcome much. I think it would be rad if Kirstie Alley played me. No, really!

What is your best processing tip?
I am going to echo what the other girls have said...less is more! Get it right in camera, and your post processing life is much easier. Learn how to use the curves tool correctly in PS...it is my most useful tool. Also, I love me some burned edges...but for a softer feel dodge the edges of the photo. Try it, you'll like it!

What is your best tip for getting great lighting in photos?
I am a natural light photog, so I move around. A lot. See how the subject looks from different angles. Chase the light! Most of the time, it's there.

What does beautiful mean to you?
I think Confucius said that everyone has beauty, but not everyone sees it. I think that is in part why I do what I do. I see it. Also, the real deal of course is the beauty that shines out from within.

Explain to us your dream vacation.
At this point in my life, I really think it would be awesome to take the family on a Disney Cruise!! :blush: The little ones would love it and I think my husband and I would too. In ten years...my dream vacation would definitely be just me, the hubbs, and my camera in some non-touristy village off the beaten path in the mountains of Japan.

Which sessions are your favorite (children, e-sessions, family, etc.) and why?
This is killing me to pick one—because I truly do love every kind of session for different reasons. Each one brings something different to the table. Right now, though, I am really digging weddings. Such true emotion and realness waiting to be caught. This exact reason is also why I adore birth photography.

What equipment do you use, and if you only had one lens to use, what would it be?
I shoot with, and really love my Canon 50D. My 50 1.4 is glued to it most of the time. I don't think I could live without this lens! The sun mostly provides the rest.

What is your most embarrassing moment?
Hmmm, I have this memory from grade school of doing sit-ups in gym class. Each kid had a partner sitting on their feet. Well, each time I did a sit up, let's just say that a not so nice little noise from down below accompanied it! Hey—you asked!!!

As a mom and photographer, how do you balance your life?
Again, I feel like I am echoing my TML sisters when I say, it is a work in progress. I am too busy, most of the time. My children and family are always my first priority, but much of the time I feel stretched way too thin. I plan on working on this big-time in the next year, however. Daily meditation and prayer time are going to be a requirement for starting my day.

Where do you see yourself in ten years?
I see myself sitting in the grass, with a hot cup of tea, watching my growing family laugh around me. I see my career exploding off the hook more than I could ever have imagined, but that is ok because I am going to be an expert at time management by then. :)

What song inspires you? You know, the one that can lift your spirits no matter what.
'Untitled Hymn' by Chris Rice. Hands down.

What is the all time best book you've ever read?
I love to read. A recent favorite is The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. He has a way with imagery that I have never encountered with any other writer before.

If we surprised you at your house today, what would be the first thing we would notice?
BOXES. Everywhere! We are moving in two and a half weeks!! You would probably smell something scrumptious in the oven that my sweet husband had made, too.

Have you ever had a photo session bomb?
Once, when I was portfolio building (luckily with one of my friends), I realized that my manual, film camera had not grabbed the film correctly upon loading, so I had zero images to show from our hour long session! Ugh! Still makes me queasy. :o/

What is your favorite print company?
Mpix and MpixPro!

How have you weathered the huge influx of photographers over the years?
Be true to yourself. Be true to your vision and style, and also sound business practices. Do not under or overprice yourself. (This is tricky!) You will rise up. Also—word of mouth is everything. Tap into your resources (community, online and otherwise.) Love what you do!


  1. I stumbled across this blog last week and am thankful I found it! I have enjoyed these little "get to know you" ladies as I am a SAHM/photographer as well and recently had my second child and am struggling with the balancing act (I only do sessions on Saturdays...started small and word of mouth, now am almost busier than I want to be...I guess that means it is time to up my prices a bit?)

    Anyway, fun to drop in from time to time. Thanks for all you share!

  2. Anyone who is a Kirstie Alley fan is ok in my book and dreamy beautiful photography to boot!!

  3. Love that last picture, it's just real life beautiful.
    (The Book Thief hit me hard with the imagery too.)

  4. Beautiful and alive :D

  5. Oh, Sarah, I've been day dreaming about how in the world I could scheme up a plan to have you photograph my birth!! But alas, I can't think of a single practical way to pull it off. But I loved reading your feature and I'm going to share it on facebook! :)

  6. Thank you all.♥ Christi, that would be the most awesomest awesome ever!! I would surely be most honored. I am even quite humbled and honored for the thought! (ding dang geography!) xo

  7. Love it! Beautiful images Sarah! I love the first pic of you too. Was that taken by Megan? You look SO sexy in that one!!! Great write up :)

  8. Anonymous9/16/2010

    Sharon Todd said...

    Sarah, I am at a loss for words. Somehow there are not enough to describe you. To merely say you are an inspiration sounds hollow and trite. I read a book by Jeff Walling several years ago called "Daring to Dance with God." For some reason I think of this now because you have learned to dance to your own life’s song. That you have established moral boundaries for your life and refuse to compromise them, that you have made a commitment to fulfilling your dreams, and that you dare to move forward in the face of life's challenges. What God has placed inside you is greater than any mountain that may stand in your way. You, Sarah...Like David have danced before the Lord and even more...have dared to move into His embrace. He is the Lord of the Dance. God bless and keep you.


  9. Yes Carol Ann, that is one of the photos I took the night of my Bombshell party when Sarah and I creeped out to snap some shots of her looking all sexy like. I always get the best shots on my front porch. We joke that it makes everyone look great, but really we only shoot great looking people on it ; )

  10. Oh my goodness Sarah, you are amazing, and your work speaks for it's self!! This has been a treat getting to know all of you ladies!

  11. Thank you all so much! This week has been fun. :) Sharon, that is quite possibly the best compliment I have ever received...thank you. xo

  12. you are fabulous darling! xo


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