Your Creativity is Powerful

by Bethany Joy



In our podcast journey exploring Design Thinking, we have delved into various aspects of problem-solving, but one recurring theme remains the significance of a growth mindset. In a rapidly changing world, the ability to think flexibly becomes crucial for survival. However, as responsibilities increase, the process of dreaming and ideating can become more challenging. It’s natural to seek comfort and avoid disappointment, frustration, and pain. Yet, it’s essential to recognize that pushing through discomfort and embracing challenges builds resilience and makes us stronger individuals. In this series, we have already covered self-compassion and defining problems while overcoming procrastination. Now, it’s time to reignite our dreams and creative potential.


Creativity as a Learned Skill

Recently, I stumbled upon an article that resonated deeply with me. It highlighted an important fact applicable to all creative individuals, especially those in the design field: waiting for inspiration to strike is not always feasible. Contrary to popular belief, creativity is not solely reliant on inspiration or raw talent. The core message of our podcast is that creativity is a skill that can be learned and cultivated over time.


So, how can we nurture our own ideas and enhance our ideation skills? Let’s explore two valuable practices:


Make Room for Imagination

Imagination is a powerful tool that allows us to envision new possibilities. While it’s crucial to identify potential problems, we mustn’t solely focus on them. It’s equally important to make space for positive and playful imagination. In today’s interconnected world, we often overlook our unique perspectives. Although group brainstorming sessions are well-intentioned, they can be influenced by biases that limit the effectiveness of idea generation. Remember, you have the ability to bring fresh, unique solutions to your life. Allow yourself to think unconventionally, embrace limitless possibilities, and tap into the power of your imagination.



Stop Judging Start Writing

Judgment is a part of our daily lives, but when it comes to generating ideas, we must grant ourselves the freedom to withhold judgment from our initial thoughts. The next time you encounter a problem, take a moment to start writing and let your ideas flow onto paper. Don’t worry about perfection or whether the ideas seem real or strange. Sometimes, the journey to truly brilliant ideas begins with expressing the not-so-great ones. Remember, there’s no race to have perfect ideas—give yourself permission to explore and experiment without judgment.


Unleash Your Creativity

Design thinking and the ideation process hold incredible potential for problem-solving and unleashing our creative potential. By cultivating our imagination and embracing a non-judgmental mindset, we can foster innovation and develop unique solutions. Let’s dream big and work towards making the world a more creative and problem-solving place.


I hope this gives you some ideas on how to gather the strength to keep moving this year. Remember that when you feel like everything is going wrong you can still choose to be kind. You can choose to be hopeful and fight for the better. Happy Mid-year! Let’s continue doing what we dream of. If you want some cute encouragement to check out the affirmations below!




Free Illustrations






The 5 Easy Ways to Get Great Grad Photos

by Bethany Joy



Graduation season is back! Everybody is prepared to celebrate their hard work this season and move on to greater things. There’s no doubt you earned it! Make the most of your graduation experience by taking the time to reflect on your accomplishments, both big and small. Cherish the memories and friendships you made along the way. Finally, don’t forget to celebrate your successes!


Using these tips, you can DIY amazing grad photos this season to make your photos as amazing as you are. My examples will be drawn from a real session I conducted.  You can use DIY graduation photography to capture your special moment when you have limited time. Take beautiful graduation photos with these simple tips.


The Location



Choosing a location that contrasts with your gown, your skin tone, and the school colors is best. You may want to consider mascots and places that have special memories for you. Contrasting colors and locations can add visual interest to your photos and can make the photos look more dynamic. Additionally, choosing locations or mascots that have special meaning to you can make your photos more meaningful.

Contrasting colors and locations draw the eye to the subject in the photo and can help to create a more interesting composition. Choosing a location or mascot with special meaning to the individual in the photos can add an additional layer of emotion and nostalgia, making the photos more meaningful and memorable.


The Lighting



Unless you have access to professional lighting, I recommend shooting outside in the evening when the sun is setting. When the sun is golden as it sets, it is flattering and not as harsh as during the daytime hours. Avoid standing under trees that cast shadows on your face, and consider bringing a white poster board to reflect light under your chin. To create the crisp focus effect, you should pose with your chosen background in the distance. Your photographer should stand equally distant from you as the background. This way, the light will be even across your face and body and the background will be out of focus, creating the desired crisp effect. This technique also allows you to shoot without the harsh shadows that are often seen when shooting in direct sunlight. Make sure you are far enough away from the background so it appears blurred. This will help create a more aesthetically pleasing image. Finally, ensure that you and your photographer are standing at an angle to the sun, to reduce the harsh shadows that can be caused by directly facing the sunlight.





On your cards, banners, and social media posts, you will want to use several classic poses to make your cards, banners, and posts stand out. Take a picture of just your outfit without a cap and gown. You can use this for your professional profile headshots. It is best to do this before putting on your grad cap since it may mess up your hair. Next, take open-gown photos with your grad cap on. You should consider whether you want the graduation tassel to be on the appropriate side. You should take full-body shots of yourself walking toward the camera as well as mid-body shots. After that, zip up the gown and repeat the process. Capture some close-up shots of your face smiling at and away from the camera. Here is where you may want to add props such as a fake diploma or sports equipment depending on your favorite activities. Don’t forget to take a picture with your tassel, your graduation cap, and of course the classic cap toss. Full-body shots show your whole outfit, while mid-body shots emphasize details such as the tassel, diploma, or any props you choose to include. Close-up shots of your face capture the joy of the moment and having props that represent your favorite activities makes the photos more personal and memorable.


The Props



You can create a session that is unique or classic to suit your style. Create your own style or theme by incorporating it into your session. In my examples, Zoë did a Meg The Stallion-themed shoot. The outfit involved cute accessories and a cute look. Whether you are a member of a club, a movie fan, or a sports fan, display your personality through your outfit and props. Don’t be afraid to express yourself with what you wear and use props. This could be a colorful outfit, a favorite movie poster, or the jersey of your favorite sports team.


Create Something Unique



Have fun trying different looks and enjoy yourself. It is HARD to graduate from high school or college and you deserve to be celebrated! Congratulations to the class of 2023, the best is yet to come! Embrace the moment and don’t be afraid to try things you’ve never done before. This is your chance to make a statement and you want your look to reflect who you are and the milestone you are celebrating. You should be proud of your achievements and eagerly look forward to what lies ahead.

You will be seen and celebrated with my one-of-a-kind fine art photography portraits. For more information about next-level all-inclusive graduation photography, please message me here! I provide comprehensive and tailored photography services, so you can cherish this special moment for a lifetime.

I hope these tips are helpful, but I am only one person, so let me know what has worked for you! I can be reached here or via email at Interested in collaborating on something creative? Commission a portrait! The booking period for 2023 is now open.





Creating Through Collaboration

When a Model, Stylist,

and Photographer Get Together


I am excited to share an exciting project I worked on with model and entrepreneur Anita Ofori and Yvonne of We got together to collaborate on a series of portraits that show all of our creative experience.




Working with a team is the best way to create hands down. On this day we got together we pulled different dresses, makeup looks, and hair. We worked outdoors and indoors to create different looks. I enjoyed having access to the professionalism of both of these women and was happy to listen to their input as we worked.  Honestly, this was one of the most fun experiences I have had creating portraits.


Racing The Sun

We raced against the sunset to take advantage of a quarry lake. We played with lighting from a flash and from the sun which was perfectly golden. I learned invaluable information about modeling with Anita and her movements as well as from Yvonne with her experience in the industry as well. Check out some of my favorite shots from the sessions outdoors!


We then moved indoors and did studio looks. This was particularly fun for me because I got a chance to create with my portrait style in mind. I wanted to create strong light, vibrant colors, and highlight Anita’s personality as a model. Take a look below at some of my favorite images from the session! 

Thanks again to Anita and Yvonne I look forward to working with both of you again! To learn more about both of these ladies follow Anita on Instagram here: @anitaofori Follow Yvonne on Instagram here: @vonslayz.



What is your creative process? DM me on social media or email bethany@bethanyjphotography and let me know! 

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Practice Practice

Crafting with Quality



I couldn’t stand drawing but I learned how to be better purely because of practice. In Episode 2 of The Creativity Cure, I shared how I learned to have a growth mindset by challenging the notion that I should only pursue skills I am naturally “good” at. I believe that many of the best demonstrate the tenacity to practice repeatedly. You can listen to my podcast here to get the full recap. I always share some practical ways you can start thinking like an artist and harness creativity to improve your life. Here are 4 ways to practice like an artist everyday.




Learning to lean on those who have been there and done that is huge! Investing time in learning or listening to anyone with experience is a skill but asking the right questions is the key. You probably do research every day. When you decide what to eat or what shoes to buy,  you do research. Learning to track your research with writing is a powerful thing as well. You never know when that old note will help! Artists always have a curated folder of references, inspirations, tools, sketches and more. Everything is an inspiration for a future idea


Try Again

Practice again and again. Before you put out your next big thing, practice. Practicing is hard for me because I get so excited about a photo or blog or new video that I skip practice. I usually end up having to go back and slow down anyway. So embrace practicing, prototyping, testing, and modeling whenever you can. Even using paper and pen, your phone whatever. Create sketches, rough drafts, and scripts or outlines. Rarely does your work fully arrive there is always room to improve.




Ask for feedback. Getting and giving feedback happens 24/7 in the design and art worlds. It’s critical to understand your impact on those around you. It’s important to learn how to take feedback and process it without changing everything to please everyone. Regularly seek to understand how you are perceived when you are leading a project or team. Seek to listen and then record and analyze your feedback to ensure that you are creating an impact the way you intend to.




Go back again. Remember the relief of turning your project in just in time for the deadline at work? Well as an artist after a critique of your final project, we are encouraged to keep improving the final. So if you want to exercise that creative muscle go back to your work or project and look a third time after receiving feedback. Instead of striving to get “perfectly done” learn to live with the idea that it’s ok to improve. In some ways, you have to believe that the need to get better doesn’t mean you failed. It’s a natural part of learning and creating.


Hopefully, these are helpful tips but I am only one person so I would love to hear what has worked for you! Email me here or at Also, commission a portrait with me to collaborate on a creative art piece! Booking is open for 2023.







Thank You!

I wasn’t sure how to summarize this year as a photographer. I can only recount setting the goal to get 10 families photographed before 2023. Last year (2021) I was not sure if I was going to do photography again. I had lost confidence in creating. I had a constricted schedule and a new baby on the way. I felt so overwhelmed by what I had to do I couldn’t imagine a way out. Anxiety can do that to you. Your world becomes smaller and your vision is clouded by every “what if.” I decided to give it one more shot and reached out for help.

I dived into learning how to communicate who I am and why I do what I do. Thanks to courses, lots of thinking, and friends, I did a lot of learning and unlearning. I found my old love for art and photography. I started blogging! I posted my face more and made videos and reels! (Something I thought I would never do.) I let people know I was open for business and it has been a gift! I almost missed this journey. I almost missed the new clients I met this year. Reconnecting with old friends and meeting new ones. I found new locations and vendors. I developed a solid grasp of my style and I began to dream again about what I could do. I began to see the creativity God planted in me bubble up again. I saw the most Christmas sessions I have ever had, I did major events and everything from sports to infant photography. I got to taste it all thanks to you, my clients!

I am THANKFUL. I have come so far and there is more that is yet to come. After a year of trial and error and exploring, I have come to the point where it’s time to renew.

What’s Coming

There are important elements of my artistic photography style that I have limited due to their complexity. I am very proud of the vibrant, candid style I have developed but there is something missing from me. I still crave the opportunity to really craft an image and create work that further shows depth and beauty. I have always had the skills to create this work but I have been hesitant to create it because doing new things can be scary. Next year however I will be reintroducing my brand with a new style and structure that will allow me to bring you better more dynamic work.

I will always have the core of my brand, warmth, vibrancy, and genuine expression. However, I want you to be the first to know that I am also bringing in more of my Fine Art background to develop portraits. More details will be coming so be on the lookout for more on the following changes coming in 2023.

1. I will no longer be offering services as an event or wedding photographer to allow for more portrait sessions.
2. I will be specializing in fine art portrait photography commissions.
3. This means I will be catering each shoot as a unique set around you!
4. Sessions will take more planning time but I believe that the longer time will be worth it for you!

5. This means pricing will be reflecting a new structure. I will communicate everything to you in due time!



There will be more information coming! I wanted to communicate this to ensure that we are on the same page. I will be offline for Christmas and the New Year so I thank every person who has contributed to the success of Bethany J. Photography! Thank you to everyone who worked with me this year! You are the reason I do what I do! See you in 2023!




Finding Joy

Welcome to my blog. Here I am myself. I am an artist who shares her photography, her family, and more! I called this blog choosing joy because 1. That’s my middle name and 2. Finding joy when life is tough has been a journey for me. More often I am choosing to look for the bright side even when I don’t see it. If you are an artist, a parent, a small business or all three then you will like being around here!

Share your Joy Journey with me by emailing You might be featured in my newsletter!

Your Joy Journey can be something funny or moving your story of overcoming or what brings you joy.




Finding Joy

The Official Bethany J. Photography Blog with Bethany Joy Steele

Check out this page

to get to know more about me!


Client Spotlight 

Diana and John

Sharing the Joy


When I say share your Joy Journey Diana and John along with their family did just that. Their joy involves dancing! They had a great time showing me some of their amazing moves! They offered unique ideas for poses that show their dynamic form and energy. The silk fan used in traditional Chinese dancing added a burst of color. This reminded me of spring and the energy that warm weather brings. The creativity was beautiful and unique! This demonstrates that your portraits don’t have to be standard! Share the gift of who you are by being expressive! 


Fall/ Holiday Sessions are still available. Please contact me today to get your session booked!

Finding the Joy

Welcome to my blog. I talk about choosing joy, to me, that means believing God is good and there is hope in the face of difficulty. I also talk about my goals and challenges. I believe in perseverance, grit, dreaming big, and choosing to challenge yourself to be better than yesterday.

What does it mean to be a part of the #JoyJourney?

It means to choose JOY in the good and bad!
It means we focus on our goals!
It means we challenge ourselves to do better!
Wanna share your story? Join the #joyjourney in my FB group here! We encourage each other to accomplish more and meet up once a month for a nature walk!