Soraya Rudofsky Photography » | Capturing the American Dream

Day 2 of my Lensbaby 365 Challenge!

Today Lee and I went skeet shooting near Siloam Springs with the Arkansas Young Republicans.  My parents are in town visiting, so they joined us. It was something else watching my mom learn how to shoot!  She did great. I admit that I have very little experience shooting anything other than a Nikon, but I was thrilled when I hit two clay pigeons!  It was a beautiful, bright day, so of course I had to shoot with my camera as well.  More on this soon, but I am absolutely in LOVE with my new Lensbaby Velvet 56!Skeet Shoot Lensbaby Velvet 56 Northwest Arkansas PhotographerPin Image

It was a really great group. The kids were some of the best shots there! I have to include a couple of non-Lensbaby “bonus photos” of my folks shooting — I never thought I’d see this!

Arkansas Young Republicans Skeet ShootPin Image

My Dad blended right in with the locals in his plaid shirt, jeans, and camouflage baseball cap.  He grew up in New York and New England and now lives in Florida, but one of the gentlemen we met at the event thought he recognized my Dad from around town!

Arkansas Young Republicans Skeet Shoot 2Pin Image

My mom got a lesson from the Rangemaster (the awesome guys from the Ecclesia College Shooting Sports Team were there to help us and make it a safe and fun event!). I love the photo on the right – you can see the smoke and the shell casing still falling from her gun!

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UPDATE:  Congratulations to Danielle Jansen!  You won the Lensbaby Mobile LM-10 and Phone clip!  I can’t wait to see what you do with it and how you #SeeInANewWay!

Thank you so much to everyone who participated for commenting and sharing your stories. It was really wonderful to see how photography has positively impacted your lives! And another huge thank you to all my friends, family, clients, and followers for your support this past year. I couldn’t have done it without you, and I’m so excited for Year 2 and many more!

first photograph Northwest Arkansas photographerPin Image

The other day, I was sorting through a box of treasures I kept from my childhood home in upstate New York and found my “first photograph” — at least, the first photograph I took that I deemed worthy of being framed and saved. I must have taken it sometime in the late 1980s — probably spring 1987 or 1988 — with my Dad’s old Pentax K1000 that he gave me around that time. I would have been 7 or 8 years old. I can’t remember exactly the year I took it, or what the type of film was, or even the precise location of the photo, but I remember with crystal clarity seeing it for the first time mounted on its acid-free mat in its flowery pink and gold frame.

That was the first time I ever felt like “an artist.”

Northwest Arkansas photographer horse photoPin Image

The image in my “first framed photograph,” the horses from the farm next door to where I grew up. Taken in Granville, New York, circa 1988.

Looking at that photograph more than 25 years later I still love it because it brings back the best of my childhood. (And it reminds me of the incredibly gorgeous color you get with film!) Playing in those woods behind our house with my brother and the Heitkamp kids next door, naming every little rock and stream and making elaborate maps (of the girls’ “territories” and the boys’ “territories”), working with my Mom on hugely elaborate school art projects, reading every book I could get my hands on, listening to my Dad play Beethoven on the piano at night. You would never see these things in this photo, but I do — not because they are written in light on a piece of photo paper, but because they are the images on my heart every time I pick up a camera.

In just 3 days, on May 5, Soraya Rudofsky Photography LLC will be 1 year old. I can hardly believe how the time flies. When I left the practice of law five years ago to follow my dream of becoming an artist, this hardly seemed possible. I have so many people to thank for making it come true. I will never be able to repay my husband for his incredible love and support – especially through the late nights, the frustrations, my insane perfectionism in pursuit of an image when I wanted to get “just one more,” days when he came home and the house is a mess and I’m still in my pajamas editing at the computer – and for his caring and celebrating with me when an image somehow comes together the way I imagined it. I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to my parents, in-laws, siblings, all of my family and friends, mentors, teachers, fellow photographers, fans and followers on social media, and my incredible models and clients who have shared their stories and magic with me (and for being so good looking!). Thank you all so much for supporting me and my business in this amazing year.

It’s time to celebrate!

I decided that to kick off Year 2, it’s time to start a project I’ve been planning for a while. If you’ve read my blog, you know I love everything Lensbaby. Lensbaby‘s slogan is “See In A New Way” and that is truly what they have done for me – I see the world differently now, and I love sharing that new perspective.  So, this year I’m going to See My Life In A New Way, by taking and sharing a new photograph with one of my Lensbaby lenses each and every day for a full year!

But, because the journey is so much more fun with friends, I would like to invite you to do this project with me! And, to make that possible, I’ve decided to gift one of my favorite photography tools to one of my readers — the Lensbaby LM-10 mobile phone lens with a Lensbaby iPhone Mount!

The Lensbaby LM-10 mobile is an awesome little lens. It fits in your pocket, and you can put it on your phone with the Lensbaby iPhone Mount (yes, featuring Yukon on the packaging)! I hope it will help you see your life in a new way, and feel like an artist everyday.

Lensbaby Mobile Phone Lens LM-10 Giveaway Bentonville PhotographerPin Image

An iPhone selfie of me holding the LM-10 Lensbaby Mobile Phone lens. A huge thank you to Lensbaby and the awesome Abbie Kirkpatrick for the fantastic shades!

To enter this giveaway, all you need to do is comment on this blog post about a photo that is meaningful to you or a time when photography changed your life in a positive way, and login to Rafflecopter to tell it that you commented (which is how I keep track). One entry per person, but you have from now until 12:00 am May 8th CST to enter. On May 8th (after entries are closed) I’ll pick a random winner from the comments using Rafflecopter. All of the rules and specific information are in the entry form below.

Thank you all – and have a happy May!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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  • See My Life In A New Way – Lensbaby 365 Day 1 » Soraya Rudofsky Photography - […] one of my Lensbaby lenses every day and posting it for y’all to see!  I started this project to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of my business, Soraya Rudofsky Photography LLC, which is coming up on May […]ReplyCancel

  • Liz Rodriguez - Like you, Soraya, I was once a left-brained professional…a CPA. And now a little later in life, I’ve turned right-brain and have unlocked creativity I didn’t realize was so important to me on a personal fulfillment level. My first hint of this was in my high school photography class. Of course it was film back then. I remember my favorite shot being a close-up portrait of my little brother and sister, who were 5 or 6 at the time. Flash forward and now I’m loving portraits of kids again! I need to find that picture and my old film work now that you’ve jogged my memory. Thank you! <3ReplyCancel

    • - Liz, I would love to see it when you find it! So glad that you came over to the creative side!ReplyCancel

  • Lauren - I’m actually thinking of a collection of photographs that mean a lot to me. One of my best friends was killed in a freak accident in our Senior year of college, just two months before graduation. For my birthday a few months prior she had made me a photo album out of handmade paper, dried flowers and paper bags. After she died I filled it with pictures of the two of us. Cheryl was someone who lived life to its fullest – she was filled with energy, always the first to volunteer, up for anything. To have her taken in an instant was devastating. That was the beginning of my real interest in photography. I began photographing everyone I loved, because I knew how fleeting life is, and I wanted to document those moments and people that were so important to me.ReplyCancel

    • - Wow. What a beautiful and moving story. I’m so sorry for your loss, but how wonderful to have that amazing gift to remember her.ReplyCancel

  • Indira Klotzer - Love your story!! Love the image even more…I totally need those glasses. I agree that LB has helped me see in a new way and honestly has helped me develop as an artist. I started out this year with the Edge 80, Feb I got the Sweet 35, March I got the macros, April I got the Sweet 50! HA…I’m addicted. I actually have a lot of images that are older, that were taken with my point and shoot but still hung framed in my home. The one in particular is one where I’m holding my 2yr daughter, and my 6wk old son. My son was born at 30wks and was in the NICU. We were super lucky to both be alive and this was the day we bough my son home and the memory of this reality means the world to me. This is a great give-away. Congrats on yr 2!!ReplyCancel

    • - Thank you Indira! I absolutely LOVE your Lensbaby work, you have inspired me to use it more and take on this challenge. Wow, what a wonderful memory of taking your son home. I photograph newborn babies in the hospital for one of my clients and it’s always so special when we can capture those beautiful memories for the families of the NICU babies. It reminds us how precious and fragile life is! Thank you for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • Kimberly - Like you, I left my job (as a teacher) and have now pursued photography. It’s unlocked so much emotion in me and I would love to learn how to convey that in all of my photos. Some of the ones that mean the most to me are of right after my youngest was born. I’m hooked up to machines and was barely awake, but it’s a reminder of how far I’ve come and how much I’ve gone through.ReplyCancel

    • - Kimberly, we are all so lucky that you have become a photographer! Your work is so lovely, and you definitely convey those emotions in your images. Thank you for sharing your story about the photos of your newest baby — you are such a beautiful and strong person! I can’t wait to see more as they grow up!ReplyCancel

  • Anna - Late last year and earlier this year my family was faced with a pretty intense and stressful situation. I didn’t touch my camera for months. When the day came that I had the motivation to get out and shoot, it was so instantly gratifying and therapeutic. And the look and style of my work had changed and evolved without having even touched my camera. I began to look forward to shooting everyday, and I know photography absolutely helped me come out of such a rough time. Thanks for sharing your story and memories! 🙂ReplyCancel

    • - Anna, it’s amazing how photography can help us heal our hearts through and after difficult times. I have often turned to my camera after difficult events to help me process my emotions. I would love to see your work! Thank you so much for sharing your story.ReplyCancel

  • Nancy B - What a treasure to still have that first photo! My favorite is a black and white I took of my mom and my firstborn when he was a baby. She was so thrilled to have that grandbaby. I don’t have her around any more which makes it even more special to me and to my son.ReplyCancel

    • - Newborn photos are so special! There’s nothing like that moment. Thank you so much for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Smith - I love that you have your first framed photo and it brings back such great memories! It’s so awesome how a photograph can really transport you back to that time and experience. One of my favorite photos is from our first family trip to Walt Disney World a few years ago. It was out first real family vacation and we had such a great time. I love looking back at this one particular photo where the kids each have their “ears” hats on. Each one picked ears that truly represent their personalities. Thanks for the opportunity to share my memory!ReplyCancel

    • - Kelly, yay for Disney World photos! I’d love to see it. Thank you for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Tami Keehn - What a great story! I would say for me, the time in my life when photography changed my life in a positive way was when I decided to leap away from it as a hobby and make it a business. Was I good enough to charge people? Would people want to pay me? But deciding that I loved it enough to pursue it as a career had indefinitely made my life better and I wouldn’t be where I am today if it weren’t for that decision. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Sarah Harrigan - Thanks to my friend, Indira, for sharing your blog. 🙂 To answer the question- I’d say that I had my first I feel like an artist/photographer when I was a teen & was using my dad’s film camera, and we were driving around Gettysburg. I literally made my family stop, put the car in reverse, so that I could jump out & run to take a photo of a cannon I saw during sunset that I just loved. And I really LOVED the shot after we developed it. 🙂 Now I can say that I have a lot of other more meaningful photographs, thanks to being a photographer- but that was my very 1st one. And it makes me smile when I think of it. So thanks for the trip down memory lane.ReplyCancel

    • - I love Gettysburg, and find battlefields a fascinating place to photograph! What a wonderful memory — that you were able to see a beautiful moment and then realize your vision on film. Thank you for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Nat Windsor - That’s so cool, I wonder what my first look at me I am an artist photo is? I should hit up the photo albums. Congratulations on your anniversary, you’re so talented!ReplyCancel

  • Kelly Akers - I love your first ever framed photo! I started in film and still love it. I also love Lensbaby products and would be thrilled to get one for my iPhone.ReplyCancel

    • - Thanks Kelly! I still have that Pentax and some old (probably expired) film — it’s time I played with it again! The LM-10 is awesome, I’ll make sure you’re entered! Thanks so much for commenting.ReplyCancel

  • Kirsten Klotzer Droskoski - Love your work!!ReplyCancel

  • Abbie - Hi Soraya,

    This is so cool 🙂 I’m pleased as a peach that we get to collaborate with you. It was fun to read a bit of your background.

    Abbie at Lensbaby (Don’t enter me in the drawing 🙂 I’ve already got a few LM-10’s running around)ReplyCancel

    • - Abbie, THANK YOU again so very much for the glasses and Fisheye Optic and for featuring my work! I am having such a great time with my LM-10, and all my Lensbaby lenses. I always have people coming up and asking questions when they see my LM-10, or see me tilt my Composer Pro on my dSLR. I have some really cool photos I took in New Orleans with my Fisheye Optic that I am excited to post soon. Thank you again for these awesome products!ReplyCancel

  • Leslie Martin - First, congratulations on your 1 year anniversary! It’s been so inspirational watching you transition into the artist you are today ❤️ For me, the first picture that I finally felt was my “I’m an artist” was a set of pictures I took of my kids, wearing only diapers, playing in an empty room with big open windows & beautiful light. There were no props, no matching clothing, no eye contact in any of the photos, just my 2 littles, playing together. That set made me realize how much I’ve grown compared to my first year with my big girl camera & those captures made me love photography even more!ReplyCancel

  • Jacqueline Martin - Congratulations on your anniversary! I think you’ve always seen the world in a different way than the rest of us and it shows in your beautiful photos. I’m looking forward to see more of your work this year.

    Photography has changed my life in a positive way because it’s made me pause and see the beauty around me. I’m always rushing from one place to the next, multi-tasking, making lists and forgetting to breathe, to enjoy. Photography forces to stop, savor and appreciate.ReplyCancel

  • Danielle - Photography has made a huge impact in my life over the past 2 years. It’s hard to pinpoint a single moment, it has been more of a very slow and steady change. I was raised with a focus on math and groomed to be an engineer as far back as I can remember. Art wasn’t even on the radar and I think I drove my parents crazy with all the film I went through growing up. However, when my photography interest turned into a passion 2 years ago, it opened up so many new opportunities for personal growth. I’ve been lucky enough to be blessed with a group of ladies that I have no doubt will be my friends for years. We are there for each other for photography questions and also support during our hardest personal times. I’m starting to learn how to “let go” and let emotion channel through me, to see it, and capture it, which is not easy for some one who prefers to hold everything inside. I’m discovering that I can cross mental barriers and be a “creative”, something that has always seemed impossible. Photography has given me a new sense of accomplishment, a high when I get “the shot”, it’s made me cry, and it’s frustrated me beyond belief…it has undoubtedly changed my life, 100% for the better.ReplyCancel

    • Danielle - I also meant to say how much I love your first framed picture, it is absolutely beautiful, and I can see why it made you feel like an artist, because you have always been one! I can’t wait to see more of your LB365, I know some of my favorite pictures I’ve taken this year have been with my lensbaby lenses!ReplyCancel

      • - Thanks Danielle! I am looking forward to seeing yours too!ReplyCancel

    • - Danielle, that is so wonderful and beautiful – bringing new friends into my life has definitely been one of the big positives for me too! Your work is beautiful and it has been a joy to see it evolve over the past two years. Thank you so much for sharing your story!ReplyCancel

  • Pat Williams - Soraya, I love you photos as you well know. Your dad and I grew up in a time when art was not a big thing. We took piano and I got to take art lessons in Dorset. Now seeing you and your cousins all with a lot of artsy creations I realize just how much art we got living in that small town. You inspire me to get back into my art stuff now that all the kids are grown and I have a couple extra hours!!! Lol
    Keep up the photos!!!ReplyCancel

    • - Thank you Aunt Pat!ReplyCancel

  • Karyn Olsson Photography - Wow!! Congratulations Soraya!!! What an amazing year you have had. It has been a pleasue watching you learn and grow. You are always willing to share your knowledge and advice. I am blessed to be able to call you a friend! I cannot wait to see what you accomplish in year #2.ReplyCancel

  • Michelle Malashock - MAZEL! The photo that is most meaningful to me is a photo of me and my grandpa on our front stoop in Chicago. Neither of us are looking at the camera; we’re both just kind of looking off into the distance. What it represents to me is our closeness… that we could just sit there and not talk and still enjoy each others’ company.ReplyCancel

    • - Thank you Michelle! What a lovely memory.ReplyCancel

  • Diann - Congrats on your one year!!ReplyCancel

  • Lensbaby 365: Introducing Lensbaby Creative Mobile | Northwest Arkansas Photographer » Soraya Rudofsky Photography - […] know that I love everything Lensbaby, and particularly the Lensbaby Mobile LM-10.  So I was absolutely THRILLED when the […]ReplyCancel

Welcome to Day 1 of my brand new Lensbaby 365 project, where I will learn to See My Life In A New Way!  With this project, I am taking a photo with one of my Lensbaby lenses every day and posting it for y’all to see!  I started this project to celebrate the 1 year anniversary of my business, Soraya Rudofsky Photography LLC, which is coming up on May 5!

There are so many things I love about Lensbaby lenses. I love how the selective focus leads your eye to what’s important and meaningful, and how the rest is blurred away. I love the movement the Sweet 35 and Double Optic add to an image. I love the magical and ethereal quality of the Velvet 56. And I especially love being able to have that in my pocket with the LM-10 mobile lens!  To me, Lensbaby lenses express visually how it feels to dance through the world.

Here I am in my favorite hoodie with my lineup of Lensbaby Lenses:

Lensbaby 365 Day 1 Lensbaby lineup Bentonville PhotographerPin Image

From right to left: the LM-10 Lensbaby Mobile, Double Glass Optic, Fisheye Optic, Sweet 35 Optic, and Composer Pro with Edge 80 optic. And that’s the NEW Lensbaby Velvet 56 on my Nikon d610 that I’m holding. 

**Join me on this journey! I’m giving away a Lensbaby Mobile LM-10 lens and iPhone Mount to a lucky reader who comments on my blog!  To enter, click here to go to my post Celebrating Firsts and comment with a story about a favorite photograph or a time when photography had a positive impact on your life.**

And here we are, Day 1 of 365:

The first rose to bloom on my rosebush outside my front door. Pin Image

The first rose to bloom on my rosebush outside my front door.  Taken with the Nikon d600 and Lensbaby Velvet 56.



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  • Celebrating Firsts| Northwest Arkansas Photographer » Soraya Rudofsky Photography - […] I decided that to kick off Year 2, it’s time to start a project I’ve been planning for a while. If you’ve read my blog, you know I love everything Lensbaby. Lensbaby‘s slogan is “See In A New Way” and that is truly what they have done for me – I see the world differently now, and I love sharing that new perspective.  So, this year I’m going to See My Life In A New Way, by taking and sharing a new photograph with one of my Lensbaby lenses each and every day for a full yea… […]ReplyCancel

A couple of weeks ago I had the privilege to participate in a very special event.  Audrey’s Home of Hope is a new women’s shelter here in Northwest Arkansas that provides shelter and support to pregnant women in crisis needing a safe temporary home. On August 9th, the organization celebrated the Grand Opening of Audrey’s Resale Boutique — a lovely store selling donated furniture, clothing and accessories — to fund the shelter and its mission!  Although unfortunately I wasn’t able to make it to the ribbon cutting itself, the event was still packed when I got there! It was amazing to see such incredible community support, which is no doubt thanks to the awesome efforts of the organizers, Rosie Tucker, Jennifer Lemerise, Fran Olsen, Becca Farrell and all of the wonderful volunteers and folks who donated so many beautiful items to sell in the boutique as well as raffle prizes for the opening.

And, as you’ll see in the photos below, the boutique is lovely – somewhere I will be excited to shop often!

AudreyPin ImageAudreyPin ImageAudreyPin Image

Audrey’s Resale Boutique is located at 1731 Forrest Hills Boulevard in Bella Vista (located next door to the Subway in the Highlander Shopping Center). The hours of operation are: Monday through Friday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm and Saturday from 9:30 am to 5:00 pm. Find out more about their Audrey’s Home of Hope’s mission, how you can donate to the Resale Boutique, and more at their website, or by visiting their Facebook page.

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While I was in Brazil this winter, I had the privilege of photographing a beautiful, smart, funny, and athletic 10 year old girl.  Gabriela is a rising star! She’s a comedic genius (I LOVE the video skits and comedic photo composites she puts together with just her phone!), and always upside down climbing or cartwheeling.  In anticipation of her 11th birthday — which she celebrated yesterday — we went to Ibirapuera park in São Paulo, Brazil, and spent a lovely morning skateboarding, rollerblading, climbing, reading, and twirling. It was so much fun!

Gabriela skateboarding rollerblading jumping - Bentonville Arkansas Kid PhotosPin ImageGabriela is always super active — she loves to skateboard and rollerblade. She did great a great job showing me her turns and tricks!  Love her beautiful smile as she jumps for joy!Gabriela Cartwheel - Arkansas chidlrenPin Image

I am not an athlete, though I am trying to expand my horizons and go on new adventures. Gabriela is way ahead of me — this girl loves to climb, cartwheel, and generally try anything new and challenging. She’s both a dancer and a gymnast, and is interested in someday learning circus acrobatics!

Gabriela Playground - Bentonville Family PhotosPin Image

But the most beautiful thing about her is on the inside – she is incredibly thoughtful and kind. She’s the girl who – without prompting from anyone – will go and light a candle for a family member who is ill, send a message to cheer up your day, or find a way to make you smile.

Gabriela Skateboarding. Northwest Arkansas Teen PhotographerPin Image

Happy Birthday Gorgeous! Shine on.

Check out the video of Gabriela’s full photo shoot:


Interested in booking a session like this one for a special kid in your life?  Contact me today!


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