what's an agp anyway?

maybe you're new here, and maybe we don't know each other. you might be wondering 'what in the world is an agp?'. and what's so collective about it?

as a lucky momma of twin girls, I did things a little backwards (carriage before the marriage, y'all), and seeing as I'm sans husband, ended up running a house full of girls. our friends call us the agp, short for alderman girl posse. when I was naming my business, there were a few reasons I didn't go the popular route and settle on sarah alderman photography. for starters, I didn't think the world needed another someone-someone-photography. and more so....I wasn't really much good.

as a self-taught artist, I've learned by doing. I didn't set out to become a photographer, or dream of make a living from it, it just kind of happened while I was really, REALLY trying to run a real estate team (and get my degree). time and time again, people hired me to take their photographs...not to sell their houses. huh.

sometimes, in the beginning, I was terrified to take a job. ever heard of a type a personality? ever watch a type a do something they're not quite sure they're amazing at?? it's pretty painful to watch. the insecurity! the need to please! the shame of having no clue how to be perfect! this was me behind a camera in those early days.

until I was able to create images, consistently, that reflected the style and vibe I so loved and admired, I just didn't want my name on anything. when I first started out, I was borrowing a 'real camera' as I called it, and editing on free Picasa software. precious, really. my early aspirations for photography, once I dared to have them, always leaned more to the side of photojournalism. I never saw myself becoming a family photographer or portrait photographer, and in my naive opinion you couldn't do both. family photographers were corny and just stuck babies in baskets and called it a day, clustered some people together in a park and said cheese. right? those were just jobs I'd do to justify buying equipment. my real passion would always be for journalism. 

heh. life is so great. I love getting served by the universe.  and being shown what a pompous moron I can be. ever hear of lifestyle photography? it's a buzzword everyone likes to throw around these days, but do you know what it is? (don't be ashamed, I obviously didn't either.)

lifestyle photography is basically photojournalism that intentionally chronicles somebody's life. it could be a family, a couple, an individual, a brand. it's reportage style, documentary-ish photography. it produces images that feel authentic, organic, and tangible. photojournalism for hire. family portraits that aren't painful.... MIND BLOWN. 

(still blown....)

(...okay we're back.)

I started to realize that, as the queen of this castle, there were no rules to this thing. family portraits didn't need to be corny or formal. newborns did not always need to end up in a basket with a weird hat on, though sometimes, it's really just what the doctor ordered. brides and grooms didn't always need to be posed stiffly and awkwardly with a look in their eyes that says "am I doing it right?".  <insert bird song and angle trumpets>

since this revelation, my business has changed completely. I'm finally so proud of my work that I want everyone to know that I am AGPcollective and AGPcollective is me. but by now, the name done stuck. and it's staying.

oh, and the collective part? entrepreneur that I am, I always thought I might expand my business to include more people. and dang, I was finally right about something. last season, maria bertoncini came on board as my second shooter, and together we scored a feature on rock n roll bride -- only my 3rd wedding, too! sean bramley (aka my honey) came along for a NYE wedding mostly to carry my stuff and kiss me at midnight. I thought I'd give him a camera for kicks, and see what came of it. what came of it was he nailed it. so he'll be joining me for multiple dates this wedding season to sharpen his skills and maybe find a permanent place with the agp. 

I've been mighty inspired by the work of others along the way. these are the shimmering geniuses that showed me how to find my place at the lifestyle party : Cary Holton, Joy Prouty,  and Val Spring. I have been particularly grateful to the latter and to many others along the way who have shared their editing tricks, techniques and insights so I don't waste my youth reinventing the wheel.  there's a whole world of modern, truthful, timeless portraiture out there.

let's go explore it.