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Inspiration to Thrive… Charlene Hardy Style!


Today’s post is really fun because I get to introduce you to Charlene! And why is that so awesome… Because I believe that Charlene truly embodies what Go{4}Pro is all about! Charlene and I met two years ago at my Seattle Workshop. She was quiet and reserved and she thought she didn’t leave an impression but she did! Charlene is one of those people who patiently and determinately works toward her goals. I work toward my goals too but it’s not a graceful site, while Charlene takes on the grace of some beautifully winged creature, I’m like the crazy bull rampaging through a China Shop. We can all learn from Charlene!

Will you introduce yourself? 

Hi my name is Charlene. I live in Kennewick, WA (eastern WA). We moved here 8 years ago from Michigan for my husband to complete post doctoral work and have decided to stay. I am a mom to 4 wonderful children, 3 girls and one little boy. I love my family and feel so lucky to be a mother and wife. When I am not doing photography related work, I am busy volunteering at my kids’ schools and running my three older girls back and forth to music and ballet lessons.

I am different from most other mom photographers. I started in photography before I had my kids but having kids changed my focus from seniors and weddings to children and families. I have been interested in photography since I was very young. My grandfather was a photojournalist, I learned so much from him and loved looking through his old photos. In high school I built a darkroom in my basement and enrolled in college level photography courses.

 Will you share your experience at the Seattle Go{4}Pro Workshop?

I attended the Go {4} Pro Workshop in August of 2010. Number one, Leah is a great teacher and has so many great ideas about the business aspects of photography. I learned so much from her and the other participants of the workshop. It is an amazing experience sitting in a room learning from an instructor and having the benefit of listening to other people’s ideas, thoughts and experiences. It was great to learn that struggles I was having were able to be resolved and were normal for different growth periods of your business.

I have taken business classes as part of the requirements for my degree but didn’t learn quite as much in a semester as I did in one day of Leah’s workshops. If you ever have the opportunity to talk to Leah, or attend her workshop, please do yourself a favor and just do it! She has so many practical, honest solutions for helping you and your business.


How long have you been a pro photographer?
I have been a pro photographer for many years! I earned a degree in photography and after graduation I worked as a custom printer and shot seniors and weddings on the weekends. I loved working in the photo industry and loved my early clients. When my husband finished up his Ph.D and we moved to Washington, I put photography on the back burner and concentrated on my growing family. During the 5 years that I was on break, I occasionally took pictures of my friends’ families and their children. Although I was taking a ton of pictures of my own children I was really missing the ability to create portraits for others. After much encouragement from my husband, I sold off all of my film equipment and bought a digital SLR. I spent the next year attending workshops and seminars about digital photography. I have been back on the professional level for four years now.

I wrote about getting certified last year! Can you tell us about your experience getting certified?

After returning to the work force, I found out about Certified Professional Photographers. Last year, I set the goal of becoming a Certified Professional Photographer. I spent the next few months working on getting a portfolio ready to submit and studying for the test. I finished the certification process in May.

I decided to become certified after taking the year to study and get up to speed on digital. When I first started out there weren’t very many photographers around and having a degree qualified me for many jobs. After I decided to start back up I realized that there were a lot more photographers out there creating a lot more competition for jobs. I needed to set myself a part from everyone else. This new competition forced me to improve myself and craft.

Becoming certified was a big step and huge commitment but I knew it would not only benefit me but also my clients. By taking every opportunity I can to add to my knowledge base and learn from other photographers, artists, and business people, I am enabling myself to deliver a better product to my clients. It has been amazing taking the time to study and really understand and review the fundamentals of photography. I have found so many small things that I can do to improve my photography by really understanding and remembering the basics of photography.


Three things that make you really happy?
My family, I love my family so much!!
Photography and the ability it gives me to capture spilt seconds of life and create art from those moments.
People helping each other out.

Three things that make you unhappy?
Artists being copied, not only photographers but all artists in general.

People not being honest.
And the fact that McDonald’s food tastes so good but is so bad for you, really is that fair? 🙂

Best thing you ever did for your business?
The best thing I did and continue to do is investing in myself. I take every opportunity I can to learn more about my craft. I find that by doing this I am constantly improving and evolving as an artist. I love the fact that the internet has closed so many gaps and there are so many opportunities to connect with other artists.

Favorite thing about being a photographer?

I love capturing the beauty in people, most importantly children. There is something about a child’s innocence that is so magical. I love capturing kids being themselves. I have also been so lucky to have had so many clients turned friends. I have met so many people through photography, that have inspired me to become a better person.

Where do you love to go for inspiration?
My inspiration comes from everyday life. I love watching people, observing how the interact and react to the world around them. This is especially true with kids who haven’t learned to be so guarded about their reactions. I love seeing how people fit and look in their environments whether they blend in or stick out. Life really is beautiful and I love finding the simplicity of things.

What is your best tip for balancing work and home?
Balancing work and home is a constant struggle for me. My husband is so supportive and helps out in every way he can, (currently he is with the kids at ballet lessons). My family comes first, I have 4 kids that are growing so fast and becoming such beautiful individuals that I really try hard not to miss too much life by sitting in front of a computer. I find that if I set a goal to get certain tasks done in a reasonable amount of time it really helps me out. I love the sense of accomplishment I get from checking things off. I take limited numbers of sessions and do most of my editing and computer work after the kids are in bed for the night. I have great clients who have been so great to work with me so I can still be a mother and photographer, two jobs I love!

Thank you Charlene for letting me introduce Go{4}Pro to you and for sharing your beautiful work and honest insights with us! You can connect with Charlene on Facebook



  1. Marilyn Krouskop says:

    Congratulations, Charlene! I am so glad that you continue to do what you love most. I like all your pictures. You have that special talent that you see in children. Keep up the good works and wish you all the best.

  2. Thanks for featuring me today!! I love your website and feel so honored to have you interview me.

  3. jackie tucker says:

    I’m a fan of your photos, Charlene. The little pirate is adorable & the boy with the chicken. absolutely love the girl reading in the pretty dress. Brings back memories of my oldest daughter at that age.

  4. Great post!! Charlene, those photos are gorgeous. I love your style!! Leah, when’s your next workshop? I need to come visit. 🙂

  5. Candy Hardy says:

    I have been a big fan of Charlene for many years now. I’m very proud of her work as a photographer and also the great job she does as a mother and wife!! Keep up the good work.

  6. Fantastic interview. I loved the questions asked. Charlene, with four kids and a man I don’t know how you do it!

  7. Jennifer Monds says:

    Such a great interview- her impression of you is spot on!!! I always admire how calm and graceful you handle everything! I’ll say it again- you are an amazing photographer (mom, woman, etc. etc).

  8. Jennifer says:

    This was so cool to read, Charlene. I agree with the others–you have an amazing talent and I’m so glad you’ve shared it with us all. You do Eastern WA proud. 🙂

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