Nature is My Studio

studioBARNET - “It was a scary night. My one child was just two months old, and my daughter was only four. Before this thing happened, I always worried about what other people’s thoughts and was afraid of if they don’t like my works. But after that, I thought about it: life is short, I should do the things that I really like to do,” said Sarah Walls, a freelance photographer. In 2011, Sarah’s house at Joe’s Brook Rd in Barnet suffered a landslide. She and her family had to leave their house at middle of the night. This accident strongly influenced her mind about life. She determined to do photography business by herself.


Sarah Walls named her studio “Cedarbrook”, because the cedar trees right on Joe’s Brook, and she comes from the Northwestern part of the country, where big cedar trees grow. When she was just a little girl, her grandmother gave her a camera. She always loved to spend more time outside to feel nature, and used her camera to catch every moment. Growing up in this environment impacted her sense of art, and her photography work can combine nature and arts together. That is why she holds much passion in it.

If you go to her Facebook page of Cedarbrook Studio to look at the feedback from the customers, among these comments, the words of highest frequency to describe Sarah’s work are “comfortable”, “creative”, and “magic”.

One of Sarah’s customers, Jessy Pelow, shared her experience about how Sarah worked during the shooting process. She went to Cedarbrook Studio in 2014 to take pictures for her children. “Sarah interacted with my children as one of her own. She made them smile and laugh. She also let them choose different areas that they wanted their picture taken,” said Pelow, “Sarah’s work was professional, filled with love and care. I could tell she had genuine passion for what she does. Ultimately, she made all of us comfortable and relaxed.”

sarahSarah believes her special studio plays a key role in why her customers feel so relaxed and enjoy the process. “My studio is the nature!” she says. She actually doesn’t have a building or a room that traditional photography studios always have. Thus, her photographic work doesn’t depend on fancy lights or fancy backdrops to get a finished product. Sarah, “I really enjoy being outside, and I think nature itself is really beautiful.” Sarah would let her customers pick out the backgrounds and spots first. She remembered that one fourth-generation family loved to take pictures in their own farm, which was very meaningful to them. Before Sarah started to take pictures, she would tell a story, and use it to lead the way and let people get into it. “I am an easy going person, and I use this way to let them relax and be comfortable.” Sarah shared about her tips when she worked with young kids. She always paid more attention when the kids make interaction with the nature, and snap the moments. She figured that kids and most people would be interrupted by more elements as time goes by. Thus, she tried her best to get good shots at beginning. She loves early morning and before sunset; these two times to take pictures, because only using natural lights, these two periods’ lights are incredible and have more potential.

One day, a friend mentioned to Sarah how she took many pictures, and why she doesn’t make a calendar with them. Then, a new adventure started. Sarah picked up different seasons’ pictures from her whole year’s archives. Compared with some cheaper but unfamiliar online print companies, Sarah thinks that cooperating with local business companies are more worthy. The calendars were printed locally by Copies and More in Wells River, Vermont, available at West Barnet Quick Stop—a convenience store, Barnet Village Store, some local gift shows, and schools. Also, some calendars were sold for donating to the Church fund in this year’s summer season. Sarah said, “It’s still nice to support each other. That’s what America is about: supporting small businesses.” The result was warm and unexpected. Some people who did not live in Barnet anymore thought it was great for them to keep the memories with the town. They said these calendars can make them feel joy all years long. They came back and graciously thanked Sarah for her work. These thanks gave Sarah a lot of energy to keep working and serving the local communities. She also set up a Barnet community Facebook group to showcase the community and help the residents.

She said the most important thing she believed is helping out your community, showing the beautiful part of the world to your neighbors, and let them feel involved in the community. No matter being a volunteer, or using your skills to improve other’s lives. “I need to always take my camera!” Sarah laughed.