Back in August, I participated in a series called Spotlight Friday held by Rachel that highlights small business owners and bloggers. It's been a few months and I wasn't posting on this blog at that time, so I thought it would be fun to repost the questionnaire I filled out for y'all to see. And so! Here it is:
How did you get started with photography?
My interest in photography cultivated itself over time. When I was five or six, I became fascinated with pictures of my parents as children, pictures of my grandparents as teenagers, and pictures of myself and my brothers as babies. Photographs, to me, were like a memory I couldn't remember. They were proof that people existed in forms other than the form I knew them in and I would stare at photo albums for hours. Then, by age eleven or twelve, my parents started buying me disposable cameras and cheap plastic cameras that I would decorate with stickers and carry with me wherever I went. The photographs were horrible! I have so many pictures of myself with zits and multi-colored braces and so many pictures of fourteen-year-old boys I had crushes on. I always had a camera. Always.
By age seventeen, I knew I wanted to be a professional photographer. It just made sense to me. I started honing my skills with the same disposable cameras I'd been using for years (usually Fujifilm!) and would often go through three cameras a week. At eighteen, I received my first SLR for a Christmas present and at nineteen, I started shooting senior portraits and had photographs carefully taped into a black album so anyone could see my portfolio on request. Photography was one of my first two loves (the other was writing).
What inspires you?
The short version: People, everyday moments, and love inspire me.
The long version: I love being able to catch emotions in photographs. Whether the emotion is frustration, happiness, love, or something as simple as a sleepy babe- I love it. Photography, for me, is an enhanced version of reality, so I love being able to capture a moment that symbolizes so much more.
How do you find ways to keep a creative edge?
I don't really think much about creativity. I mean, I always brainstorm before a photoshoot and sometimes I bounce ideas off of my husband, but aside from that, I like for things to happen naturally. I also follow a few photography blogs, but I usually end up skimming them. I think it's important to know what other photographers are up to, but it's easy to become an unintentional copycat or to lose your artistic vision when you're busy looking at work done by others instead of busying yourself by pulling out your camera and shooting. Photography is about moments and you only get so many seconds before the moment passes you by.
What do you wish you were better at (in photography)?
Ha! I wish I were better at photography in every single way you can imagine. I wish I were better at lighting! At posing! At finding locations! At perfecting my style! At budgeting for props! I am my biggest critic. Like every photographer, I have taken some truly hideous photographs. BUT. I am exponentially better than I was two years ago. And two years from now? I will blow my current work out of the water. Learning a craft takes time and, even when you've honed in on your style and begin taking client work, the only way to go is up!
Why did you decided to start your own photography business?
Basically, I started my own photography business because I am a photo addict. Photography feels like breathing to me- it's natural. I love images. I love people. I love love and I love working. Honestly, opening myself to client work and opening up my own business just happened organically. I love photographs, so why wouldn't I share that love?
My favorite photograph is a picture of my mom that a hopeful boy took of her when she was eighteen or nineteen. She looks so beautiful and, when I think about why I became involved in photography, I often think of that photograph. I love everything about it- the colors, her hair, her lipstick, her smile, the nervous-almost-laughing look in her eye. As for favorite photographers, I adore Jose Villa, Aria Photography, My Four Hens Photography, Untamed Heart Photography, and Color Me Katie. Each of these photographers differ from one other, but I love all of their approaches to light and color.
What are some tips you can give beginning photographers or those wishing to start their own business?
The best advice I can give, for both beginning photographers and advanced amateurs looking to start their own business is this: It's going to take (at least!) seven times more work than you're planning on, photograph how you see the world, and don't spend too much time looking at work done by others or worrying that your equipment isn't good enough. Photography is an art, which means that there is not one set way to do everything- so figure out what you love photographically and do it, no questions asked.