I get asked so many types of questions as a photographer … and as a human, haha :) I thought I’d take a minute to answer some frequently asked questions I get–about me, the business, and how I roll. These questions come from all types of people I interact with: strangers, prospective clients, friends, current clients, old clients who don’t know how things currently work, fellow photographers, all sorts of people.
So…I’m basically just going to interview myself here! Yay for me!
How long have you been a photographer? I started taking pictures artistically in 2009; after a year of honing my skill, shooting for free, and deciding if I wanted to try to become a pro, I started to build by professional portfolio and take on clients. Good decision :)
What kind of photography do you do? I do A LOT of kinds of photography sessions! The most important question about this is actually, “What STYLE of photography do you do?” because I can apply my style of photography to ANY type of session. I take pictures of families, couples, children, newborns, weddings, birthdays, lifestyle settings, and businesses. A lot of photographers have a niche, and that’s awesome! I feel like my niche is in my style. I provide natural, authentic images of things that happen, people, and experiences using mostly natural light. So if the thing you want photographed is one of those things, AND you like my style, I can do it :)
What do you LIKE shooting the most?
My FAVORITE sessions are with couples. It doesn’t matter if they’re just dating, engaged, married, or whatever. My favorite FAVORITES are sessions with couples where we do all Beloved stuff. I always incorporate at least a little bit of the Beloved technique into every session I do. That’s where I ask questions of my subjects, have them interact with each other, play games, and invite them to participate in activities that bring them together. My favorite is when I get to control the entire session, creating an atmosphere from start to finish, with a beginning, middle, and end of an emotional journey. Love between two people is an incredibly powerful happening to observe. Each pair of people who decide to be together has a reason, has a history, and has something important. I relish being present for some of it, and take great delight in memorializing it for couples. Maybe I find so much pleasure and meaning in it because my romantic relationships are the most powerful connections I’ve had in my life so far.
Where can I find your work? You’re here :) My packages and prices for everything are all here on the website. I have a portfolio here, as well as on Facebook. The Facebook page gets updated more frequently and is where I share all my current sneak peeks.
Do you do this full time? No. I have a full-time day job which isn’t related to photography. I’m the operations manager at a financial planning company in Salt Lake City, Utah. The people I work for are fantastic. I’m incredibly lucky to have found my way here. I have arranged my schedule so I have time for weeknight photography sessions in the summer months, and I always have Friday afternoon-Sunday evening available for sessions. When I’m editing photos or doing other administrative work for sessions, it’s at home in the evenings or on the weekends. My day job is flexible if I need to make special exceptions for important sessions. It’s part of why I love it :) In the peek summer months and right before the holidays in the winter, my photography work takes up about 10-15 hours/week.
Where do you do sessions? I do sessions all over Northern Utah. I live and work in Salt Lake City, so most of my sessions revolve around there. I like finding locations for sessions that mean something to my clients. That’s part of why I enjoy shooting in people’s homes or at the park they take their kids to. And since 99% of my work uses natural light, I go where the light is. If there’s sunlight, I’m in!
What comes with my session? My packages are built based on what I want personally out of a photography session. When I get pictures done of myself and my family, to me it’s most important to be able to share them online, make small prints, add them to albums, and order photo books online. In my home and life only a few of the best images from a session are printed large. That’s why my session packages all come with a medium-resolution disc of ALL the final images from the session, which is sized for printing up to 4X6 on your own. You can take the disc anywhere you want and order 4X6 prints to your heart’s content. You can share on Facebook, Twitter, your blog, and even Google+ if you’re a weirdo. And if you want a few larger prints for your walls at home you can order them through me, or upgrade the size of some or all of your images on your disc.
What’s going on in your life? Are you married? Kids?
Your session is what’s going on in my life, haha :) This is what I do for pleasure AND for business. So there’s that :) I have people in my life I love and who love me. Since I started photography, I’ve gone through many life changes, personality changes, and dream changes. And I’ve never been more excited for the changes ahead of me that I can’t predict. Right now I don’t have kids, but want to procreate and spread my version of awesome into the world one day. For now, I have 2 dogs, which I share with my previous husband, and which I adore wholeheartedly and without shame, AND which I adopted in 2013-2014 from shelters in SLC. Darwin is my crazy Short Haired German Pointer, and he’s without doubt the cutest dog to ever exist. It is one of my biggest regrets in life that I never got to see him as a puppy, nor will I see his puppies, because my heart would’ve been full for the rest of my life had I seen that. Nymphardora Tonks (Nymphy) is a Black Lab. She’s the gentlest dog soul you’ll ever meet, with a tendency to make the exact faces I imagine Eeyore would make when he talks. She helps keeps Darwin in line by using a very special “stalk and strike” tactic.
“I’m just dating someone, I’m divorced, my brother is in China for a year, we aren’t married, I need to lose 20 pounds, etc.” I am a huge, huge fan of celebrating life as it is now. I think we place too much importance on what we think “perfection” is. I’m learning to value my life as it is, and to honor my strengths. I encourage any prospective client to take pleasure in their life as it is today, and to take an hour to document your relationships.
How do you edit your photos? I use Adobe Lightroom almost exclusively. My priority in my work is to make people look their best. Their authentic best. So I rarely have need for in-depth Photoshopping. On occasion I will need to edit out something annoying in the background, or do some major retouching, but mostly I stick to adjusting exposure, levels, vibrancy, crop, sharpness, and noise. I over-expose slightly in-camera, and make the use of natural light as much as possible so I can reduce the amount of post-editing I need to do.
How do you get that soft, matte feel to your editing? I am drawn to the deeper, softer, dreamy
What type of camera/lens do you use? I have a Canon 7D camera body, and I use a 50mm 1.8 prime lens for most things; the depth of field and blur I get with the 50mm is a key feature of my style. I also use a 55-150mm for wider shots. To me, it’s less about the equipment and more about composition, setup, and the emotion in the photo.
What should I/my daughter/my friend do to break into the business? Take pictures! If you’re a hobbyist who enjoys taking pictures and want to consider make photography a career, treat it like any other career. Learn. Teach yourself, find a teacher, read books, practice, challenge yourself. Take an online course, participate in a contest, participate in a daily or weekly photo project. Basically, get out and take pictures. THEN learn how to critique those pictures. I learned so much by looking for flaws in other people’s work (sounds mean, I know). But when I started to recognize flaws in work that wasn’t mine, I more easily found the flaws in my own. And I craved learning how to fix them. Don’t charge people money to give you the chance to learn. When you’re ready to make this more than a hobby, value yourself and your work.
That is all, I suppose :)