I have been getting a lot of emails with questions from others trying to find out more about me, my photography business and just photography in general. I thought it might be fun to do a little question and answer post. 🙂
Q: How did you get into photography? Did you go to college to learn?
I get asked this question at almost every session I do. I actually never in a million years thought I would be a photographer! All through high school and my first two years of college, I had goals to be a neo-natal nurse. I took my anatomy classes in high school, loving every second of them, so when I went to college, I declared my major as nursing and picked Florida State because of their great nursing program. I took all of my classes that I needed and just had one class left before I could apply. I was right on track, had been volunteering at the hospital and was ready to get started. And then everything changed. I could not get into my very last class. The class was full. People were sitting on the stairs hoping to get a spot, including me. I was going to have to wait another semester!! I had spent the last 2 years taking classes and all I had left was this one class! I left that class that day, cried, freaked out, wasn’t sure what in the world I was going to do, and then I took it as a sign! I had hated volunteering at the hospital. The nurses seemed so tired and stressed. I hated the sterileness of the environment, the fluorescent lights, just everything about it. But I knew that I loved working with children and had always been so great with them naturally, so I went that day and changed my major, no, not to photography, but to early childhood education! I wanted to teach kindergarten! But I had to wait an entire year to apply to the program. I had just missed the deadline. 🙁 (Imagine the phone calls that I got from my family telling me what a mistake I was making!) So in that year, I took a few classes that I needed and also a photography class, dance, ceramics, drama. And I realized that I LOVED the arts! The photography class that I took was very basic for beginners, but I loved it so much and wanted to learn more and more. So once I finally did get into teaching, I took a night class at Austin Community College and holy moly, to my surprise I hated it!! It was all about developing film and was a black and white class. I was so confused about how to get correct exposure and would only figure that out once I spent all of that time developing my film. The teacher was awful. So I ended up quitting to avoid making anymore of a fool out of myself. And then I got a digital camera. I finally could mess around with exposure and see the results right away. When our first daughter was born, I wanted great pictures of her and so I read the book that went along with my camera, read everything I could on-line, and started learning Photoshop on my own (no easy task!!). I was totally obsessed and wanted to be great! I eventually started doing pictures for free for families and slowly started building a business. (I had taught kinder and first grade for 7 years and was staying home with our daughter by this point.) I feel like I’ve come a long way and am really proud of myself for accomplishing what I have on my own. I look back at my old pictures and cringe, but hey, I was learning. I still love to learn more and more and feel like there is always room for improvement, so I hope to continue to grow! Whew, that was long! 😉
Q: How do you use Photoshop to improve your photos?
I will say, and some may disagree, but to get really great pictures, it is necessary to do a little bit of editing, not always, but most of the time it can make a huge difference. I use a bunch of different actions. I like to pick and choose and mix them up to get different effects. I use Kubota, Totally Rad, Paint the Moon, and have a ton more that I honestly don’t even remember the name of. lol
Q: How would you recommend getting started as a photographer?
First of all, you really have to be able to use your camera correctly. Get a book to go along with your camera and learn how to use it manually. Learn about how to get correct exposure, ISO, white balance,…Next I would say to just practice and figure out your style and how to work with different types of light. Take a class to learn Lightroom or Photoshop or get some books to learn on your own and then get out there and take pictures for family, friends,…in different environments and lighting. It can be so scary and intimidating, but the only way to learn is to just dive in!
Q: How do you handle difficult children?
LOL Children aren’t ever difficult. 😉 Oh wait, I have a 2 year old and a child with Aspergers. Yes, they can be difficult! I will say that I have always been really good with children and talking to them comes naturally to me but there are times when a child wants nothing to do with me or my camera. That’s when the toys come out, the crazy voices, the bubbles, whatever it takes. I usually start off with some family pictures to warm the child up and then we just hang out and play until I can tell that they feel comfortable. I usually am able to get some smiles out of them with a little work!
Q: Do you advertise?
No, I don’t and so this is where moving around so much has put a damper on my amount of business. My business will start to take off and then we’ll move! But we aren’t moving anymore so I’m trying to really get things up and running here in Asheville. Maternity leave isn’t doing much to help me out, but it’s what I need right now. I usually get clients from word of mouth and so far that has worked out great!
Q: Why do you only do 4 sessions a month?
My family is the most important thing to me. My children are my full time job and I don’t want to miss anything when it comes to them. For that reason, I only set aside a couple of hours per weekend to do sessions. The editing that I do afterwards takes place during nap times and after my children are in bed. I have a very supportive husband who doesn’t mind taking the kids somewhere fun for those 2 hours and then is okay with me working at night, as long as I still have some free time to catch up on our shows. 😉
Q: What type of session is your favorite?
I LOVE babies so working with babies is definitely my favorite. I really love newborn sessions but they take a lot longer than any other type of session. I guess 6 month sessions would have to be my favorites. The babies usually aren’t crawling yet and can’t get away from me. haha They are usually pretty happy and love to smile at that age.
Q: Why don’t you do teen sessions?
Honestly, I did one session for a senior and discovered that it’s just not for me. I feel awkward around teenagers. Maybe it’s because I felt so awkward as a teen and subconsciously think that teen clients are just thinking about how uncool I am. 😉 I don’t know. I feel much more comfortable working with children.
Q: What type of camera and lens do you use?
I have a Canon 5D Mark ii and a 50 mm 1.2 lens. I LOVE my camera. It’s like one of my children. 😉 I was very lucky to have been left some inheritance money from my grandmother. I used that money to buy my camera and get my business up and running. I will be forever grateful to her!
Okay, if anyone has anymore questions, please feel free to hit me up in the comments or through email and I can add them to this Q & A!