How did your photography journey begin?
I have always loved photography, even as a little girl as I watched my father develop his film in a homemade darkroom. I thought it was fascinating! When I was a teenager, I took pictures all the time and I remember dropping those rolls of film off at the corner store, then waiting a week or so to get those 24 photos back – hoping for the best! Fast forward many years, after my twins were born, I rediscovered my love of taking photos. I couldn’t get enough pictures of those two sweet babies! With the new digital cameras, (new to me anyway) there was so much to learn! So, at first, my camera stayed on the “auto” setting for quite a while.
At the time, I was designing cards, announcements, invitations, and digital art for clients and started using photos that I had taken in my samples. I started teaching myself about the camera and photography in general when my friend and neighbor started helping me learn to shoot in manual. He helped me understand in layman’s terms what all this technical babble meant! A friend from high school saw some of my photos on Facebook and asked if I would be interested in doing a family portrait session for her, and I reluctantly agreed! That was my first official photo session and it just sort of started from that point. She shared her photos and people asked her who did them, and so on. I have rarely advertised and most of my business has come from referrals and word of mouth. I feel very blessed to have so many repeat clients and that they love their portraits so much that they have stuck with me through the last several years and have referred me to their friends and family.
What is your workflow from the moment you have an idea to the moment that idea comes to life?
I keep a little notebook for my ideas, because they come to me at any time, anywhere! Once I get an idea, then I will start listing the things I need to make it come to fruition. Then I’ll check my stash of props, outfits, accessories, etc., to see what I have already and what I’d need to purchase. Next, I’d search for a location that would fit the mood/vibe I am going for. I always check the location a day or two before the shoot, because in the past I have shown up to a beautiful flower field only to find out it had been mowed the week before! Sometimes I will sketch out my ideas and layout so when I’m doing the session I know what I want to do and it keeps me on track. Then the magic happens!
Give our readers advice on how to achieve that gorgeous vibrant look we see in your work.
As you can see, I am a big fan of rich, bold colors in my images! I learned a long time ago that you can’t just increase saturation in Photoshop and be done with it! In my edits, I love a warm base and then I make sure the skin tones still look natural. I will increase the vibrance of individual colors in Lightroom as well as luminance. Also, when I am in Photoshop I can mask off color or color casts when needed.
What’s inside your camera bag?
In my camera bag you will find: Nikon D750, Nikon D750 Back up, Nikon Z6, Tamron 70-200 2.8 lens, Sigma Art 85 1.4 lens, Nikon 50 1.4, Sigma Art 35 lens.
What are your favorite editing softwares?
My go-to editing software is Photoshop! I do use Lightroom for my basic adjustments when I import my sessions, then I open Photoshop for the magic! That’s where I do some hand editing and I do use some actions as well! My go-to action sets come from Greater than Gatsby. I was lucky enough to collaborate with them on the latest action set called The Cult Classic Collection, which was based on my editing style!
What’s the hardest thing you had to overcome that made you the photographer you are today?
There are a couple of things I had to overcome to get where I am today. The first being imposter syndrome! If you have never heard of this or haven’t experienced it, consider yourself lucky! I am self-taught, so I spent a lot of time searching Google, YouTube, and the internet for how to do things. It was a lot of trial and error. So when people ask me how I get my edits the way I do, sometimes I’m reluctant to share, because I don’t know if I’m doing it “the right way” or the most efficient way. But one wise friend told me, “they just want to learn how YOU got the results!” That kind of changed the way I looked at it! The second thing I have had to overcome is my ADHD and Executive Dysfunction. It is a struggle!! When I worked as a marketing director for a corporation, I think it was easier because I was given tasks, I got them done and then I was on my way. However, when you are running a business, everything falls on your shoulders. I have had to come up with systems, task lists, reminders, timers, and such, just to keep things flowing. It can be overwhelming to keep it all straight. I have just learned to do the best I can and give myself grace when needed.
Describe your dream session if your budget was unlimited.
When I picture my dream session, I see the hills of Ireland, with castles in the background. My subjects would be a couple, the man in a suit and tie, the woman with a long flowing gown. A white horse would, of course, be in the portrait as well. Beautiful golden light and if I got lucky, a rainbow would appear in the distance. Ok, now I want to call a travel agent!
If you could have dinner with one artist that has influenced your photography/art, who would it be and what would you talk to them about?
I would have to say Selessa Holmberg of Selessa Studio! She is a senior portrait photographer from Michigan and I have been a huge fan of her work for several years. There is so much I would love to talk with her about like how she incorporates colorful elements into her images, how she uses OCF while on location (her images are always perfectly lit), her editing workflow, the IPS (In Person Sales) model she uses and what products she sells. Basically, I want all the details! But above all of that, she is the kindest and most generous soul and even if we didn’t discuss all of that, it would be a lovely dinner with wonderful company!
Tell us some wise words you live by.
A few words of wisdom: 1. Treat others the way you want to be treated, be kind, be gentle, and be graceful. We are all struggling with something and we all deserve grace! 2. You can’t do better than your best! This is something I have instilled in my kids too. Do your best, don’t leave anything on the field, and in the end, you just have to be satisfied knowing that you did your best! 3. Photographs are a window to the past, a memory you can hold in your hand. Get in the picture! What we do as photographers is an important and meaningful part of our human experience. One of my favorite things to do is look at old family photos with my parents and listen to the stories of years gone by. I could sit and do that for hours.