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Interview with Summerana Resident Instructor Tracy Joy

  • Summerana 
Introducing Tracy Joy inside the Summerana Membership! We are lucky to have her as a resident instructor at Summerana, and we also got to sit her down for an interview.

“HI Friends! I am Tracy Joy, and a self anointed dork! I snort when I laugh too hard, photography is my happy place, and I believe that kindness is the key to happiness.

Joy is my middle name… though many people think it is my last name. I live with my husband and 3 wacky children in NW Illinois just outside of Chicago. I love dogs, wildflowers, fall days, summer evenings, and sometimes my children! Kidding aside, I live and breathe for my tiny minions. Aside from photography, I am also passionate about health. Myself, husband and 2 of our 3 children deal with Lyme disease and the after math of its infection. We don’t let it get us down though… we spend many of our summer nights camping with our friends & dogs.

I have been a professional photographer since 2008. Fine art photography is where I find my JOY, but I also enjoy dabbling in unposed lifestyle images and newborn photography.

I hope you enjoy my work with Summerana and the videos that will be released with my dorky name attached to them! It is a true blessing to be with a community that combines kindness in community with affordable education for everyone!”

If we asked your family, who are YOU, what would they say?
Oh that’s a loaded question! haha. My husband would say that he loves me dearly, but that I’m a total oddball and he doesn’t understand my obsession with Bigfoot and/or ghost shows. My teen son would say that I’m a great mom, and even though I have a lot of “mom rules” he appreciates them (sometimes). My middle ‘tween’ daughter would say that I ask to take her picture too much and need to stop. And my youngest would say that I’m weird and change my hair color a lot (I like colored extensions!). All in all. I’m the silly, loud, in your face and your business mom… who loves & protects them fiercely. And my husband would say “whatever she says, because I love her”.

What was your first year as a professional photographer like?
A hot mess! But I loved it and wouldn’t trade it for anything. I dove head first into newborn photography and was very fortunate to have many patient and ‘expecting’ friends whom allowed me to capture those first moments… even if not perfect in photography terms. I also loved tutu’s – a LOT of tutus. I didn’t know much in the business aspect, which did hurt me in the long run. I was one of those “cheap” togs who worked for very little money because I wanted to please others.

How would you describe your photography style?
I have recently transformed my photography business. Retiring from newborn photography in early 2020 due to the pandemic, I refocused my creativity to fine art & painterly children’s and composite photography. I now only shoot children roughly ages 5-14, whom I can style to my own taste and shoot images that please me as an artist. Photographing & editing for my creative soul. Hence my love for all things Summerana, especially the vast variety of overlays and digital backdrops that help give my images that final touch of magic.

What are some techniques that members should look forward to learning from your resident instructor tutorials?
I love LOVE light and how it curves around my subjects. Natural light and studio light are both so different, yet so equally stunning. My hopes are to help others find that light (in any situation), and then use tools through editing to emphasize that natural beauty and detail in their own photography.

If you had unlimited funds and you could go anywhere in the world, what would your dream photoshoot look like?
I’m a huge lover of the southern United States. Especially New Orleans. I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to rent a huge mansion in the Garden District of New Orleans Louisiana….with swopping oaks, blooming flowerbeds and the southern charm of a historic building. It’s an area so rich in history, texture and color… I am obsessed. If you know me personally, you know how much I just love and adore this part of our beautiful country.

What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a photographer?
LIGHT! Finding the right light and manipulating it to suit my subject and artistic visions. Once you learn about light, the different styles and situations of light… it unfolds so much magic.

If you could have dinner with 1 person (dead or alive) that made an impact on the photography industry, who would it be?
I’m gonna be really cheesy here and prob embarrass my good friend. But Shannon Squires, for sure. She’s not just a talented artist, but such a kind hearted and giving human being. We need more people like her in this industry. The giving she does for others… along side her ridiculous talents… is mind blowing. I enjoy spending my time with like minded people who really ooze happiness, empathy, and care for the world. She fits all of those check marks. Bonus for me… she’s a part of our Summerana team that I am lucky to work with every day. Our BTS crew at Summerana is par to none, and we are all so fortunate to be a part of it all and have each other.

What inspires you to create?
Aside from my own children… I would say my feelings & struggles. I am a firm believe in art being used to heal, and for me… someone who battles chronic illness and mental heath struggles, my art is a way of pushing out all of those feelings. Additionally, it’s SUPER important for me to try and help/reach others through my art. Whether something I create helps them to feel not alone in their own struggles, or it pulls a positive emotional response, those are the things that really inspire me. Again, so cheesy of me… but I truly believe in advocating for others and helping them fell happiness (or expression) through art.

Favorite Quote
“The ultimate test of your character is how secure you feel in helping others succeed and come up higher” ― Henna Sohail

Watch me edit: 

Spring Backgrounds – composite editing workshop
Want to watch me edit this image in Photoshop from start to finish? It is available to watch in the Summerana Membership here.

In this editing workshop by Tracy Joy, you will learn how to use two of our digital backgrounds to create one final image.


Techniques and editing you will learn:

  • How to compile multiple backdrops into one image
  • Full fine art edit on subject
  • Placing subject realistically, and easily, into backgrounds
  • Adding highlights & shadows to details
  • Blending both subjects and multiple backgrounds

Tracy Joy
Tracy Joy Photography

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