Excited about our Have You Met series where I showcase YOU, the photographers of our community. We had over 400 photographers apply for the series in less than a week. I can’t wait to showcase the talented photographers. There is a mix of hobbyist and business owners as well as full-frame and crop sensor users. This may be my new favorite part of the site.
This post contains affiliate links. Thanks in advance for supporting Click it Up a Notch. I am not longer accepting applications for this series.
1. Tell us a little about yourself and your photography journey.
I grew up using a Polaroid camera and having “photo shoots” with my baby sister, dressing her up and taking her picture in front of the shower curtain (perfect backdrop right!?). As a teenager, I carried a disposable camera with me everywhere and would wait impatiently for the one hour photo man to hand over my envelope of 4x6s. In 2010, I was engaged to my husband and he gifted me my first DSLR (Nikon D3000). When I pulled the camera out of the box, my heart was racing I wanted to know what all those buttons could do and how the heck do I make the background blurry!?!
I began taking Photography 101 classes at a local photography school and pretty much became infatuated with learning more. I couldn’t get enough. I finally figured out manual mode in Photography 102 and discovered Clickin’ Moms and Click it up a Notch. I took course after course on Clickin’ Moms and every time a new breakout was released, I bought it. When I had my son in 2013, I realized that this thing, this hobby, was what I was meant to do. I made it my job to document my son’s little life. I began photographing other families too and capturing their lives in the most genuine way possible. I always tell people, I didn’t mean to start a business! But I did. And I can’t imagine being happier than I am right now.
35mm f/2.2 | ss 1/320 | ISO 250
2. What is the best advice you received so far on your photography journey?
Do not try to copy another photographer’s work. You will never truly love your images if they are just like someone else’s. Be yourself, everyone else is taken.
3. What is your favorite thing to photograph?
What I really love are unplanned moments of real, raw emotions, especially those of a parent and child. I love stepping back and letting life just happen and then freezing that moment with just a little click.
85mm | f/2.8 | ss 1/640 | ISO 500
4. Where do you find your inspiration?
New places and beautiful light! I am very spontaneous and will often pack up my son and my camera to head out on an adventure. This could be as simple as going to a grocery store or taking a detour through the mountains of North Carolina to see a Christmas tree farm… yes we really did that!
5. What type of background do you have? Self taught? Formal training? Mentor?
I took my first classes at a local photography school, from there it was a lot of trial and error. I have taken several classes on Clickin’ Moms. I read tons of tutorials and blogs and read through the CM forums constantly. Last fall I asked Liz LaBianca to be my mentor, and she said yes! We chat over the phone about things I want to work on and things I can do to improve. The most I will probably ever learn is by experience though, so I try to shoot and edit every day.
5. Are you currently doing any photography projects? If so, what?
I started a 365 project this year, but am calling it 365ish. ISH because I am way too spontaneous for scheduled shooting and it takes the pressure off! So far I have shot every day, I just don’t post on my blog every single day. “ish” took the pressure off, but I still want to shoot!
50mm | f/2.5 | ss 1/320 | ISO 250
6. If you could only use one lens for a year, which would you choose?
My Sigma 35mm 1.4. This lens is my sharpest lens and is wide enough to capture the environment, yet the focal distance allows me to stay nice and close to my subject. (Like my wild child who will run away if I have to be too far back with my 85mm 1.4, just sayin!)
35mm | f/1.6 | ss 1/250 | ISO 640
7. Share links to 3 of your favorite photography tutorials and tell us why.
This is how I learned to back button focus! (Come on kids run to me!! I betcha I will nail my focus! ;)) Back button focusing tips
This is excellent. Do everything you can to make your subjects comfortable in front of the camera, that’s when the authentic connections start to show. Cracking the Mr. Boring test: Getting real emotions from clients
And then I shouted from the rooftops, “I am a photographer!” (Insert awkward dance with fingers pointing to the sky here) When to call yourself a photographer
35mm | f/2.8 | ss 1/320 | ISO 250
8. What is your favorite image right now?
The image of my son at the beach holding his red fishing net. He woke up unusually early (like 5am) while we were on vacation and I decided if we were up that early we were not going to miss the sunrise. So I packed him in the car and with my camera around my neck we headed to the beach. I love how much fun we have together in new places. This image reminds me of those moments, where it’s just the 2 of us, exploring this big world together.
35mm | f/2.5 | ss 1/250 | ISO 640
9. What type of camera and lenses do you shoot with?
I have a Nikon D610 (love, love, love it!) I actually had the D600 when it first came out, but exchanged it for the 610 after lots of talk about oil spots on the sensor. I have not had a problem with spots on either model though. Nikon 50mm 1.4 (this one doesn’t come out much any more, but I still hang on to it!), Sigma 35mm 1.4 (this is one sharp lens y’all, perfect for lifestyle shots), Nikon 85mm 1.4 (My favorite outdoor lens, it gives me that creamy dreamy look I love) Nikon 105mm 2.8 (This is the newest addition! I use this for my little newborn babies and their squishy little faces and most recently to capture my son’s fluttering eyelashes.) I heart this lens.
85mm | f/2.5 | ss 1/1250 | ISO 125
10. Let’s light someone else’s candle, who is a photographer you think we should check out?
If you haven’t already, you must do your eyes a favor and check out my mentor, Liz LaBianca. She photographs her children daily, which I don’t think a lot of photographers remember to do! Her recent trip to NYC with her children had me drooling. Grab a napkin and check her out Liz LaBianca Photography.
11. What is your biggest challenge when it comes to photography?
My biggest challenge is taking so many pictures every day and not having the time to edit them completely. I am hoping my 365ish project will help me stay on top of editing my own images.
35mm | f/2.8 | ss 1/640 | ISO 125
12. What’s the strangest thing you carry in your camera bag, and why is it in there?
My strangest thing is actually not strange to me, but everyone else who sees it always says “What the heck is that thing!?” It’s a rocket blaster dust removal squishy thing. It blows dust off lenses! Sometimes I will pull it out during a session and let a toddler play with it if they need a distraction.
35mm | f/2.5 | ss 1/100 | ISO 200
13. What is next on your list of things to learn this year in photography?
I want to have a better understanding of correcting skin tones using the CMKY numbers method in Photoshop! I have avoided this method because I am not a numbers kinda gal, but I want to give it a whirl in 2015.
35mm | f/2.8 | ss 1/400 | ISO 1000