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.
No.01Tell us a little about yourself and your photography journey.
Hi all! I’m Amanda and I live in a suburb of the Twin Cities, in MN. I am a passionate, sarcastic, outgoing-introvert who has very little filter and is very happily married to a pretty cool guy; together, we made a pretty cool little girl too. Mady (4) is in Pre-K, takes gymnastics lessons, swimming lessons, races snowmobiles, rides a dirt bike [with training wheels ;)], and just really enjoys being outside. I’ve been taking photos for as long as I can remember but started really getting into it when I had Mady back in 2010. I didn’t get a DSLR until 2011 and then I REALLY became obsessed with capturing my life, because, why not? I started taking portraits for friends/family in 2013 and started my business early last year. I love what I do.
2015 is proving to be one crazy year for me. On top of growing my photography business, working about ten hours a week for the accounting department of the company my in-laws own, and being a stay at home mom to my spunky little 4 1/2 year old… I started a voluntary, two-year position in the fundraising chair on the board for the Turner Syndrome Society of the United States (TSSUS), and I became an affiliated photographer with Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep. [Little background: In June of 2013, we lost a baby at 23 weeks gestation due to complications caused ultimately by Turner Syndrome. I’ve never felt more compelled to help people who may go through what I did, hence all the commitments I’ve added to my already full plate. I have no doubt that it will all be very worth it in the end, but really, I’ve asked everyone to just bear with me for the next two years.]
ISO 250 | 140mm | f/6.3 | 1/1250 SS
No.02What is the best advice you received so far on your photography journey?
Be confident. In yourself. In your abilities. Just be confident. When I first registered my business and booked two weddings, I started to get really nervous (I mean, c’mon, it’s someone’s one and only BIG DAY!) and was seriously doubting myself. Many people around me, including my awesome husband, told me that I WAS good enough and I COULD do it. Since then, I just went for whatever came my way and had confidence doing it. Best. Advice. Ever.
ISO 100 | 50mm | f/3.5 | 1/500 SS
No.03Where do you find your inspiration?
Life. I love capturing my day-to-day life. I have about 50 pictures from my childhood (which is quite generous) and 20 or so of those are from one Christmas when I was two. When I realized what little I had to look back on, I was determined to capture my daughter’s life in a more full aspect. I want her to be able to look at her yearly photo books and see what her life was like, on a daily basis, not just at special events or family gatherings. Whether it be capturing her emotions, artistic creations, dress-up play, outfit choices, trying new things… I really try to put everything into a tangible memory for her (probably more for me – who am I kidding?!).
ISO 2500 | 17mm | f/4.0 | 1/160 SS
No.04What type of background do you have? Self taught? Formal training? Mentor?
Mostly self-taught. I took a couple of photography classes in college but those were back in the days of film, and I didn’t stick with it so any knowledge gained during that time just went out the window. I got a T3 for Christmas in 2011 and have pretty much had a camera in my hand ever since.
No.05Are you currently doing any photography projects? If so, what?
Yes, in January, I started a 365 project with a group on Facebook which consists of about 100 other photographers. Sounds easy, right? Take a picture every day for a year. Well, life happens, and then it really gets difficult. However, I have found that it really pushes me to pick up my camera every.single.day. I have learned new things because of that and am so grateful for the supportive group I am in, or I definitely would have already thrown in the towel.
ISO 320 | 85mm | f/4.0 | 1/500 SS
No.06If you could only use one lens for a year, which would you choose?
Only choosing from what’s already in my bag, I would have to go with my 50mm, since I like to capture both indoor and outdoor things. I love love love my 70-200mm but I would be forced to shoot from across my house, or only outside (and the arm that has to hold that monster up for a year would look like the Hulk!). If I could choose one that I don’t currently have, I would probably pick the 35mm.
No.07Share links to 3 of your favorite photography tutorials and tell us why.
This one was really helpful to me early last year, when I finally forced myself to learn to shoot in full Manual: How to take a sharp photo
Still working on getting myself in from of the camera more, and trying to get the focus right on ones with me, myself, and I… But a quick read of this and I get motivated to keep trying: 6 methods for perfectly focused self portraits
Definitely good tips for any new business owner: Creative advertising through giving back
No.08What is your favorite image right now?
It would have to be the one of my daughter smiling ear to ear at me. She is always so full of life but whenever my camera comes out, I tend to get the “cheese” face, rather than real emotion. And in this one, you can see true joy [and my reflection in her sunglasses:)].
No.09What type of camera and lenses do you shoot with?
I currently shoot with a Canon 7D, 17-55 2.8, 85 1.8, 50 1.4, and my newest addition, the 70-200 2.8 VII. :) Upgrading to a 5D Mark III is on my to-do list for 2015, even though my husband isn’t to keen on the idea but hey, happy wife, happy life, right?
No.10Let’s light someone else’s candle, who is a photographer you think we should check out?
No.11What is your biggest challenge when it comes to photography?
Time. I lack it. I need more time to watch tutorials, take classes, join workshops, network, and just play with my camera. Maybe in the Fall when my little one is in all day Kindergarten… Maybe then I will find this so-called thing called “time”.
No.12How do you display your photos?
I have them everywhere. Canvases, framed prints, magnets… But mostly, I make photo books like they are going out of style. My daughter has an 8×11 book for every year of life so far, and I’ve made many 8×8 books of little trips my husband and I have gone on. I like opening them and re-living the entire experience, and showing them off, of course.
No.13What's the strangest thing you carry in your camera bag, and why is it in there?
Candy. While I tell myself that it’s for bribery for stubborn little ones at sessions, I rarely use it and end up just eating it all myself. :)
No.14What is next on your list of things to learn this year in photography?
Back button focusing is definitely next, closely followed by nailing focus in self-portraits.
No.15Show us what your work space looks like.
No.16If people want to follow more of your work where should they go?