Number of years as a photographer – 17
Claim to Fame – No real claim to fame, but I always feel so honored when people tell me they follow my blog, or when people from high school hire me to photograph them.
How long have you known Sonja – Gosh…umm, freshman year of high school? 14 years?
What photo equipment do you use today?
I shoot with all Canon gear. Two 5DMKIIs. One 5D. And my favorite lenses are the 50mm 1.2, 70-200 2.8, and 35 1.4.
How did you begin your photo career?
Throughout my childhood I loved photography, and knew that’s what I wanted to do. In my first year of college I took the basic photography 101 class, and well, I failed it. It definitely rocked me, especially because everyone kept telling me that they thought I was talented enough and then failing the class shook me to the core…and that ended my dreams of being a photographer! I went to college, got a job with a government contractor, and then at 22 got laid off from the path I thought I was supposed to be on. Then one day, it dawned on me, why not do something that I love and get paid for it…DUH. Yes, I’m retarded, it took me that many years to figure it out, and get up enough courage to shoot again! I was asked to shoot my best friends’ litter sisters wedding even though I had never shot a wedding at that point. They trusted me, though I didn’t even trust myself, and I just went for it. The wedding went wonderful and I booked a few more weddings from that first one, and it just took off by word of mouth, which was now over four years ago.
Favorite thing about photography?
My favorite thing about photography is making people feel beautiful and documenting a moment in time. My whole life is documented through photographs and I am grateful that I can look back at my life and remember all those little moments.
Ways to land a job as a professional or freelancer?
Lots of practice, and getting the word out. Hand out business cards to everyone you meet, start a blog, start a facebook page…spread the word that you’re a photographer. The more people exposed to your work, the better. Don’t loose sight of your passion, if you love to photograph, people will start to notice.
What is your favorite photo hanging in your house?
My favorite photograph hanging in my house is of my family from our family vacation in Florida last year, hanging in my living room. My parents are divorced, and my dad is sick, so having a photograph of all of us together is extra special for me.
Do you prefer film or digital?
I learned on film, but am all digital now!
Coolest place you have taken a photograph?
Probably in Tulum, Mexico in 2004. I was all film back then, but photographing the ancient Mayan ruins was so amazing. Hopefully I’ll get the chance to go back someday.
How do you organize and store your photos?
Holding the huge responsibly of being a wedding photographer, I backup all my photos in multiple locations. Several hard drives, and then several different copies on disks, one of which goes off site forty minutes away just incase something happens at my home.
Give us some photo tips!
1. Shoot with your camera on M (manual) mode. Shooting in manual mode gives you more control over the camera, so you dictate how the image comes out, versus what the camera thinks.
2. Learn to see where the light hits. Open even shade is best for shooting in. Or purposely diffused directional light. But to give that extra glow and prevent the harsh shadows on their face, place them opposite a bright wall/piece of concrete/car to bounce light into their faces (second three images shows great examples of how I bounce light into their faces.)
3. Getting clients comfortable through laughter! Many of my couples tell me that they’re uncomfortable having their pictures taken, and I can totally relate. By making them laugh you’re making them more comfortable in the somewhat awkward situation (first two images). I try whatever joke I can think of to get them laughing, sometimes even making fun of myself just to get a laugh. I haven’t quite figured out if they’re laughing with me, or at me, but whichever it seems to be working.
Check Her Out! – www.meganbeth.com