I think this is my 3rd year (I’ve lost track!). I did a little race photography before switching to boudoir. By day I’m still an engineer – my degree is actually in electrical engineering technology. An engineer that designs and builds missiles…so I’ve got that going for me.
I’m all self-taught. Interestingly, considering my engineering background I don’t have a huge passion for the deep & dirty technical side of photography.
Definitely came later in life, however I’ve always enjoyed the arts. I’ve been involved in ballet/dance since 3rd grade.
Other than running races (which was a whole different business), I’ve only done boudoir. Weddings scare the shit out of me (only one chance to get it!). I really don’t like kids. Trying to coordinate families just feels like dealing with kids! I think the only adjacent ventures I’d ever undertake is glamour and maybe (that’s a very iffy maybe) engagements. So many photographers do it better than I can envision so I’m happy to let them handle that!
If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be?
Go take some business and marketing classes. It doesn’t matter if they are geared towards photographers. It all gives you a good understanding of the other side of your business and how to market & advertise.
Have you ever done a boudoir session yourself, if you are a female (sorry guys 🙂 ? Do you think it’s something that is important for female boudoir photographers to do?
I haven’t done a full on session but I’ve done some modeling/mini type session when I’m in Las Vegas for WPPI. I think its so important to be on the other side of the camera – even if its not the 100% focused session that your client gets, you still can get an understanding of what it sounds like when you’re coaching a client. You have no idea how easy it is to confuse right & left when directing!
How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers?
I think both have valuable viewpoints. I heard something awhile back and I think its true – working in a predominately male field supports this too. Female photographers will often side with you on trying to hide or camouflage your “flaws”. Men just generally think women are sexy and will pose them accordingly. I could go on and on about things I dislike about myself (my stomach, my legs, my butt, etc) but I can gather up a room full of guys who will not find a thing wrong with any of them.
With that all said, I know some women who would be more comfortable with a male photographer and others who wouldn’t dream of it (or their significant other would flip). Both are entitled to their opinions and options.
What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?
Sadly more often than I’d like to admit. While I usually rate persistence as a strength I also get really frustrated when I don’t see the inkling of potential. When I was doing triathlons a few years ago I figured swimming would be the hardest for me but it turned out to be easy because seeing gains was easy. I figured running would be the easiest and to this day I struggle with it because I don’t see the ‘payment’ for all my work. I will continue to stand by and throw myself at something, but if I don’t see any inkling of success on the horizon it gets kind of soul sucking.
To avoid/deal with the burn out I dance. It’s one of those places I do my hardest to keep compartmentalized. I try not to think about work or my business – I don’t even talk about my business unless asked. I’m there to escape.
What do you love about the business?
I love that the only bureaucracy is what I create. It’s one of the most stressful and annoying parts of my day job so knowing that I’m in control of it is helpful.
But my favorite part is seeing and hearing the women I shoot. Hearing them see themselves in a different light. Knowing they walked out of our shoot with their chin raised a little higher. From experience, I cried when I saw some of the pictures from Vegas. I had no idea that’s what I looked like. I had no idea that was the person my husband saw or any of my friends (you know, when I had clothes on). I know I can’t solve every woman’s problems, but I want to be an outlet to at least turn that off for a little bit.
What do you hate about the business?
Blogging. Oh my god, it’s horrible. I always set a goal to do it and I fail miserably. I need to outsource it but I have control issues sometimes. Like always.
Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI? What benefit do you feel you get by being a member?
I’m a member of WPPI and AIBP (obviously!). Community is a big part of it. When I was starting WPPI was awesome for its conference and expo. It was so nice to be in a place with so many like minded individuals.
As I’ve grown I’ve drifted away from WPPI a little bit just because my business needs have changed. I need to focus more on the behind the scenes stuff so I can set myself up for future successes.
Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it? AIBP runs contests regularly. Do you participate? If not, is there a reason you don’t?
I don’t participate. I really should but I have a hard time being vulnerable and putting myself out there. It’s been on my to-do list for awhile…I need to just put my big girl panties on and do it.
SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:
Oh my gosh, I think I could survive on chips & salsa. I think the real answer here is carbs. That’s a food right?
One guilty pleasure in life?
Questionable TV. You know, Pretty Little Liars, Young & Hungry, Say Yes To The Dress…..all the stuff I watch when the hubby isn’t home 😉
What is your favorite piece of clothing?
As much as I love my yoga pants, I think I’m going to have to go with dresses. I don’t really have one favorite, but maybe this cute little black cotton dress with flutter sleeves. It can be casual or work dressy and its just so comfortable.
What’s one song on your playlist?
Right now its Castle on the Hill from Ed Sheeran…who I get to see in August!
What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?
Favorite shoes to wear?
None? I’m developing plantar fasciitis so none is a bad answer lol. Ballet flats of some kind or flip flops.
What are you currently reading?
I just finished the Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
I’ve always wanted to go to Paris but honestly I’d love to go back to either Scotland or Ireland.
If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be?
It’s a secret!
If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why?
Honestly I don’t know.
What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)
Being myself. Sometimes I don’t feel very much like the norm, especially in this business. My upbringing and subsequent education and career path and interests have given me a different perspective on life than some. I often shy away from being myself, opting to be whoever is needed at whatever moment. Sometimes really useful in this business and sometimes kind of maddening.
Are you married, single, have kids, husband? Is life a juggling act for you?
Married, no kids. 3 cats. 10 chickens. It is a juggling act sometimes. I try to keep this separate but sometimes that all goes to shit.
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?
My parents. They raised me to be strong and independent and fight for myself. I don’t always do a good job at it but I try.
If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s direction in life, what would that be
It’s ok to be you. Find a passion (at least one) and keep at it because you actually love it, not because you have to. That’s what dance is for me. I was never going to be a professional dancer but it doesn’t mean that I can’t continue to enjoy it and grow in it.