Meet this week’s Featured Photog…
Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences and include a picture of yourself.
I’m the wife to a wonderful man, mother to 9 amazing kids (age range 15 years to 10 months), and a photographer of everything from newborns and children on up to families and high school seniors. I LOVE the outdoors, camping, hiking, cooking exotic meals, baking, reading, archaeology, astronomy, taking that dirt road on a whim just to see where it goes, exploring new places, dark skies at night for stargazing, daydreaming, fresh air, and just getting away from it all.
What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?
I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II and a variety of lenses (70-200mm 2.8L II, 85mm 1.2L, 16-35mm 2.8L II, 90mm TS, 100mm 2.8 macro, 50mm 1.4, & Lensbaby Composer Pro + Double Glass Optic & the Edge 80). My favorite lens would have to be the 70-200L – I love the gorgeous depth of field, bokeh and tack sharp images it produces.
When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?
I’ve shot for fun since I was a child, but got more interested in photography on a professional level after the birth of my 5th child in 2006. I opened my business in 2008.
Are you formally taught or self taught?
I am self taught and proud of it!
What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?
I haven’t specialized – I consider myself a jack of all trades photographer. I shoot everything from newborns, babies, and children, on up to families and high school seniors. I just shot my first birth this week and it was AMAZING! I even dabble in landscape photography a bit. The only things I won’t consider shooting are weddings and events.
How many sessions are you shooting a month?
I try to limit myself to about 4 sessions per month, but I’ve taken on quite a bit more than that this summer/fall and am definitely feeling the heat!
On average how long to do you spend editing each session and do you listen to music while editing or just enjoy the quiet?
Oh this is funny – I was just talking about this with a friend today. I’d say I take an average of 10 minutes per image, and I show an average of about 25 images per client, which *should* come out to about 4 hours of editing. The problem lies in my ability to focus and concentrate – I will edit a picture, then go check Facebook, edit another picture, then roll around on the floor with the baby for a while, edit one more, then put in a load of laundry, etc etc. With all of the ‘distractions’ it seems to take me FOREVER to finish a session! lol
What is your favorite part of the process? Shooting, editing, etc.
My favorite part of the process is putting up my first few favorite edited images and seeing the reaction of the client. There is nothing better!
What is the best marketing tool that works for you or was a total waste of time? Do you advertise in print? Do you offer referral bonuses? If yes, please share a little.
Facebook has been, hands down, my best marketing tool – and it’s completely free! The ability to upload favorite images and TAG your client in it so all of their friends and family see it is irreplaceable as a marketing tool. I’ve gotten most of my jobs this way. I also like to submit favorite sessions to different blogs that feature photographers and/or images – it’s a great way to help get your name out there not only to potential clients, but other photographers as well. It’s great for SEO too! I don’t currently advertise in print or have a formal referral program, though I do greatly appreciate referrals!
What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?
I’m a total perfectionist and think (hope) that it shows in my work. I really try to get to the ‘meat’ of who a person is when photographing them. I am very good at connecting with people and making them feel comfortable with me. Additionally, I know how to work my lighting, locations, and compositions to create compelling portraits that will make you stop, look twice, and think. I have to trust that people who are looking to hire a photographer can see the difference in not only technical skills, but quality and artistry as well. I believe that my work will set me apart from the competition.
What do you do to help a client come out of their “shell” during a session?
I’m a complete dork and have no dignity – I will make fun of myself, crack jokes at my own expense, or make a complete fool of myself for a child if need be – whatever it takes! If I’m shooting a senior, I am sure to let them know how drop dead gorgeous they look, and what an amazing job they are doing. I’ll even give them a few quick peeks at the LCD screen when I get an amazing shot – it really helps boost up their confidence during the session! I LOVE making people feel good about themselves!
What do you struggle with the most?
Saying NO and setting aside time for myself and my family – this kind of goes back to the question about how many sessions I take each month. I know how many I *should* take to keep myself sane and keep time for myself and my family, but I am horrible about turning sessions/people down. I really need to take a green highlighter and block off weekends that are just for family time. Trying to balance family and business is a huge struggle for me.
How did you find your style? Any advice to new photographers on how to find their own style?
A. I just got out there and shot a LOT. Different subjects, different lighting scenarios, different styles of processing, different locations. Slowly but surely, I would see that I was drawn to certain images more than others, and then I could dissect WHY I liked that particular image more than others so that I could recreate that look again. Finding your style is a long process and is not something that you can expect to have happen overnight. If you are patient, it will happen naturally over the course of time. Mine is still evolving.
Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?
Oh gosh, picking one favorite is always SO hard. I have 9 children, so choosing one of them would be impossible. That said, I’ll share a favorite client image here. What makes it my favorite? The ‘realness’…the moody lighting…the freckles…the un-processed skin…the feeling that you can look right into her soul in this picture. It has been a favorite since the second the shutter clicked.
Can you show us your shooting space? If you are shooting inside can you show a simple pull back shot or lots of images if you have a large studio. If you shoot on location please share an image of you favorite location.
I’m a 100% on location shooter, though I secretly fantasize about adding a natural light studio on to my house. You can see many of my favorite outdoor locations scattered throughout the images in this post, but here is one way that I would utilize the natural light from windows in a client’s house when shooting their newborn – with or without siblings.I used the light from the window in this pullback shot to create both the image of the baby by herself and the image of her with her 3 older sisters (one of my all-time favorite shots). Mom has the image of her 4 girls as a huge canvas in her house now!
Is there anything you would like to promote? Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.
I do! Thank you for asking.I offer one-on-one in person mentoring, but my available dates for this are very limited. I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org for further details. I also offer online webinars on post-processing. The details on my webinars can be found on my blog: http://ljhollowayphotography.com/blog/2012/03/color-processing-webinar-kingman-arizona-photographer-las-vegas-photographer/ And ONE last thing.I also dabble in landscape photography and have a small Etsy shop with some of my favorite images in it. That can be found here: http://www.etsy.com/shop/ljholloway
Please share an image of your Prop stash! This doesn’t have to be an organized space just an image showing off your addiction.
Oh boy – this is going to be embarrassing…most of it is piled in the garage from our move in January and the other half is placed strategically around the house as ‘decorations.’ I think I even have a few things locked up in a storage shed out back so the kids don’t get into it. Please don’t judge me by my disorganized chaos here – it’s the last area of the house that we have to go through since our move and it is a complete mess. lol A little chaos never hurt anyone though, right?
What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new photographer?
Take your time and do things the right way! Don’t cut corners if you decide to open a business – make sure you research all of the ins and outs of owning and operating a business and do it legally. Take the necessary time to find your own style – don’t just find another local photographer than you admire and copy everything they do (yes, this has happened and is still happening to me). Stay true to yourself and don’t be afraid of taking a chance here and there or try something new…whether that be a new location, a new type of subject, or lighting that you are not comfortable with. Also, remember that we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes – it’s all part of the process.
More of Lisa’s beautiful images:
Thank you for sharing your work with us, Lisa!