Featured Photog: Beth Forester

Beth Forester

Beth Forester Photography

Site : Facebook

I am SO excited to share the work of a super talented photographer with you this week! She is a great inspiration for Senior Photographers and her Black & White portraits are just breathtaking.

Now on to the Q&As …


Q. Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences and include a picture of yourself.

I am a 42 year old wife, mother, movie buff, business owner, photographer, and work-o-holic!

Q. What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?

I shoot with the canon 1Ds mark 3 and the canon 1D mark 2.  My “go to” lens is my 24-105 f4 cause I can either shoot full-body or a head shot portrait with it. When shooting seniors I like to be able to pose them and then create 3-4 varied shots from 1 pose….this lens allows me to do that very quickly.

Q. When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?

I didn’t pick up a camera until I was 21, when my daughter, Katherine, was born.  Shortly after she was born I got the bug and photography became a full-time obsession.  I started strictly with black and white film and an old 35mm camera given to me by my father-in-law.  It wasn’t until she was ready to start kindergarten that I decided to open a studio, so I had practiced on anyone and everyone for about 5 years.
I have always been fascinated with people and even majored in history in college, so it is very fitting for me to love documenting people’s lives.  I truly love sharing in the special moments in people’s lives and I am so grateful to have a job I love so much.

Q.  Are you formally taught or self taught?

A mixture…In the beginning I was self taught… composition, proper exposure, using  different lenses to achieve different looks etc.  When I wanted to learn about lighting and creating form and shape with light, I began to get trained formally on the various lighting sources and how to use them.

Q. What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?

My specialty is definitely senior portraits!  Working with teens is very rewarding and it keeps me feeling young.  Not to mention that in a depressed are like the one I live in, I found senior portraits to be most profitable.  It’s a once-in-a-lifetime thing and you can’t go back.  Our motto is the only pictures you’ll ever regret are the ones you don’t take.   With young children and families there is always next month or next season to capture those memories but with seniors there is a built in “call to action!”

Q. How many sessions are you shooting a month?

I shoot around 24-28 sessions per month all year round.

Q.  On average how long to do you spend editing each session and do you listen to music while editing or just enjoy the quiet?

It depends on the length of the session but honestly way too much time!  I am a perfectionist to a fault!  As to music, tv or quiet, it depends on what I am doing:  when I am retouching finished orders I usually watch/listen to documentaries on my third monitor (the documentary helvetica is riveting by the way) cause I can listen and look up every now and then and really not miss anything.  If I am designing (say albums or storyboards, I listen to music. I feel more creative that way)  When I am strictly color correcting or editing I listen to music, watch/listen to movies or television shows I have already seen.  Basically, whatever keeps me awake and in a chair for hours at a time.

Q. 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.

Since the beginning of my business career, I have always used word of mouth marketing.  I never had time to create print advertising and I always found that the customers that were “referred by a friend” were my best clients.  Plus, it’s so easy in the photographic industry….word of mouth marketing is built right into our products…everyone love to show off their photos!

Q. What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?

We are what I would consider a “boutique” studio in that we offer tons of custom products:  I have a heavy background in graphic design so we offer tons of products and custom designed pieces for our clients.  It goes well beyond just taking a beautiful photograph to creating an art piece for their home.

Q.What was your biggest mistake and how did you fix it?

The biggest mistake I made early on was pricing myself to low. I’ve spent years overcoming this mistake.

Q. Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?

Probably the image titled “Coal Miner.” My grandfather was a coal miner and I didn’t take up photography until many years after he had passed.  There was a gentlemen in our area that looked similar to him and who was a coal miner.   So I created a portrait of him as a tribute to my grandfather and all the other coal miners in our area.  I also scored a perfect 100 in regional competition with this image which was probably one of the most thrilling moments in my photographic career!

Q. 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.

Sorry but I don’t have many pull back shots…I get so focused on the subject that I forget to take pull backs for teaching. Lol!  I am attaching an image of my studio space before adding any props, drops or lights.  I do shoot primarily in studio so I renovated this awesome space to give me loads of options….. my profitability drops when I go on location.  I can do three sessions in my studio in the same amount of time it takes me drive and shoot a session in someone’s home.  And generally the sales for one home session are not triple a studio session.  Plus, in my studio I have more control over the look of the final image.  I have over 15 lighting units, every kind of modifier you can think of, and tons of options to choose from. I like having everything at my fingertips when I am shooting…..I want to be in control and I can do more to enhance a subject by creating light.

Q. Is there anything you would like to promote?  Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.

You can always find me speaking all over the US.  I usually speak somewhere at least once a month.  I also am the owner/creator of photoDUDS.  In my business I found I also had to be a part-time graphic designer as well.  In order to keep my business fresh and exciting, I had to design marketing pieces, products, cards, books etc. all the time.  And I am not a template girl!  So I wanted the design pieces like the brushes, overlays and pretty frames to be at my fingertips so I could design the look of my products and marketing pieces myself.  Thus, the photoDUDS line of graphic design enhancements was born.  It’s everything a photographer would need to enhance their images, to create marketing pieces, and to design awesome products.  Check it out at www.photoDUDS.com

Q. Please share an image of your Prop stash!  This doesn’t have to be an organized space just an image showing off your addiction.

Well I have been collecting props for 15 years and searching for that next exciting thing is never boring.  My prop stash area is so awful that I was embarrassed to share it…let’s just say that neatness is not my forte!

More of Beth’s Stunning Images:

Thank You Beth for sharing your work with us!



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Niina - July 18, 2011 - 3:47 pm

Amazing photos!I absolutely adore the photo of the lady with a baby who perhaps is her grandson. So touching! And love the studio space too!

Christina - July 19, 2011 - 2:00 pm

Her pictures are amazing!

jenna - April 9, 2012 - 6:44 am

There are a few lovely photos here, but some harsh studio lighting too. That poor blonde senior looks like she’s in her 30s (not good). This photographer should figure out how to make location shots more profitable, they are definitely more interesting and well done than her studio shots. Beautiful studio space though.

I have to admit I’m annoyed with photographers who agree to these types of interviews but then skip the questions that are more pertinent, the ones that inspiring photographers want or need to see/read about. (i.e. the prop closet, pull back shots). Don’t do the interview if you don’t want to share.

Sherif - February 4, 2013 - 3:37 pm

There is a photo in here of an old lady holding a little baby (the photo is in black and white). Did you take it yourself? if not, do you know how can I contact the owner of the picture?

This is a wonderful collection of photos btw :)

Best regards,

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