Featured Photog: Amanda Reed

Amanda Reed Photography

Amanda Reed

Site: Facebook

Q. Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences.

I am 31 years old, married and I have two amazing children and can honestly say I am living the photography dream. I have worked my way from the bottom to where I am today and that would be constructing a new studio, which I am super excited to move into!

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

I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. My lens of choice is the 70-200 L Series By Canon. This lens is incredibly crisp. The first time I photographed a session with it I noticed a considerable decrease in my post production time. I love the fact that I can get up close without being in my clients face and this gives them the ability to relax and get used to the camera from an agreeable distance and not wonder if I am examining every pore on their face:)

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

I have always shot for fun. I believe we all do. I do not know one person who does not like to take photographs. The difference is knowing how to construct a portrait and not just take a picture. I have carried a camera around since I was a kid. My brother suffered a brain aneurysm when he was 4. He suffers from severe epilepsy. I had a bad experience with a local photographer and I did not feel confident in my mom taking him to the same photographer. I wanted to know that he felt comfortable and that he would have time to rest if he seized so I took his senior portraits. This was a big event for us because his doctor’s told us we would never reach this point in his life. He did and I captured it. It was an amazing feeling. That feeling is still felt when I look at those images. The feeling that he did the impossible and I captured that for him. I wanted to give that feeling to everyone. That was the first time I thought about shooting professionally but it would be several years later when I began to do some real soul searching that I decided to pursue it as a career.

Q.  Are you formally taught or self taught?

I am self taught. In the past 4 years I have attended a couple of workshops. I like to say I attended the school of Amanda Reed.  I spent lots of hours deconstructing images of photographs that inspired me. I set my camera to manual and never looked back. I had a lot of underexposed and out of focus images those first few weeks but now I feel like I know my manual settings better than riding a bike. As a matter of fact………. I could not tell you how to shoot in any other mode than manual……. besides automatic of course!

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

I’m not sure I have a specialty. I think that I am always evolving. I think my specialty is more focused on relationships. By that I mean the relationship with  my clients. I definitely have a love for high school seniors. While I would not say it is my specialty, I would say it is the majority of my market. I believe my clients seek me out just as much for my personality as they do my work with portraits. I am very transparent. My specialty would be telling it like it is. I am not perfect, I tend to curse when I am mad. I am trying to juggle a career and a family and my clients can relate to that. They to are working their butts off. Trying to fulfill their own dreams and raise families. I believe, at least I hope, that I inspire them to keep reaching and to be comfortable in their own skin.

Q. How many sessions are you shooting a month?

My peak season is from July through November and during those months I am averaging 30 sessions a month. Those numbers keep growing into other months and I hope that when the studio is complete we will carry more clients through the cold West Virginia winters.

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?

On average a session takes me about 1.5 hours to turn around. When you are shooting upwards of 4 sessions a day though my schedule becomes crazy. I don’t shoot in the sweet light. My last session is schduled at 5:00 and I spend my evenings with  my family. My clients know ahead of time they can expect a 3-4 week wait. They respect that. They respect that I have other obligations outside of photography. I always listen to music. I am a grooveshark fanatic. I have playlists for every mood. If you want to check them out my username is amandaphoto:)

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.

My best marketing is 100% facebook. You have to know social media like you know photography. After each session I do a sneak peek, the same day. It gets time consuming but my clients are excited to see a couple of images. I tag them and myself which puts my image out there to on average of 5,000 viewers as soon as it is tagged. This gains me an average of 10 new fans for every client I post a sneak peek for. My fan page has grew to 6k fans in just over a year. The biggest waste of time would definitely be phone book listings, newspapers etc. Everything now has gone web based. I do offer bonuses. There is no rhyme or reason to it however. I take care of my clients based on their individual need. Maybe a senior wants another pose of wallets but they are already past budget or a wife wants a storyboard of she and her husband but are maxed out. They typically find something extra in their orders when they arrive. I like the unexpected. I like meeting the need without prerequisites.

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

I compete on my work. So many photographers are trying to compete on price. I never want to be the photographer that competes on price. West Virginia has some amazing portrait photographers and I believe we all push one another to up our game. I am extremely competitive and to keep  myself ahead I am always looking for new creative ideas.  I don’t know what other photographer’s are doing in my market. I know that I try to meet my clients need 110%. I know they are investing their time and hard earned money with me and that keeps me working hard for them. I am never relaxed before a session. I always go into it with nerves. I strive to make every session better than the last. So I guess you could say, I work for my clients. Not for $$$ or popularity. I work to give them the best portrait experience I can. I give back. I probably give back most of what I make. I am very proud of my state and it does not have a great reputation. So I give my time, money,  and work for  our communities. I want them to know I am vested in our future and that I appreciate them for being vested as a faithful client. I want them to know they can do amazing things and if no one else supports them, that Amanda Reed does.

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

Not having a business plan. You cannot get to California without a route. You cannot reach success without a business plan. I did not know my numbers, my goals. Now I have a clear, concise plan on how to make all of my goals just another word crossed out on my list and if anyone would like to take a look at my business plan then shoot me an email and I would be happy to send it along:)After implementing a business plan my business has tripled.

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

I am very proud of my E-Book…The Official Guide to Creating Kick ARse Senior Synergy as well as my mentoring program which can be found by visiting my website at www.amanda-reed.com and selecting the learn link. The E-Book also available for purchase from the learn site serves as a posing guide with some of my most used poses.

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.

This first image is of my front porch…..I shoot about 50% of my stuff right on the front porch and I have a ton of props that double as decoration on there. The image of the girl on the chaise lounge was shot right on my front porch using the chaise and vintage screen.

Q. Can you show us your shooting space?  If you shoot on location please share an image of you favorite location.

This shot is of my favorite alley and a corresponding finished image of my results there.

More of Amanda’s Stunning Work:

I am blown away by Amanda’s work. Her images are so powerful and classic at the same time. Thank you so much for sharing your work, Amanda!



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Shay - January 10, 2012 - 3:43 pm

Great captures!!

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