I'm so excited to introduce you to Tonya Poitevint! We fell in love with her sweet, ethereal style of photography and just HAD to pick her brain! We love Tonya's, "imperfection is perfection!" approach!
Here's our interview with Tonya...
Name: Tonya Poitevint
Business Name: Tonya Poitevint Photography
Location: Southern Oregon
Website/Blog: My website is currently "under construction", but you can view some of my work at my Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/TonyaPoitevintPhotography
The Beautiful, Tonya Poitevint!
Q: What gear is in your camera bag?
A: "My gear is very simple. I shoot with a Canon 50D and a 50 1.4 and a 35 1.4 lens. Aside from memory cards, batteries, lip-gloss and a hair band, that's it!"
Q: What is your favorite lens to use and why?
A: "I gravitate towards prime lenses. Right now I'm loving the 35 1.4"
Q: Give us one sentence to describe the style of your photography.
A: "Timeless, candid, ethereal lifestyle photography with an artistic and quirky flair!"
Q: What caused your interest in photography?
A: "I feel it has been a natural progression in the sense that I always enjoyed photographing my children. My oldest is almost 11 and since he was born, I had been using a point and shoot to take gazillions of photos to document daily life. After pushing my p&s to it's limit, I finally convinced myself to upgrade to a DSLR approximately a year and a half ago. A whole new world opened up and I was able to expand creatively, develop a shooting style and increase my knowledge of all things photography!"
Q: What is your favorite thing to shoot and why?
A: "I love photographing my kiddos! Watching them explore, play, be themselves and capturing it all is my most favorite thing to do and when I have the honor of photographing others, I find that a huge bonus!"
Q: How long did it take before you felt that you established a solid portfolio?
A: "I took a year to build a portfolio that I was comfortable with. I was able to photograph many families, children and babies, and in doing so, I grew a portfolio and started to develop a style."
Q: How long did it take you to master your skill and discover your style of photography?
A: "Oh gosh...I feel like I'm still mastering my skill, and probably always will be in a state of learning and growing. As far as style goes, for me it's more about evolving each and every day and with every shoot. Rather than trying so hard to define a style, for me, it's more about photographing from the heart, photographing what I love, and telling a story through the images I take. I believe, that style naturally manifests when you're photographing what speaks to you."
Q: What inspires you most?
A: "Realness....is that a word? I love REAL! To me, it's unexpected inspiration and when it appears, magic happens!. Unexpected moments happening in real life, with real people, real emotions, real imagination, real interactions....this inspires me. And when this surfaces I can't help but become inspired and awestruck!"
Q: How long does it typically take you to edit a portrait shoot?
A: "I like the editing process, but I won't spend hours and hours on it and this has evolved with time! Initially I couldn't get enough of the editing side of it, but now, if I find myself spending longer hours editing, I can feel myself getting antsy to go out and shoot! Also, my children are great time keepers and when it seems like I'm "on the computer" too long, they let me know and I'm glad they do. So, an average shoot (1-2 hours) with approximately 50 images, takes me about 4 hours to edit."
Q: Do you use studio equipment? If so, what would you say is the most crucial piece in your studio and why?
A: "I currently don't have a studio."
Q: What are you looking most forward to this year...Both professionally, and personally?
A: "Professionally, growing my business, staying true to me, and upgrading my equipment. Personally, it would be settling into my 40's gracefully, and embracing all FUN that comes my way, letting go a little bit and finding that balance between family, fun and work!"
Q: What keeps you going when you feel like slowing down?
A: "Inspiration and incentive to keep moving hard and strong can come at any moment, but when it doesn't, I typically give in to the "slow down". Usually there is a good reason to take a step back and breath. I try to be very aware of this. My Dad always said you "can't push a rope", so when I feel like I'm forcing something to happen it usually isn't meant to be!"
Q: What's the one thing about your work that you feel sets you apart from the big sea of photogs?
A: "As much as it's becoming cliche to say, I'd say ME!!! Many other photographers have the same camera or lenses I use, they use the same actions or editing style, they frequent the same locations, etc....so if I'm banking on that to "make me different", it's not going to happen. The one thing that no one else can copy is what I, individually, can bring to the proverbial table....my personality, my insights, my quirks, all the little things that make me tick!"
Q: Do you have an idea for a shoot, but have no clue how you are going to make it happen?
A: "I enjoy challenges and fresh perspectives, so I'm in constant search of new and fun ideas and bringing them to fruition. Sometimes my "vision" doesn't turn out the way I had hoped, and it's not always perfect, but often times, I prefer this more. Imperfection is perfection!"
Q: Is there anything more important than your photography? If so, what is it?
A: "Of course! My family....my kiddos and husband is where it's at and without them, NOTHING else matters! They are my everyday, day in and day out inspiration!"
Q: If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
A: "I'm kind of a hermit at heart and as lame as it sounds, I love where I live now! I love my town and the life that surrounds me. I'm living the "bloom where you are planted" mantra, BUT if I were to be "planted" in the Italian countryside, I would embrace that reality too!"
Q: Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A: "It's hard for me to visualize past next week, and I use to be very good at doing this, before I had children. Now, it's more about living in the moment and my children have taught me this! I want to be happy, I want my kiddos to be happy and I want to continue seeking contentment in the "everyday" of life...the routine, the mundane even. For me, this is where true happiness resides and I want to be right in the middle of it, now and in 10 years!"
Q: What are you most proud of? Both professionally and personally?
A: "Personally, I am most proud of our children and the people they are becoming. Professionally, I am proud of the determination I have in making this little dream of mine a reality."
Q: Describe in one paragraph what a perfect day for you would look like.
A: "Well, it would entail a slow and lazy start to a beautiful Fall (my favorite season) morning. Spending time with my family all day enjoying nature, some play time, a long walk and wrapping up the day with some good food, good wine, outside under the warm sunshine on a blanket listening to a concert given by the Gipsy Kings....of course, none of this would be planned and it would all happen spontaneously...my favorite way for things to unfold!"
Q: What turns you on the most creatively and what turns you off?
A: "ON: Authenticity OFF: Obligation"
Q: What's the one piece of advice that you feel a person just starting a photography business would benefit from?
A: "To not be fearful. Fear is paralyzing and stifling. It keeps you from asking questions, it keeps you from risking, and growing and it slows you down. I have let "fear" of many things keep me from moving forward, and looking back, it's just not worth it. Don't be afraid to begin, sometimes that first step forward is all you need to start the momentum of success and happiness!"