Questions for you...You Fabulous Photographer, You!
Name: Maria Alexandra Brown
Business Name: Maria Alexandra Photography
Location: Medford Oregon
Maria Alexandra Brown
What gear is in your camera bag?
The canon 5d Mark ll a 70-200mm f/ 2.8 , a 24 -105mm f/4 wide angle and a 50mm f/1.8 that is in the process of being replaced with the 50mm f/1.4 a 580 Ex II speed light a flash, diffuser, reflectors, memory cards, and a rubber band to tie my hair up while chasing little ones.
What is your favorite lens to use and why?
I love the 70-200 telephoto the quality that glass gives is truly divine, however if i don't do my push ups it can get really heavy. I also don't have enough room to use it at times. I love the 50mm f/1.8 for all the times i decide to set my 70-200 down. I love getting up close and shooting wide open for that beautiful background blur. ... Oh I can't pick a fave. Ok when i get my 50mm f/1.4 it will be hard to put that one down.
Give us one sentence to describe the style of your photography.
Soft and classic or bold and elegant sometimes mixed with a little bit of vintage influenced and inspired by the subject, mood, emotion, and the story I see before me through my lens.
What caused your interest in photography?
I have always found beauty in all things. The ability to be able to capture that and preserve it is what I fell in love with. (truth - I bought my husband a Canon Xsi and once out of the box decided to keep it for my own ;o)
What is your favorite thing to shoot and why?
Portraits are my favorite however it changes all the time because I truly love it all.
How long did it take before you felt that you established a solid portfolio?
About a year, however I feel I will always be working towards it. There is always room to expand, develop and discover.
How long did it take you to discover your style of photography?
I have been really honest with myself from the very beginning. Even though I admired, respected and have been inspired by other photographer's work, I have always done my own thing. I can truly say as soon as I learned the technicalities of the camera, equipment, editing, etc I was able to express myself as I see things and develop my own style.
What inspires you most?
Love, happiness, innocence, emotion. I find all this and more in my beautiful little girls. I am so grateful to have them in my life.
How long does it typically take you to edit a portrait shoot? Weddings?
My turn around time varies depending on the workload I have. Mostly I would say two weeks for portraits up to 6 weeks for weddings.
Do you use studio equipment? If so, what would you say is the most crucial piece in your studio and why?
I do not have a studio, however I do turn the entire downstairs of my house into one when I need to. The most crucial piece of equipment I use for indoor shoots would be my lighting, and a heater to keep little naked newborns happy.
What are you looking most forward to this year...Both professionally, and personally?
Well my family and I have been planning a move for some time now to the Seattle WA. area. We are very excited to be with family and are in love with the city. I am excited to expand professionally there as well.
Do you ever get "bored" with your work? If so, what do you do to shake things up?
I think everyone feels like they need a break from time to time. Its less a matter of getting 'bored' and more a matter of feeling inspired. I do make sure I walk away when I am not feeling it. I go for a short walk, water my plants, hang out with the kids, sometimes if that is what it takes I call it a day and get back to work the next. If my mind is not with it I feel like it will show in my work.
What's the one thing about your work that you feel sets you apart from the big sea of photogs?
Oh that is a hard one. I don't really stop to think about it because I try not to compare myself to other photographers. In my eyes we are all so different. There are so many amazingly talented photographers and each of them stand out for something original they posses. Even photographers that have the same type of style or use the same era as inspirations. I actually wrote something a little while back that I would like to share. "I am not trying to be the best .... I am just living each day loving what I do, who I am with, and who I am. The rest all comes on its own" I truly believe that those who are true to themselves and act on their own inspirations and visions are already set apart from everyone else.
Do you have an idea for a shoot, but have no clue how you are going to make it happen?
That happens all the time. There are nights I can't fall asleep because of all the ideas that I have. I defiantly need a 'Off' night button I can push. I write down ideas as they come and there always seems to be a client that is just perfect for each of them. There are some I have that are going to have to wait for sometime in the near future ...
How do you balance your personal life with your work life?
This is one area that has been very difficult for me. I am a all or nothing type of person so i can get pretty absorbed in my work, and then my house ends up looking like a stampede of monkeys came running through. I think having a schedule makes all the difference in the world. It allows quality time for everyone and everything. But believe me, its still a work in progress.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I would live 6 months in Seattle and 6 months in Lima Peru, where I am from. That place is truly magical. Ha that sounds funny 6 months of rain 6 months of sun ;)
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I plan to be one of the judges of America's Next top Model as a "noted fashion photographer extraordinaire" .... ;) I see myself still doing what i am doing now only on a bigger scale. I would love to be an international photographer doing shoots abroad.
What are you most proud of? Both professionally and personally?
Professionally I am very proud of all the hard work that has brought me to where I am today. The honesty and fulfillment I get from my photographs and bring to my clients is truly rewarding. Personally? My children are my biggest source of pride and accomplishment. Watching them grow, learn and dream brings me my greatest joy.
Describe in one paragraph what a perfect day for you would look like.
A delicious breakfast made even better when prepared for me by my husband. A long hot shower, a set of comfy but fabulously stylish clothes, hopping in my recently cleaned car ( I have two children my car is a wreck - you asked about my fantasy day so let a girl dream) and driving around on a beautiful day in the country shooting the things I always only get to talk about and never get to do.
What turns you on the most creatively and what turns you off?
I love realness. I love to catch a moment that is beautiful and be able to keep it forever. A moment with emotion whether it is happiness, excitement, wonder, or even sadness. It is something so powerful you feel when you see it. What turns me off is 'Cheese' !!!!
As far as marketing for your business goes, what would you say are the most important and beneficial things to do when you want to get your name out there?
Word of mouth is great. A website/ blog that you are involved in on a regular basis where you Interact with your clients and other photographers. There is a lot of appreciation for the creativeness, beauty and originality in the arts. The more you share your work, the more people start to know who you are as a photographer. Doing contest or promotions is also a great thing to do. It is always important to give back.
What's the one piece of advice that you feel a person just starting a photography business would benefit from?
After you invest in good equipment, have a solid portfolio and discover who you really are as a photographer, take all the time that you need to do things right. Many talented photographers fail because they do not prepare themselves for the tasks ahead. All talent aside. The photographer must have a business side and most of us find it exhausting to have to deal with. Do all the leg work: logos, business cards, website/blog, pricing, contracts, presentation, products, etc. It seems like a lot to do, and it is, but it is much better to be prepared than trying to figure it all out as you go.