Name: Stacy Nish
Business Name: Stacy Marie Photography
Location: Salt Lake City, UT
What gear is in your camera bag?
An SB 600 and an SB800 speedlight, some wireless controllers and OCF receivers, a softbox, an umbrella, couple of light stands, my 50mm, a 16-85mm and my lensbaby, oh and let’s not forget LOTS of batteries.
What is your favorite lens to use and why?
Well I’m in the process of upgrading my 16-85 to a 70-200 so I’d have to say that it’s a toss up between my 50mm and my Lensbaby. I LOVE the light my 50mm lets in plus the creaminess I get from it, and my Lensbaby is just plain fun!
Give us one sentence to describe the style of your photography.
I am drawn to creating dramatic photos that really make a statement.
What caused your interest in photography?
I modeled for 7 years and was always intrigued by the photography techniques and styles used and the art that unfolded. I enjoyed modeling but was always itching to get behind the camera.
What is your favorite thing to shoot and why?
Fashion! I LOVE creating high fashion images that are unique, edgy and fun. I think I enjoy reliving my modeling years vicariously through those that I photograph.
How long did it take before you felt that you established a solid portfolio?
My portfolio is constantly evolving, I think after about 2 solid years and finding myself through my work and building my clientele I had a portfolio I was happy with. But even now I find that I like every shoot even better than the last. It’s always a work in progress.
How long did it take you to master your skill and discover your style of photography? I think I discovered my style the first time I did an official fashion shoot, which was about 4 years ago, but even today the more I learn the more I redefine my style and fine tune my skill. I think a good photographer is one that is constantly growing, improving and changing, if you get stuck shooting the same thing the same way all the time, you lose your creativity and who you are as an artist.
What inspires you most?
My surroundings. I am always looking around, trying to find new places to shoot and each place I find has a certain style and feeling to it. When I find a truly awesome location, the inspiration starts pouring in and I get really excited to shoot there. Visions of how I want to photograph it start to unfold in my head and I could take pictures there for hours.
How long does it typically take you to edit a portrait shoot? Weddings?
My turn around time for portraits is about 2-4 weeks depending on my workload and the season. Weddings take longer (about 6-8 weeks) because I take significantly more photos during a wedding and the edits are a little more extensive.
Do you use studio equipment? If so, what would you say is the most crucial piece in your studio and why?
Yes, my softbox! I love the amount, and type of light it gives me. I have huge windows in my studio that give me beautiful natural light, but I still love my softbox because it gives me more control over my light which allows me to get those dramatic photos I love oh-so-much!
What are you looking most forward to this year...Both professionally, and personally?
I have started teaching photography workshops, which I really enjoy doing, and am looking forward to continuing to share my knowledge with others and help people improve their skill. More importantly however, I am going to be a mom!! My husband and I are expecting our first child (a boy) in late August and we are so excited!
What keeps you going when you feel like slowing down?
When I start to feel burnt out, I take time for a “me” shoot. This is where I usually grab my gorgeous sister, or a close friend, and just go do a fun shoot. No pressure, no demands, just have fun shooting what I want to shoot. It makes me fall back in love with photography and keeps my creativity and inspiration flowing.
What's the one thing about your work that you feel sets you apart from the big sea of photogs?
I try to make every one of my sessions different. The last thing anyone wants is to have photos that look like everyone else’s. I try to pull out the uniqueness of my clients and take photos that really showcase who they are as individuals.
Do you have an idea for a shoot, but have no clue how you are going to make it happen?
Yes, it’s actually in the works as we speak. I want to start offering sessions that allow women to get all dolled up and be the person they’ve always wanted but may be too afraid to be. We all have a character deep inside us that we’d love to play, even if just for a moment, and I want to create photo sessions that pull out that alter ego, make you feel beautiful, sexy and unstoppable. I just need an amazing makeup artist, a killer hair stylist and some bold women willing to take the plunge!
Is there anything more important than your photography? If so, what is it?
My family. My husband is the single most supportive and important person in the world to me and I would take him over photography any day. Luckily, he loves that I do what I love and supports me every step of the way.
If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
Italy. My husband and I went there two years ago and that place is just flooded with inspiration and beauty! Everywhere you look you find the most ideal photography locations, it’s so full of life, color, diversity and character. From the rolling hills of Tuscany, the cobblestone streets of Florence, the statuesque buildings of Rome and the vast colors or Venice, it is a photographer’s complete paradise!
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Ideally, living somewhere with longer summers, indulging in my photography, with 2-3 beautiful kids and my loving husband by my side.
What are you most proud of? Both professionally and personally?
Professionally I’m most proud of the fact that I’ve built a successful business from practically nothing. I hardly knew what I was doing when I started out and in only a year’s time I was shooting weddings in Mexico, being published in magazines and going from taking pictures as a part time hobby to a full time career. Personally I’m most proud of my “anything is possible, don’t take no for an answer” mindset that has allowed me to be who and where I am today.
Describe in one paragraph what a perfect day for you would look like.
Sleeping in with my husband, a big breakfast on a sunlit patio, taking a long drive in our 1967 Chevelle to a breathtakingly scenic location where I can shoot photos all day and enjoy losing track of time and relaxing with my husband.What turns you on the most creatively and what turns you off?
Amazing lighting really turns me on creatively. I became an almost exclusive off camera flash photographer just over a year ago and when I see some awesome lighting, I just go crazy. One thing that turns me off is shooting at the same place too often. I get burnt out and run out of ideas. I always try to suggest new places but sometimes I have clients that insist on a certain location and I just can’t help but feel “blah” about it if I’ve shot there too much.
What's the one piece of advice that you feel a person just starting a photography business would benefit from?
Understand your camera before you hit the ground running! Too many people think a good camera means they’ll automatically take nice photos, but like anything, if you don’t understand your tools, you won’t get the full and proper use out of them. Your camera can be your best friend or your worst enemy if you don’t take the time to familiarize yourself with it.