Thursday, July 14, 2011

Stacy Marie Photography

Name: Stacy Nish
Business Name: Stacy Marie Photography
Location:  Salt Lake City, UT

Meet Stacy...
 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.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Butterfly Kiss Photography - Lemon Love

This is my daughter Avery.  Avery loves lemonade, we probably go through a gallon a week at least.  Recently she had been talking about having a lemonade stand, and then I got this fabulous little dress from Matilda Jane (, I just knew I had to put together a lemonade stand themed session. Nothing says summer more to me than pictures like these.  I love how much fun she was having, even though I was taking her picture; she was calling out to all her "customers" to come get some lemonade, twirling around, and giggling.  Ahh, the giggles...I love what I do, that I can share a little magic with a child, and create this art to remember those moments.

-Tami Gookstetter
Butterfly Kiss Photography

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Hayley Johnson Photography

Name: Hayley Johnson       
Business Name: Hayley Johnson Photography
Location: Wagga Wagga NSW Australia

I just have to give a quick little intro to Hayley Johnson's interview. I just LOVE her work. I love the way she composes her shots, I love the way she processes her images...I love love love her! lol. Anyway, I am super-d-duper excited to share her inspiring point of view. She's got it together and we can all learn a thing or two from her! Enjoy! 

Hayley Johnson
Questions for you...You Fabulous Photographer, You! 
What gear is in your camera bag? 
Canon 5D Mk II, Canon 7D, 24-70mm 2.8, 50 mm 1.4, Lensbaby Muse + Macro Kit

What is your favorite lens to use and why? 
50mm 1.4. It’s just a fab lens, I love it’s perfect focus, clarity, softness and DOF
Give us one sentence to describe the style of your photography. 
 Inspired – It is inspired by everything real and natural around me every day!

What caused your interest in photography?  
 It’s a long story really, but I will try to keep it short.  I was just going through a lot of things in my personal life and feeling very lost and void of any inspiration in my every day life.  My older brother was in town for a visit and he handed me his camera and said “Take photos” and my passion was born in that very second!
What is your favorite thing to shoot and why?  
 I love to shoot fine art florals, it just brings me a sense of peace, and inspires the rest of my work.

How long did it take before you felt that you established a solid portfolio? 
I feel as though I am constantly building my portfolio, always wanting to grow more, do more, BE more.  So I suppose I may never feel like I have quite accomplished an established portfolio.  
 How long did it take you to discover your style of photography?   
At first, I thought I had to find something that fitted me just right. I looked at the work of others and I wondered if my work should be crisper, brighter, more modern, but nothing felt right.  It wasn’t until I realized that what comes from my heart IS my style that I was able to feel confident and just shoot for what comes naturally.  That said, as I have grown over the past two years, my style has developed and changed somewhat. 

What inspires you most?  
 Light.  Light would have to be my number one inspiration.  I remember the first time I realized this, I was cooking dinner and this warm glow came through the window.  I just turned the oven off and grabbed my camera and took a drive until I found something amazing to shoot in the stunning warm light.  I still feel that way every time I catch a glimpse of a warm hazy glow. 
 How long does it typically take you to edit a portrait shoot? Weddings?   
I edit each and every photo individually, so it usually takes 2-3 weeks to finish a session.  I can spend anywhere from 6-30 hours on the whole process from editing, blogging, sneak peeks etc. which is a long time, but it’s worth it to ensure every single photo is exactly as it should be!
Do you use studio equipment? If so, what would you say is the most crucial piece in your studio and why? 
I don’t actually, it’s just my bag and I!

What are you looking most forward to this year...Both professionally, and personally? 
My business is steadily growing which is a really wonderful feeling.  I have recently been listed as a “Wedding Chicks” preferred vendor, so I am hoping this will bring me the opportunity to travel to some amazing places for weddings.  I am busy {slowly} refurbishing vintage pieces of furniture for my new office space, so I am looking forward to having a beautiful office over the next few months.  Personally, I am hoping to find that perfect balance of business owner and Mum/partner which is a little more hectic than I ever imagined, and just enjoy more time with my little family and my gorgeous friends who support me and my crazy work hours!
 Do you ever get "bored" with your work? If so, what do you do to shake things up?   
Yes, sometimes I feel completely uninspired and somewhat bored.  I am still learning what it takes to really shake things up, but I have learned not to push myself or I will just burn out creatively.  I browse Pinterest for inspiration, it’s AMAZING the small things that can inspire an entire session and give me the motivation to get planning!

What's the one thing about your work that you feel sets you apart from the big sea of photogs?  
 I like to think my work is just really unique.  I don’t spend time checking out other photogs to see what they are doing, I just shoot the way I shoot and I think this is the real key.  I am always told that I see the world differently than others, and I think this is what makes my work different.
 Do you have an idea for a shoot, but have no clue how you are going to make it happen?   
ABSOLUTELY!  I have ideas all the time that just seem impossible to fulfil or I get a “vision” for a shot that just doesn’t quite come through for me, I often wonder how some photogs can produce something epic and profound with every single session!

How do you balance your personal life with your work life?  
 As I stated above, it can be a real challenge, I never thought it would be quite so difficult to keep the balance.  I have only recently started only corresponding to business related calls/emails in normal office hours, after finding myself replying to emails at 2am, answering calls during dinner etc.  I have recently moved my business from home into an office space which has helped define the line of work and home much more clearly – I am no longer working every time I get a chance to sit down, or hanging laundry every time I need a 5 minute break from work.  It also makes home feel like HOME again. 
If you could live anywhere, where would it be? 
Paris or London!  I have never been but both are just calling my name!

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?   
Travelling the world shooting amazing weddings in amazing places and hopefully still loving every minute of my work!  

What are you most proud of? Both professionally and personally?  
 Personally I am most proud of my gorgeous son who is almost 9 years old and the light of my life.  He fills my day with joy and love and lots and lots of laughter.  I am proud because I know as a mother I am raising a wonderful, kind, compassionate little guy who will do amazing things as he grows.  Professionally I am proud of so many things, but most of all it would have to be the fact that I have busted into this industry and not looked back.  There are times when being self taught made me feel incompetent or “less” of a photographer, but I quickly learned that those of us who are self taught can stand proud that we have achieved our success on our own, as opposed to feeling less worthy.  Through my work and passion for photography I have learned sooo much and gained true self worth, and I am incredibly proud of that!

Describe in one paragraph what a perfect day for you would look like.   
Oh, there are just soooo many ways a perfect day could go for me, but I will be totally boring and tell you that a day that begins with a giant sleep in, is spent with my family and ends with a beautiful session at sunset would have to just take the cake!

What turns you on the most creatively and what turns you off?    
What turns me on creatively?  BEAUTIFUL LIGHT, the beautiful work of others {not necessarily photos, I can get inspired by colour palettes or anything at all I see on Pinterest or Etsy!}, music – Music really plays a huge part in my moods and the way I work and see things.  I have to to play fun, upbeat or folky music before a session and while I am editing! What turns me off creatively? It HAS to be days and days of rain and bad light… It just leaves me feeling void of all creativity.
 As far as marketing 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?  
 First of all, being really ready is the main thing, marketing too early, ie. Before your work is all it can be, could be a massive mistake that is hard to recover from.  Once you’re ready, it’s important to know your target market, what type of shooting you want to do, and even how MUCH work you need/want and then you can put your marketing ideas together.  Making sure you market to the right audience means you will get the customers you want and need!  I don’t advertise at all, my business has grown through word of mouth and social networking alone which I am ever grateful for.  A Facebook business page/fan page is the single most beneficial form of marketing I have used thus far!  It’s important to update and post frequently to keep people interested – every time someone comments on a photo, they are potentially sharing your page with their own friends list, and so the list goes on…

What's the one piece of advice that you feel a person just starting a photography business would benefit from?
BE. A. BUSINESS. MANAGER!  That’s the best advice I can share – don’t just be a photographer, also be the best business manager you can be!  Learn all it takes to run your business, from client communications, filing, record keeping to taxes and marketing and business plans.  Being a great photographer is not enough if you can not run an efficient and viable business!  Work with someone who has experience running a business, do one on one mentoring specifically in the area of the photog business or do a short course at your local community college, it will be worth it to know all that hard work you put in as a photographer will benefit you as a business owner! 
 Hayley, Thank you so much for giving us so much GREAT, inspiring information...I agree with you 100% that being self-taught is really an extraordinary accomplishment! None of us self-taught photogs should ever feel that we are less than we are. If you have a great product, it will sell. Regardless of the degree that came with it! And I can attest first hand to learning how to run a BUSINESS and it's importance. It is SO important. If you don't know anyone that knows about managing a photog business, it will be worth it to you to hire a good accountant who has worked FOR PHOTOGRAPHERS. Save yourself the tax headaches and time that you could be putting into what you do! Thank you Hayley! We loved getting to know you!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Life, Liberty, & The Pursuit of Happiness

I wanted to share something that my husband wrote today that really touched my heart this 4th of July. Hope everyone had a great one! Here it is...

I see the temptation this year to look negatively upon the state of our nation. Unemployment, gas prices and the national deficit are high, while morale and confidence are low. Our brave troops fight abroad in 3 different conflicts. News headlines often include words such as “scandal,” “doubt,” or “frustration.” The tension is almost palpable, and people seem angry. 
But then I think about how easy it is for me to get in my car and drive as far as my wallet can take me. If I want, I can see deserts, mountains, oceans, forests, plains and rivers. 5 minutes away, I can get whatever groceries I want. Red, ...white or purple grapes; iceberg, romaine or arugula lettuce; I can get it all, right down the road, in less time than it would take to prepare a meal. I have water, hot or cold, whenever I need/want it. And come to think of it, I have only lived without electricity for a couple of hours in the last year.
And then it hits me…I am free, and I am blessed.

Of all the places I could have been born, why was it here? Why do I get to enjoy all that comes with being an American?

I guess that doesn’t really matter…

But what does matter, is that I do not take it for granted; that I do not squander a gift that those without would kill for, and millions throughout the history of mankind have died for.

What matters is gratitude.

What matters is humility.

I am not entitled to anything more than my unalienable rights, among which are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. All of the other advantages I enjoy can fade away as easily as the appreciation I know I must preserve.

I love this country. God bless us, America. We need it always. 
-John Perkins

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Studio 18 Photography & Art

I am seriously SO excited to share this feature session from Studio 18 Photography & Art. These images absolutely take my breath away! -Chels

I recently went to Knoxville, TN to work with a model/old friend, Chamblee Smith and we went absolutely crazy with ideas and inspiring concepts.
 The shoot we did was a collection of ideas I decided on doing a while back, but never got around to actually fulfilling. Our idea for this "one-in-many" shoot was dark, conceptual, and a bit neurotic with spots of brightness. It worked out well because she is a wonderful model who can really accentuate her facial expressions. I was extremely pleased in how these turned out. I hope you enjoy them. Thanks!
-Rachel <3