I am starting to interview people who I admire for my blog! I think most of the time I will stick with photographers, but in general these the kind of people you’d want to network with. Fun, positive, successful and a willingness to share knowledge with others. I am HUGE on the non-competition vibe and I stress it all the time, and Sharon of Sharon Elizabeth Photography is one of those people who immediately comes to mind when I think of kindness (and LOTS of Southern sass!) and an incredible role model for amateur and seasoned photographers alike. I asked her a few questions, about a BILLION years ago and am I JUST now getting them up! I feel so bad, I had to wait for the wedding season to slow down a little and I am so grateful for her patience. She’s amazing like that! 🙂
*all images of Sharon are courtesy of Justin & Mary (another huge inspiration!)
1. Oh hi, thank you for agreeing to be my first interview Sharon! I am so grateful you took the time to answer these for everyone.
I found you through the one and only Katelyn James, my wedding photographer! She’s one of my biggest inspirations. Who are a few of yours?
Aww, Katelyn was MY wedding photographer too! =)
Hmmm.. I have a few photographers I find inspirational and each for different reasons.
Justin and Mary are the front runners… They are honest, vulnerable and self-less… and outside of being incredible people, their work is auh-mazing. Their images are timeless, classic and they can rock a black and white better than anyone I know!
Mary Beth Tyson… if you’ve never heard of her.. Google her.. right MEOW. Her ability to shape light is beyond anything I’ve ever seen before…. But not only that…. every.single.image. she takes… is full of emotion. GAH!
My inspiration comes a little differently than it used to. I used to look at photographers and try my hardest to ‘be them’… but now…. I’ve found ‘myself’ in this industry and the photographers I find inspirational embody certain characteristics I too want to embody as an artist and as a person. I want my photographs to be packed full of emotion and I want to be honest and self-less as a business owner.
2. How long have you been at this? I know there are always different answers for this, between where you decided to start, bought your first DSLR, and when you felt like you really got the hang of it…give me any answer you want, ha!
I guess like most photographers, I started when I was young… I began with a Polaroid… and then film… and then those little point and shoot cameras. I would force my friends to pose for me… using lamps as my ‘studio lights’ (ew… tungsten lighting)… and I had no idea what I was doing…. I just knew I loved making people feel beautiful.
Professionally, I’ve been at this for almost 5 years now. I can’t believe it… It all started with a girl who liked the pictures I took of my cats… I guess… I have no idea why she asked me to do photos of her and her boyfriend…. I was AWFUL. But… low-and-behold… more people wanted the awful cat photographer to take their pictures…. And Sharon Elizabeth was born.
3. I feel so guilty not being able to in detail answer everyone’s questions from people who are just getting started. So let me get some help from YOU What’s something people ask you often about the wonderful and amazing world of photography? Maybe the question you get the most? And what do you tell them?
oOhhh.. Good one! Hmm. I would say most people ask me these two questions most…
What kind of camera should I get?!?!? Save your money for GOOD lenses… even if that means you have to buy a camera body you don’t necessarily want right now. I let them know that most of the kit lenses that come with cameras these days, aren’t the best – in fact they’ll frustrate you more than anything. The aperture changes when zooming in and out! I tell them to pay attention to the numbers on the lenses… Lenses with hyphens on them – are no-no’s… Stay farrrr farrr away! And of course, I tell them these things because I did everything backwards… I wanted the nice camera… to ‘be a professional’… So all of my lenses were terrible…. And my work suffered because of it…. As did my bank account…. I had to re-sell everything I just purchased for less than the purchase price… Bleh.
The other question I get asked a lot is…. How much should I charge for a session?!?!?! Whew child! This is a toughy… What stage are you at in your business?!?!?! Just getting started?!?!? If they’re just getting started I warn them not to jump the gun…. Learn the camera inside and out… learn how to shoot on manual…. Get insurance… Get a business license…. And then figure up your business costs/gear costs/value.. etc. And tally up some rates… BUT offer your ‘clients’ a portfolio building discount… Hand them your rates and say ‘I’m just getting started, I still have a ton to learn… and because I’m building my portfolio, I’d like to offer you a special rate.”. You’re letting your clients know what you’re WORTH, but going about things this was ensures that you’re being 100% honest with your clients…. And being honest with YOURSELF. They’ll have your rates so that when you ARE ready to charge what you’re worth… you won’t lose them as clients…
And again… I’m speaking from experience… I didn’t go about things the right way. After 5 years, I’m still known as a cheap photographer. It’s hard to bounce back from starting off on the wrong foot.
Gosh.. I talk a lot.
4. What are some of your favorite time savers you want other people to know about to make the business, shooting or editing process easier? They can be something you came up with on your own, or just something you’ve been taught along the way.
LIGHTROOM… GET IT.. Use it… Change your life! Ha.. totally not being dramatic either! I can have an entire wedding done within a few hours if I sit down and don’t take breaks…. 1500 photos. DONE!
Get organized…. Your business will NOT be successful if you’re not organized. Calendars/Email/Desktop/Hard Drives… all of it needs to be organized.
If you’re a portrait photographer…. Stand in front of the mirror and practice different poses… There’s no point in telling a client to pose a certain way, if you don’t feel comfortable doing it yourself… and while we’re on the subject – SHOW your clients what you want them to do.. Don’t just say turn your head, look that way, put your arm here and bend your knee… WHAT!?!?!?
5. Why are you so sweet and lovable!? I knew you’d have a great personality based on your blogging and Facebook but when I saw some of your candid pictures and how hilarious you are..I knew I had to reach out. Thank you for taking the time to answer these. Let’s hope I get them posted before the year 2016!
You are too stinkin’ sweet!!!! And Hahaha.. Those pictures… I’ve got nothing!!!! =) Thanks so much for having me.. you made my day! <3