Hey Hey, So this academic year I've had the privilege of mentoring a HS senior for her senior project. She conducted an interview with me and these are the questions and answers. I thought I'd share them here as a blog post incase anyone else is interested in knowing a little more about me 😊😊😊😊
1. What got you into photography?
I’ve always loved all things art. Even when I was a child I was obsessed with cameras and taking pictures. I loved having professional photos taken. Scrapbooking and documenting life was totally my jam. I loved to pose my younger cousins or sibling and take photos of them during holidays and family events. I always had a camera with me and went through several growing up. In school, I was part of the yearbook committee and I took every art class available. I went to college to an art teacher because I love helping people and I love art--- I still do! but I always had this DREAM of being a professional photographer. A few years later, I met a photographer whom I hired to photograph my wedding.I loved her work so much and we became good friends. After I had my first son, I knew something needed to change in order for me to be happy while working. I had stopped going to school, I was making great money but working a job I hated and having to be away from someone I never wanted to leave. I confided in that photography and she totally believed in me, supported me and inspired me to go for it. She mentored me for over a year and was an amazing teacher. I knew it wasn't going to be easy but I had to try to do what I love. So I started my own business in late 2009.
2. What gear do you use inside and outside (the majority of the time)
I shoot primarily with a Nikon D700. I love using my 70-200 2.8 for portraits and weddings. I frequently use my 50mm 1.8, 24-70mm 2.8. I also have a 105mm 2.8 Macro lens for details. Depending on the lighting situation I use SRL tiny trigger and off camera flash system to light weddings and events. In the studio, I have two large continuous lights; Westcott TD5 and TD7 spider lights and I love them because they compliment the look and feel of the available natural light so well.
3. How do you educate yourself to take better photos the next time you shoot that style?
I strongly believe that education with execution is power! Every year I attend conferences and learn with and from my photography peers. I also do tons of online workshops or webinars. I consume books and audiobooks on business and personal development. I never want to stop learning and growing. I learn from every session and every client and I am always evolving and adapting.
4. Whose work inspired you the most? Why? (Or) how did you develop your style of photography?
There are so many amazing photographers and artists out there. I really try hard not to follow other photographers unless they are friends or acquaintances I want to support. I don’t want to be heavily influenced by what other people are doing. I want to make art and photos for my clients and also for myself. It’s easy to get distracted by what we see on social media but for me to stay focused I have to turn it off. I want to make photos from my heart and intuition. I really want to capture feelings and personalities not just pretty outfits and faces. I am able to do this by connecting with my subjects and building relationships. I care about everyone that I photograph. If I had to define my style, I would say it’s a mix between classic, lifestyle and documentary.
5. What piece and/or style is your favorite?
I love photographing weddings. The excitement, anticipation, anxiousness, overwhelming love, all of if. I love weddings because I’m extremely intuitive, and empathetic so I feel all of the emotions so deeply and it helps me to capture them authentically. I don't have a single favorite image. I have lots of favorites but they change as I grow.
6. What is one thing you wish you knew about photography when you started?
I wish I would have doubted myself less and I wish I would have stopped comparing my images and success to other people on social media. It’s not about the number of followers or likes. Success to me is about doing what I love with peopled I love. Yes, it’s important to have a solid steady income but as a new business you have to be patient. Focusing on what other people were doing and feeling bad about my own work did not help me grow. When I finally turned that off and stopped following people- I could create from a place in my heart and my business really grew.
7. How do you handle criticism from your work?
I don’t really care if other artist like my work or not.. That’s their problem not mine. it’s not about them. If a client has something they are critical about it’s not my work usually it’s something that they view as a flaw and I’m more than happy to work with them on that. I really don’t have room in my life for negativity or criticism.. Only love and encouragement.
8. Why did you choose a Nikon? Did you try canon (or any other brand)
My mentor was a Nikon shooter so it was good for me to use the same brand so that I could try her lenses when I was working with her. Once you invest thousands of dollars in your gear it’s kind of hard to switch. I love my Nikon gear though. I have tried some of my friend’s Cannon cameras and lenses and they seem great too.
9. What motivates your to keep taking pictures?
I’m so passionate about connecting with people and I get to explore that passion with photography. I grew up in a pretty dysfunctional family and in someways photography heals me. I photograph the happiest moments in peoples lives and that joy and love is contagious— It sets my heart on fire. I’m so incredibly blessed to be able to do this and build relationships with my subjects.
10. What is your favorite thing about photography (or) what do you find rewarding with your photography?
Again the people. Photography has taken me places (travel) and has given me so many friendships. My heart is so full of gratitude for the life that I have because of my photography. It’s so much more than pretty pictures. It’s a legacy I am creating for families and for myself. My images will be treasured beyond my lifetime and to me that’s pretty amazing.
Thanks for stopping by! See more of my work at www.TaraThackeray.com Vancouver WA and Portland OR Wedding Photographer.