I am so excited about this post because I get to interview one of my favorite Photographer Bloggers! She inspires me, teaches me, and humbles me all at the same time and she probably has no idea! LOL. Upon following her blog, I started to notice how easily I related with her. I see a lot of myself, which makes me keep coming back to her blog (I need to work on commenting more often though :-(
I hope you enjoy this conversation/interview between the fabulous A. Zimmerman Photography and I. I definitely learned a lot. I tried to throw out as many questions as possible--extreme, personal, challenging, and comfortable alike. I wanted to cover as many areas in the photography and blogging world as possible. She is such a lovely lady. I hope you go check out her blog today to see what I mean! I highlighted my favorite parts of her responses. And here we go!
1. When did you start delving deep into photography?
I have always been into photography, noticing art all around me when I was in high school. But, my passion and interest became something more in the Spring of 2008 when I started my own photography business. I knew I had to do something with my life and what better way to make myself happy by doing something that I absolutely love. It didn't come easy, though. I had to educate myself by reading book after book, doing research, talking with other photogs, taking photography classes, and so much more over the years. I've been hooked ever since. By far, the best decision I ever made.
2. How do you balance photography, blogging, work, and your home life?
Not easily. It takes work. I try to communicate with my family as much as possible about where I stand and the time I have to be away from them and why. They usually understand because they know what I do makes my heart smile, but it can be very challenging for them at times, especially my older son. He needs the most attention, I think. Working my business is really no different than someone working a 9-5 job. I have to balance, juggle, and prioritize – my personal life and my professional life. I've been blessed to be able to stay at home with my kiddos and still do what I love. I am grateful for that. Blogging is something I do to escape from the real world. I don't leave the house much, so I turn to the blogging for adult conversations and just simply time away. I also digitally document my kids' every move, smile, laugh, milestone, and so on. I don't scrapbook (and my memory is horrible), so blogging helps me keep track of my every day life. If and when my children need my attention at home, I put everything aside and give it to them. My family always come first, dirty diapers and all.
3. What inspires you in your photography? What do you get ideas from?
What inspires me are other photographers. I have learned so much from them – their ideas, their creativity, their knowledge, and what inspires them. Looking at another photog's work makes me strive to be better. Sometimes I sit back and think, 'Why didn't I think of that?' or 'How creative!'. It is truly amazing how many photography styles there are among us.
4. Every photographer strives to make themselves stand out, be unique. Do you think you have achieved your own uniqueness? If yes, what makes your photography different/stand out?
I, personally, don't think that I stand out from the rest. Some may disagree with that first line and quite possibly feel the need to slap me in the back of my head. I am working on my own uniqueness little by little. Even after years of experience, I am still finding new parts of myself to explore and expand. Some think that my editing is unique, some think that my composition is unique, and so on. It's really about perception and what they like or what they find to be unique about a photo, which is most important to me. I'm not a good judge of my own work. I'm always up for doing anything, or at least trying something once. However, I try not to get too crazy with my work as it can consume me. By the way, I love this quote. It speaks volumes.
“There is only you and your camera. The limitations in your photography are in yourself, for what we see is what we are.” - Ernst Haas
5. What advice could you give others when it comes to photography?
Be patient, be kind, and listen carefully when speaking with clients. If it's more of a hobby, learn as much as you can and take your creativity to another level. Do your research, learn the lingo, and talk with as many people as possible. Practice, practice, play, practice, play, and practice some more. Read your manuals, then read them again. There is so much to learn! I have been asked recently if I would take someone with me on a photo shoot. She is still in high school and recently decided she wants to go to school for photography, to learn the ropes. I was all for it! If someone shows interest in what you do, take them with you, educate them, be a mentor! It was such an honor to be asked in the first place, let alone her company for the day.
6. Many photographers consider themselves “true” photographers IF they do not NEED to edit their images. Do you favor editing software? Do you try to keep it natural, or are you amongst the many who love to express themselves through being artistic in Photoshop and other image editing programs?
I think editing is a great way to make yourself stand out and make an every day photograph turn into something magical. Yes, I use editing software because I love to experiment with actions, textures, and presets. I also like to give my photographs personality and that artistic twist that a lot of people admire.
7. What is your favorite/most used editing program for images?
I use Lightroom and the Creative Suites for my editing. I have been favoring PS over LR for the last several months. I love it!
8. As a photographer blogger, do you feel any “competition” when it comes to your images and presenting them in linkups and other blog sources?
Oh my goodness, no. I think linking up with other bloggers is a fantastic way for us to share our work or show off our families as well as for us to meet new friends. Since I've been linking up, I have met so many terrific, talented people. You can really learn from one another. In this industry, you will continue to learn and grow – it's never-ending. I've never felt threatened in any way, but only amazed by what they produce as a final result. I secretly think, 'I want their equipment, their cooperative children, their eye.' Yes, other photographer's greatness and picture-perfect lives have that affect on me.
9. Have you ever dwelt with others taking your images without permission?
Thankfully, no. At least not that I am aware of. I try to watermark my images as much as possible, when I remember to do so. I'm so bad about that sometimes. But, I will admit, having made a watermark brush makes things so much easier and faster!
10. What is your favorite “thing” to shoot? Nature? People? Action? Etc.
I love people. They fascinate me. I am an Outdoor Natural-Light Photographer, so being outdoors surrounded by God's work is truly a blessing for me. I'm even convinced that there's something about the outdoors that brings people to life. I love how they light up, especially children when they have a big open space to run around in. The possibilities are endless. I have captured so many great shots from my clients being in their natural state – walking, jumping, kissing, hugging, hiding, etc. That's what makes my job so wonderful, and one of the many reasons why I get out of bed every day.
11. Is there anything else you would like to share with us concerning photography and/or the blogging world?
The sky is the limit. Be yourself. Always smile. Communicate. Don't ever be afraid to try something new or worry what others might think. Push yourself to be the best and think outside the box.
Follow, follow, follow. Again, you can learn so much from each other – single, married, kids, no kids, hobbyist, or pro photog. We're all the same and have one big thing in common – we blog! We're a unit, we have common ground and passion. Everyone is passionate about something. Leave comments. Everyone loves those sweet, encouraging comments! Life isn't a bed of roses and pockets full of sunshine (good grief, I sound like a Natasha Beddingfield song), so leaving a comment can really make someone's gloomy day much brighter. Think of it as paying it forward, blog style. Join challenges. I can't express this enough. It will make your wheels turn and help you explore your creative side. You'll be amazed at your results and so will everyone else.
12. How does your family feel about having their picture taken?
It's a hit and miss with my husband and kids. Some days they are excited and ready and other days they give me the side eye, and maybe growl at me a little. As far as my other family members go, I think they are pretty used to it by now. Anymore, they all leave their cameras at home and depend on me to take pictures for them. I don't know what would happen if I accidentally left my camera at home *gasp* during those occasions. I'm sure it wouldn't be pretty.
13. Why outdoor natural-light photography and not a photography studio?
When I chose to do the business this is one of the many things I had to ponder. The reason I chose natural-light over the studio in the end is because I am an outdoorsy kinda' gal. I love to camp, swim, hike, play sports, you name it. I've always had a thing for the wilderness and mother nature. This is who I am. So, a light bulb went off. This is where I am supposed to be. I love working with the lighting, the wind blowing through someone's hair, the sun, and the different backdrops that God has to offer. Let's face it, He has some of the best backdrops, right? And, like I mentioned before, kids have a huge playground and room to run free. Another reason is because I don't do very well in small, hot spaces, nor did I want people to feel rushed in a studio setting. I know that Landon was itching to leave, eat, or nap which made those times very frustrating as a parent. When you mix fun and happy kids (or adults) with a comfortable environment when taking photographs, you've got yourself a pretty awesome photo shoot.
14. Would you buy a great camera, a great lens or both?
This seems to be the biggest question of all amongst people in our industry and I can see why. Heck, it's confusing! You have so much to choose from. Yes, they do go hand in hand. However, you don't want to put nice rims on a pinto, right? Not a good mix. Any pintos in the house? We all need an upgrade every now and then. The market is booming and cameras, lenses, etc. are changing by the minute. I would choose glass over cameras any day. The quality of the glass is very important. So, if you're satisfied with the camera you have, stick with it and buy a great lens (or two). Remember, the better the glass, the more expensive they will be. If you're not satisfied with your camera and its performance, I suggest doing a lot of research on different types of cameras and find one that fits your photography lifestyle/needs. It's like shopping for shoes. We try to find that perfect pair of shoes that will stay with us until they finally kick the bucket. The kind that you can't live without. I have a pair like that sitting in my closet right now. Trust me, your pair of shoes are out there waiting for you to adopt them. Just in case I lost you as a woman who loves shoes (you know you're thinking about buying some now), yes, I am still talking about cameras.
15. How did you start blogging?
Simple. I have kids. I adore my little family. When I gave birth to Landon back in 2003 I wasn't aware of this little thing people called blogs. I tried to scrapbook, but that didn't work living away from home, having no support system while my husband worked all hours of the day. I was busy. Too busy to think about anything but raising my newborn. We came back home to be closer to family, still very busy. Several years later I found Blogger. I didn't know anything about blogging. You know how people spoof up their blogs with fonts, headers, backgrounds, and so on? Yeah, well, that wasn't me. I only knew the basics and just ran with it. One day, I started fishing around doing a little research and found out how it was done. I found cool sites with cool backgrounds and suddenly the angels started to sing. I did it! One thing led to another and I found myself sporting a pretty cute blog, and getting addicted very quickly. I continued to post about family events, mainly for out of town friends and family. This went on for awhile and then Liam was born. My posts became overwhelming for my fans, I'm sure. He was the highlight of my blog for a little while. I've changed my blog name and look many times, still do actually. I think I've been through six blog names already. It's fun. In fact, after this interview goes live, I'll probably change it again – to something a little more family related.
I want to thank everyone for taking the time out to get to know me better and possibly learning something new. Also, thank you to Shaunna at Captivus Living for choosing me for this interview, and thank you to Chelsea at Paper Heart Camera for helping all of us become something better than we are. You ladies are truly an inspiration.
Thank you, Andie, for letting me interview you/participating! And thanks readers for reading! Go check out Andie--her new blog look just might be up by now!!! ;-)
at Captivus Living