Ali has gone all out with her interview. Packing it full of information that is sure to help you in some way or another. Enjoy!
Tell us a little about yourself?
Hi, my name is Ali Garey; I have lived in Lexington KY my entire life. My family and I love the Kentucky Wildcats and I always wanted to go to UK. I graduated from the University of Kentucky in December 2010, with a Bachelors Degree in Photography & Digital Media with a Minor in Art History. I have two older brothers, one is 12 years older and the other 9 years, and I was a surprise to my parents. At the age of twelve I fell in love with the 50’s and James Dean, when I saw Rebel Without a Cause. When I discovered Pin Ups, I knew I wanted to be one and recreate as many as possible. If I could choose an era to live in, it would be the 50’s. In fact, I’m pretty sure I was suppose to be a Pin Up and married to James Dean.
What made you get into photography?
I have always been an artist. When all my friends were playing with dolls, I wanted colored pencils, crayons, beads, glue and lots and lots of paper. I would sit at my drawing desk for hours. I could color within the lines at a very young age. I’d rather draw and color than do anything else. I always took art classes but as I got older I became the photographer in the family. My Mom and Grandmother cannot take a picture to save their lives. When we would get the prints back everyone’s heads would be chopped off. So, even at a young age, I began taking our family pictures. For my 18th Birthday I got a Nikon Coolpix point and shoot camera. With that camera, I grew to really love taking pictures and became the photographer for my group of friends. When I started college, I was an Elementary Education major all the way up to the end of my third year but I was never happy with it. The summer before going into my fourth year, I really started soul searching. I needed a new major and one that I dearly loved and something I would be happy doing career wise. My Mom told me, ”You are an artist; you love taking pictures, making cards and decorating, try out an Art Studio major with an emphasis in Photography.” I switched majors and signed up for Photo 1. Prior to Photo 1, I didn’t know anything about Manual settings, ISO, exposure, etc. UK’s Photography Degree starts you out with film and darkroom for Photo 1 & 2 and I fell in love. I found that when I looked through the lens, I saw the image before I ever snapped the picture. I am happiest behind the lens and my life is now consumed by photography.
How did you get started?
During my last semester at the University of Kentucky I made a Facebook Page as Ali Ann Photography. I decided to use my first and middle name as my business name because later on down the road if I get married I would no longer be Ali Garey. Plus I felt like Ali Ann flowed better and was unique. The summer before my last semester, I got a job at a local portrait studio here in Lexington, KY, which taught me posing. After graduating, I began an internship with Andrew Kung Photography, a local fashion and editorial photographer in the Kentucky, Indiana, Ohio, and Tennessee area. I assisted him on several Fashion shoots as well as shooting the Kentucky Oaks & Derby. Andrew is a photographer for Sophisticated Living Magazine and I did some event photography for the magazine as well. In January of 2011, I got a temporary position at our local newspaper, The Lexington Herald Leader. The paper has several staff photographers that I am getting to know and everyone there now knows I am a photographer, which allows me to get freelance work that the staff photographer do not do. Within the first few weeks of working there I received the freelance job of doing the NCAA Final Four Cheer Card, which was all over the newspaper the entire weekend of the Final Four. Since graduating I have been working 4 jobs, 3 of which have been photography oriented. I shoot friends and families, they pass on my name, and I put previews up on Facebook so all of their friends will see my work.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Right now I’m mainly shooting people; portraits, pin ups, local fashion, events, and weddings.
What gear are you using?
Canon 5D Mark II
Canon 50MM 1.4
Canon Speedlite 430EX II
What’s your favorite lens and why?
I mainly use my 50mm 1.4 because it so versatile. I loved using it in school because it’s great for fine art. I have used 24-70mm and 70-200mm while interning with Andrew Kung. I would love to own both of these some day. Having the opportunity to use the 70-200mm at the Kentucky Derby made me realize the lens is a major beast!
How are you marketing yourself?
Facebook, Website, Flickr, 500PX, Model Mayhem, Business Cards, Word of Mouth. I have my business cards at local businesses around town that allow you to leave them.
What’s your favorite photo you have taken?
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
Go to photography school. I learned so much in Photo 1. I think stepping into Photo 1 with no prior knowledge of photography besides knowing how to point and shoot, helped me get a real grasp on everything. Being surrounded by fellow classmates and professors with a love for photography was amazing and their encouragement was a factor in helping me to grow and pursue photography. Being critiqued on what worked, what didn’t, and how to make it better is major in growing as an artist and photographer. No matter what field you want to get into, get an internship. You have no idea how much you learn through interning, plus the people you’ll meet along the way. Take any photography job you can get, the more you shoot the better you’ll become. Most importantly, go to school, and possess a true passion for your art.