I must attract these 50mm shooters 🙂 Anyway Savannah give a lot of good advice in this interview plus she has some very interesting work for you to check out when your finished.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am 22, and live in the state of Maine. I have lived here for most of my life, but originally I am from Florida. Aside from my passion for photography, I am an avid animal lover. I love to spend time outdoors, connecting with nature, and I play a lot of video games. I have five cats and two ferrets, one cat and two ferrets live with my boyfriend and me, the other four cats live with my mother and sister. I can easily say that I will be the crazy cat lady when I am older.
What made you get into photography?
I have always been a creative soul in some form. As a child I wanted to be an “artist”, I drew and painted all the time. As I grew older I wanted to be a Fashion Designer. I really am not sure of the exact moment that it clicked for me, but I have always been surrounded by photography in some way. As a kid my mom and dad were always taking pictures, my dad especially; I believe that I get my love for candid moments from him. He always had a Polaroid camera in his hands, snapping at times when everyone least expected it, those were his favorite. Being able to capture a moment in time, to preserve a memory in such a beautiful way, I suppose that is what really intrigued me about photography.
How did you get started?
I always used disposables/Polaroids up until the age of 16 or 17, when I purchased my first digital camera.. This was probably the time period that I truly realized my passion for photography. I used my first digital camera, which was a very cheap Kodak, for a few years, and simply worked with what was available to me. At this time I discovered Photoshop and taught myself everything that I wanted to learn. I went through various other point and shoot cameras, and finally saved up to buy a DSLR in 2009. My first DSLR was a Nikon D80, which I was completely in love with. I think that using a cheap point and shoot for so long really helped to give me an edge, due to the fact that I had to work so hard to create the outcome that I wanted.
What sort of photography do you mainly do?
Portraits. I have always been fascinated with people, the way they interact, their mannerisms, everything. I don’t have a preference on a specific type of portraiture, such as “beauty” or “glamour”, I just enjoy capturing the essence of people in general. Whether I shoot fashion, conceptual, senior portraits, whatever the “theme”, I always strive to bring out the subject’s natural beauty, and who they truly are in some form. As creepy as it may sound, I wish that I could remain unseen and photograph people in that fashion, in their most natural state, because far too often people become different the moment that they recognize the camera.
What gear are you using?
A Nikon D90 and 50mm f/1.8 lens. I have other lenses, but the 50mm almost never leaves my camera. Other than that I use natural light.
What’s your favorite lens and why?
The 50mm f/1.8. Honestly, the first couple of months that I had this lens I barely used it. I didn’t like it. But then I gave it another chance, and now I am never without it. I love the 50mm f/1.8 because of the shallow DOF, speed, and it’s a great lens for the price. It is wonderful in low light, and with the fixed range it forces you to move around, rather than zooming in and out. I plan on upgrading to the 50mm f/1.4, but right now I have my eye on the 30mm f/1.4.
How are you marketing yourself?
This is something that I am actively working on, and likely always will be. I feel very fortunate to live in the time that I do, for I have access to the entire world right at my finger tips. The internet is my main source of marketing, sites such as Flickr, Facebook, DeviantArt, etc. But word of mouth and local advertisement is important as well, which I am also delving in to.
What’s your favorite photo you have taken?
This is the hardest question in the world for me. I have taken thousands upon thousands of photographs, some of my favorites are the ones that were completely unplanned.
I have favorites from different periods of my life, but for the sake of this interview I will choose just one.
This photograph is already almost a year old, but remains to be a favorite of mine. It felt like a point of growth for my art and me, I was trying new things and pushing myself to get the outcome that I wanted. Capturing this shot as a self portrait was physically tiring, and setting up my camera in the proper position required some serious MacGyver skills. But I would say it was worth it.
Advice for new photographers looking to go pro?
I myself am not yet at the “pro” stage, but am actively working toward that. To me, a pro photographer is someone who has the experience, knowledge, passion and has made photography their career/main source of income. I feel that anyone looking to do so needs to first ask themselves if this is truly the path that they want. If so, then they need to be capable of dedicating all of their energies toward their passion. The common misconception is that being a photographer is easy, that you can drop thousands of dollars on the top gear, get a pretty girl to model for you, and you’ve made it. Sure, a lot of people can and do (sadly) make money going this route, but the real motive behind the work shows through the end result. You can almost always spot the person who is doing it for the models, the money, etc., but when there is true love and passion put in to the work, it shines. To me, that is the most important part of becoming “pro” at anything, not just photography. If you have the drive and true love for what you do, remain persistent and grow from your failures, you will succeed.