(Hey there! I'm jump-starting a new feature on the blog where I interview other admirable photographers. It's darn right helpful to get advice from other photographers and I'll need all the help I can get if I plan to reboot my business once we move next month. Today we have Violet of Blythe Ponytail Parades. Recently, she has been a very influential photographer for me. I love her work!)
1. Introduce yourself:
Hello, my name is Violet Short and I am a full time photographer and blogger in the Indianapolis area.
2. Did/do you study photography or have you had any special training prior to starting your business? How has this helped you?
I actually went to college for Graphic Design and studied fine arts all through my life, but I didn't study photography per se. I did take classes about 4 years ago to really learn how to take full advantage of my camera. But other than that, I was self taught and helped by my friends. I think photography is one of those things that doesn't necessarily require a degree, but requires countless hours of dedication and trial and error to get it right. Of course having a degree is very helpful, but that can only get you so far. The real hard part isn't learning how to shoot, but mastering your on hand shooting.
3. Why and when did you start photography?
I started photography shortly after my own wedding and seeing how beautiful my photographs were. I couldn't get over how much I loved them and at that point, I already loved photography and really wanted to delve in more. But my wedding is what gave me that extra push. Funny thing is I said I wasn't going to shoot weddings back then...oh well ;)
4. What type of sessions are you most confident photographing? What sessions are you still uncomfortable photographing?
I'd say I'm most comfortable with seniors or portrait sessions just because it's a lot less to think about. Posing one person, examining the light on one person, etc. is just a lot less complicated than multiple people. BUT, I do LOVE photographing couples. I would say I am very uncomfortable photographing young children or babies just because it's not something I do frequently and I have a harder time maintaining control of the situation when I am working with children. It's much more stressful and my hats go off to so many newborn/children photographers I know. You guys are amazing!
5. Tools of your trade:
I shoot predominately with my Nikon D800. I LOVE it and the lens that stays on my camera body 99% of the time is my 35mm 1.4. LOVE that lens. One of my best purchases ever! I also love my 85mm 1.8. Photoshop is my go to software for editing.
6. What have proven to be the best methods to advertise your business?
Honestly, not much. I haven't spent a TON of money on advertising, but newspapers, magazines, etc are just not working out for me these days. Social media is the reigning king amongst advertising right now. So I'd probably have to say advertising through Facebook, my blog, & Instagram are my best bet.
7. What important tips do you have for other photographers who are thinking of starting a business?
Don't start with one photographer in mind to mimic. Start fresh and get your own style. Trust me, a photographer that looks like all the rest will just blend in with the crowd. Stand out and try something new! I'd also say, don't get too caught up in buying the very best camera body. Invest in lenses first. And lastly, shoot often and shoot in different lighting. Honestly, the best way to get results you want is to practice, practice, practice. So grab any willing model and start shooting. Everyone has to start somewhere!
8. Talk about a time that you had to deal with a difficult photo client. How did you resolve the conflict?
I'm honestly pretty blessed with some great clients, but one issue that I run into from time to time is someone who will constantly try to get more and more out of you and overstep their boundaries. Be firm with people. Tell them what to expect before you do a session/wedding. Make sure you are sending contracts out to any potential brides so that there is no misunderstanding later on what they will be getting. Stand your ground and stick to your word.
9. Show us one of your photos that you're really proud of:
Gosh, people have asked me that before and I am not sure I am proud of any of them but I do have some favorites. I really want to keep learning and never allow myself to be completely satisfied or content with where I am because I want to keep growing. With that being said, this shot is a definite favorite. It was taken at a wedding I shot in Japan back in 2012. The funny thing about is that there were so many problems with this image to start with. There was a couple of people standing in the background, there was a cord someone dragged across her dress at the last second, someone was standing outside the window, etc. And about 2 hours of photoshopping later, it was all cleaned up. Anything for the shot right?
10. Who are your favorite photographers right now?
My mom (Jean Loper Photography) is my partner in weddings and she is always amazing. You can find her on facebook here. If I was getting married , you better believe Shannon Miller would be my wedding photographer. I never cease to be amazed by her work!
See more of Violet's photography:
p.s. I just discovered this hilarious video she made recently. I'm surprised at how hard it made me laugh! Love the ending.