Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Through Another Lens: Samantha Heather

(Today we have a guest post from my friend Samantha Heather. ((Okay, we haven't actually met in person, but I've got a big 'ole blog crush on her.)) I fell in love with the photographs she shares on her personal blog, and with her great writing! She is also very sweet, from what I've gathered from her blog comments. I love the advice that she has to share with fellow photographers.)

1. Introduce yourself:
Hi everyone, this is Sam here from Samantha Heather. I am a twenty-something blogger/photographer based in Sydney, Australia who has a passion for documenting the world around me. I love people and the stories they have to tell and through my blog and my photography I try and retell those tales to the world.
2. Did/do you study photography or have you had any special training prior to starting your business? How has this helped you? 
I haven’t studied photography exactly but I have participated in two workshops hosted by two highly skilled photographers. The Nursery was a day workshop I attended, hosted by Tim Coulson (, and his focus was mainly on how to capture emotion and love in photography, whereas my 8-week workshop, run by the Sydney Photographic Workshops, focused primarily on technical photography.

Both workshops were great and were able to give me the foundation I needed to go out and practise for myself. I would recommend short workshops to anyone who wants to pursue photography. Once you understand the technicalities, it’s all smooth sailing from there.

3. Why and when did you start photography?
I started my photography around August last year. My blog was only a few months old and I was discovering this burning desire to take my camera wherever I went. I was always on photography blogs and reading photography magazines. It just made sense to try and start a hobby (and later a career) out of it.

Another reason I started photography was because I wanted to have something I could strictly call my own. I was at a low place around this time last year, and I had a lack of control over where my life was going. Starting a hobby and a business in photography was something I finally could control and, most importantly, it was something I enjoyed. Doing what you love and making a career out of it is seriously one of the best things people can do for themselves. They say if you love what you do then you will never work another day in your life.
4. What type of sessions are you most confident photographing? What sessions are you still uncomfortable photographing? 
I would be lying if I told you I was confident in a certain area of photography. Truth be told, my anxiety is always through the roof before a shoot. I am still learning and I plan to always be learning throughout my career. I am getting more confident in my family shoots and couple shoots but I still have a long way to go and I am excited to see how I grow as the years go on.

 5. Tools of your trade: (type of camera/lens/editing software/other equipment)
I currently shoot on a Canon 5D Mark III with a Sigma 35mm f/1.4 lens. This is my go-to camera set. I own a few other prime lenses too and a couple of other camera bodies but primarily I work with a full frame camera and a wide aperture lens. In a dream world I would love to upgrade a whole bunch of my equipment, but only being in my first year of business means that affordability becomes an issue. I maybe should have thought twice before choosing the most expensive hobby to pursue ;)

In terms of editing, I use Adobe Lightroom coupled with VSCO film presets. You can find more information about those here:

6. What have proven to be the best methods to advertise your business? 
Word of mouth has been my best form of advertising. With hundreds/thousands of other people like me out there, social media can only get me so far. I started off doing a lot of free shoots with friends and family to begin with and then they shared my photos on Facebook and told their family and friends and before I knew it I had a lot more interest in my business.

Having an up-to-date portfolio and constant self-promotion also helps. If you are going to use social media to advertise your business do not let it go to waste. Be consistent and regular.

7. What important tips do you have for other photographers who are thinking of starting a business?
·       Make sure it is what you love: Starting a business is hard and takes a lot of work. If you don’t love what you do then you’re going to struggle to stay motivated and you may find that business will fizzle out. Being in love with your passion will keep you motivated and happy during the week.
·       Be patient: You will not be an expert in your first 6 months. You may not be an expert in your first couple of years! I am nowhere near being a top-level photographer. I am still learning and still growing and I have a huge journey ahead of me but, you know what, that’s okay! It’s okay to be slow. It’s okay to be a beginner. Everyone has to start somewhere and having the patience to take those tiny steps before taking those giant leaps is crucial.
·       Avoid comparison: Not only will you not be an expert, but you will also be surrounded by people more equipped and skilled than you (all the time!). This is a lesson I have to keep teaching myself. I can be an envious person and looking at all those amazing photographers around me makes me sad and disheartened. Thoughts of doubt flood my mind and giving up because I’m not good enough becomes a viable option. If you ever feel like that I urge you to say NO to your thoughts. Yes, there are people better than you but they had to work hard to get there, perhaps years and years, and they’re at a place where you may be one day too. Never give up because others are better and I would even go as far to say avoid looking at what others are doing. The only person that matters in your business is YOU!
·       Maintain balance: This one is an important tip if you want to hold onto the love you have for your business. You may love your job now but working everyday, for hours on end, can be very strenuous on a person. Maintaining work/life balance is so important in order to keep motivated, refreshed and content. Make sure you build up the ability to say no to certain projects if time doesn’t permit for them and make sure you leave enough time in your days to spend time with your family, friends and yourself. If you don’t, you risk resenting the very thing you worked so hard to achieve.

8. Talk about a time that you had to deal with a difficult photo client. How did you resolve the conflict?
I’ve been very lucky to be blessed with such kind and gentle clients. They have all been a pleasure to work with. I have had a few however where things got a little complicated. I was booked to shoot a family session in one location at a particular time of day. The deposit was paid and I was ready to go. The day before however my client informed me that she needed to change the location to a place that was an hour further than the original location and in fact she was bringing her whole family to the shoot and would require a few extra hours of my time. Obviously these things weren’t included in the cost of the package and she wasn’t willing to pay me any more money. This is when I did the hard thing and said ‘No’. Being able to say ‘no’ is probably one of the hardest things to do for me but it also is one of the most important. If you cant say no, it is very east to be taken advantage of or even pushed beyond your own boundaries.
9. Show us one of your photos that you're really proud of:

I’m proud of this photo, not because of the angle, the light or the setting, but because it was my first wedding shoot. Shooting a wedding was on my bucket list for a while and it felt so good to be able to cross that off my list. It’s a good feeling when you’re proud of yourself. It doesn’t happen very much to me but when it does, I don’t let it go.

10. Who are your favorite photographers right now? 
This is probably the easiest and hardest question. How can I narrow it down to a select few? I love so many! A few of my favourites right now would probably have to be:
1.     Tim Coulson –
3.     The Shalom Imaginative -
4.     Nirrimi Firebrace -
5.     Andria Lindquist - 

(Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom with us, Samantha! That's a great list of photographers. I'll be sure to find tons of new inspiration. 
Find Samantha online: blog // portfolio site // facebook // instagram ) 

All photographs belong to Samantha Heather Photography.


  1. This is wonderful Samantha! Loved getting to know your photography "side" more. :)

  2. Thank you so much for the feature Beverly :) it's so great to be on your blog x

  3. lovely post! I really enjoyed ready about your photography!


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  4. Ah Sam! A great love in my life. This was so lovely to read! xoxo


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