1. Where do you call home? I grew up just south of Portland, Oregon, so a part of me will always consider that “home”. But let’s face it… I belong in Texas. Right now I call Dallas, Texas home with my husband and my puppy named Dion.
2. How many horses do you have? Sadly, I am horseless at the moment. I get to ride with friends frequently but I hope to be shopping for another horse of my own soon : )
3. How did you find your niche in photography? Finding my niche was really natural. When I got my first camera I started taking photographs of horses, because horses meant something to me.
4. Did you study photography in school? I have never taken a photography class. I went to Texas Christian University and studied finance. While in school I did an internship with Arden Prucha Photography, in Fort Worth, Texas, which is where I learned almost everything: shooting, editing, business. Arden was so generous to open up her home and business to me.
5. What is in your bag? Well, let’s start with my bags! I have a big Think Tank that holds everything and two Kelley Moore bags because they are so cute! As for film – I always bring my Contax 645 camera with a Zeiss 80m f/2.0 lens, packs of Fuji 400H and Portra 800. For digital I bring my Nikon D600 with a Zeiss Planar T* 50m f/1.4 lens.
6. Can I see a before & after digital photo? Yes! Here is Ms. Gillette
7. What tools do you use to edit with? Adobe Lightroom and PhotoShop. I use Mastin Lab’s Lightroom presets and Totally Rad’s Replichrome presets, in addition to a mix of my own.
8. Do you envision a day when you are a full time photographer? Currently, I have a full time job in finance and I am taking on a very limited number of photography clients on the weekend. I absolutely love my day job – it is my dream job! And OF COURSE I love photography as well – it feeds a different part of my personality and drive and soul. I have no short term goals to come into photography full time, but I am not sure what the long-term future holds!
9. What is your favorite photo? WHAT?! How could I possibly choose one child over them all?! If I had to choose just one, this comes to the top of my mind.
10. What are your top 5 natural lighting tips? I only shoot with natural light. I have never used artificial light (flash) or even reflectors before. So here goes my tips:
a. It is all about the skintones. Focus on finding a lighting situation (direct, open shade, sidelit, backlit) where skin tones are luminous and even. I am constantly re-positioning clients to a place where their skin looks best.
b. PRACTICE. For me, learning a natural backlight was a process of trial and error to know how my different lenses each interpreted the sun.
c. Underexpose digital and overexpose film. In natural light I also overexpose my film 2 stops and underexpose my digital 1-2 stops. I shoot digital in RAW format and bring the exposure up in post processing. I underexpose so that I do not lose the detail in whites and wash out the photo.
d. Filter the sun. I think trees do the best job filtering the sun! The photo above is an example of the sun being filtered through a tree.
e. Use your hands (or a hood)! If the light is strong, I recommend using your hand to “clip” or shade the sun from the lens. I keep hoods on my lenses to serve the same purpose.
11. How do you meter your lighting? I always meter my film with an external handheld meter for the shadows. I rate Fuji 400H at ISO 100 and Portra 800 at ISO 560.
12. What is your favorite film? Fuji 400H, no doubt.
13. What is your most successful marketing strategy? It is hard for any firm to attach meaningful metrics to marketing strategies. In terms of dollars, I would think Facebook is my marketing workhorse. Instagram is definitely my favorite marketing initiative. But I keep an ongoing list of 10-15 new marketing ideas to implement and then try to cycle them in as I have the time!!
14. Do you ever pay models for shoots, or do you use paid sessions when you submit images to magazine or blog features? I have never paid a model for a shoot, and there are only a handful of times I have compensated someone for their time with the photographs. The vast majority of the work that I submit to magazines and blogs is paid shoots with my clients. My model release has check-boxes for people to give me permission to use them for my own marketing.
15. Who are your favorite photographers? I am really obsessed with the wedding industry and follow the work of Erich McVey, Jose Villa, and Ryan Ray. I think they do an amazing job of capturing a lot of emotion and beauty in their images. I don’t follow a lot of other equine photographers. There is an aesthetic in the film wedding photography world that I would love to bring over into equestrian portraiture.
16. How does your pricing work? All of my shoots are in packages that are “all-inclusive” and combine the time of the session, the high resolution files, and 4×6 proof prints. Some higher packages also include large wrapped canvases.
17. Do you sell high resolution photos? Unlike many portrait photographers, I include the high resolution photos in ALL of my packages. I do this for many reasons. I genuinely believe the photographs are my client’s and they deserve the freedom to own them and print them as they wish. It is a standard in the wedding industry to deliver ALL of the files. I think it should be a standard in the portrait space, as well. When they lose their beloved horse, those photographs will multiply in value and they will be so happy that they have all of the photographs to love and cherish. A photo that may have been overlooked in a 30-minute ordering session might be their most favorite photo 10 years later. I don’t want to keep that from someone.
18. When are you coming to Oregon again? I have a BOOKED trip to Oregon July 2-6, and a BOOKED trip August 2-3. I am now planning my next open trip in the fall. I haven’t set a date yet – so email me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in more information!!
19. If you could be photographed by anyone, who would you choose? Richard Avedon
20. If you could shoot alongside anyone, who would you choose? Jose Villa
Thanks for sending in all of your questions!!! Adios!
photo by Krystle Akin Photography