Welcome to Small Business Spotlight, a special feature post at Three 31.
I met Jamie through her blog and instantly became friends. Her sense of humor and sarcasm make me laugh, even when skies are gray. Jamie recently decided to throw caution to the wind and pursue her dream of opening a photography business. Last October, Fnkybee Photography was born. This lady is seriously talented. I’m so delighted to call her my long-distance friend.
What type of equipment do you use (camera, lens, etc)?
I shoot with a Canon 60D for now and use an 18-135mm lens and also a 50mm prime f1.8. I have my eye on a 5D and soon it will be mine. Very soon, that camera and I will be together.
Which ONE item would you say is the most important?
The one item that I say is most important is really not an item at all, it is your eye. You can take good photos with any camera if you have the eye. Over the last few years, I have really learned my eye and with every click of the shutter, I learn more.
Can you provide a brief explanation of your work flow?
My workflow goes like this … I come home from a shoot and, in most cases, upload the photos immediately. Then, I go through the photos getting rid of the obvious trash (blinks, mid expression aka funny faces, etc). My next step is to go back through the photos again making a new folder of the ones that I will edit. Not all photos that go in this folder will get edited, but I try to narrow it down as much as possible. In my editing software, I will pull up a number of photos in a series (a certain pose or background) and narrow it down to 2 or 3 and then start to edit. I usually end up with around 60-70 final edited photos.
In general, how many pictures do you take during a normal session?
Oh geesh, I get click happy sometimes! I go into every shoot telling myself not to get click happy because it just makes it harder on me at editing time, but I usually take LOTS of photos. During a three-hour shoot, I probably take 500 pictures. It also depends on the subject. I find if I am taking pictures of kids I take a lot more due to trying to capture that smile that can come and go so quickly. I like to put my camera on the sport setting with kids and have them run and play while I’m holding the shutter down and capturing lots of photos.
How do you know you’ve found “the right shot”?
I like to say the “Money Shot”! You just know. You know it before you even edit it. It comes up as you are going through the photos and you get a big cheesy smile on your face and want to yell out “MONEY SHOT!” It makes me all warm and fuzzy.
Do you have a photo session “oops” that you can share?
A photo shoot oops … hmm … I probably have one with every shoot. I was shooting with my sister one day and we were at my husband’s place of work in the shop yard. We were climbing over the materials trying to get her to a certain spot and we both bit it. I fell and my camera went down with me. I about cried but awesome enough, nothing was hurt. I am somewhat clumsy and it seems I am always losing my balance with every shoot. whether it be me just bending down and almost tipping over or on a ladder and nearly falling off! I am a walking insurance claim.
What do you consider beautiful?
Life. Life is art and I love to capture it through my lens. Capturing anything from an innocent smile to putting someone in a grungy worn down space and snapping away. Everything in life has a beautiful quality.
Are you a self-taught photographer or did you have a mentor that showed you the ropes?
I am completely self-taught. I have always loved photography but never had the time to really learn. A few years ago, my husband got me my first DSLR for Christmas and that is when my love became a passion. I would snap photos of my kids here and there but that was it. Three years ago, when both kids were in school, I really concentrated on my photography and learning my eye. I would take off during the day and go shoot places. I would share a photo here and there and people would tell me how good they were. I thought they were full of it, but as I got more comfortable behind the shutter my confidence grew. At 34, I finally took the leap and now I’m chasing my dreams as a photographer. I am taking a photography class this month just to get one under my belt. That is the thing with photography: there is always something to learn. Whether you went to school or are self-taught, it’s constantly changing.
How do you make clients feel comfortable during photo shoots?
I try to get the clients as comfortable as possible before we start a shoot, but everyone always has a case of the nerves. It’s inevitable. I tell them it’s just me and to be themselves, I ask them about their personality and I always want their true personality to shine during their photo shoot. I tell them that I have been on the other side of the camera and know the nerves they’re feeling. I try to get them to throw their nerves away as soon as possible. When we shoot at the studio, I have music playing, I cut up with them as much as possible. As much as I try to keep the shoot professional, I don’t think it is in any way. We laugh, we talk, and I try to keep it as relaxed and silly as possible. When I go through the photos after the shoot, I can see a difference and notice their relaxation. It shows through the photos.
Briefly describe your very FIRST shoot.
My very first professional shoot was with a local musician, we did a location shoot in downtown Nashville. I was nervous as all get out, still trying to wrap my head around the fact that someone would pay me to take their photos! He told me how nervous he was and I tried not to let my own nervousness show. Between the two of us, we were both a hot mess! I asked him about his personality. Are you a serious person? Are you silly? He told me that he was a bit on the silly side and I told him to run with it. Immediately, he relaxed and his personality shined. He would be serious then silly and I got great shots of both.
How do you decide on locations and subjects?
It depends on who it is and what the shoot is for. My first shoot, for the musician, was very urban. I put him in a field that had train tracks and the city’s skyline in the background. Then, we went around the block and he stood against a wall with beautiful graffiti. He loved it. My sister does set design for my photo shoots so she usually decorates for studio sessions. For clients wanting something special for their husband, my sister and I set up a bed with white silk and sheer sheets and make it as sexy as possible. My preference is to put subjects against texture, exposed brick, old wood, metal, etc. In the end, location depends on what the client wants. Even when shooting kids, I make it as urban as possible.
When did you decide to become a professional photographer?
I took the leap into professional photography in October 2011. I was so nervous but decided it’s now or never. Life is too short to sit around and think about what I could be doing. I still haven’t fully wrapped my head around this whole adventure yet. It’s so exciting! I still get giddy when someone books a shoot.
Have you ever found yourself in a “photo funk”, and, if so, how did you get yourself out?
I haven’t found myself in a funk yet. I think only because it is still so new. I hope to never find myself in a funk and, if I do, I know it is time to mix it up a bit.
You have many creative outlets, which provide you with the most satisfaction?
Making my photos into an art piece with different effects, colors and textures. It gives the photo a totally different personality. Also, the coolest thing after editing a photo and the client says, “That doesn’t even look like me!”
What is ONE lasting impression you want to leave in your photographs?
I want the person to look at their photos and say, “I’m a Rock Star!”
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing?
I would still be a stay at home mom. Photography has given me a creative outlet. It’s gotten me out of the mundane rut that easily creeps into life.
You are writing “The Photographer’s Bible,” what are 5 verses (things to remember) you’d include:
- Find your style and stick to it. No matter what you’re shooting, make your style shine.
- Be yourself with clients and make them as comfortable as possible. It makes a huge difference in the final product.
- Be silly. Yes, you are a professional photographer, but the more you are relaxed the more your client will be too.
- Everyone has an inner rock star that they are hiding or don’t realize they possess. Find your client’s inner rock star and they will love you for it.
- Pay attention to the details. Don’t rush the photo shoot. Take your time. You will be thankful for this at edit time.
Do you have any special plans in 2012 that you can share with us?
I am so excited for 2012 and I just can’t hide it. (yes, that was a Pointer Sister reference) I photograph for Pineapple Pinups, a full service PinUp Company here in Nashville. I am looking forward to hitting the ground running for both my company and with Pineapple Pinups. Both of our business began in October and we’ve both been really busy. Luckily, our businesses are growing by word of mouth and referrals. The future looks bright for both and it’s overwhelming and very exciting! We have received lots of positive feedback, I know 2012 will be one to remember!
Thanks again, Jamie, for participating in this special feature. I appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge of photography with someone who constantly forgets to put a memory card in her camera and remove the lens cap before pressing the shutter button!!!!
One more thing: don’t forget to enter the GIVEAWAY here at Three 31, the contest ends tomorrow!!!!!!!
YOU could be featured at Three 31 too ….. send me an email for details!!!