Welcome our first photographer profile, Heather Garland!
Photo by Amanda Eller
Heather is a single shooter and works part of the year from Belmont, NC and the rest of the year from Greenville, NC. Her passion is wedding photography but she does dabble in portraiture as well. She is a canon girl all the way and shoots with her right eye.
Canon 20D, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 at 17mm, f/4, 1/80
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?It is kind of a funny moment, and a little bit of a whim. I had always loved taking photos from the moment I could snap a photo. I asked for camera after camera for holidays. It wasn’t until 11th grade that I decided that this could be a career option. Around 9th and 10th grade, I had thought about graphic design, but knew I wasn’t very refined in it and I couldn’t manage to sit at a computer all the time. I walked into the first day of Spanish Class in 11th grade, and our teacher Sra. SanMillan told us to take out a piece of paper and write down what we wanted to be when we grew up. As a dreamer herself, she told us NO MATTER how crazy it was, write down what would be our DREAM to be. I thought for a moment and wrote “A National Geographic Photographer, even though it will NEVER happen.” Sure, photography as a career had crossed my mind before. I loved taking photos and “competing” with my dad on trips with who could take the best photos, but I never took it seriously. After class she asked me to come over. She told me that my dreams could happen if I believed they could and that I should pursue this dream with all my heart. She then said “Don’t wait for the music to play to dance. DANCE! The music will play.” So I dove HEAD-long into my dream photography. She was a teacher who saw the beauty no one else saw in life and noticed everything. One day she took me to the stairwell and even I didn’t see what she thought was so beautiful, she told me to just take the photo. After I developed it, I started noticing the beautiful light that hit, the bare tree limbs, and the very simple beauty she was seeing.
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
How to shoot manual and expose pictures correctly. Sounds kind of funny, but knowing the controls of your camera helps you know how to truly control the pictures. You can control the depth of field or freeze action, it helps you so much!
Canon 30D, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 1/1000, f/1.8
What makes you different from everyone else?
I really want to capture my clients personalities in their photos. I don’t want them to feel like I am rushing through them or that I am just interested in the money. I want them to see I really care about them and I really want the photos to show them through the photos. I decided to become a portrait photographer when I got my senior portraits taken and I saw that they took the SAME photo for every person. (“tilt you head this way”….”put your hand there”….”good”…*snap*….”your done”) My style isn’t this, I take my clients out, talk, hang out, and take some pictures along the way. This way you can see them in the photos, not just someone who looks like them!
http://jamiedelaine.com, she is such a sweetheart and such a great photographer
Canon 20D, Sigma 17-70mm f/2.8-4.5 at 48mm, f/29, 1/100
My Canon 5d with 50mm f/1.4, they are amazing!
Your best bokeh image?
I just love how you can see the couple in the background so in love!
Full time or Part time?
Full time for the most part. It is my only source of income and my only job, but it is not enough to support myself yet. So I am in between full-time and part-time, I guess! haha
Anything written by Gilbert Morris, Bodie Theone, or Francine Rivers
The Notebook, Phantom of the Opera, The Illusionist, Pride and Prejudice, and The Dark Knight (I can never choose)
Where do you find inspiration?
I have subscribed to toooo many other photographers blogs that I look at all the time. Just looking at these photos gives me ideas for my own poses and you can glean so much information from them!
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
I think my personality and my love for people is. I love to make friends with all my clients, keep up with them frequently, and make lifelong relationships. It makes them pose so much easier, and their photos look so much more relaxed!
Canon 30d, Canon 50mm f/1.8, 1/250, f/16
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Jessica Claire, hands down, she has always been my favorite photographer! http://jessicaclaire.net
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
I am a member of NFIB for now. As my business grows I plan to join PPA and maybe a few others. I have not applied to win any awards yet, as my business is not even done with its first year yet!
Canon 30d, Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 at 92mm, f/4, 1/800
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through? Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition? I have a million hoops to jump through from starting off blindly and having no clue where to start with my business to being in two separate places a lot of time during the year to being young. Just don’t give up, I get frustrated a whole lot, and I am always my hardest critic. Just know, if you work hard enough this will succeed!
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
Building relationships with past clients, doing everything I can to give them the best service possible, and then they tell others about me. I also offer a referral program which gets them free prints!
Anything else you would like to share?
Good luck and don’t give up!