Welcome our first wedding and portrait photography “team”, Greta Reynolds and Amber Humphries of Smitten Photography! Both Greta and Amber love working as a team, they are both right-handed but use their left eyes, and they both use Canon equipment.
Greta and Amber:
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
greta: i had many grand illusions of what i wanted to be when i grew up… for most of my childhood, i wanted to
be a dolphin trainer at sea world, but by the time i graduated high school, i wanted to be a beautician because i
could be in and out of tech school in a year. easy peasy. tragically, i became a beauty school dropout halfway
through. then i wanted to be a special effects makeup artist, and then i thought saving the tigers was more my
style… the list goes on and on…. i just wanted something fun out out of the ordinary i guess. finally, in
college i took a beginning photography course, and i loved it. at the time, i was pregnant with my first kid, and
i began thinking about how i could turn photography into a flexible career that would allow me to be at home with
him. after my switch from film to digital three years later, that began to look like a more possible possibility.
amber: i’m the same way. i’ve always been into the creative stuff. i’m a musician. i considered being a hair
dresser, doing massage therapy, being a make-up artist, being a college lit teacher…one day i was sitting in
starbucks with my dad deciding on what to do with my life and he said, what about photography? it’s something i’ve
always really liked but never felt was a legitimate career option. as soon as he said that, it was like a light
bulb. wait a minute…i CAN do that can’t i?
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
greta: one thing that i constantly push myself to remember is that mistakes make you grow. from the very beginning
i wanted to learn everything there was to know about how cameras and lenses and light work and what makes a good
photograph. that’s a great framework, but i didn’t feel a sense of me in my work until i began to break the rules
a little and shoot a TON! when i photograph my kids, there are no rules, i just have fun. it’s very freeing and i
always learn something new that i can apply to my client work.
amber: i focus a little more on the business end so probably…what works for everyone might not work for you.
you have to trust yourself. and that part of what you’re selling is yourself. so be confident in meetings. be
approachable. you want a client to fall in love with your work and with you. that will encourage word of mouth
which is your BEST advertisment.
What makes you different from everyone else?
amber: oh wow. i don’t know that we’re remarkably groundbreaking right now. i think we are definetly special for
our area. there aren’t many people capturing the candid, modern style that we really love and appreciate. we are
constantly pushing to be more creative and to really explore what makes us “smitten.” i think when we get to that
level, it will be obvious.
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
we still feel like we’re up & coming so it’s hard for us to look at who might be up & coming. he’s pretty
established we think, but gabe mcclintock of perspective eye doesn’t get the recognition he deserves because his
work is STUNNING. we’ll go with braeden of ambient 11 photography. we love his work. and he’s only 21 so even if
he’s established, he’s up & coming. we look forward to seeing his work in the next few years!
amber: and greta. i’m her biggest fan. she is always growing and i think she has unlimited potential. don’t tell her i said that.
One item you can’t live without?
greta: i guess that would have to be a camera of some sort, to capture my kids growing up
amber: i would have said my blackberry or my stretchy jeans from urban outfitters but greta had to get all mushy.
so…i’m going to say music. i know it’s a little abstract but it’s really important to me and my husband. we’re
both musicians. we’re always singing together. it’s my favorite form of worship, it’s cardio motivation, and it’s
a big part of my life.
Your best bokeh image and why?
bokeh seems like such slippery, subjective concept. so hopefully we’re not butchering the meaning of bokeh here 🙂
in the bottom left corner of the background, the way all that light just spills together into soft circles of
light is just so yummy!
greta: i feel so silly, my fave books are from childhood, but oh well… to name a few… the westing game, the
giver, nancy drew books, matilda… my fave grown up book is a book called leftover dreams by charlotte vale allen.
and the requisite photo books of course… understanding exposure by brian peterson, nat’l geographic field guide
to photography, light: science and magic, and lots of books with pretty pictures 🙂
amber: bible. blue like jazz. fitness & nutrition books. books from when i was little. i loved to read when i
was younger. where the wild things are, the giving tree, frecklejuice, the chocolate touch, bridge to terabithia,
greta: any and almost all musicals, old and new. big fish. wedding singer. pillow talk. ten things i hate
about you. monster house. john hughes stuff. + more.
amber: across the universe, stranger than fiction, the producers, wedding singer, that thing you do, singing in the
rain, audrey hepburn movies, gene kelly movies…
Where do you find inspiration?
greta: movies, commercials, music, our clients, books, my kids, other photographers, art, alone time in a new
place, seeing things from a different perspective, empty spaces, scenic walks/drives.
amber: same. minus the kids.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
amber: our partnership. we say on our website “we are the yin to each other’s yang. the cheese to each other’s
macaroni. one’s weakness is the other’s strength, and vice versa. we are the perfect team, not only business
partners, but great friends. we were smitten with each other, smitten with this business, and we can only hope
you’ll be smitten too.” and we mean it. the way we got together and how everything has just come together has
been such a blessing. we fully support and believe in each other, beyond the business. having that special
partership has been invaluable.
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
we’re planning on joining ppa & wppi. you know, all the good organizations with the letters. just one of those
“on the list” things. we both won scholarships for the arts in school and greta won a few awards. we’re hoping to
get ourselves out there in the photographic community a little more this year and see what we can accomplish.
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
we’re still leaping and yes we have hoops. we’re both broke. haha! we have really strived to do this as debt
free as possible. it’s hard not being able to get all the equipment we want and need or to put things on hold.
but slowly and surely we are building. getting what we need. building our brand. we’ve had to stand behind our
work and what we knew we were capable of. and because we believed in ourselves, people started to as
well…without all the bells and whistles we wanted. time is also a constrait we have to work with. amber is
still working 30 hours a week as a secretary and is very involved in ministry. greta is a stay at home mom. so
we’re making things work for us.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
if you want it, be tenacious about it. it’s great to get advice from others who have been where you are, but
listen to your instincts and know when not to listen.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
probably the biggest thing was our engagement contest. we picked 3 couples to tell their story and whoever got the
most votes would win an engagement session and a custom guest book for their wedding. we had over 1000 votes. and
we did it through blog comments. never again! next time we’re getting a poll! we had to weed through each vote.
we decided votes from spongebob squarepants were not valid. we also try to do a lot of charity and/or community
Anything else you would like to share?
greta is obsessed with freddy mercury. amber is a health nut (most of the time). we love macs. we have the
awesomest husbands. amber hates quickbooks. greta runs the smitten facebook & blog. amber tears up some twitter
(smittenamber). both of us really love cake. aside from those very important facts, stand behind your work. find
what works for you. study people better than you. put yourself out there. if this is what you want to do with
your life, do it. don’t be afraid to work hard and be ready not make any money at first.