Meet Tracy, a wedding photographer who enjoys seeking out the best natural light and likes to shoot on both ends of the aperture spectrum. Tracy and her husband Lance work as a team but do not market themselves that way. Tracy shoots RAW with her right eye, in fully manual mode and doesn’t use actions. She currently shoots canon but says it doesn’t really matter (I’ve actually known Tracy since her Nikon days in college and can say that she’s one of the few who have used both;) ).
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
I was working for another photographer and his studio while in school. I started out doing weddings and very soon clients were requesting me by name, even though I was the least experienced photographer in the studio.
17mm, ISO 100, F4.0, 1/160
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
It really helps to look at everything from different perspectives and angles – not just photography but everything.
What makes you different from everyone else?
The same thing that makes everyone different from everyone else, my personality and style.
35mm ISO 400, 1/60 f 4.0
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
My husband, it’s amazing how far he has come along in such a short time.
One item you can’t live without?
From a business stand point I could not live without a camera, any camera. From a personal stand point I could not live without fresh fruit.
17mm, ISO 400, f 6.3, 1/60
Your best (favorite) bokeh image and why?
I am still searching for my favorite. I haven’t taken it yet, and I hope I never do because I always want to improve and try new things.
The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey
35mm, ISO160, f 2.0, 1/800
Where do you find inspiration?
I try to find inspiring and interesting things in ordinary situations.
35mm, iso400, 1/80 f.2.8
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
The personal relationships I form with my clients.
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
50mm, ISO 200, F 2.8, 1/320
How would you suggest that photographers wanting to second shoot/assist/shadow you or others go about getting the gig?
It really helps to have an online portfolio and to contact photographers with a similar photographic style. Even though you might not be a ‘professional’ yet, it helps to look and act the part. If nothing else it shows you have an investment in being a photographer.
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
PPA, ISPWP. I won First Place in the Emotion category of the WPJAs 2007 photo contest, and Second Place for the Movement and Motion category of the ISPWP’s 2008 photo contest, Honorable Mention in the Wedding Photography Directory’s contest for the past 2 years.
17-55, 55mm, 640iso,1/100, f3/5
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
I spent 4 months straight (6 hours a day 6 days a week) researching and planning out my business. I made a list of photographers I really liked, studied their websites, and figured out what I liked about their business, their website, and photographic style. Then I invested what little money I had in a website and advertising.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Look at the photorgaphers who inspire you and who are where you want to be when you ‘make it’. Don’t worry about how long you have been doing it, or ‘how good you are’ – build your business around where you want to be not where you are right now. Your Top 5 Favorite Photographers are your ‘competition’, not the people who have been in business as long as you, or who charge the same amount as you.
24mm, ISO 250, f 2.8, 1/2000
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
I put a lot of my energy and creativity into the photographs that I take because I believe photographs (having a very solid body of work) is the best form of advertisement.
35mm, ISO 400, 1/250, f 5.6
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Honestly, I don’t do a lot of networking with other photographers or wedding vendors. I should probably set up a casual pot luck dinner with some local photographers. Anyone interested?
35mm, ISO 100, f 2.5, 1/500