Meet Amanda James, recently turned Amanda Byrd (she recently got married and she’s currently in the processing of recruiting her husband to be her second shooter!). Amanda currently focuses on children and family photography, but recently has had the opportunity to branch out to do maternity, engagements, and pups, and will also be shooting her first weddings this year. Amanda uses Nikon equipment, and her left eye.
photo by the Husband
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
I have a full time job, and do photography as a second career. It can be very time consuming, but I think that there are some things in life that you just know are right, so you don’t mind spending your time doing it. Photography is just one of those things for me.
50mm, 50mm, ISO 640, 1/100, f4.5
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Be patient and believe in yourself. Things just don’t happen overnight. I am so incredibly lucky to have an amazing husband that supports me through it all and has more patience than anyone I know. He is a great role model. Oh and one more thing- step away from the computer when you get frustrated, things always seem to look better after a good night’s sleep than at 1 o’clock in the morning.
What makes you different from everyone else?
I’d like to think that I have a style that is unique to Amanda James Photography. Plus, post processing is very important to me- I spent countless hours there to get my images looking just right. At the end of the day though, I hope that my clients not only come back because they love their images, but more importantly because I treated them as if they were my only customer.
17-55mm, 55mm, ISO 400, 1/160, f2.8
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
Hmmm, that’s a very tough question. I am discovering new photographers all the time and am constantly amazed at their skills and creativity.
One item you can’t live without?
My 50mm 1.4. It doesn’t seem to matter what other lens investments I make, I always go back to that lens. I love primes.
Your best (favorite) bokeh image and why?
85mm, 85mm, ISO 200, 1/1250, f1.8
I just absolutely adore this image for a few reasons. First and foremost, because it is an image of my nephew when he was just over a year old. I’m pretty sure you can see right into his soul in this photo. In my biased opinion, I think he was born to be a Gap baby:) I think the Photography Gods were smiling down on me when I took this image.
I hate to admit it, but I haven’t read a book in it’s completion in quite awhile. I’ve never been much of a reader.
I’m a huge fan of chick flicks! I think I’ve recommended “Knocked Up” to everyone I know 🙂
50mm, 50mm, ISO 800, 1/60, f2.0
Where do you find inspiration?
I’m always inspired by other great photographers (Audrey Woulard, Jesh de Rox) but it seems that I get the best images from interacting with the wonderful families I get the privilege to photograph. No matter how many ideas I’ve prepared the night before, the images I usually end up loving the most are the ones that just sort of happen at the session. It is really great to see the love a family has for each other come out through an image.
50mm, 50mm, ISO 1600, 1/4000, f2.8
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
I’d have to say my dedication. I try to be very accessible to my clients and go above and beyond what they expect. If I tell them I’ll have their images in 2 weeks, I’ll make sure I bust my butt to get them those images.
50mm, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/1250, f1.8
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
Anyone that is willing to share their knowledge and experience openly.
How would you suggest that photographers wanting to second shoot/assist/shadow you or others go about getting the gig?
Shoot me an email or call me- I’d love to talk to you!
50mm, 50mm, ISO 200, 1/500, f1.8
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
No… but I do have an image on a billboard on I77 in Charlotte! I felt as though I had won a prize when I saw it for the first time!
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
I’ve been slowly easing in to the business, as I do have a full time job. I think there will always be obstacles, but you can’t be afraid to really put yourself out there. That I find is the most difficult thing to do, but the customer won’t know that they need your services if they don’t know that you offer them!
50mm, 50mm, ISO 400, 1/60, f1.6
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Go for it!
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
To build my wedding business, I have been offering a free engagement session, to get to know me and my style of photography. This has been a great way to form a relationship with my clients and gain their trust in me as a photographer.
50mm, 50mm, ISO 1000, 1/125, f2.8
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Wine and photo talk 🙂
50mm, 50mm, ISO 1600, 1/100, f3.5