Meet Breanna Chanson of Radiant Photography. Radiant Photography is a husband and wife team whose focus is weddings and seniors. They shoot RAW using their right eyes in mostly aperture priority mode (occassionally manual mode) with Canon. They use Totally Rad Actions and some of the husband’s “home grown” actions.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
It was more of a process than it was a specific moment. I have always loved photography but I thought my husband was out of his mind when he said he wanted to be a photographer since he hadn’t really used even so much as a disposable camera before!! I now have more confidence in his ability to learn new things because he quickly made me eat my words and as he became more and more successful, I became more and more jealous!
If I had to pin it to a moment, I suppose it would be when my husband came home and said our source of income had been completely eliminated. News like that will make you do some crazy things…. like starting up a new company from scratch in the middle of a recession!
24-70, 400iso, 1/200, f/2.8
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
That photographing people is all about, well… people! You can have exceptional skill, but if you make people uncomfortable they are not going to want to spend 8 hours with you on one of the most important day of their lives. I think it’s very important to be a real person and to relate to your clients as real people.
Every time we drive to a meeting or a photo session, my husband and I make sure to spend time talking about how the people we are about to meet with are real people with real thoughts and emotions… they’re not just dollar signs. It’s so easy to get business focused and to forget that you are doing something to make someone happy that can be a huge blessing in their lives.
24-70, 100iso, 1/1000, f/2.8
What makes you different from everyone else?
There are so many fantastic photographers out there, I can’t sit here and tell you that my work is completely different than all of them and totally unique. We do a lot of special lighting tricks but that’s more due to my husband’s ability, not mine (I do serve as quite an excellent human flash stand though).
I think my real answer to this question has a lot to do with my answer to the last question. We truly believe that we have a greater purpose in life than to just freeze moments in time… we believe we need to center everything we do around loving people. So we do that through the relationships we build with our clients and also through our Radiant Love program which means every month we donate 10% of our shooting fees to a different charitable organization and honor a different individual for his or her service to the community by offering a free portrait session and $100 print credit.
24-70, 320iso, 1/400, f/2.8
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
I’m not sure how “up and coming” she is, she may be pretty well established, but I’d have to say that my favorite local photographer is Kimberly Bee.
One item you can’t live without?
My eyeliner (I should’ve said “my philosophical ideals” or something so you wouldn’t know how shallow I truly am! Ha ha).
Your best bokeh image and why?
24-70, 200iso, 1/200, f/2.8
I really love the hardcore ballerina on the train tracks. Probably just because I can describe it like that, I really like contrasting themes… delicate ballet dancer + old, scary train tracks = glam.
“The Picture of Dorian Gray” by Oscar Wilde
Little Miss Sunshine
Where do you find inspiration?
Movies, music, when movies and music are combined together, Caia Koopman (my favorite artist), creative coffee shops, the weather, designer store catalogs, other photographers I find online, little kids, and spending time with unique people who make me think differently.
24-70, 200iso, 1/800, f/2.8
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
The dynamics between my husband and I. Our strengths and weaknesses align in just the right way so that we compliment each other perfectly. Plus we bring in the male/female aspect, not only artistically, but also in the way we relate to people and in the way we view the world.
Do you use a second shooter?
Yes, my husband, Scottie.
24-70, 250iso, 1/400, f/2.8
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
Shoot us an email showing a genuine interest in specifically what we are doing (not some generic, “hey I’m looking for a job and I’ll take anything” email) and have samples of your work easily accessible somewhere online.
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
24-70, 800iso, 1/2500, f/2.8
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
Just the PPA as far as organizations go, and no awards yet… unless you count grade-school awards for picking up the most trash and things like that! 😉
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
It’s sort of weird because there wasn’t a ton of hesitation for me. I was just in the perfect place in my life to do this. The hoops were just the normal ones like the money for startup cost, hoping we’d make enough to survive on, etc. I think the worst part was all the paperwork and figuring out tax laws for businesses…. boring things like that. Our photographer friend, Jefferson Todd, helped us out a ton with that stuff though.
70-200, 400iso, 1/1000, f/2.8
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Be brave and be prepared to run on 4 hours of sleep a night for a little while! Oh yeah and don’t spell “photography” wrong on your homepage when you first launch your website. Then later when you DO make a mistake on something just tell yourself, “well, at least I didn’t spell photography wrong on my homepage like Breanna did!”
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
We just shot a regional gymnastics meet that had about 500 kids in it with the goal of getting at least a few action shots of every single kid so the parents would look around on our website to purchase prints and hopefully hire us for portrait sessions and other things. It was crazy, we shot for 14 hours straight the first day with no breaks and my quads were so sore that my legs just gave out at random when I was walking for the entire day after that (so embarrassing)!
24-70, 320iso, 1/250, f/2.8
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
Well I know this isn’t very “networky” but I think spending time in a smaller group and then moving onto a different small group would be perfect because then you actually remember the people you meet and get to know a little bit about them. A much stronger connection is made that way.
Anything else you would like to share?
No matter how hard it gets, remember to step back and appreciate your life as a photographer. People actually pay you to share in their emotional experiences and to capture the beauty of the things they value so much in their lives. You also work your own hours and get to be your own boss. Life is good.
70-200, 400iso, 1/500, f/2.8
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