Meet Lori Anderson and her husband, Keith Mason. These two mostly focus on casual family portraits, but have lately branched out to include engagements and weddings. They both use Canon, shoot RAW in manual mode, and even though they both use their right eye, they have completely different perspectives through the viewfinder because Lori is 5’2 and Keith is 6’4. Lori is a fan of Totally Rad Actions, especially Yin-Yang, select-o-sharp, and vignette & blur.
We’ve merged our website and blog together:
So far it’s been the best decision we’ve made for the business. We had a big jump in search rankings after we launched our new “blogsite”
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
Actually, Keith and I both have “day jobs” that pay the bills, but I’m naturally an artsy person. I have a background in print and web design–—I work for a well-know Southern California travel and lifestyle magazine. We started with a Digital Rebel shooting pictures of friends’ kids. They really enjoyed the photos and showed their friends, who offered to pay us to take family pictures. One thing led to another and here we are! Pretty much all our clients are word-of-mouth referrals. We don’t advertise.
28mm, 28mm, 100iso, 1/320, f/1.8
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
Never doubt yourself. Sometimes we come back from a shoot discouraged, perhaps because of a lighting or posing challenge. But in the end, there is always at least one photo that the clients LOVES and is proud to show their friends.
What makes you different from everyone else?
We aren’t doing photography to get rich—–we still have our day jobs. So while our photo business slowly grows, we enjoy meeting people and we strive to capture real images of real families.
24-70mm, 63mm, 200iso, 1/250, f/2.8
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
There are so many great new photographers. But I love checking out the blogs of Richelle Dante and Wayne Toshikazu. I’m also a fan our own wedding photographer, Sean Hiller.
50mm, 50mm, 200iso, 1/250, f/4.5
One item you can’t live without?
As far as photography equipment goes, I’d be lost without my trusty Canon 28mm/1.8 lens. But in general, I don’t think I could function without my 24-inch iMac.
Your best bokeh image and why?
28mm, 28mm, 100iso, 1/30, f/2.8
I have several favorites, but the shot of this baby girl really stands out in my mind. Her mom put together an awesome combination for us–a gorgeous light pink swaddling blanket and light blue-gray bedspread. I love the way the geometric patterns drop out of focus to frame the baby’s face.
As an English major in college I really enjoyed a number of works by 19th-century British writers. My favorite being The Woman in White, by Wilkie Collins. It’s a fabulous mystery novel.
The Notebook was a great movie (I teared up at the end), but I’m more of a TV person. I teared up after the last episode of The O.C. It was a cheesy show, but I miss it.
70-200mm, 95mm, 100iso, 1/250, f/7.1
Where do you find inspiration?
The Open Source Photo forum. A lot of great people + a lot of great topics = a wealth of information and inspiration.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
We’re flexible people. Keith and I strive to do all we can to work with our clients, make them feel comfortable, and listen to their ideas.
28-135, 33mm, 200iso, 1/200, f/3.5
Do you use a second shooter?
So far we haven’t. Keith and I work really well as a team. But I could definitely see us adding a third shooter for large events.
How would you recommend that someone wanting to second shoot with you go about getting the gig?
The best thing to do is introduce yourself. We’d love to network with more photographers in the Orange County/Southern California area.
50mm, 50mm, 100iso, 1/320, f/1.8
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
I would love to second shoot with Amelia Lyon. Her photos are always so clean, crisp, well planned, and beautifully executed. And I would love a chance to watch the Image is Found folks work a wedding. I follow their tweets on Twitter. They have some very interesting things to say. I would be fun to actually see and hear them in person.
28mm, 28mm, 100iso, 0.3, f/3.5
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
When we started shooting we made the decision to stay small and grow our business gradually–after all, we still have our day jobs to keep up with.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
Yes…join Facebook! I didn’t understand the attraction of the site until I joined. It’s a great way to communicate with clients.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
We launched our first website contest in February, and it’s one of the best things we could have done to promote our business. We had each of our clients choose their favorite photo from their 2008 session, so they would feel more involved in the process. Then, they got all their friends and family members to vote for their photo. The grand prize was a 16×20 canvas gallery wrap. Traffic to our website was off the hook! And we booked several new jobs because of it.
100mm, 100mm, 200iso, 1/250, f/4.0
What’s your idea of the perfect photographer networking “date”?
One of two things would be great: either a fun dinner to talk shop or a casual walk-around photo session. If any local photographers are interested in such, drop me a line and we’ll get something organized.
Anything else you would like to share?
It takes time to build a business and keep it growing. While there are a ton of things we want to add to our website, and promotional pieces we want to have printed, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to make it happen. So we take things one step at a time. The photography industry is a fun place to be, and we don’t want to do too much to burn ourselves out and ruin the good thing we’ve got started.
100mm, 100mm, 100iso, 1/60, f/2.8