How long have you been in business? Since 2007 so six years. I started out under a different name and in 2009 I joined forces with Kim Weiss and we created Fresh Art Photography. She stepped out of the business to be home with her family in 2011 so now I am the sole-owner. She still comes and poses newborns with me and is the most amazing mentor but she doesn’t photography families or seniors anymore.
What percentage of your business is seniors? Right now I would say just about 10% but I’m hoping that in the 2013-2014 school year I can change that! I’m working to grow that side of my business.
What do you think makes a perfect senior session? I think the perfect senior session happens when they have fun and are relaxed in front of my camera. I know I will get great shots when they’re truly enjoying themselves!
What do you love most about photographing seniors? Well, as a photographer who photographs a lot of small children I love that they listen to me! HA! I also love that I get to stretch my creative muscles because I’m not worrying about chasing them around like I am a two year old. I can concentrate on posing, finding creative natural light, etc. It allows me to step outside my box a bit and I really love that!
What would you say is the biggest challenge in your business? The biggest challenge for me is just trusting that sessions will come. I work because my family needs the money and I run a successful business but I am always worried when my calendar isn’t insanely full. We always make it, even in my slow times, so I need to stop always worrying about my calendar several months in advance. For seniors, specifically, I am challenged by the marketing aspect of booking seniors. I have not found a sure-fire way to get my name out among that age group and so I’m constantly trying new things. One day I will find what works best and make it stick!
Describe your photography style. Oh I hate this question! My photography style… it’s ever changing and evolving I think. I tend to edit a bit warm and hazy, I strive to get as many natural smiles as I can and I work hard to capture JOY. But I am also always working to get better so next week or next month some of that could change!
What motivates or inspires you in your photography? I’m sure most people say that their wonderful and amazing clients inspires them or that gorgeous light motivates them or some other semi-romantic statement. I am going to be 100% honest here and tell you that money motivates me. I am a business owner before I am a photographer and I like to make money. Not only do I like it but I HAVE to make money or my three kids will go to school naked, never play on a soccer team and eat Ramen for dinner every night! My husband is an amazing teacher and while he makes a good living it’s just not enough for our family of five to survive. I love my clients, I love picking up my camera every day and I love feeding the creative beast that lives inside of me but ultimately my life would be a lot easier if I just did this as a hobby and didn’t need to make a decent living doing this. So money is what keeps me at my computer into the wee hours each night.
Twenty Questions Game…Just for Fun!
Where are you from/live? I live in Webster Groves, Missouri and was born and raised here.
Married? Married almost nine years to Chris Allen, my high school sweetheart!
Kids? I have three kiddos, Bailey (girl) is seven, Parker (girl) is six and Grayson (boy) will be five in June. We had three under three at one point and even though we feel so far past those crazy baby times that fact still defines me most of the time.
What are their ages? see above
Nikon or Cannon? I was a DIE HARD Canon lover until a few years ago when I made the switch and now I am a DIE HARD Nikon lover!
Favorite music to edit to? He is We is one of my favorite bands but right now I am obsessed with the Indigo Girls Pandora station! It has a great mix of music and I love all of it! BUT, again, I’m going to be honest and tell you that I mostly edit to tv shows. I am an addict when it comes to tv and love getting sucked in to a show on Netflix because it makes me not want to leave my desk for hours and hours which helps keep my productivity up! I listen to music every morning when I answer emails, blog, order, etc. but tv is on for editing!
Favorite Photoshop Action? I think my most used action is the TRA “slice like a ninja” at 45% opacity for sharpening my photos just a bit.
A photographer that inspires you? Right now I am obsessed with Heidi Hope simply because she runs a booming business! Lots of people are amazing photographers but it’s the ones with successful and PROFITABLE businesses that really inspire me!
Favorite Food? Right now I am obsessed with Green Machine Naked Juice. I’m trying to eat better (for weight loss and just over-all health) and that juice fills me up!
Favorite place to shop? Target. Hands down.
Favorite drink at Starbucks? I have never had coffee and only drink water (and Naked Juice!) so no Starbucks for me!
Favorite Guilty Pleasure? Reading. I just finished Unbroken and spent almost an entire Sunday curled up in bed with that book!
Favorite memory from when you were a senior? Finally taking my friendship with my husband to a dating relationship! We’ve never looked back!
Favorite Quote or Saying? This too shall pass. With three little ones I used to chant that daily! HA!
Favorite Workshop or photography event you have attended? I have never taken a workshop I loved (I won’t mention the one I took and didn’t love) but if I could take ANY workshop I would chose Bobbi and Mike, Heidi Hope or Melissa Jill.
Favorite Vacation Spot? We spend a lot of our summer at our family’s home on Indian Hills Lake in Cuba, MO… it’s not fancy but just walking in there makes me relax!