how do you say your name?
Believe me when I say that this is, actually, my most frequently asked question. It's pronounced nay-ha!
How did you get into photography? did you go to school for it?
Starting in high school, I've always had a camera on me. From disposable cameras to tiny digital cameras, I wanted to take photos of the moments and people I never wanted to forget. This continued throughout college and I'm still the same way now. There is something beautiful about photos of memories that don't change, even when the people in them do.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Studio Art with a concentration in Photography from Texas Christian University (Go Frogs!) in May 2013. After changing my major and career path about a hundred times (Broadcast Journalism so I can work on E! News? No. Web design! Hmm. Graphic design? Yes! Wait, no, not it.), I took a photography class and finally felt like I was where I was supposed to be. I never really pushed myself until my senior year and didn't find my style or direction until way after I graduated. It takes time, experience, and exploration to find what subjects set your heart on fire. Shoot a lot. Shoot everything, just to say you've done it and either loved it or hated it. That's the only way you'll find your direction!
What kind of equipment do you use to shoot/edit?
The very first DSLR I ever bought was a Canon T2i that I used for 4.5 years before I got a Canon Mark II, which is what I use now. One of the best lenses I ever purchased is a 50mm f/1.8 which is still the lens that I keep on my camera 95% of the time. It's a great lens for portraits and product shots and I've used it for every single concert photo I've taken. Bonus: It's only about $100! I also use a Canon 24-70 f/2.8 and Canon 70-200 f/2.8 as needed. Yongnuo flashes are excellent, inexpensive (under $100!), and you can buy six or seven of them for the price of one Canon flash.
When it comes to post-processing, I use Adobe Lightroom 4. For years, I only used Photoshop, and let me tell you, that is a time suck if you're editing a lot of images. Lightroom has improved my workflow and made it so much easier for me to edit my pictures quickly and with ease.
are you a full-time photographer?
I am not, actually! I work full-time as a Digital Strategist for a digital marketing agency. It's a creative challenge in a completely different way and I love it.
What tips do you have for aspiring photographers?
First off, don't let anyone tell you that you need a top-of-the-line camera to be a good photographer. False. Having a Keurig doesn't make you a barista, having a Kitchen Aid mixer doesn't make you a pastry chef, and having an expensive camera does not make you a photographer. Buy what you can, learn the camera basics, and practice taking the same shot a hundred different ways. That's how you become a good photographer. If you have questions, ask them! Attend workshops, reach out to photographers you admire, learn and absorb as much as you can from tutorials. Look for inspiration, look for a new perspective. You see the world from a human's POV, but what's the same scene like from a dog's POV? A bird's POV? Soon, you'll start seeing the world in an entirely different way.
The beautiful thing about photography is that you don't have to go down one particular path. Instead, there are many options that you can pursue at the same or different times in your life. While I was trying to figure out how to box myself in as a [fill in the blank] photographer, I realized that wasn't me at all. I don't consider myself to be a one trick pony or a jack of all trades, but rather somewhere in between. Each one of the areas of photography I specialize in are different enough to keep things interesting for me, but similar enough that my approach to each is the same. Find what works for you and never stop exploring, never stop shooting, and never get complacent.
what all do you blog about?
Honesty is the best policy. The reason we get sucked into the comparison game is because we see the success of others. We see the followers, the comments, the Instagram likes, the partnerships, but we don't see what really happens behind it.
By sharing posts about my own journey as a photographer and sharing the journey of the creatives you and I admire in the True North Creative series (coming soon!), I want to bring to light what it takes to get to where you want to be. No one is an overnight success, so you shouldn't feel bad when you don't go from, as Drake says, 0 to 100 real quick. With my work in social media at a digital marketing agency, I also want to help you up your game on social media so that your business looks and performs its best while still being true to you and your business' core values.
As you reach for your personal goals, drop the comparison game. Focus on YOUR journey and what it takes to be better than you were yesterday. Instead of craving the spotlight for ourselves, let's share it! As creatives, we're all in this together.