Membership here at 4TLoF is global…we have women photographers that span as far away as award winning photographer, Ellie Williams of Pitter Patter Portraits located in Melbourne, Australia. So excited that we had a chance to talk to her! :)
Tell us a little something about yourself? I live in Melbourne Australia, “the most liveable city in the world”. My parents moved us all here from Iran when I was 12 years old, in the hope of giving us all a better life. I have a Bachelor of Science Degree, Masters in Business and Technology and an Applied Diploma in Photography, so you could say I like studying and believe in formal education. I am married with three gorgeous kids (I may be biased), ages 8, 7 and 4. I was always going to be a career woman, climbing the corporate ladder, then I had kids and everything changed.
How long have you been a photographer? My interest in photography began around 9 years ago, when I bought my first DSLR, the Canon 10D. I felt that since I had spent a small fortune, I should learn how to use my new fancy gadget.
Describe your area of expertise. I like shooting families and children of all ages, however, my specialty would have to be maternity and newborns.
How did you come to specialize in this area? Firstly, because I LOVE newborns. I would have babies forever if they didn’t grow into toddlers, lol. The second reason, I have found I love working in a studio and that I could be more creative with newborns and maternity, as my subjects weren’t constantly running around! Finally, it made it easier for me to concentrate my marketing efforts and funds.
Please share with us your absolute favorite photograph you’ve ever taken and tell us the story behind it, why it speaks to you, etc. This is really hard question, as I have so many. They mostly involve my children, but my favourite would have to be an image of my then 2 year old and her little baby brother, kissing. Besides the obvious emotional connection, I felt this image captured so very precisely the relationship between the two at the time. She was the doting, loving sister, and he was an innocent baby who was possibly oblivious of his sisters love for him.
How would you describe your style? I think I go through stages, but for the last 2 years I have been more attracted to posed, stylised, artistic, studio sessions especially for newborns and maternity. For older children I still enjoy outdoor, backlit late afternoon/early morning sessions.
What is your standby pose (the one that everyone’s tends to want from you)? I do have a standby pose, that I do often, but that is not the one everyone tends to want. The one I get asked about the most is the baby in dad’s hand pose.
What gear is in your bag? I am a canon girl all the way. I have a Canon 1DS MkIII as my main camera and 5D MkII as my backup/second camera. Depending on what I am shooting, I would choose from the following lenses: 50 1.2L, 85 1.2L, 180 3.5L Macro, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 IS 2.8L.
If you could only use one lens what would it be? If I had to choose one lens, it would be Canon 24-70 2.8L. It’s good for a newborn session, great for running around after kids, wide enough for landscape/travel photography and lets me get close to the subject so although not a real macro, it still gives me nice close ups.
Are you considering any new gear purchases this year? I am pretty practical when it comes to buying new gear. I refuse to upgrade to the latest and greatest just because I want to. Unless my camera bodies or lenses die, I don’t need to upgrade any of them in the near future. However on my list of things to buy (12-18 months) is a Drobo (hard drive redundancy), I would like a new super large octabox and a new laptop since my old one died 2 years ago.
What is your go-to camera shop? For actual camera equipment it varies, although I do love B+H, but for all lighting and accessories my preferred supplier is Kayell.
Which album company do you recommend? Seldex. I love the quality and customer service. I believe Finao in the US does sell Seldex albums and image boxes.
How do you stay motivated? I am lucky, I love the actual photographing side so I never need motivation to pick up the camera to shoot a session. However I am not a huge fan of editing, so when I find I am completely unmotivated, I make a list of everything I have to do and prioritize it and just start working through it. I also have a spreadsheet and whiteboard showing me where in the workflow all my clients are.
What makes your job easy? I think the most difficult part of my job would be an unsettled newborn. So if I could do every newborn session before baby was 10 days old, my job would be easier.
Do you prefer to work in the studio, on-location, or both and why? I love studio. It has taken me six years to realize this, but I love the controlled environment. I do love on location shoots, but with older children.
What sets you and your work apart from other photographers in your area? I think my style is a little different to most newborn photographers in my area, in that I do like to use unique, classic props and do use studio lighting. I am also one of the only ones who provide, what I consider full service, in that I offer in-person viewing and help my clients choose images and products that suit their home and lifestyle.
Tell us about your image processing style and the software you use. I love Photoshop and do my culling in Bridge and raw processing in ACR and then finish off in Photoshop.
Have you attended any workshops that you found to be helpful in your work? I love learning and have attended a few workshops, but I am picky about which ones I attend. The first workshop I ever attended was Kelley Ryden’s one day workshop in Melbourne and that kick started my newborn photography. The last workshop I attended was Baby as Art in Melbourne and that helped fine tune my newborn posing skills. I have also attended JinkyArt and NicoleV’s workshops and loved both of them on different levels. One was very inspirational and the other very informative. The one workshop I would recommend to every photographer who would like to take their business to the next level is Sue Bryce. Even if you don’t do glamour photography, the business parts of her workshops are priceless.
Which professional organizations do you belong to? AIPP memberhsip is up for renewal, but haven’t had the time to renew it so technically non at the moment.
Best advice for new photographers breaking into the business? I think it is really important to learn the craft well before starting a business. Once you have mastered the craft, then attend a short business course to help you setup your business and to meet all the legal requirements.
Do you have any tips for newborn photography? Pay attention to detail, the fingers, toes, baby’s expression, the blanket, these are the little things that make the difference between a good image and a great image ( that and lighting lol) and always be safe.
If you could choose anyone to do a photoshoot of you and your family, who would your choose? Too many to choose from, but if I had to choose, probably Kelly Munce.
If you were not a photographer, then…If I could not be a photographer, then I think I would love to be a business mentor, for small businesses, preferably photography based.
What does photography mean to you? Photography to me is way of documenting life in the most beautiful way possible. I have noticed I like capturing the good in life, the beautiful, the amazing, the sunset and sunrise.
What’s your guilty pleasure? Chocolate.
My weakness is…Chocolate
My strength is…Being able to look outside the box.
What do you do when you first wake up? This is really sad…I check my phone for emails and have a quick look on Facebook and 4 the Love of Focus forum.
Finish this quote: When it rains…it pours. I know not very original, but that’s how I am feeling at the moment, being really busy and all the babies arriving at the same time.
Who do you love? Ok, so I can’t just say one person, I love my parents, my kids and my husband who has always supported me in everything I choose to do.
Blog addiction…In bed with Sue (Sue Bryce )
MAC or PC…PC. I have been using PC’s since I was 16, I know them inside out,
80’s Music…I am an 80′s girl! There’s not much from the 80′s that I don’t love! From Prince, WHAM, AHA, Madonna, Bon Jovi, Guns and Roses, the list goes on!
What’s on your iPod? Actually I have recently discovered Spotify so the list is way too long, but needless to say, lot’s and lot’s of 80′s music
Morning or night? Definitely night! Don’t even try and talk to me in the mornings.
My friends say… Actually, I don’t know, I’d be too scared to ask….
Travel dreams… I am lucky to have travelled a lot, as this is my favourite thing to do in life! But there is still so much to see. I would love to see the pyramids in Egypt, and funnily enough to see more of Australia, like Kakadu and Broome.
On my day off… I got a bike for Christmas and I just love spending the day riding my bike with my family.
One of your top 100 to do before you die? Skydiving. Always wanted to do this and plan to do it in November, fingers crossed I won’t chicken out. What isn’t? On the other hand I would never go Bungy Jumping, I know similar idea but to me, completely different!
Thanks so much for taking time out of your busy day to share a glimpse into your life. :D