This week we’re thrilled to share with you our interview with Holly Bown, owner of The Enchanted Photo, a wedding boutique, and also Moving Pictures, a studio dedicated to Family Films, seniors and concept shoots.
Tell us a little something about yourself. I am married with 3 hilarious kiddos. We live on a dairy farm in the middle of Utah which is the last place that I thought that I would end up! I had spent from 7th to 12th grade in the San Francisco Bay Area, and before that we lived right outside of Princeton, NJ. So, to live in a tiny community in Utah is quite a change, but I have lived here for over 10 years now, and have come to love it. Because we live on a farm we have plenty of room for dogs, and we have 4 of them! They range from a 200 lb. English Mastiff to a 10 lb. Cavalier King Charles Spaniel (who is sitting on my lap as I type this). It gets kind of crazy some days.Besides being a portrait photographer, I love to also photograph landscapes. In fact, I had a gallery show a year ago featuring some of my work. That is another perk of living on the farm, lots of land to photograph! When I’m not busy doing anything with my camera, I love to try new recipes, read a good book, or re-do a room in my house. Although, my kids keep me busy enough that I don’t really have time for anything it seems like.
How long have you been a photographer? I have been interested in photography since I was in high school. I took a class in high school and worked for the PR office of the college I went to, and generally always had a camera in my hands. When I was a junior in high school, I lived in Spain for 6 months, and when I look back at my images, I can see that even then, I was using leading lines and rule of thirds. I didn’t start my portrait business until years later, however, about 2008.
Describe your area of expertise. I have photographed everything from babies to weddings, but only recently have decided to narrow my focus to weddings, high school seniors and concept shoots. Concept shoots are stylized shoots, usually with a theme, such as Alice in Wonderland. I love the glamour and the drama of weddings. They are so much fun (and work!) to photograph, but I love the results. I recently brought on a partner in this area and we are so excited to begin working with each other. High school seniors and concept shoots are similar to weddings in that you are trying to tell a story. A lot of the time they, too, are filled with glamour and drama. Along with still photography I am also starting to do more filming, as in “Moving Pictures” (hence the name of my new business). I love to tell a story in my work, and these films are the ultimate story teller. Can you imagine having not just one single portrait of your family, but a short film that tells the STORY of them? Ahh, I love them! Here is a film I put together:
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. My favorite photograph that I have ever taken is a landscape that I took about 3 years ago of my husband’s farm. It is actually a tryptic (3 pieces), but it remains my favorite. It kind of tells a story of his life as a farmer, and how I see this land that we live on. I had it printed as a group of large float wraps for my husband for Christmas, and it is still the best present I have ever given him. I love these images because where we live is so beautiful, but to my husband and his family all they see is the work that they have to do, as farmers. I wanted to show them how I see, and to not be so busy that they never stop to look up.
How would you describe your style? My style is an evolving thing, like many photographers. I would describe it as colorful and bold. I hope that it is timeless as that is what I am “shooting” for.
What gear is in your bag? Right now I am working with a Canon 5D MKII and a 24-70 2.8 lens. That’s it, but it works really well for me. I have a Manfrotto tripod with a swivel grip that I use quite often as well, especially when I am filming. (Although it’s not really a video tripod, but that is on my list.)
If you could only use one lens what would it be? If I could use only one lens, it would be the 70-200 2.8. Yes it is a beast to carry, but you can’t beat the yummy compression, and the versatility of it. For weddings it is a must, and for portraits it is beautiful.
Are you considering any new gear purchases this year? Since I am venturing into filming there is a whole list of gear on my list. (And if you think photography equipment is expensive, times that by 4!) On the top is a new tripod that is meant for filming and a rig for handheld filming. Those are my must haves for sure.
What is your go-to camera shop? The camera shop that I love is called Pictureline in Salt Lake City, UT. I have been going there for about 10 years and they are AMAZING. When they first started they were in this tiny cramped building, and now they are in a huge, state of the art facility. Their staff is incredibly helpful and very knowledgeable. I love making the 1 1/2 hour trip up there, without kids, just to go and talk to them about what I need.
What sets you and your work apart from other photographers in your area? There are a lot of photographers in my area, but I am starting to separate myself from the pack by narrowing my focus. Most photographers here shoot everything from babies to families, and since I have decided to move away from that kind of photography, I see myself moving away from the rest. I also have honed my edited look over the years, and have taken many courses on how to shoot better right out of the camera, and I think it shows.
Do you use a Mac or PC? I’m Mac all the way baby!I have been since I was a little girl. My mom worked in multi media when I was young and I can remember her bringing home a “portable” computer, it was this huge bulky cube with a tiny 8×8 screen, and to think that was how they were designing multimedia productions!
Tell us about your image processing style and the software you use. I like high contrast colorful images. I try the hazy vintage looks, but it never looks “right” to me on my own images, so I always end up going back to what I know works for me. I use Adobe Photoshop to create my images, as well as some go to programs like AutoLoader.
Have you attended any workshops that you found to be helpful in your work? If so, which ones? I have attended a lot of seminars and workshops over the years, including Sandy Puc and a few video ones. I also am a big fan of Creative Live. They are an online class room with amazing educators on everything from editing to shooting to sales. I own about 5 of the seminars, but have watched many many of them live. If you are looking for some fabulous photography related education, I can’t recommend Creative Live highly enough.
Tell us about your long-term goals. I have had a hard time narrowing down what exactly is the right path for me, but after recently changing my business, I feel more on track than ever. It’s such a great feeling! In 5 years I would love to have 2 weddings a month booked, and to be filming 5-10 family films a year. I know this seems small, but it is perfect for me. I still have 3 young kids, and need to still be mom. That is very important to me, and my family.
Best advice for new photographers breaking into the business? My advice to new photographers is to EDUCATE yourself. LEARN your camera backwards and forwards. Know how to shoot in all kinds of lightings, and with different subjects. KNow what your weaknesses are, and do what you can to make them your strengths. Photography is a constant education, so don’t be afraid that you don’t know everything right off the bat, but also don’t just jump right into a business after a week with a new camera. Bring quality to the industry. On top of your technical skills you also need to learn how to actually run a business. It is a lot harder than just picking up a camera and charging $50. There are so many things that come into play. Learn what your costs are going to be (including taxes) so that you can charge appropriately. Be fair to yourself and to others in the industry that are trying to make a living by following their passion.
Do you have any tips for films? Films are a whole different ball game than still photography, but there are a lot of similarities as well. It is most similar to lifestyle photography. You need the main story, a supporting story and what we call B roll, which are all the little details. Shoot a few different angles of the same scene, this will allow for a more interesting film. This can be really time consuming if you are working by yourself, but you will work a lot more efficiently if you storyboard your idea before hand. That way you have an idea of what you are working towards.
If you were not a photographer, then…I honestly don’t know what I would do. All of my alternative professions rotate around photography. I love public relations and advertising, but mostly I love the photography aspect of them. I suppose that what I leaned toward in college was geology. I loved studying how the earth formed, and all of the massive energy involved in moving mountains, but again, it ties back into photography, because that is what I love to photograph when I’m not photographing people.
Magazine must have? SUNSET! I loooove Sunset magazine. The articles are so awesome, and the photography is amazing. I have had a subscription for over 10 years, and have a hard time throwing them away. I also love National Geographic, but who doesn’t right, and Cooking light. I have a subscription to Rangefinder which is an industry publication, and that has given me so much inspiration. In fact it was an article that I read a few months ago that encouraged me to contact my new partner. I literally read an article on photography businesses with two main photographers, and then emailed the girl that I had been debating on contacting. It was the answer that I needed, and was the best decision I could have made for my business! Thank you Rangefinder!
My weakness is…Procrastination…….. I’ll get back to this question later.
My strength is…Creativity. And being fearless. I am not afraid to jump off the proverbial cliff with an idea, such as taking the step to partner. I have so many ideas jumbling up my brain, and I’m not afraid to use them.
What do you do when you first wake up? Hit snooze…..
What’s on your iPod? I listen to a lot of podcasts on my iPod, one of my favorites is called Manic Mommies. If you don’t listened YOU NEED TO! They are hilarious and talk about everything from magazines to dealing with ADHD to husbands. They are two hilarious, intelligent woman. I also have about 4 days worth of music. Everything from Maroon 5, to Carley Rae Jepsen, to Mumford and Sons. I just love good music.
Morning or night? Depends on if I was a night person the day before or not.I always like getting up and getting going, but some days it is harder than others. Especially if I was up till 2 the night before working.
Travel dreams…Oh this list could go on and on and on. I would love to go to Peru to visit Machu Picchu, to Central America to see the ruins there, to bicycle through Southern France, spend a month in Belgium and Holland, to Greece, this list really could just keep going. And Pinterest isn’t helping!
On my day off…I catch up on laundry, clean bathrooms, mop floors, do more laundry, help with homework, pay bills, more laundry….
One of your top 100 to do before you die? See – Travel Dreams
THANK YOU so much for taking the time to share with us, Holly! :)