Your Name: Denise George
Your studio/business name: Denise George Photography
Location: Harrison, Arkansas
- In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? Bright, happy photographs focusing on fun! They'd probably tell you they leave sessions feeling like they made a new friend.
- Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Both. I started out learning everything I could via the internet and reading my camera manual. To give myself a boost of confidence, I started NYIP, a self-paced learning program. There is no substitue for just getting out there and doing the work though. I learned more through trial and error than anything else.
- How many years have you been a professional photographer? I started in 2007 shooting anything and every I saw. I kept shooting everything until I realized that shooting people was what I liked most. From there, I stepped back and assessed what I loved most and realized that I really, really loved working with kids the most.
- Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? Gosh, I'd love to be working non-stop shooting kids. Since I just moved back to my hometown after living in Phoenix for 10 years, I'm basically starting from scratch in this market but at least I have a portfolio.
- Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? I love the work of many photographers (my blogroll is ENORMOUS) and find bits of inspiration from all of them. I'm a notorious blog stalker. My favorite photogs to stalk are Peekaboo (http://blog.peekaboophotos.com/), The Sartoralist (http://thesartorialist.blogspot.com/), and Andrea Hallett (http://www.andreahallettphotography.net/).
- Favorite location to take photos? Hmmm, I like shooting outside better than inside. Give me a good field and I'm a happy gal.
- Favorite vacation spot? Hands down, Coronado, California.
- What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? Honestly, I can't remember. I took a few great photos on vacation one year and was encouraged by that. My best friend at the time was going on a photography trip to Prague and I wanted to go so badly but couldn't. When she came back and showed me her photos, I decided it was something I'd like to do. I've always needed a creative outlet of some sort.
- What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Cultivate your clients. They are a fertile garden of referrals.
- What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? To give them their money back. I've only had one client tell me they hated every single one of their images and were disappointed. I was shocked but it was a great learning experience.
- Are you Canon or Nikon (or – gasp--“other”)? Nikon, baby! I started out Sony but quickly switched to Nikon. I did a lot of research when I knew I need to make the switch and ultimately went with Nikon because of it's accurate color capture. As a plus, their bodies just feel “right” in my hands.
- If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? Fo shizzle, a zoom. Probably a really fast 18-200. I need to be able to shoot both wide and narrow when working with kids-they're quick little buggers.
- What brand bag do you carry your camera in? I've been using a Kata bag for several years. I just can't find another one I love. I went through several different ones when I first started out. I like my Kata bag because it's neoprene and you can just wipe it off. It's been peed on, plopped in chicken poop, and schlepped across the country and it's still good as new.
- Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light. You just can't beat the quality of natural light.
- Are you PC or Mac? I've used both but work on a PC.
Your Tips and Tricks
- What post processing tools do you use? Photoshop and actions. Lots and lots of actions.
- Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw.
- Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Start saving money now. Photography is an expensive business.
- Best advice you would give a new photographer? Be eager to learn and never quit learning. When you quit learning, you quit growing. I utilized the internet many, many hours the first few years I was shooting.
- What site do you use for your photography and why? My website is from photobiz (http://photobiz.com/) and their customer service is unbeatable. My blog is a WordPress blog customized with a template from ProPhoto Blogs (http://www.prophotoblogs.com/). I use ShootProof (http://www.shootproof.com/) for online proofing and sales.
What Else Should We Know?
- What was your worst photography experience? This one has me stumped. I know there were sessions that I left and cried but viewed them all as learning experiences. I'm a pretty positive person (thanks to medication, ha) so I try to look for the good in everything.
- What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I'm a green belt in Kenpo Karate.
- Tell us something else you’d like us to know: I've hurt myself more times than I can count “getting the shot.”
And Just Because we want to know you, fill in the blanks:
- Three things I can’t live without….flip-flops, facebook and Diet Coke.
- I wish I had more…money to invest in my business.
- The best thing about being a photographer is…the gratification I get from bonding with my subjects and gleaning awesome shots as a result.
- The most important lesson I ever learned was…do your research before you invest in any equipment. I wasted a lot of money at the beginning by not knowing what I really needed. If I had it to do over, I'd stick with my point and shoot a while longer instead of spending thousands on a body and lens I turned around and sold within six months.
- My favorite time of day is…twilight.