Tracy found us over the internet. We were so thrilled when she did because her work and her background are so interesting. She's been around photography her whole life, her father is a professional commercial photographer (and even photographed the original Reese's Pieces candy pack in Canada). Tracy has done a wide variety of photography including fashion, food, decor, cookware and tools. While on maternity leave with her second child, she decided to pursue portrait photography. Tracy loves "on location" photography, each shoot presents new and creative challenges to her. She received her formal training in photography from Humber College (Diploma of Creative Photography) and Ryerson University (BAA Media Arts). Tracy has also assisted both commercial and wedding photographers. Moms Who Click are astounded by her wonderful portraits, check them out. We learned a ton from this interview, including photographers who inspire her, hosting sites for photographers, and much more. Without any further ado, we would like to reveal our interview with Tracy Reid!
Your Name: Tracy Reid
Your studio/business name: TBR Photography
Location: Markham, ON. Canada
- In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? I’ve heard classic, timeless, artistic, lovely. I love working with clients and adapting my style to their needs. But, the most frequent comment I get is that the images moved them to tears (of joy of course!) I love that my work holds that much meaning for them.
- Are you self-taught or classroom trained? A combination of both. I graduated from Ryerson University and Humber College for photography, but that was in the days of film (I shot 120mm and 4x5 film and transparency in school). Within 9 months of graduating, digital technology exploded and completely changed the industry. My extent of classroom training in digital photography was Photoshop 3 and one assignment on an arca swiss digital camera with less mega pixels than your average cellphone, so most of my knowledge in digital photography is self-taught, learned on the job or through seminars. I've had the opportunity to work alongside some fantastic photographers, retouchers, stylists and art directors over the years and have learned a lot from them all. I find I still learn something on every shoot and I am continually improving my post production skills.
- How many years have you been a professional photographer? 11 years as a photographer, 14 years total in the photographic industry (assisting, lab work etc.)
- Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? My husband has recently joined my photography business, with the goal of having him photograph primarily outdoor portraits, while I will continue to focus on newborns and studio style portraiture indoors. I would love to see this grow were we can both focus on the areas of portrait photography we enjoy.
- Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? Baby as Art, One for the Wall, The Portrait Place - Photography by Alecia Silva and Keri Meyers Photography to name a few.
- Favorite location to take photos? Beside a very large window with bright, diffused light, or at this beautiful historic area close to me called Main Street Unionville (Really popular locally, but I love it anyway. It was used in the opening of the Gilmore Girls pilot.)
- Favorite vacation spot? East coast of Canada. Especially, PEI, Nova Scotia, and Newfoundland.
- What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? My Dad was a commercial photographer and I grew up with his studio and darkroom in our basement. It was something I was always around. I’ve always loved looking at images, and listening to my Dad talk about photography, but I didn’t have a real desire to take pictures myself because I could never make them look as good as his. When I was 17, I went on a trip to the east coast of Canada with my grandmother who was beginning to have some difficulty seeing. She told me she would rely on the pictures I took to remember the trip. I took with me a completely manual Canon TX with only a 50mm 1.8 lens and 30 minutes of instruction from my Dad. The first place we went on the trip was Peggy’s Cove. If you’ve ever seen Peggy’s Cove, it’s hard not to get a fantastic shot there! I remember actually thinking about the composition as I took the shots. That was it for me. Of course, only having 30 minutes of instruction on a manual film camera didn’t come without some mishaps. After the first roll of film, I forgot how to rewind and unload it and ended up fogging the last 6 frames, but I learned pretty quickly. When I got back from the trip, I went through the film with my Dad. I was so proud of the results, and so was he. Until that point, I had planned to go into teaching…but then everything changed!
- What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Google and learning about Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I’ve tried Kijiji, Craig’s List and Facebook with some success, but I find the majority of people look for local businesses through Googling.
- What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? I think when it comes to the photography business I’m pretty shock proof… nothing surprises me… at least nothing recently.
- Favorite print lab? GTA Imaging in Toronto. http://www.gtaimaging.com They’re great and I love living close enough to my lab that I get to have a face to face relationship with them too.
- Are you Canon or Nikon (or – gasp--“other”): Currently Nikon
- If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? 50mm
- What brand bag do you carry your camera in? An old “Black’s” bag that I inherited. I have a Lowepro belt pack that I love, but have outgrown. I use it still when I can travel light.
- What gear would we find in your camera bag? Nikon D700, 50mm, 85mm, 105mm Macro, 24-120mm, SB600, Minolta IIIF light meter, LumiQuest UltraSoft, extra batteries, cf cards, close up filter, clamps, rattles, toys, business cards and beach glass picked up on my honeymoon.
- Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? That really depends on what I’m shooting. Personally I LOVE natural light, but it doesn’t work in every situation and winters in Canada can be kind of dark so I always have a back-up strobe kit that I bring to every shoot.
- Are you PC or Mac? I’m bilingual! Personally I own PC, but use Mac for my commercial work.
Your Tips and Tricks
- What post processing tools do you use? Adobe Photoshop CS5.
- Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw + jpeg basic (for easier file management), but only ever work with the Raw file.
- Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? You don’t have to learn everything the hard way. It’s ok to ask for help and advice. |
- Best advice you would give a new photographer? Learn to handle criticism. Learn what is constructive and don’t assume all criticism coming from established photographers is rooted in jealousy. It’s something that I’ve seen a lot in young and new photographers (myself included!) when in reality it comes from people who are so passionate about what they do and the industry in general that they’d like to see everyone who chooses to join it maintain a certain level of professionalism. You need really thick skin because unlike most professions, you are so much a part of the work you do.
- What site do you use for your photography and why? Portfoliositez. I wasn’t very web savy (beyond basic searching), when I started my own business and I found their user interface very easy to work with.
What Else Should We Know?
- What was your worst photography experience? I put a lens on wrong and unknowingly jammed the aperture so it shot everything wide open (even though it was set on f5.6). I learned what Kodachrome looked like when it was shot 3 stops over exposed!
- What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? When I meet people for the first time, they’re always surprised to learn that I am a photographer and that I’ve made 100% of my income from photography for the last 11 years. Also, people who know me as a commercial photographer are surprised to learn that I also shoot portraiture, and those who know me as a portrait photographer are equally surprised to learn that I also do product photography.
- Tell us something else you’d like us to know: The one word that I have the most difficulty using the right form is “photography”, ie, photo, photograph, photographer, photographic, photography… go figure! Also, my husband tells me I’m addicted to using exclaimation points!
And just because we want to get to know you, please finish these sentences
- Three things I can’t live without….my kids, my camera, my husband… in that order!
- I wish I had more….. hours in a day.
- The best thing about being a photographer is… the ability to constantly bend and reinvent the rules. I love that there are so many different ways to approach the same shot. I also love the creativity and problems solving involved in photography. It’s a fantastic combination of art and science.
- The most important lesson I ever learned was…. to focus on what’s important.
- My favorite time of day is… early morning, if I haven’t been up too late enjoying my second favorite time of day… late at night (and very, very early morning) I’m an early riser by necessity and a night owl by nature.
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