Tuesday, December 27, 2011

BEHIND THE LENS FLASHBACK: Lisa Carpenter, West Midlands, UK

We originally posted our interview with Lisa in July but we thought it would be fun to do a repost of Lisa's work.  Over the past few months she has been very busy shooting weddings and portraits and recently had an article featured in OUT Magazine:   Wedding Photography Planning & Tips.  AND she also had her amazing, edgy wintery Ice Queen styled photos featured on OMG I'm Getting Married.   So if you missed her interview in July (because you were on vacation or enjoying your busy summer), here is your chance to meet our friend, Lisa Carpenter!  After you read this post, be sure to check out her site for a recap of her top photos of 2011.  

(originally posted July, 2011)
We are thrilled to showcase the work of the talented Lisa Carpenter this week.  Not only will you love her photos of babies, fashion, weddings, and famous faces (you'll be swooning in a moment), you will love her personality.  We are certain that, like us, you will want to be one of her Twitter peeps!  Her photography journey is one that we will all want to follow.  And now without further ado we present....Lisa Carpenter!

Your Name:  Lisa Carpenter
Your Studio/Business Name:  Lisa Carpenter Photos
Location:  West Midlands, UK
Website:  http://www.lisacarpenterphotos.com/

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?
My clients tell me my work somehow elevates their self image, their expectations of what can be achieved in photography and often provides them with a mighty boost to their self esteem.  To me these things are worth more than all the tea in China.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained?
I started in newspapers and gained the industry’s photojournalism qualification, but as time has passed, I find I’ve constantly been educated by books, other photographers and from countless experiences.

How many years have you been a professional photographer?
Approaching twenty, which makes me sound old, but I'm a whippersnapper really!

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?
I want to shoot the first wedding on the moon!

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be?
Many inspirational photographers - Jasmine Star for weddings (and kick-ass personality!) Joe Buissink for business acumen, stunning photography and an amazing story, Cindy Sherman and Mary Ellen Mark ( I've shot portraits of both) - their work sends tingles down my spine and I’m incredibly lucky to have spent time in their company!

Favorite location to take photos?
Outside. I love natural light. I also realized recently that I take a lot of photos through windows. From the outside looking in, the inside looking out, there's something voyeuristic about it - a psychologist would have a field day with that, I'm certain!

Favorite vacation spot?
I love British holidays (Devon and Cornwall) but as I got married in Barbados, I'd have to say that was my favourite holiday yet!

Your Business:
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?
When my mother got fed up of me sitting on the sofa all day watching daytime TV. I was 18, just finished school and trying to work out what to do with my life. She saw an advert for a local newspaper photographer and I went for it.  I didn't realise how much I liked it until one year later when I did my photojournalism qualification.  It was a prestigious course and so many of the students there were so grateful to be doing this... That’s when I realised just how lucky I was to be doing something that brought me so much joy and satisfaction.  That’s the moment I became a photographer.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you?
Word of mouth recommendations for weddings and portraits and well placed bylines for magazine and newspaper photography.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?
My first job when I moved to Manhattan was taking photos of a very famous singer. He invited me out for the evening to drive around the city in his limo taking in the sights... (wink, wink!) I was very flattered but he was almost 80 so my answer was no. The same thing didn't happen with Justin Timberlake unfortunately!

Favorite print lab?
OneVision and Loxley

Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or – other):
Nikon. I remember back in the day being told that if you dropped a Nikon on the floor it wouldn't break. I've never tested this out and don't think my camera would thank me for it but it's been Nikon all the way ever since.

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be?
18-35mm , I'm never without it, whatever I'm shooting.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in?
It's an old Beseler rucksack type thing. Terribly unstylish but the only bag I've found that takes all my gear in a small enough space without hurting my back too much.  I'm in the market for a new bag that looks the part for weddings and am leaning towards Kelly Moore or Shootsac...

What gear would we find in your camera bag?
I chop and change a fair bit depending on the job but most of the time a Nikon D3, Nikon D1X (my first digital SLR which I am still in LOVE with!) a 50mm 1.4, 18-35mm, 24-70mm 2.4 and occasionally an 80-200mm 2.8 but that's a heavy bit of kit for a wedding considering how little I use it. (I'm also waiting for Nikon to announce their new cameras and am hoping to get a D800.  Hurry up Nikon!) Flash, Quantum battery pack and plenty of spare batteries.  And never without some chewing gum, my phone and a picture of my husband and daughter!

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan?
Natural light but not averse to throwing in a little fill-in flash to create a dramatic image.

Are you PC or Mac?
Mac, baby !

Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use?
Photoshop CS3

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg?
Depends on the job and what the images are needed for. Raw when I'm looking for fine details like wedding dresses, products and for beauty shots, Jpegs for anything where I'm not looking to fine-tune the photos too much or need speedy delivery.

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self?
Know your tools and experiment more. Believe in yourself. Save money and buy a house... NOW! Buy a house, dammit !

Best advice you would give a new photographer?
Take photos! Of everything and everyone. Try new shots, play with light, mix up your angles. Learn from other photographers. The good ones are happy to share their secrets! Drop me a line!

What site do you use for your photography and why?
I used to have a site for my magazine and newspaper work and a seperate site for my wedding and portrait work but have recently updated to a custom Wordpress site combining all aspects of my photography. With a blog of course. Still getting used to people wanting to follow my photography journey!

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience?
Forgetting a flash cable at a concert with failing batteries in my speedlight! Luckily had shot the band during the day and the live photos were an afterthought but missed out on some good shots. Now, I'm obsessive about checking my equipment, the charge capacity and spare batteries!

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not?
I get crushes on any male celebrity who gives me "good photo face"!

Tell us something else you’d like us to know:
I love shooting weddings! In my years as a New-Yorker, I often said I'd never photograph a wedding.
Then I shot a friend’s big day and fell in love. With wedding photography- not the friend!  The capacity for so much creativity in one day still astonishes me. And when else do you get to photograph people at their happiest, looking their best, madly in love in a beautiful location?

And just because we want to know you, kindly fill in the blanks – thanks!

Three things I can’t live without….Family, sunshine, laughter.

I wish I had more…..Twitter followers! I've only just joined and find myself getting slightly obsessive !

The best thing about being a photographer is…Capturing a moment in time that would otherwise be forgotten.

The worst?......Always being the photographer and never the subject matter - I need to unleash my inner star occasionally!

The most important lesson I ever learned was….At college, I was taught to never, ever photograph against a brick wall. That was a terrible lesson.  I love a shabby brick wall, whether it be a child posing against it, a band climbing it or a bride sitting on top of it. Nothing wrong with a bit of brick.   So I guess the best lesson I ever learned is that no-one can give you wiser advice than yourself.

My favorite time of day is…7.30am when I hear my daughter saying, "Wakey, wakey Mommy," through the monitor and 5.50pm when my husband gets home from work.


  1. Thank you for your lovely and incredibly flattering introduction! I'm thrilled to be Behind The Lens today! And on a Wordless Wednesday as I posted in the wrong section!

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