Tuesday, December 13, 2011

BEHIND THE LENS: Lisa Damrosch, Photography, Half Moon Bay, CA

Today we have a very special interview in that Lisa is someone I met in person at Camp Shutter Sisters.  Although I didn't get to spend as much time with her there as I would have liked, I did get the opportunity to get a glimpse of Lisa's fun loving personality and kind-hearted spirit.  Luckily for me I will have the opportunity to get to know her better in person--- we both live in the Bay Area and we plan on meeting up for some photo walks very soon.  

For now, I'm honored to have learned a little more about her through this Behind the Lens interview and I'm thrilled to share it with you.  Lisa, thank you for your interview today and I look forward to seeing you soon!

Your Name: Lisa Damrosch     
Your studio/business name: Lisa Damrosch Photography
Location: Half Moon Bay

Your Style:

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography?    I think my clients would describe my photography as relaxed and casual, and hopefully as fun and real. It is funny because I like to plan in life, but I rarely plan a shoot. I really like to let things happen and just trust the magic will show up.

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? I am self taught, and learning all of the time.

How many years have you been a professional photographer? I started “officially” in March of 2009.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? I really don’t have a five year plan. Photography is not my only business so I am lucky in that my passion and not just my checkbook can drive the decisions I make. I have always felt like I just need to be myself and love what I’m doing and follow wherever that takes me. I’m regularly surprised by where I am with my business and hope that will still be the case in 5 years.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be? I have always loved Tara Whitney’s work but more than that I love her philosophy, it is inspiring to see someone shoot what they love, how they love to shoot it and forget about the “rules”. I try to do that too.

Favorite location to take photos? I am not big on repeating locations.  I have some favorite local spots, but my very favorite location is a location that I have never been before, but that is meaningful to my clients…their home, their ranch, their favorite park. I’ll shoot just about anywhere.

Favorite vacation spot? Easiest question of them all: Disneyland!

Your Business:

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? I don’t recall a single moment, I actually I fought it for a very long time. I didn’t want to be yet another scrapbooker turned photographer with the same cute logo doing following the same crowd. It took a long time to call myself a “photographer” and mean it. So, I have sort of fallen down a slippery slope and it just kept growing…still is.

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? I am not a full-time photographer and marketing ends up taking a back seat a lot of the time. I don’t enjoy the self-promotion side of things. I have enjoyed success from donating shoots to causes that are important to me or to my family. The donations can come from my heart, rather than my small marketing budget and it is remarkable how much has been given back to me from putting myself out there that way. I’ve been lucky that I have gotten many loyal and regular customers that started out as a “freebie”.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? I recently had two beautiful and studious tweenage girls ask me if they could have their pet snakes join the family shoot. There were rules about not scaring the photographer, and then Matthew and Marie (the snakes) were in a few shots!

Favorite print lab? I like White House Custom Color. They are fabulous…I’m also becoming a fan of Paper Coterie for specialty items.

Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): I am a Nikon girl…but toy with switching every now and then.

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? The 24-70 2.8. I love this lens.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? I just got an Epiphanie Lyric bag and love it to pieces.

What gear would we find in your camera bag? I don’t like to switch lenses often, I really like to be free and able to move with a family on a shoot, so I usually keep my 24-70 on my camera. If I bring a bag I’ll bring my 50mm 1.4 and my 18-200 for more range.

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Natural light

Are you PC or Mac? Mac

Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use? I use Aperture and Photoshop

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? I’m a big fan of Jpeg, but I’m pushing myself to shoot more Raw just to keep all of my processing options open.

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? This is a loaded question! I think I would tell her to trust her instincts and to let go of what she thinks she “should” be doing. I would tell her to loosen up and have more fun, and that it is ok to take care of herself before the rest of the world once in a while.

Best advice you would give a new photographer? I would tell a new photographer to find their own style, to let go of trying to do what they see other people doing and to shoot what you love.

What site do you use for your photography and why? I have a Wordpress blog and a flash site through Blu Domain. I like that both are pretty easy to update and that both work on mobile devices too.

What Else Should We Know?

What was your worst photography experience? Probably when a large multi-family group (with several men that wanted no part of the process) wanted very formal portraits at high noon in a location with zero shade. I was just starting out and bowed to their inflexibility on time or place (or attitude). They ended up quite happy with the shoot, I hated every shot, and vowed never again.

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? Hmmm…maybe that one of my favorite things to do other than photography is to learn boxing techniques?

Tell us something else you’d like us to know: In my other life I’m part of a family commercial fishing business.

And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks

Three things I can’t live without…. my family, the ocean, hope.

I wish I had more….. time, hours in a day, days in a month, years in a life.

The best thing about being a photographer is… stopping time and being able to give that to someone else.

The most important lesson I ever learned was…. to trust myself.

My favorite time of day is… golden hour, of course as a photographer I love the light, but it also just feels like a fleeting quiet filled with all of the beauty of the day that is ending and the hope for the evening that is beginning.


  1. What a wonderful interview. Thanks, Kristina, I love getting to know Lisa better! Camp was such a great starting point for new friendships!


Thank you for your kind words. We appreciate and read each and every one.