Thursday, November 29, 2012

BEHIND THE LENS: Naomi Wittlin, Houston, TX

We are thrilled to feature the beautiful work of Naomi Wittlin this week on Moms Who Click.  Naomi and I run in the same online circles......we are both big Kim Klassen and Tracey Clark fans.   As you will see below Naomi has an eye for noticing beauty in nature and for catching amazing details.  She makes you want to grab your macro lens and go outside rain or shine.  

Thank you Naomi for your interview today.  I look forward to "seeing" you in our various online communities!  

Your Name: Naomi Wittlin
Your studio/business name: Poetic Aperture
Location: Houston, Texas


Your Style:

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? I hope they would say that they end up with exactly what they’d hoped for but didn’t know how to ask for.  I usually hear that they love the little details that I capture… tiny toes or a natural expression that portrays exactly who they are. 

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Once I realized that photography was a passion, I took an introductory course at a local university.  For the most part though, I am self-taught, but I am an e-course junkie.  I love Big Picture Classes, Clickin Moms, and Shutter Sisters and have taken a total of ten (so far!) specific photography-related courses, mostly through those groups.  (See http://www.poeticaperture.com/e-course-history/)

How many years have you been a professional photographer? That depends what you mean by “professional.” I have been getting paid here and there to take portraits and design photo books for about two years now.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years?  I would like to be the person my friends think of when they need headshots or want to have portraits taken of their kids or of their family.  I hope to be participating in local photography exhibitions and I would love for my fine art shop to be well known.

Is there a photographer who inspires your style?  Who would that be? The person I think of first is Tracey Clark because she shoots from the heart.  I absolutely love that she began a community of female photographers and that it has been so successful (Shutter Sisters).  Her new book about photography and motherhood is awesome too.  She separates much of the technical aspect of photography and focuses instead on the artistry.

Favorite location to take photos? Anywhere outdoors.  I am inspired by natural beauty, great lighting, and that dreamy bokeh effect.

Favorite vacation spot?  Near a lake or any kind of natural beauty that inspires me to pull out my camera.  I have a goal of visiting 10 national parks. 


Your Business:

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer?  I have loved capturing little snippets of time or information as long as I can remember.  I was the one on family trips who had a little camera and notebook (yes, nerd!). It is only recently that I have called myself a photographer though. 

When my daughter was born almost 4 years ago, I felt so rushed in all kinds of ways, like I couldn’t keep up with life because all my attention was going to this one little person.  My choices to do anything at all seemed to also be choices not to do other things, if that makes sense.  I was absolutely shocked that there was a finite limit to what I could accomplish in one day because up until that point I would just keep going until something was “done.” So I would have my little point and shoot in my pocket all the time to record every little thing I felt I was missing. My intent was to use the pictures as prompts to be able to go back later and write in my journal about this crazy experience called motherhood.  I’m still waiting for that “later” to happen!

I seem to notice photo opportunities that perhaps most people don’t.  Rather than posed shots, I find that the natural, candid emotion that comes forth on a person’s face makes much better photos.  Capturing these moments (often unawares) with a camera makes for photographs that people are so grateful to have because they spark true memories.  I see these little moments and expressions all the time and it’s my pleasure to capture them for people.  I honestly think that it’s the timing and perspective, not the camera, that makes up 99% of a great photo.  Nobody compliments a famous chef and asks what kind of cookery he/she uses, right?

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Probably being a part of such a wide community of classes has helped the most, and that is pure joy.  My online friends visit my blog and the rest is history.

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you?  I just took a hilariously cute photo of a newborn girl in a cheerleading outfit (with pom poms!), flanked on either side by the family’s golden retrievers in football costumes.  The amount of antics involved in making that happen was beyond funny.

Favorite print lab? I use Nations Photo Lab to fulfill print orders and then drop ship to customers.  I also really like Costco… I have several 20x30 prints in my house that I printed there and they are only $8 each!


Your Gear:

Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): Canon

If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? My 50mm compact macro.  It’s unbelievable for portraits.

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? Lowepro

What gear would we find in your camera bag?  Canon t2i, BlackRapid strap, Canon 18-135mm, Tamron 90mm, Canon 50mm compact macro, extra battery, battery charger, memory cards, business cards, camera manual. 

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan?  Natural light.  I rarely use the built-in flash, though I am planning to buy a Speedlight flash for indoor/low lighting shooting.  The last wedding I shot was indoors and if was quite dark… relying on my camera flash was painful!

Are you PC or Mac? Mac


Your Tips and Tricks:

What post processing tools do you use? I use Picasa as a catalog organizer and basic edits.  Photoshop Elements for layers, smoothing skin, lighting, selective sharpening, etc.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? JPEG 90% of the time

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Lighten up, girl! Stop putting pressure on yourself to decide who you “should” be and just go with it.

Best advice you would give a new photographer? Play.

What site do you use for your photography and why?  I just began using Fine Art America for my landscape work because it’s a wide community.  It makes it easy to upload images and let the customer transform them into canvases, prints, or greeting cards in a variety of sizes.  It could be someone staging a home or a hotel looking for artwork, but this site does all the orders/printing/shipping.

What Else Should We Know? Honestly, I yearn to be part of a community, and the more that I learn from magazines like “Outdoor Photographer” or online resources tells me that I’ve found my niche.  I am happy that there’s such a learning curve because that means there’s so much more to discover! 

What was your worst photography experience? I’ve been pretty lucky thus far.  I still bristle at the fact that I lost some of my Paris vacation photos.  Ever since then, I’ve been a stickler for backups, external hard drives, and cloud storage.

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? Maybe that I don’t consider myself very creative.


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

Three things I can’t live without…. Reese’s peanut butter cups, my soft blanket, and books.

I wish I had more… TIME alone.  As the mom of a little girl, life is busy.

The best thing about being a photographer is.... being able to immerse myself wholly in the present moment, focused only on what is in front of my lens.  Also, it’s a gift to be able to capture such special moments for people and I value it as such… cake smash time at a first birthday party or the first dance at a wedding. 

The most important lesson I ever learned was… to trust my intuition.  That still small voice within? It usually knows the right thing to do.

My favorite time of day is....early morning, when the day’s activity hasn’t begun.  I enjoy a quiet cup of coffee and the peaceful calm of the house.  I am at my most optimistic and energetic then. 

5 comments:

  1. Oh thank you, Kristina! I love how it came out. Bless you for your encouragement. :)

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  2. Naomi, this is a great interview, and it really feels like "you" exactly.

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  3. Great interview...great photographer! Great person as well. I've known her all her life.

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  4. Lovely interview! I really admire Naomi & enjoy her beautiful photography.

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