We are very excited to feature the work of Kat Sloma today on our Behind the Lens series. Kat is a fine art photographer, writer and teacher who believes we all have a unique vision of the world to share through our art. Through her blog and eCourses, Kat provides resources to help you find your creative vision, connect to your heart and soul, and find joy in your life through photography.
Thank you Kat for sharing your story and beautiful images with us today and for providing one lucky Moms Who Click reader a spot in your upcoming January/February Find Your Eye e-course series....see the details on how to enter below.
Your Name: Kat Sloma
Your studio/business name: Kat Eye Studio, LLC
Location: Online (physically in Corvallis, Oregon)
In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? I’ve heard the word “contemplative” used to describe my photography. There are elements of nostalgia and storytelling in my images, inviting the viewer to fill in the blanks. I try to create images that make me feel something, and in doing so, others pause to experience my images too.
Are you self-taught or classroom trained? I am mostly self-taught. I’ve taken a couple of basic photography courses, one from a community college 12 years ago and one online 5 years ago, and have read a lot of books. From there it’s just been experimentation and practice, practice, practice.
How many years have you been a professional photographer? I would consider myself a “professional” for about a year and a half, since starting Kat Eye Studio.
Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? I would like to have a healthy and thriving online business that feeds my soul and helps me connect with others. I plan to continue creating and teaching classes that help individuals connect to their heart and soul through photography. I hope to be teaching more at retreats and on-location workshops, around the country and world.
Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? David duChemin has been a favorite photographer of mine for a long time. I am attracted to his philosophies about photography along with his photographic style.
Favorite location to take photos? Anywhere out and about. I love the interaction of man-made and natural things that occurs in the urban environment. I am not an “at-home” photographer in the least. Get me out walking and I can’t help photographing. It takes me forever to get anywhere, because I want to stop and photograph along the way.
Favorite vacation spot? Anywhere in Europe. When I was living in Italy, I got addicted to the history, culture and texture that was immediately available anywhere in Europe. I miss that now that I’m back living in the US.
What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? It was the summer of 2010, when I discovered myself an artist, with photography as my medium. I had been studying and playing with photography for about 10 years at that point, but it was while living in Italy that I was finally pushed over the edge, seeing photography as a serious artistic pursuit. We had been traveling extensively around Europe, and through a regular practice of photography and writing on my blog, I suddenly discovered I had a unique vision and a style. I felt a confidence in what I was creating that had never felt before. I just wanted to keep creating, and I wanted to share that feeling with others. Out of my discovery, the idea for a business in photography and my first Find Your Eye eCourse was born.
What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Start an email newsletter! You need a way to keep in touch with people on a regular basis and develop a relationship with them. Most people don’t have time to come and read my blog every day. Through a regular email newsletter, my subscribers get to know me and stay connected with me. I can provide them with relevant information about photography and make them aware of upcoming classes in an unobtrusive way. If they no longer want the information, they just unsubscribe. It’s win-win for everyone.
What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? I had one student ask if she could get a refund on my class because she didn’t think of photography as art. The class description started with “Photography is art…” so I’m not quite sure how she ended up registering for my class. I happily refunded her money, since we were not going to be a good fit!
Favorite print lab? My own studio! In the last year I purchased a printer and love creating my own fine art prints at home. There is something amazing about the process of creating an image from start to finish.
Are you Canon or Nikon (or –other): I’m a long-standing Canon user, way back to my first film SLR purchased in 2000. Although for the last couple of months most of my work has been created with an iPhone 5!
If you could only have one lens on a photo shoot, what would it be? Tough question! I would ask if it’s indoors or outdoors, day or night. If I have to cover all lighting situations, I would choose my 35mm f/1.4. It’s a fantastic all-around lens for using available light across a wide variety of subjects. Second choice for the “one lens” question would be my 24-70mm f/2.8.
What brand bag do you carry your camera in? I just recently purchased a LowePro Passport Sling and I’m breaking it in. Before that I used a Crumpler Messenger Boy. I like to carry my bag across my body, and need something that will be comfortable to carry all day.
What gear would we find in your camera bag? In my bag, you will find my camera body, Rebel T1i (EOS 500D) camera body with 24-105mm f/4 lens attached most of the time. Also in the bag is a spare lens (typically my 35mm f/1.4), wireless remote, spare battery, spare memory card, microfiber cleaning cloth and all the personal essentials that would normally be in a small purse or wallet. Keeping the weight of my camera bag down is a high priority for me, since I may be carrying it all day, every day for a week or two at a time when traveling.
Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? Definitely natural light.
Are you PC or Mac? PC. Or lately… my iPhone or iPad!
Your Tips and Tricks:
What post processing tools do you use? For my SLR photography, I’m using Lightroom 4 on the PC almost all of the time. I also pop over into Photoshop Elements once in a while if there is something I can’t do in Lightroom.
On my iPhone or iPad, my favorite processing apps are Snapseed and Iris Photo Studio. Once you get into the mobile photography world though, it’s hard to choose. It’s easy to use 4 or 5 apps on one photo!
Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw on my SLR. Jpeg on my iPhone.
Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? Don’t take life so seriously! Take some time to figure out who you are and what you want to do. You don’t have to hurry along to adulthood or follow anyone else’s ideas of success.
Best advice you would give a new photographer? Learn the basics, and then follow what interests you. Don’t worry about trying to “do it all.” None of the great photographers tried to be good at everything, they specialized. Pay attention to what makes you happy, and follow that path.
What site do you use for your photography and why? My website is a self-hosted Wordpress site created from a theme. I like the ease of use and flexibility of Wordpress. I can support the site myself and extend the functionality through the ready availability of plug-ins. I’m working toward an integrated shop and would like to have a forum on my site in the future, all of which I can do myself. Other photography-specific platforms did not have the extensibility I needed with my online business.
What Else Should We Know?
What was your worst photography experience? I tried really hard to come up with something for this, but nothing was there! I’m not sure I have a “worst” photography experience yet.
What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I’m an electrical engineer by training and have a “day job” as an engineering project manager for a large corporation, where I lead technical project and problem solving teams. This job is what took me to Italy for two years, on special assignment. Now that I’m back in the US, I work part time (thirty hours per week) and find the technical challenges a good balance for my creative expression through photography.
People ask me how I do so much with photography and my online business while having a family and a day job, and my answer is that it’s my passion. When I have a passion for something, I seem to magically find the time for them. I have a very supportive family, too!
And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks...
Three things I can’t live without…. Hot Cinnamon Spice tea, cherry ChapStick, and my iPhone camera.
I wish I had more….. newsletter subscribers. (hint, hint!)
The best thing about being a photographer is… I see the beauty in the everyday. I notice amazing things all around me. Even a walk through a parking lot is full of interesting things to see and photograph. What a gift!
The most important lesson I ever learned was…. You can’t make everyone happy. You need to be strong and clear in your purpose, whether it’s your vision for photography or how you live your life, because someone is going to criticize you along the way. You can’t let criticism from one or two people derail you from following your heart.
My favorite time of day is… early morning. I’m a total morning person, that’s my creative time!
Thank You Kat! And now for the giveaway....... Kat is generously giving away one spot in her upcoming January/February Find Your Eye e-course series.
"The FIND YOUR EYE e-course series is designed to help you explore, recognize and become confident in your personal style. Instead of teaching you the technical basics of your camera or post-processing, this course series enhances the personal expression and creative connection to your art. Along your journey, you'll have a nurturing environment and a community of classmates from all over the world to help you learn, share and grow your creative expression. "
To enter the giveaway, just leave a comment below letting us know what you enjoy photographing the most. Extra entries for liking the Kat Eye Studio FB page, following Kat on Twitter and signing up for her newsletter (be sure to leave separate comment for each activity letting us know that you did).
Deadline to enter is midnight 12/23/12. Winner will be announced Monday, December 24, 2012.
Deadline to enter is midnight 12/23/12. Winner will be announced Monday, December 24, 2012.