Tuesday, April 30, 2013

BEHIND THE LENS: Holly Strebel Photography, Golden, CO

This week we are honored to feature the beautiful work of Holly Strebel Photography.  Not only do we love her gorgeous images but we truly admire her spirit.  You can tell from her interview below, that Holly is someone who is passionate about what she does and wants to make sure that her clients enjoy every moment of their photography experience.  Check out her interview below to see what her favorite lens is (she's making me want one) and her advice to new photographers.  We know you'll be inspired!  

Thank you Holly for sharing your stunning images and your story with us today! 

Your Name: Holly Strebel
Your studio/business name:  Holly Strebel Photography Location: Golden, CO

Blog: http://hollystrebelphotography.blogspot.com
Website: http://www.strebelphotography.com

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/holly1018/

Your Style

In 50 words or less, how would your clients describe your photography? After looking over several client emails, three words that pop up often are “fun, “patient”, and “beautiful” which is good because it is my hope that I deliver them an honest, fun, sincere, clean, stress-free session that result in stunning images. I want to be the fun family activity that they enjoy and want to do again!

Are you self-taught or classroom trained? Before I bought my DSLR I looked up everything I could regarding photography. I knew what ISO, aperture and shutter speed were before my camera arrived, little did I know how hard it would be to perfect everything so I taught myself to shoot in manual and how to meter in various lighting situations. About a year after buying my first camera, I joined a popular online forum and realized how little I really knew. It’s like I tell my kids, enjoy the feeling that you know everything because that feeling fades fast. The more things you learn, the more you realize you have SO MUCH more to learn. After joining the forum, I was blown away by the talent there and knew I had a long journey ahead of me so I took many workshops and various types of mentoring. I hope to be the photographer that is constantly striving for growth!

How many years have you been a professional photographer? Just over two years.

Where do you want to take your photography business in 5 years? That is a hard question. I hope to achieve a nice balance between family and business. I would love to have commercial gigs lined up, it would be SO fun to shoot for a kids’ clothing company. I also really like the idea of integrating video and photography and am starting to give this to my newborn clients and hope to be pretty good at the video side of things as well! See, so much to learn!

Is there a photographer who inspires your style? Who would that be? I really love Tiffany from Munchkins and Mohawks. She has such a dreamy yet clean style. I really LOVE her work! Pebbles and Polka Dots is another favorite of mine. Her newborn work is really awesome and her lighting set up is perfection!

Favorite location to take photos? There is a little historic park in the city I live in that I LOVE to use! It has older barn like buildings, has the foothills in the background and sits along a beautiful creek. I’m slightly addicted to that location and now have my own secret spots there!

Favorite vacation spot? Vacation? Did someone say vacation? I LOVE vacations!!! My current favorite spot is on a large catamaran with my husband and our friends sailing to warm places! We took two charter trips to the Virgin Islands (Hello Cow Wreck Beach!!!) and we really love it there but would also love to charter a sailboat to other warm and beautiful spots! I also love Turks and Caicos!

Your Business

What was the pivotal moment when you decided to become a photographer? To be honest, I don’t know. A spark was lit within me when I had my first maternity images shot almost five years ago. I was pregnant with my son and I was amazed how the photographer utilized light to make gorgeous images. I surprised my husband with the maternity shots and he teared up just seeing them. I wanted to be able to gift that to other people- meaningful images, gorgeous memories of the people they love most! Photography is SO emotional and I love being a part of my clients’ lives and capturing such fleeting moments! So I guess I knew what I wanted to do before I even had the fancy camera in my hand!

What’s the best marketing tip that has worked for you? Just giving my clients my all. Most of my new clients are referrals from others. I don’t have a public referral program because I want my clients to refer me to others because they truly loved their experience with me, and really think their friends should use me as their photographer as well. I don’t want them to refer me because they get something in return so I work my tail off to be sure I give my clients a great experience! In my opinion, if I’m not doing a great job, I don’t deserve new clients! Thankfully, hard work pays off because even in the slow season, I’ve been busy!

What’s the most surprising thing a customer has asked you? Hmmm, I don’t know! I’ve had clients ask for the raw files before which I don’t give out.

Favorite print lab? I use Millers and WHCC. You can’t beat Millers shipping and their customer service is really great too! Every time I order something from WHCC, I’m always blown away by their colors and quality. I’m pretty picky when it comes to my prints matching my screen exactly so I highly recommend being calibrated and having a great lab!

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? Ahhhhh, I might be a lens junky so I don’t know! Can I pick two? I am loving the Canon 100L Macro right now. Gorgeous creamy backgrounds and very sharp but I’m also LOVING the new Sigma 35mm 1.4- sharpest lens I’ve shot on to date!

Okay but if you are twisting my arm... Sigma 35mm 1.4! It’s my new baby! 

What brand bag do you carry your camera in? The Lavender Kelly Moore Mimi!

What gear would we find in your camera bag? Canon Mark II, Sigma 35mm 1.4, Sigma 50mm 1.4, Canon 100mmL (Or the 135L depending on my subject). I also have the Canon 85mm 1.8 and Canon 28mm 1.8 and will carry those when I shoot my kids and don’t want to carry the heavy lenses. I always have the 430 Speedlight and a reflector with me at sessions just in case! Oh and lots of memory cards and an extra battery.

Are you a natural light fan or strobe fan? I love natural light and actually really like dramatic low light shots if it’s fitting on my subject. I do want to try a softbox for newborn sessions but haven’t gone there just yet!

Are you PC or Mac? Mac baby! Huge mac fans over here! HUGE!

Your Tips and Tricks

What post processing tools do you use? I start with lightroom and bring everything into CS5 and videos into CS6.

Do you shoot in Raw or Jpeg? Raw for sure!

Best advice you would give your 20-year old self? You are about to have A LOT of fun so keep working hard, don’t worry when things don’t go your way because just when you don’t get what you thought you wanted, another door opens... and it’s a FUN door!

Best advice you would give a new photographer? Take a workshop! Get advice from others. Learn, learn and go learn some more. If you run into mean people, go find others to talk to because there are nice photographers out there that want to help you learn and grow. You don’t have to be good at everything but go out and make you heart sing doing what YOU love. Know the rules before you break them. Be honest to others, be true to yourself and go have FUN!!!

What site do you use for your photography and why? Currently bludomain but I’m going to not use them anymore and start with prophoto as soon as I find the most perfect template. I know what I want, I just have to find it and I’m excited to have the great customer service I hear so much about with prophoto!

What Else Should We Know? I guess my biggest passion is growth both in my personal life and my business life. I hope to not ever be intimidated by others that are better than me but let those people keep me humble and give me the desire to strive to better myself!

What was your worst photography experience? I guess having contact with mean photographers at the beginning of my journey? I thought everyone was that rude and little did I know they were just very self-conscious. People say this industry is saturated and I don’t believe that. I believe we need to work hard to make our business successful. There is a customer for every photographer and budget and we just need to come together and lift each other up in support!

What would surprise people most about you, whether it is photography related or not? I don’t know. I’m an open book and I love to chat so there probably isn’t much my clients would be surprised about!

And just because we want to know you better, fill in the blanks
Three things I can’t live without... sushi, running and coffee

I wish I had more... arms and hands though my son said that would make me look like an

The best thing about being a photographer is.... documenting moments in my life and my clients’ lives that we’ll never get back and documenting it in way that speaks to us on an emotional level. If you think about it, we document history and that is huge! Maybe we’ll look back on these images as great-grandparents and smile remembering how small our babies once were or perhaps someone that was once in front of our lens makes history and our image ends up in a history book for future generations. I think what we do is really a big deal!

The most important lesson I ever learned was... to relax a little bit. My house doesn’t need to look perfect every single day. I don’t need to throw Martha Stewart parties. The most important things are the people that are with me not the centerpiece on the table!

My favorite time of day is bedtime! Okay, I ADORE my children but that moment after bedtime when I know we survived another day, I completed a decent amount of tasks without burning the house down and I now have a moment to sip a glass of wine watching a Netflix with my husband is pretty awesome! 

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