The Blog

Spotlight: Laura Austin

While we’re still hard at work developing fotoClient, we’ve also still taken some time to talk to another member of our awesome community. We’ve been amazed by all the photographers who have come alongside fotoClient. Today we’re excited to feature Laura Austin, who has worked with major brands including Nike, Herschel Supply Co., Burton, ESPN and more.

Can you share with us a little about your creative background?

I worked as the Online Editor for Snowboarder Magazine for two years. It was an amazing experience but eventually I decided to move on and take a shot at being a full-time freelance photographer. Growing up in the mountains, snowboarding was definitely my first love. But after a while, realizing I didn’t want to be a rider professionally, I ended up shooting photos of my friends who were pursuing careers as professional snowboarders. Photography ended up growing on me and now I am where I am.

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You’ve worked with some awesome brands like Nike, Herschel, Burton, ESPN and many others. What was your first big “break” in the photography world?

It’s hard to attribute my success to any one moment. My job at Snowboarder Magazine really gave me a platform to show I was capable of shooting photos since I was constantly traveling, writing, and taking pictures to go along with my stories. From there, one thing led to another and I started to be known mostly for my photography.

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We understand that you travel a lot. Was that something you always did or was that just something you fell in love with on your own during your career as a photographer?

Travel is incredibly important to me, and a big part of why I wanted to pursue photography, knowing that if I played my cards right, it would give me the ability to travel the world. I was fortune as a kid to have a very adventurous dad. We would go on one big trip about every year, and he opened my eyes to the world and how to go about seeing it. His wanderlust wore off on me.

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How would you describe your visual style and how you approach each project?  

I guess you could say I’m a storyteller with my photography. With my background in journalism, creating a storyline for what I’m shooting comes naturally to me. I really like to make everything feel attainable and inviting, like someone could be standing in that scenario right next to me, seeing things the way I see them.

The scenarios I get most excited about are when I have people in a vast landscape. I prefer shooting landscapes with people in them, normally a single subject, because it shows scale and attainability. I want to show it isn’t just some far off place that always takes a ton of effort to get to, but encourage people to go see these places for themselves.

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From who, what or where do you draw your inspiration? Or do you prefer to simply capture whatever strikes you in the moment?

I tend to approach photography more as a fly on the wall. I like just going places with people and seeing what we can make of the situation. So a lot of it is about what strikes me in the moment. But of course there are things that inspire me on top of that–mostly the work and passion of my peers.

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What about fotoClient are you excited to try out or leverage for your business?

I’m mostly excited about it helping me stay organized. With the amount of traveling I do, it’s easy to let opportunities slip through my fingers at times. So it will be nice to have fotoClient helping me keep everything organized and in one place.

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The fotoClient team wishes to express their deepest gratitude to Laura for letting us share share her story with the rest of the community. Connect with Laura: Website | Instagram | Facebook | Twitter

Spotlight: Kallima Photography

 

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Photo Credit: ARIEL RENAE

Rebekah and Ben of Kallima Photography were kind enough to shed some insight into their love for both photography and each other — and how those two things compliment each other so well. It’s truly a privilege to share some of their work  as well as their wedding portraits are absolutely stunning and certainly worth admiring. We at fotoClient consider ourselves fortunate to have such talented photographers within our community, and we hope their story inspires you as much as it has inspired us.

 

 

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Can each of you explain briefly what first inspired your love for photography? Were you both interested in it before you met each other?

Bek I have a big family, 6 kids and the best parents I could ask for. My mom was never without a camera, and I have a million memories of looking through boxes and boxes of pictures from my childhood…album after album of our lives documented. I always loved taking pictures, but ended up majoring in Special Event Planning in college. While there and while working my 80-hour a week internship, I realized that if my dream life of being home with my kids one day and always adventuring were to come true, I couldn’t do that job. I needed something to do that allowed me to be home but was still fulfilling and meaningful…I can’t sit still for very long. I started photographing random things and all sorts of people and friends, never really thinking that photography was something I could make an income doing. Then I shot my first wedding and realized, I love this. I can do this. I can be creative and adventure and travel, WHILE making a living and being home with my future children. It started there, then evolved into me truly embracing the fact that I was an “artist”. Now I can’t imagine doing anything else.

 

Ben My mom is an artist, and I spent most of my middle school years after school and sports in the UT Chattanooga Art Building where she was pursuing a degree. I suppose that art was always around me, but I felt like I needed to do something more dignified.  When my dream of becoming a dentist didn’t go as I had planned, I jumped feet first into photography with Rebekah. She had started the business years before, but it took a long time for us to figure out what this partnership would look like.

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Your visual style is very well defined throughout much of the work you’ve shared online. Would you care to speak to that a little more in-depth?

Ben I’d say that we’ve really focused on light more and more in the last couple of years.  When I’m shooting now, I’m always looking for interesting lights to photograph my clients in, and I’m trying to use the light to say something about them.  Some people were made for classic window light portraits, and some people just don’t have that personality.  It’s my job to figure that out, and then bring that out in their portraits.

Bek I hear this and always think its a very funny thing, because I honestly feel like everything I shoot I try to shoot differently. But the truth is, people see our work and know its Kallima. I’m not sure how this happened, but it honestly lights up my heart. When I’m shooting, I’m trying to show the heart of who I am photographing. The consistent thread that you see and that others recognize is simply that we love people, and I feel like that comes across in our photographs. Sure, we are always searching for beautiful light and consistency in our shooting, but what I hope people see in our work is our love for others.

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How has working together as a husband and wife been for you? What are the pros? Are there any cons?

Ben It’s been unbelievably amazing, and challenging at the same time. I honestly think that it’s a huge advantage for us on a wedding day. I tend to shoot with longer lenses, the Canon 85 1.2 is always on one of my cameras, and Rebekah shoots wider. We can shoot a ton of portraits in a short time because we keep things moving and we don’t shoot exactly the same thing. I’m always learning from the way that she uses lights and poses people. It’s a huge blessing to have such a talented photographer working with you all of the time.

Bek What he said. Amazing, and challenging. When I’m shooting with Ben and watching him, it reminds me to slow down. He is very intentional at times during portraits, and it’s always a good lesson for me to slow my roll and focus. But the best part about working together is being together. Our work, in a lot of ways, is an example of our expression of love for one another. Learning to back off, speak up, prefer the other, go last, get out of the way, speak the truth in love…we do this all day on a wedding day. I believe it’s strengthened our marriage in a lot of ways. There are cons of course, we are all selfish! We want things our way and Ben and I are as opposite as night and day sometimes. He is way more gracious than I, and I’m thankful he puts up with me. I tend to be a control freak in our business, so he helps to balance me out there.

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When you shoot an event, whether it’s a wedding, engagement or something else, how would you describe your “process” for working with clients?

Ben We spend a lot of time on the prep for shoots.  We know more about the wedding than even the planner sometimes.  We spend time getting to know our clients so that we can try and capture just a little bit more of who they are.  During the shoot, I just run around and look for cool places to shoot photos.  I want to have at least one really classic beautiful portrait, one fashion style portrait, and then something more modern.

Bek We know a lot of photographers that ask us how we get so many portraits on a wedding day, how we get the emotions and tell the story. The answer is simple; we get to know our clients because we WANT to tell their story well, and we guide all of our brides and grooms through setting the perfect timeline for their wedding day. In our workshops, when we talk to other photographers about that and tell them that we have full control over the schedule of the day, most of them are shocked…I think a lot of photographers are scared to take control. We set a standard from the beginning with our clients, and we start talking about timeline from day one. Being able to control portrait time does a few things: it gives us the opportunity to give our clients what they all want (what they see on our blog), which is a focus on them, together. The portraits of our bride and groom together on their wedding day are going to be the most cherished pictures from that time. And secondly, it gives us ample time to do our thing. Its hard to get into a rhythm and offer amazing portrait time to your clients if you only have 10-15 minutes. Nothing organic happens in that short amount of time. We like 45 minutes with our couple. We want them to have time to sit, relax, reflect, absorb, look around them and see their day, embrace, whisper, love, connect. Our process is get to know them, and in turn they’ll trust you to set the pace for the day.

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What have been your favorite shoots to do thus far and why?

Ben I really like traveling, so I tend to shoot better in places other than home. We shot an engagement in Malibu a few years ago and it blew me away. I could shoot in California all the time.

Bek I truly love shooting engagements, because there is no time crunch or schedule and things can flow. It gives me a unique opportunity to get to know my clients and see how they interact. This helps me tell the story better on a wedding day. But honestly, I have been shooting some editorial and fashion work lately and I have fallen in love. I really connect with it, probably because of my love for fashion and styling. I recently shot a lookbook for a t-shirt line, and have been itching to do more of that since.

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What aspect of trying out fotoClient are you the most excited about? How do you see fotoClient helping your business?

Ben We’ve always talked about having one central location where we can have all of our client information, without it being locked into something that was impossible to set up.  I’ve just never been happy with what’s out there. Up until now, I’ve been using a mix of Gmail, Apple’s iCal, and Dropbox to organize our business, and it’s worked pretty well. But pretty well doesn’t work when you are doing this for a living and are trying to make sure that nothing falls through the cracks. fotoClient is going to allow me to stay on top of things in a way that was just impractical to do before, and in less time. That’s why I’m so excited about it.

Bek I’m excited for Ben to take care of all of it. Just kidding (not really). I am anticipating a lot more structure with fotoClient as a part of our business, and with structure comes peace. Bam.

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If you could pass on one piece of advice to new/novice photographers that you wish you had known sooner, what would it be?

Ben Probably to ignore all of their other friend photographers and bust their butts to make their business happen. I see so many photographers killing their businesses because “so and so said that you had to provide something in their packages” or whatever. It’s your business, and if you want it to succeed, it’s probably going to take time, and it’s probably not going to be like most other businesses. Take calculated risks, but make sure that you’ve played out all of the scenarios beforehand and are prepared for any of them.

Bek Ben and I are so on the same page with this answer. If I spend too much time in forums or photographer Facebook groups, I get all riled up. There is a lot of “you have to do this”, “you have to offer this”, “you can’t do that” out there, and all of it is bogus. You do what works for you and your business, and you do not concern yourself with how the rest of the industry is going to feel about it. You’re not required to run your business the same way someone on the other side of the country does. There is a lot of bad advice out there and easy access to it. I’ve seen my friends businesses suffer because some photographer somewhere told them they were doing it wrong. Everyone does things a certain way, and that’s awesome. Find what works, stay the course, be patient, have impeccable customer service, and love people. This has been our recipe for success thus far, and I pray it continues to take us where we want to go.

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Connect with this awesome team!

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How I Work: Levi Tijerina

We’re on a mission to build a beautiful business management software for photographers. Our How I work series is where we get to chat with different photographers as they show us their work space. Getting us started on our inaugural week, we got to hangout with Levi Tijerina of Levi Tijerina Photography. Based out of Denver Colorado, Levi travels for about 50% of his weddings. A friend and early adopter of fotoClient, he invited us into his minimalist work space. Here’s what he had to say:

What’s the story behind your desk? 

I wanted to have a desk that would allow for multiple people to work from my home office. I’m a huge proponent of collaboration and community, and I like the idea of sharing my space with other people, whether they’re writers, photographers, designers, or anything else really. I actually have another desk in the office that also seats two people. Both of my desks were actually built by my brother-in-law and myself. He and I had talked about some ideas for the design and they’re each built to fit into a certain space of the office. It’s a nice touch to have something personal to use for work everyday.

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How would you describe your creative process? What tools did you use to create your shots?

I feel like when I first started, it was very simple, and slowly got more complex, and now it’s very simple again. I look for good light and then I try to form a composition in my mind–whether it’s people or landscapes. I’m really looking for emotion, lines, and light or shadows. I think the majority of a story can be told with those three things, and I don’t think emotion necessarily means expressions, or even the presence of people. I think powerful images are ones that make you feel present in the image and feel some kind of emotional connection, whether it’s fear, awe, or joy. I used to use VSCO Film to process my images—right now I’ve simply developed my own coloring style, and just apply that, tweak the exposure, and it’s done. It’s way more about getting the photograph right in camera than it is about the post-production.

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What’s your favorite personal shot from your portfolio?

This was kind of a random snap from a wedding I shot in Iceland. We had just finished shooting some portraits here and the bride and groom walked to the edge of the ravine and were just soaking in the landscape. I love the magnitude in this photo, even though it’s so simple. When I look at it, I can hear the silence. Also, this photo was taken at 11:30PM.

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8What’s your go to camera?

I use the Canon 5D Mark III and my go-to lens is the 50 1.2.

I know you’re really digging film. Which of your film cameras is your favorite & what’s your “dream” film camera? 

My favorite film camera that I own is the Mamiya 645. It’s a pretty imperfect camera, which is why I like it. It really takes a lot of focus to nail a shot, but it really makes you think about the important elements in the frame. It also makes you think twice about clicking the shutter—you don’t want any extra fluff in your frame if you can help it. It slows the process down a lot, but I think it improves the quality of each photo. If I could have any camera, it’d probably be a Zeiss Ikon or a Contax 645. Right now I’m thinking a Zeiss Ikon because it’s an awesome, on-the-go camera without a lot of extra weight.

We’re excited that you’re trying out fotoClient. How do you see fotoClient helping your business in 2014?

I think one of the things I’m most excited about is finally being able to have an organized means of tracking and communicating with leads. It’s important for me to stay on top of all the information that comes in through e-mail and I’m excited to have a little filter to help me capture details about leads and organize them all in one place. It’s a great place to store notes and information on your clients, so you can come back later and ask them questions about things and follow up with them.

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We appreciate Levi and all of our users who are passionate about perfecting their craft and serving their customers. You can check out more of Levi’s work on his Website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Sign up for fotoClient today.

Spotlight: Photography Get Togethers (MN)

fotoClient is the beautiful, intuitive business management tool for photographers and studios. One of our core values is to build tools that empower photographers to tell great stories so you can imagine our excitement to chat with Caitlin, or “Kait” as she’s known by to over 250 photographers in the Photography Get Togethers (MN) Facebook group she’s organized for the past few years. This small group of storytellers get together, develop a concept and shoot it as a way to grow together.

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Who started Photography Get Togethers (MN)? Was it just a single event that blossomed into something bigger? How and when did that happen? 

Back in March of 2013, I decided to create a small photography group to meet other photographers and models around my area (of Blaine). It was only supposed to be a small little group. Maybe just some friends of some of the other photographers I knew.

Within a week we had over 100 people in the group. Everyone knew that person and that person had a friend that they thought was interesting. Somehow we even got some other photographers and models from North Dakota and Wisconsin to join in.

That was when it was decided we would have a group meet up to meet everyone. We all began to chat with one another and got closer.

Of the 280 or so members, how many would you say are “active” participants? How regular are “get togethers”?

It honestly varies. Our first meetup was of course the biggest with over 62 people that showed up. From our first meet up, others have joined. So each meetup we have seen new faces! It seems that we try for one once a month or so now. Some of us do smaller ones with each other.

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What is the primary goal/driving force behind the group? Who “leads” the group?

The goal now is to just get people together and have a day to relax and have fun. When we create art pieces it’s like everyone fills up with creativity and has fun with one another–especially the first event when we were all strangers to one another. For a bunch of shy and outgoing people to step out of their comfort zone and just hang out and create art was completely awesome! After that first meetup, SO many friendships developed that may have never happened because they had lived in a different city or even a different state.

I try hard to give everyone a chance to share ideas. In the beginning, I put together a group of “admins” but so far I have always been the one to lead events.

At our last meetup in July we actually had the park ranger show up and when he wanted to chat with the person responsible for setting it up, everyone looked at me. Even though I was dressed in a ridiculous costume, I was still the spokesman of the group, SO I guess I am the “main leader” of the group.

What get-togethers have been your favorite and most memorable? Anything that stands out as special?

As a group, we have had a LOT of funny moments that have brought us all closer. It’s not fair for me to just answer this as there have been SO many awesome moments. We goof around, we share ideas, we let one another shoot off ideas and teach, and of course we have fun!

“Definitely the first where it all started and met everyone. Now we’re a photography family because of it.” ~ Zahra Almosawi

 

“The idea of meeting so many new people that share a strong interest that brings out the creativity in everyone.” ~ Maggie Cook

 

“I guess the only one I can say is the first one!!! I LOVED getting to know everyone and then starting to talk to people…” ~ Miroslav Skorykh

 

“I’ve only been to one group meetup and that was at the State Fair. I enjoyed watching you all create, and tried to capture some of that creativity.” ~ John Lombardi

 

“Honestly, my favorite things at these meet ups are the friendships that are created. Seriously. I have grown to love and get to know so many of you. You guys have absolutely no idea how happy you all make me.” ~ Bryden Giving

What have been the best benefits for you as a member of this group? What kinds of things would a participant be able to look forward to in joining your group?

Definitely meeting so many more new friends! To know that if I just need to talk to somebody from the group, I can (and not just for art either). So many of them I can call my photography family. We share something ‘normal’ people many never know about. We all share similar interests and that is to create art. To act silly and not be judged for it. We all play an important role either by being behind the camera, making a video, designing costumes, doing hair/makeup, or being the actor/model. In the end, we’re all just doing it for fun. To be a part of something we can tell others about and one day look back at the memories we created just for those few days.

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How would you describe the composition of your group (to the best of your knowledge) in regards to talents (photography, modeling, assistants, just people having fun, etc) as well as skill levels (beginners, experts, pinhole camera users-ha!)

We are certainly all at different levels. We are all different ages, we come from different backgrounds–we have SO many different styles, it’s kind of crazy. Some have never even photographed people. Most people at the meetups have some sort of idea they want to either shoot or learn from. I know that many have watched how I “come up with concepts,” but most of the time I try my best not to write them out and just wing it when I’m actually doing it. I need to be able to feel the environment, feel the emotions and see the model I’m working with before I know if the idea is going to work or not.

For talent…honestly, everyone truly has it. It’s what makes each and every one of us unique. In the end, there is no better than the other because we all have room for improvement. Even though we do only do this for fun, we still challenge ourselves to become better.

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What do you hope to see the group become or how would you like to see it change as it grows?

I hope that we grow over time and that everyone will keep up their interest in meetups. They’re hard work and can be awkward at first, but the more you try to get to know us, or join smaller meetups, the closer you get with our family. We have this bond now and it gets stronger the more we see one another. You can be the shyest person there, and by the end, you won’t be, as long as you just try to interact and be a part of it! Never be afraid to ask questions or shoot along with another photographer, either. We don’t mind.

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Ali Kvidt