AdoramaTV presents The reDefine Show with Tamara Lackey I am sitting here with Vanessa Joy and we are discussing her very, very beautiful wedding photography. Tell me a little bit, when you started, i think you have a very specific style to your work. Do you feel, like, when that emerged was it a conscious effort? Was it something that you kind of looked at all your photographs and kind of went backwards and said I obviously have this pulled together, what was that? You know it was a huge process. I think it is for any photographer when you’re starting out everything looks cool so you’re ‘Oh, I’m sepia this day’ or ‘xProcess this day’.
‘And purple tones!’ ‘Yeah, and then you look at your blog and you’re like ‘what is this mess that has vomited all over my website?’ So, I was trained as a traditional photographer. The guy that I worked for when I first started weddings was a traditional photographer so I learned portraiture, I learned how to pose, I learned all the fine-tuning when it comes to weddings and then I started to see more work outside that, so I think I had that traditional base that a lot of photographers don’t usually have and then started to evolve and really find my own style that I would say is soft but but vibrant and timeless.’ ‘So would you say that in terms of your education, was it something where you consciously wanted to go into, like assisting and getting your feet wet or you stumbled into something? How did that work? ‘ ‘I do have a degree in photography, but to tell the truth I didn’t learn much.
I really learned more hands-on.’ ‘What do you mean when you say that?’ ‘I didn’t learn much that I can apply now. I didn’t learn how to run a business, I didn’t learn any photography I learned fine art photography and that’s great it’s inspirational. I learned exposure, I learned, you know, developing in a dark room, things like that, things that I love, things that made me passionate about photography but I don’t use any of it today, so when I really learned was when I started assisting for a wedding photographer in my area who happened to be my high school photography teacher.
Yeah, small world and I really learned from him and built along that way and then ended up learning more at conferences.’ ‘So, I think that you bring up a very good point which is there they’re not really teaching a lot in the way of and not everybody’s gonna start their own business, you know there’s a lot within photography you can do that doesn’t include running your own business, but certainly any challenges that come your way that aren’t within a syllabus, that i think is about 90% of the job, you know, it’s how I work around this? How do I figure this out? How do I, you know, the lights shifting, this and that, you know?’ Whereas most the time, in my understanding because I also was completely self trained like a lot of people in the industry but we have a lot in terms of production assistants come through our studio and over and over again it seems like there they learned a very controlled environment with exactly certain lighting setups and that’s not a lot of what you face.’ It’s not applicable in the real world and then running a whole business is another thing, whether even you’re just a freelance photographer, just understanding what that means and how to keep track of your books and do that correctly.’ ‘And I do think a lot of schools are starting to respond to that because of the feedback is pretty prevalent so it’ll be interesting to see how things shift, but on the job training is where it’s at.
So when you are out at a wedding, one thing that I learned in photography is that I had no idea how much of it was being a pack mule.’ ‘Oh my gosh, so much equipment.’ ‘The physicality of it. Do you have any techniques or ideas or ways that you kind of streamline it so you don’t feel like you’re carrying 78 things?’ ‘One thing I’m big on is having an assistant. It’s crucial. It’s crucial for my back. I get to offer my clients a value-add. They have an extra, you know, couple of hands around and other than that I exercise. I do a lot of yoga and I work specifically on the parts that most photographers have problems with, you know, upper back and neck.’ ‘And then what are you shooting with? I don’t even know that.’ ‘ I’m shooting Canon, moving to the 1D X now, or who knows, and all prime lenses so I do have a lot, plus I do a whole same data processing I bring a printer and a digital picture frame and I have lights.
I use use ProPhoto lights you want me to visit you know so I do have a lot but my assistant carries most of it.’ ‘So how many weddings would you say you shoot a year? ‘ ‘Twenty to twenty-five.’ ‘And it’s you, and who else is on the wedding then?’ ‘Myself, a second photographer, and then my assistant as well. So three of us.’ ‘Regardless of the size of the wedding?’ ‘Regardless of the size of the wedding. I want to bring the same quality to each one.’ ‘Yeah, no, I mean, system and what would you say is the smallest wedding you’ve ever photographed in terms of the amount of people there?’ ‘For our wedding, that was I believe twelve people.’ ‘And there was three of you there?’ Yeah, it was that intimate. It was one of my favourite weddings’. So you’ve been shooting weddings for how long now?’ ‘Ten years, about. Yeah. I always have to do math when people ask me that’ It all, like, merges. But in that time if you kind of look back and say as I got started, and as I was going through school, and as I got on the job training how would you say you managed to separate yourself in terms of looking back, you know that, was the right choice when I made a really smart decision there and what would you say those turning points were for you in terms of being a standout in your field?’ ‘Right, two big things.
One was any time that I was able to enhance my client experience, I knew I was moving in the right direction. Any time, you know, I’m getting good feedback from them or negative, as long as it was moving me towards a better client experience and then the other thing that was a major factor was learning to control my work environment so that I would have the quality of life that I wanted. So success to me was not being as busy as I possibly could be and I was shooting, you know 35-40 weddings a year and then I realized you know what that’s not me moving in the direction I want to be.’ ‘Enhance the client experience, what does that mean to you?’ ‘Finding ways to wow them, surprise them, make them happy. I love gifting kinda like one of my love languages so I tend to give a lot of gifts to my clients.’ ‘So if people want to learn more about you, you’re shooting style, learn from you, what can they do? Can you tell the people where they can go?’ ‘Yes, definitely.
So you can find me and my wedding work at vanessajoy.com but if you want to see some more of educational things that I do you can go to learnphotovideo.com and find me there.’ ‘Wonderful. And on social media?’ ‘Social media, you know, go to those websites and find them. They are all linked. I just feel we have so much social media now and it would take me 10 minutes to rattle off every Instagram, Pinterest.’ ‘But you’re there and you’re alive on it.’ ‘Yes, constantly.’ ‘But thank you so much for joining us today.’ ‘Thank you.’ Do you want great-looking prints at low-cost be sure to visit our easy to use online printing service.
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