I would like to introduce you to Maddie Peterson - a great friend of mine and the artist behind the lens of Etta Photography. Her organic style captures 'real' moments in time.
Annually Maddie shoots our family portraits. They are not your typical 'say cheese' shots. We forget she is there as she captures the natural moments and little details that tell our story. It amazes me how on a day you thought was a write off, she produces pure gold!
In between family catch ups, coffees and market visits - Maddie and I work together on commercial shoots. Early next month we are guest speakers at a Marketing Network Conference... wish us luck.
Please tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a wife, a mama to three and a photographic storyteller. My favourite stories are family adventures and newborns in those first few weeks of life (and sometimes first few hours!). My love of people and stories also drives the other side of my business - commercial ventures in the education/arts industries and small business mentoring.
Did you go to school to study photography?
Apart from a few electives at uni and some workshops I am mostly self taught. My university studies were in Primary Education and in my early 20s I went on to work in business, advertising and administration. Looking back I can see how these were all beneficial for my business today so think it's been a wonderful path I couldn't have planned better. I think you definitely have to have a passion for and skill in photography to be able to fly, but it's your interpersonal qualities and business skills that keep you up there in the sky.
How long have you been a photographer?
My first paid job was almost ten years ago in 2004. I was freelance for five years shooting (around other roles) but I have built my current business Etta Photography since my little girl arrived in 2008.
How would you describe your style?
Organic and photojournlistic. Simple and clean. I love real people. Real life. Real adventures.
How many shoots do you average per year?
I probably average 3 a week depending on the type of shoots. I was shooting up to six only a few years ago but I always had a goal to shoot less and charge more and am loving that it's become a reality after some trial and error. I feel very blessed and thankful to have a mostly-awesome work life balance.
What type of camera do you shoot with?
I love the Canon 5DMarkii for outdoors and 5DMarkiii for low light.
How important is Photoshop in your final images?
I'm not a big fan of copious amounts of post processing so Photoshop doesn't play a huge role for me. But I definitely couldn't live without it and love it for cloning, replacing, resizing and sharpening. My go-to program is Lightroom which I love for easy sorting, quick adjustments and cropping.
Do you plan on buying any new equipment and if so what do you have your eyes on?
I found my happy place a few year ago with lenses - a 24-70 lens and a 50mm f1.4. They are great for photojournalistic or low light work. I'd maybe get a 35mm or 135mm depending on where I go from here.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about commercial photography?
With my organic, photojournalistic style - at school based, arts based or profile image sessions I generally use 'real' people as subjects. So you can't direct them too much before they become stiff looking and over-posed. Therefore I work hard to keep the subjects in a relaxed vibe, while also keeping the brief from the marketing team in the back of my mind.
A website and/or blog you visit often?
For business tips I like Marie Forleo and TED talks. Recently, I am loving articles from the Roooar community and magazine. For work life balance I like zen habits. Cambridge in Colour is great for quick easy technical help. For inspiration I always love wildflowersphotos.com (so creative!). I don't follow typical patterns but like to be inspired from many areas and believe that often the right thing comes my way just when I need it.
How would your friends describe you?
Um... maternal, friendly, positive, thinky, talkative and full of ideas (too many!)
The last workshop or seminar you attended and why?
I've done 2-3 photographer workshops over the years but last year I went to the Semi-Permanent design conference in Brisbane for something different. The whole day really inspired me on a commercial level and to see how I could use my passion and abilities with kids/people to work in line with businesses and school who want to create wonderful image collections for marketing purposes.
If you were not a photographer, what would you be doing?
A doula! Or some kind of organiser or business consultant. I love encouraging people :)
Is there anybody you would love to photograph?
Mumford & Sons - love their style. Maybe someone famous with a family - capturing them away from the paparazzi and just being themselves together with their kids.
What advice do you have for somebody who wants to pursue photography?
Find your photographic heart - the thing you love most to shoot. Shoot with a passion. You might have to try a few things but once you find it, stick with it and run! Do loads of work in that field and keep improving yourself. Don't ever copy - but be inspired by other photographers, artists and designers - inspiration is all around us! And go and study business too...!! I know plenty of people more talented or creative than myself, but they haven't got the business skills or drive to make it happen or keep it going.
If you could be invisible for one day with your camera...
I actually don't know... as a photographer I feel like a fly on the wall in some pretty amazing moments of life. Weddings, babies, births, proposals, couple sessions, it's been a pretty fun journey so far! But you've got me thinking about where to from here.....
Where you’ll find me on a Friday night at 9 p.m.?
Probably hanging with my hubby at home... or out exploring :)
On my wall hangs...
Photos of my family and friends and inspiring quotes. Couldn't live without either.
What would you attempt if you knew you could not fail?
Ring Ring. Hello? Oh hi Vogue! You want me to do some editorial shots for an article? Sure, let's book it in.
Can you share with us 10 awesome Etta Photography images?
Sure, see below :)