Today on Artist Strong we are fortunate to welcome Emma Davies, photographer and owner of the site Love Your Pics. Thank you for taking the time to share your ideas with Artist Strong readers. 🙂
Carrie: When did you first realize your love of photography?
I was 12, and I was stuck at a long and boring family function with lots of waiting around. My father decided to show me, with his ancient and entirely manual Voigtlander camera (bellows and all), the principles of exposure, aperture and shutter speed. I was hooked. He had me spellbound even though it was all theory and there wasn’t even a film in the camera.
Carrie: When you go out and take photographs, do you already know what work you plan to create or is the process more give and take? (How much preparation and planning go into your photo shoots?)
If I’m working for a client, there is a lot of discussion and planning before the shoot. They will want the photographs for a particular reason, and it’s part of my job to interpret what they want and create the photographs. For personal projects it’s usually much less planned. I will start with the light and work the photograph around that.
Carrie: What motivated your desire to create Love Your Pics?
I am on a mission to persuade the world to backup its photos. I know that I can’t just shout at everyone to back up their photos because if it was that easy, everyone would already be doing it. So I started LYP initially to educate and inform my family and friends about how easy it is to lose all your photos, and how easy it is to back them up. ‘Love Your Pics’ = if you really love them, you will care for them. From there I had requests for tutorials on how to print photo books, how to edit in Photoshop, how to take better photos, and it has just taken off.
I am still on a mission to persuade you to backup your photos. Do you back them up in 2 separate places, one offsite? Because if not you don’t love them enough. It takes minutes to do it.
Carrie: What is one thing you really want people/creatives to take away from your blog(s)?
Photography should be fun. Don’t listen to the photo snobs. If you are worried you are doing it wrong, you are reading bad advice. Have fun, learn as you go.
Carrie: Where do you get ideas for content?
Almost entirely from questions that people ask me. I have a great group of newsletter subscribers who email me their photo problems, and I’ll either do a whole blog post if I think lots of people might have the same problem, or I do a Q&A post at the end of each month.
Carrie: What’s one piece of advice or practice on your blog that you find indispensable for your own artist practice?
Look for the light first. Then the background. Then the subject.
You can’t make a photograph without light, and learning to see the light is so much more important than learning about f stops and shutter speeds. I was lucky that I was fascinated by the technical aspects of taking photos when my father introduced me, but I prefer to help readers learn to compose a great photo first with a phone or a camera on auto. And composition starts with the light.
Carrie: Advice for people who are learning a new skill?
And download your photos so you can review your work. Learn how to download your own photos so you aren’t dependent on someone else doing it for you. You can’t learn without being critical of your own work, and you can’t do that unless you actually look at your photos at the very least on screen. One of the biggest barriers to people I meet improving their photos is that they don’t know how to get their photos out of their camera.
Carrie: How do find balance in your life creating and having a full time profession?
I was a lawyer until I had children. Now I am a full time photographer so my life balances itself. I am also lucky in having some amazing clients who will let me experiment a bit with their products and indulge my creativity.
Carrie: What other projects are you working on at the moment?
I’m just finishing writing my first eBook, ‘The Beginner’s Guide to Creative and Rebellious Photography.’ It is aimed at photographers who want to improve their photographic eye regardless of what camera they use, so it’s suitable for phone photographers all the way up to 10×8 plate camera users. It’s launching in January and if your readers would like to receive a 50% discount on the launch price they can sign up here.
Carrie: Do you use goal-setting in your career as an artist? How so?
Not in any formal way. If you have any suggestions I’d love to hear them. I always take time at the end of each year to compare my work to what I was doing 12 months ago. And I always have a bucket list of things I want to try or shots I want to take:
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
1. Michael Kenna. I’m not and don’t want to be a landscape photographer but he inspires me because he has a unique vision which he executes regardless of what anyone else is doing.
2. Anyone who is not a camera snob. Anyone who can appreciate the intent, the vision and the storytelling in a photograph without asking ‘what camera do you use?’ 2 people who are inspiring me in this way at the moment are Paul ‘Skip’ Brown who does great things with his phone and John Darlington (National Trust Director for the NW of England) who tweets stunning phone photos as he goes about his work.
Carrie: How do you define creativity?
I have just devoted 2 years of my life to a Psychology masters degree looking at just this question. This is my definition:
“The use of imagination to make something.”
It doesn’t have to be original, clever, artistic, useful or unusual. In my opinion.
BE COURAGEOUSLY CREATIVE: The best advice any artist can give: PRACTICE! Make the time, and give yourself opportunity to practice, like Emma suggests. How else can you grow as a creative?!
A special thank you to Emma for taking the time to share her ideas with Artist Strong! Be sure to sign up to have first dibs on her new ebook The Beginner’s Guide to Creative and Rebellious Photography
Like what you see? Want more? Follow Artist Strong on Twitter or Facebook, or Carrie on Google Plus.