I believe I was around 9 years old when my dad gave me a little Kodak Brownie camera and black-and-white film. He was an industrial designer and inventor who loved taking pictures of his age children and also his inventions in models. I started making a little dioramas with my dolls and shot the scenes for posterity. At a young age I excelled in all the fine arts. Earning A degree in fine art from San Diego State cemented my intent to become an artist and graphic designer. I got a fairly good 35 mm film camera in my early 20s. I believe it was an Olympus. And later a Pentax spotmatic 35mm camera. Photography was a hobby for me for many years while my career path meandered from high school art teacher in Carmel, California to working as. In art director for an agency in San Diego and then later continued along that path when I move to Jacksonville Florida. I worked my way up to become creative director for a national direct marketing company in Jacksonville. Directing photographers on lighting for porcelain collectibles, dolls, sculptures and other collectible products to fit designs was a great education for me as well as learning Photoshop when it first came out. I think it was Photoshop 3 then. As a graphic designer , composition and lighting product beautifully was key. Working with a half dozen studio photographers around the country and learning as much as I could about studio lighting from those talented professionals was invaluable experience. After 27 years with this company, I was downsized and had to decide where my career was going to take me. At this point I had just reached my early 50s and decided to start my own company instead of working the corporate road. Basically, I went back to my roots as a fine artist and photographer.
I joined the national PPA and the local J PPG clubs to learn photography.I took as many seminars as I could afford and practiced my craft. Some of my mentors were anne Geddes, Tim Walton, sue Bryce, Jasmine Star, Laura Jade, Lyndsey Adler, Kevin Kabota, Bambi Cantrell, Marcus Bell, Sandy Puc, among others. During the early years of study my photography business, I spent a lot of time and money investing in really good equipment in also education. Fortunately for my years as a graphic designer retouching and working on my images digitally came easy. In fact in the early years of starting my photography business I also did fine art photography and invested in a large Epson printer and printed fine art prints that were sold in galleries around the country. As an artist I adored spending hours manipulating my images to be a little bit more artistic and creative. Starting a business is a big challenge of finding clients that trust you to do a great job for them and then delivering on the promise.
A lot of my business was word-of-mouth but I did spend a lot of money on some advertising, printed sales sheets and cards, packaging. and everything that it took to set myself up as professionally as possible. Because of my graphic design skills, creating custom books for my clients became a big draw. Shooting weddings, portraits, babies and families started really kept me busy. For the next decade I shot approximately 225 weddings locally and internationally. Early in my photography career the pro lab that I was using destroyed two rolls of film from the wedding I had just shot. It was the worst feeling I’ve ever had because I always wanted to do an exceptional job for my clients. That was when I switched from film cameras to digital professional gear. I’ve been using Nikon products for the last 15 years. I generally like to carry three cameras with various lenses and flashes to big shoots and scale it down to two cameras for family portraits. I also turned my two car garage into a professional portrait studio and I’ve had a lot of success being able to create images in my studio and a location. Are use do you like fluorescent Wescott light Banks and have a myriad of props and backdrops for portraits, children, in fantasy portraits.these westcott lights are great because they don’t strobe and when you’re shooting a baby or somebody who is sensitive to light flash. …These really are wonderful.
At this point in my career I’m starting to concentrate on just portraits and families. Still I do my altered fine art photography for galleries and have been concentrating on my paintings too.
I’m looking forward to owning the new light else 16 because it’s smaller and I’m interested in low light photography.