Photographer Brandis Allison for an exclusive interview!
I am so excited! You can read the feature here!
What type of photography do you specialize in? We only photograph couples in love. So weddings, Engagement & Sweetheart photos (same as Engagement, except the people are usually already married)
When did you get into photography and when did you decide to go into
business? 6 years ago. Yes I am an oldie! I hate to sound cliche, but I have always loved photography. I have 2 younger sisters and I have a box of photographs that I took of them, dressed up as brides, with mom’s white table cloth being their catherdral length veil. I chose a more “safe” education however and have my degree in psychology. As I was going through school, I started my business as a way to a)pursue my passion and b)make money in the summers that I had off. The business took off on fire & when I finished my degree I decided that my heart was into wedding photography and that it seemed way more fun then working as a psychologist. I didn’t have time for both, so I just continued growing my business.
How did you come to be apart of a team of photograhers? I think thats
Simple. I started the company & got beyond busy. Then, I married my fabulous (& also well educated!) husband & he learned the craft (in like 1/2 the time it took me darn him!) and my sister (who could be my twin we are so similar as people) is our other partner. We each take our own wedding bookings. So on any given Saturday, we are at 3 different weddings. It is an amazing team & who else can have a business meeting on a chair lift at a ski resort with pizza for supper everynight but a family team? I realize that it wouldn’t work for everyone; but I am not lying when I say that we have never had a problem. Never an altrecation at all. It just works.
This is purely selfish of me, but I want to know how you started doing
Destination Weddings. That’s what I want to specialize in :)
Excellent question! Its one that I get emailed all the time, so im glad to be able to answer it on here. My brother was married in Alberta (in the winter), but wanted his wedding photos in Mexico. We made a trip of it & holidayed and did his photos. I plastered those photos all over my blog & at my Bridal Fair booth. Also, at my bridal fair booth I had a sign that said “Free Destination Photography”. Brides loved it. Essentially, they pay adam & I’s (or Kary & Matts) costs to get there (flight, hotel, car rental) and we cover their wedding for free. They recieve all of the touched up images on DVD along with a fabulous slideshow & other goodies. It is a win-win. They get 2 photographers to cover their rehersal dinner, wedding & day after shoot (1-2 hours) for usually around $2000-3000 (the cost of getting us there…) and we get a free holiday with fantastic people!
Once we booked our first “Free Destination Wedding” (we gave that bride a lovely album as a suprise & she did our advertising for us just by showing it to all of her friends/colleges), we blogged about it a lot. When you are doing something that is a fantastic deal–word spreads. We still offer 3 Free Destination Weddings per year; but we also take paid bookings now as people love our work & our name is out there.
In general, during a session, how many pics would you say you take to find “the right one”? With Engagements, I typically shoot around 100 images, and they recieve 80.
With weddings I typically shoot around 800 shots
Are you a self-taught photographer, or did you have someone to help
get you started? Totally self taught. Ive never ever 2nd shot for someone.
Can you tell us about your first paid job? What was it like? Were
you nervous and how did the images turn out? I wanted to chase my dream. So I went out and bought a camera & some memory cards. I put a sign up at my church that said “I want to shoot my first wedding. If you need a photographer, I will do it for $299” I had a call in one day & shot their wedding. It was wierd. I was very confiden & yet I thought I was going to puke. The day went smoothly & I got lots of terrible shots & lots of okay shots. I cut off the top of the tall dad’s head in every single family photo. I went to my sisters house (who, at the time was far me “techy” then me) and said (while holding the memory card in my hand), so how do I get them off “here” and onto a disc? I didn’ even know. She showed me how & I burnt the couple a disc. That was my first wedding. I didn’t even have photoshop or any touchup software. It was humble beginings.
That wedding got me 8 weddings that first summer & things took off from there.
Do you have any formal schooling under your belt? Yes. I did a 2 year part-time diploma (while getting my psych degree & running my business). It was useless however as it was mostly all theory, history and about film & all I remember from it is the history of the camera.
How would you describe your photography style? I have a whole blog post on that HERE, but rather then have a style; I am inspired by each couple. If they are funky & loud & outspoken & hip…I capture that. If they are soft & tender & quiet & shy…I capture that. I just capture them.
Why should a client choose YOU to photograph them? I think because I capture THEM. I watch who they are, who they are together & I make sure to get images that show that. No one wants to look back at their wedding photos and think “well they are nice, but im not into all the sexy shots”..or “well they are nice, but they are so boring…I wanted more sexy/dramatic shots”. I read my couples & capture them. Also, I love it. I LOVE it!! My couples always comment on my energy and how much they love it & how fun the shoot was. I think that a boring photographer who is just doing it for the money can wreck your experience & your images. But when someone loves their job & is seriously smitten with your love, they will capture that in a magical way. That is what I try to do. I seriously tear up at every wedding; whether its in the ceremony or the speeches. People’s love touches my heart & inspires me.
Do you have all-time fave image? If so, can you share it with us?!
Tell us something about photography that you LOVE. I love capturing an image that I would want of Adam & I. When im shooting and see “that moment” through my camera, I get so excited because I know how much that is going to mean to that couple. I have canvases all over our home of “moments” in our life. Images of adam & I cuddling, laughing, etc. Images of my son & his personality & seeing them everyday enriches my life & reminds me how very blessed I am. Pictures on your wall, of the love in your life, fills up the soul.
Now tell us something you could do without, when it comes to
photography. The competitive, cut-throat mindset. People can sometimes get wierd. I have a large network of photographers that I love & share with & mentor & learn from. However, there are some other people out there (new & old photographers) who get so weird as soon as they decide to go into business. I love having photography in common with people! I far prefer people who are open & fun…instead of competitive & sneaky. Does that make sense? Can’t we all just love each other? :) Also, I rarely go to photography forums because as I read the threads, people are often so rude to one another & I think it is so sad & uncalled for.
There are a lot of other photographers new to their businesses that
will read this interview. Can you share your generalized workflow with
us? upload. Backup to 2 hard drives & burn to disc. Gut thoroughly. (while gutting jot down the numbers of the images that should be on the blog, and in the album). Touch up images for the blog & album. Hand images over to album designer to design. Process all of the photos in a way that makes them pop & look alive. Process my very favorites in a more time consuming Fine Art way to give them a classic ERP fine art collections look.
If you could give a starting photographer only ONE piece of advice,
what would it be and why?
I typed out this answer 4 times. I had TONS of advice. I think I will save them for future FAQ posts on my blog. I kept coming back to one piece of advice that I think is the most helpful & most valuable. I could tell you to “shoot wide open” or “learn your camera well”, but you can read that elsewhere. If you are just starting out; the best advice I can give you is this. Turn off your T.V. for 2 months. Im serious. People ask me all the time, “how do you do it?” or “how do you find the time”? Fact: I don’t watch T.V. (except the bachelor when its on *wink*)
That frees up hours every day.Uset that free time & buildup/ promote your business.
Here is what you should spend the next two months doing.
– Get super organized
– Offer to do free promotional pictures for a makeup artist showing before & after imges
– Get to know the wedding coordinators in your area
– Offer to take free images of a florists bouquets for their websites
– Blog, blog, blog
– Offer free shoots to your friends & put the images on facebook & tag them (then all their friends see your work!)
– Grab your married friends and do Engagement style shots
– Put your sister back in her wedding dress & do bridal style shots
– Design a nice website & logo
– Practice, practice until you know your camera & lenses to a t.
– Get a part-time job & use that money on awesome equiptment, workshops & mentoring.
– Shoot a wedding for free
– Offer to 2nd shoot for any photographer who is willing
What is the biggest mistake you’ve made when starting your photography
business? I really cannot imagine myself taking any different of a path to get to where I am today; then the one I took. My business grew faster then I even hoped, my passion grew & never died, and I am in love with my life.
I suppose if I were to get nit picky, I should have had better lenses long ago. However, on the flip side, knowing that (back then) I didn’t have all the best equiptment taught me so much about why people book their photographer. It was for me. They liked me. What I may have lacked in top of the line lenses, I made up for in enthusiasm, passion & personality. And my business soared.
Having Awesome lenses now however, certinally helps ;)
What is the greatest accomplishment thus far, in your artistic journey? I have started winning International Awards for my wedding photography, so in my little world; that feels pretty fantastic.
Who influences you personally and professionally? Jesus, Rockwell, Adam <—personally. People’s unique love, Romantic Music & Nature <— Professionally
What was the most memorable photography assignment for you? Can you
tell us about it? I have 4. 1) My son’s newborn photos. I am not a newborn photographer, but I felt a huge responsibility & honor in capturing him. This little man that I had made who was so precious. 2) when my neice was born at 2 lbs at I was able to capture those tender, uncertain moments with her & her parents. 3) My siblings weddings 4) Jessica & Ward’s wedding. Their wedding( & them) had so much style & such an amazing energy & love to it; that it literally helped to define me as a photographer. From that day on, I started seeking, attracting & shooting fabulous weddings for people with tons of style.
What type of shoot is your all-time fave? Weddings. Why? I love the real emotions. The nerves, the excitement, the tears, the joy. It is the biggest day in the couples life up to that point, the biggest decision that they will ever make. Families are together, there is joy & love & reunion. I just love it. It is so happy & celebratory. Im a bubbly person, so things that like that feed my soul. I love to see people in love. It makes me love the world.
Can you share a secret, that most people may not know about you? I wet the bed for far to many years as a child.
If Hollywood made a movie about your life, what would it be called and
who would play you? “Almost a Lady” and I would want Jennifer Aniston to play me.
Give me 5 words that best describe you. Happy, Bubbly, Romantic, Old Soul, in Love.
Describe a typical day in “Radelle Land”: Well there is good intentions of excerzing. sometimes it happends, sometimes it doesnt. I read my scriptures (im LDS) & pray. I make my son breakfast & return emails. Adam & I have work office hours where we edit our weddings/answer emails/etc. I always stay on top of my work; but I always always have time for my family. If I want to leave the office & take a beach day– I do. My clients never suffer or are waiting for me; but I realize that children are only small once. If I have to, I wake up very early & do my work. Just like anyone else, I am always working on the balance between career & family; but when I have to choose, I choose family. When you put that first, its like magic, the work always gets done.
What are you doing when you’re not behind the camera? Kissing my son’s chin dimple & my husband’s scruff. I also love horseback riding (dressage), reading (total book nerd), bike riding and holidaying. We make it a huge point to go on getaways often with & without or son. Even if they are just to the next town.
If you could be on a reality TV show, which one would you choose and
Beverage: Water or Hot Chocloate with way to much whipping cream
Dessert: Chocolate souflee. But honestly, im a Food girl, so id rather skip dessert & just eat extra spaghetti.
Movie: Im a reader. I rarely watch movies! But I loved blindside.
Book: Could never pick just one. BUT, on beach days, every year; I turn to my shopoholic series. Don’t judge.
Shoes: My pink high heels with rinestones on the heels. (don’t judge. they are sexy not trashy ;)
Noise: My son’s laughter
Smell: Bleach (seriously, LOVE it!)
Outside Activity: Bike Riding or horseback riding
City: Anywhere with Adam. Vashon Island I loved!
State: Anywhere with Adam (I LOVE California & Hawaii though. SURF girl!!)
What sets you apart from other local photographers in your area of
expertise? My personality, My passion, My experience.
Where do you see yourself professionally in 1, 3 and 5 years from now? I imagine I will still be capturing love & mentoring other photographers.
Are you currently working on anything new and special with regards to
your business? Yes, instead of workshops & phone consulting; we are doing One on One 2 day mentorships. With the 1st day being me sharing the “nity grity” of everything I know & not just inspirational fluff, the 2nd day being either a live wedding or a stylized shoot. Read more about it HERE.
What can we expect to see from you, image wise, in the month of May?
We have some super, super fabulous & stylish brides coming up. Kari will be in Mexico with the cutest couple ever, so stay tuned for that! We blog every day, so check back often