Pea of the Week Interview

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Posted 6/14/2010 by alexismiller in General Photography
 

alexismiller
PeaAddict

PeaNut 224,660
September 2005
Posts: 1,163
Layouts: 8
Loc: Utah

Posted: 6/14/2010 12:40:00 PM
1. Who are you ? Please include self portrait and any links to other sites featuring you, like your blog, website, etc. Pimp yourself out!!
My name is Alexis Miller - lol, just like my user name here at Two Peas. I don't think that I have ever done a self portrait, but here is a recent photo of me with my hubby and little boy. It was taken by Shantel - thank you again so much!



and here are some links to my websites and blogs:

My photography site:
http://www.alexismiller.com

My Photo Tips Blog (sorely neglected):
http://phototips.alexismiller.com

My Personal/Family Blog (even more sorely neglected!):
http://blog.alexismiller.com

and QuickPro (the reason for the neglected blogs, LOL!)
http://www.alexismiller.com

2. What inspired you to get into photography? And when?
In high school, art credits were a requirement. I didn't like drawing and painting, and ceramics just seemed entirely too messy to me. So, since my grandpa was a photog, I signed up for Photo 1. I was horrible - like shockingly bad - oof, poor exposure (although this was caused as much in the darkroom as it was in-camera). After about a year of trying, I was seriously considering quitting and moving on to something else.

Then, one of my youth leaders from church asked me to take a few photos of her little girl (age 18 months at the time). I shot an entire roll of crap - the little girl was totally not into it, and I wasn't very good. BUT, on that roll, there was one photo that pretty good. I was so excited when I saw that photo that I decided to keep trying.

Here is a scan of that photo:


I kept taking pics here and there, but shortly after high school, I met my hubby, and we got married about a year after that. I didn't do too much with photography for the first year of our marriage. I was working at a $5.25 per hour job, and I really didn't like it. My sweet (computer nerd) husband talked me into going digital and told me to quit my job and start pursuing my photography. So, in 2003, I started my photography business. I loved every minute of it!


3. What is your education? Degree? Self-taught? Workshops?
I did take 3 photography classes in high school, but in all honesty, I didn't learn a thing. The teacher from my sophomore year was let go before my junior year for allowing students to wander the halls freely (he just hung out at his desk and didn't really teach - ever.) And the teacher from my junior and senior years was let go after I graduated for similar reasons. It wasn't until I got out and starting taking pics and practicing that I really started to learn. I am mostly self-taught, but as silly as it sounds, one of my bucket list things is to go to an amazing workshop - just have to be brave enough to leave my kiddo behind! (We go on several business trips each year for QuickPro, so I feel guilty wanting to leave him for something like that, but maybe when he's a little older.)

4. What kind of photographer would you describe yourself as?
I am a portrait photographer - I love capturing images of people. I mostly just photograph my little boy and family anymore, but it means so much to me - and I know that they will be so very thankful for the images from our life, too!

5. What kind of equipment do you use? Not every piece you own, but your favorites or use most often.
Right now, I am shooting with a Nikon D90 and a Nikon D300s. I am a bit spoiled, as I get to try most of the new DSLRs when they come out. We buy all of the lower-end Nikon and Canons (not the 7D or D700 though). I write the scripts for the QuickPro DVDs we produce. I have 2 budget Tamron lenses that I love: The 18-200, and the 28-75 (just bought this from someone on ILP a few weeks ago!) When we go to the zoo or someplace like that, I take an Olympus E-PL1. It's definitely not a replacement for a DSLR, but I seriously it! It's compact, takes great photos and better looking video than my D90 and D300s.

6. What did/do you struggle with the most?
Wow, I can't believe that I'm acutally going to admit this to all of you. I am afraid of RAW. I have tried shooting in RAW, and I honestly just find it to be a pain - it seems like it doubles my PP work. I'd love to find a way to love RAW as I know that many of you do, so if you have suggestions or insight for me, I am all ears!

7. What was your biggest "A-ha" moment? Cam be something technical/camera-related, something personal as it relates to photography, or something you learned about yourself as a photographer.
There are 2 things that really stand out in my mind. First, several years ago, I finally figured out that the light meter is not dependable for proper exposure of what I wanted to be properly exposed. And, the second thing is that it doesn't matter that much what the aperture is - if you want a blurry background in a portrait, make sure that there is more distance between the background and the subject than there is between the camera and the subject. (I know that there is a more technical way of explaining it, but I like simplicity - technical stuff is harder to understand!)

8. Biggest lesson learned? Can be either about photography, the business, yourself, etc.
Really not a "lesson" learned, but something important that I have found over the past 3 years - Photography and business will always be there. But, this little person that I have been given is going to grow up. And I want to spend his childhood photographing him. That's why I don't do much in the way of portraits for others anymore (1-2 shoots a month, if that). I was frantically working on client orders a few years ago at Christmas time and I hadn't taken any photos of him for our family Christmas card, let alone spent any time with him or planning family Christmas stuff. It was then that I decided that I needed to re-adjust my priorities. It was a tough decision (I LOVED my business!) but, I've loved spending time with him more.

9. What's your greatest triumph or achievement? Could be just opening your own business, to awards, to a compliment.
A few years ago, the graphic design department head at a local technology college called me out of the blue and asked me to come teach evening classes there. I taught there for a little over a year, and I absolutely loved it. But, when hubby and I took over ownership of these new businesses this year, I had to re-prioritize again for the sake of the family.

10. What is one of the most important mistakes you made that served as a basis for your progression? Not bumping up the ISO. I had always been so afraid to do this, but I did not realize how much it was hindering my work. Now, I don't really care what ISO I'm at, as long as I am getting good exposure.

11. What is it about photography that makes your heart sing and your mind race with possibilities?
I love having the memories. I love having actual copies of moments "frozen" in time. I honestly don't remember that much from my son's babyhood and early toddlerhood. He is so different now. But I have the memories safely preserved. Also, with my Grandmother passing away last week, I have taken temporary posession of all of the old family photo albums. Most of the photos are oof, and have bad exposure. But they mean so much to me. My Grandpa died when my dad was 16. My dad rarely talked about his childhood or his family. The photos that I have been going through and making digital mean so much. They tell a life story - and I can see my father and myself in all of them. It's been an amazing experience for me to look through these old photos, and I have a renewed sense of for whom I am documenting our family's life right now.

12. Which do you like better - taking the photo or processing it? Why?
That's a tough one. I love taking the photos. Probably more than processing, but it's really hard to make a definite decision. When I am not entertaining a 3 year old while processing, I love working in Photoshop too. I guess that's why I would say that right now, I love taking pictures a bit more than processing. I can still interact and play with my son, without feeling like he's "bothering" me while I'm working.

13. What inspires you? Could be anything - other photographers, nature, art, music, people, etc.
I love blogs and surfing around the internet. Lately, I've been really inspired by the weather! I love every single warm day that we've had. (It felt like winter here all weekend. I live in the wrong state!) When I look out my front door or my back door I have a wonderful view of the mountains. I love it. I have lots of ideas and plans for various photos that I'd like to take this summer written in a little notebook. Looking at the list in the notebook is also sometimes inspiring because I think of something that I'd previously written down in a different way.

14. What is something about you that we don't know? Could be something serious or silly- your choice.
I am left-handed. I hate moths and grasshoppers more than any other bugs. I love the outdoors, but I HATE feeling dirty (camping, etc.) I married my hubby when we were both 19 and I now realize why our parents were a bit stressed out about the whole thing!

15. Can you share with us your loved ones? Especially if they have been featured in your work?

My little man riding his new bike. He thinks he is so big and grown up!


Me and the hubs. This one was also taken by Shantel!


His Halloween photo session last year. He wanted to be a farmer. I think that he didn't really understand that it was just a one-day type of thing. He seriously wanted to BE a farmer.


16. Can you share your top tip/technique with us?
Don't allow your work to become stagnant. Do things to force yourself to get out of your comfort zone and change it up! I get in habits of always taking pictures from the same angles, same crops, etc. I have to really think about it and force myself to do new and different things.

17. Who are you picking next and why?
Next, I am picking Staci (TrUcksR4CowGirlS) because I love her photos, and she's just super sweet!

18. Please share some of your favorite works with us!!

My little SIL. For Christmas this past year, I gave her a gift certificate for a photo session for her and a friend. She loved it.


These are a few from a desktop calendar I made for 2010.








One of my favorite photos ever of this little guy. I took him for an actual photo session and we shot for almost 2 hours. The only decent ones I got were this one, and another one that is very similar.


And 2 from his 2010 calendar for the Grandmas.




......................

.Alexis.
Nikon D90



aly81475
StuckOnPeas

PeaNut 392,949
September 2008
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Loc: Memphis, TN

Posted: 6/14/2010 1:04:49 PM
I love that last photo- and enjoyed learning a bit more about you.

Elizabeth


Just a Mom with a camera now!!
My Personal Blog

Nikon D90 ~ Nikon 70-200 f/2.8 ~ Nikon 24-70 f/2.8 ~ Nikon 85 f/1.8 ~ Nikon 18-200 ~ Nikon Speedlight SB-800 ~


craftyluv
Prayers: You need 'em? I've got 'em <3

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March 2008
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Loc: St. Louis, MO

Posted: 6/14/2010 1:08:29 PM
Great interview, Alexis! So fun to learn more about you. You're little guy is so adorable!

I love having the memories. I love having actual copies of moments "frozen" in time. I honestly don't remember that much from my son's babyhood and early toddlerhood. He is so different now. But I have the memories safely preserved. Also, with my Grandmother passing away last week, I have taken temporary posession of all of the old family photo albums. Most of the photos are oof, and have bad exposure. But they mean so much to me. My Grandpa died when my dad was 16. My dad rarely talked about his childhood or his family. The photos that I have been going through and making digital mean so much. They tell a life story - and I can see my father and myself in all of them. It's been an amazing experience for me to look through these old photos, and I have a renewed sense of for whom I am documenting our family's life right now.



Oh, yes, definitely and exactly. I was responsible for putting together a photo memory board for m FIL's visitation. Going through the old photos reinforced to me how important photos are and reminded me why I scrapbook.

Thanks so much for sharing a little bit of yourself with us. And yeah for Staci's interview!


Blessings, Rebecca





My gear:
Nikon D700-a dream come true
50mm 1.8
70-200mm (old AF film lens)
Nikon D40-
18-55mm
55-200mm VR
Promaster 7400EDF flash
Close up macro filter set

SJ Photography
PeaFixture

PeaNut 311,426
April 2007
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Loc: Michigan

Posted: 6/14/2010 1:09:19 PM
Thanks for sharing! I loved reading your interview! Your little guy is so cute, too. I especially love the very last photo of him--love the lighting on that one!


Susan

Canon 5D, 24-70 mm 2.8, 85 mm 1.8, 50 mm 1.4, 100 mm 2.8

My Blog

Sugarmommy
PeaAddict

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Loc: BC, Canada

Posted: 6/14/2010 1:43:00 PM
I LOVED reading about you. You gave some great advice about photography and life in general.


Really not a "lesson" learned, but something important that I have found over the past 3 years - Photography and business will always be there. But, this little person that I have been given is going to grow up. And I want to spend his childhood photographing him.

So true!

Thanks for sharing. Your photo's are beautiful. LOVE the one with the mom tatoo.


Amar
CC and plays always welcome and much appreciated!
Cannon Rebel XT ~ 17-55mm 2.8 ~ 50mm 1.8
CS5

LoriLeigh
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 6/14/2010 2:08:52 PM
Thanks for sharing!


~Lori
My blog


UtahMomX4
AncestralPea

PeaNut 39,805
June 2002
Posts: 4,325
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Loc: Roy, Utah

Posted: 6/14/2010 2:43:39 PM
I loved it, Alexis! Thank you so much for sharing!!!


~Jami

Life in Moments Photography Blog

Canon 40D!!!!!, Canon XT, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 50mm 1.8

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. - Audrey Hepburn

paparazzimommy
i pea, u pea, i can't see my pea pea

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Posted: 6/14/2010 3:03:42 PM
yay!!! I knew I would love reading about you!!




"If you miss a photo that might have been wonderful, just be glad that you saw the moment. Seeing it is far more important than photographing it" -William Abranowicz

Mommy to Austin 15, Sammy 5, Gabe 2 and Elliot came 8/26/09

What I'm shooting with
Minolta 7D, 50mm 1.8, 75-300, 28-100, 18-70, Kenko Tubes all in my 6 million dollar, and I'm old school working on PSE5 yea baby! Thas just how I roll in my 5.0, with the rag top down.....



clindroos
BucketHead

PeaNut 406,249
January 2009
Posts: 959
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Loc: B.C., Canada

Posted: 6/14/2010 3:09:19 PM
Thanks for sharing!


~~ Corrie ~~

Nikon D700 | Nikon D90 | 50mm 1.8 |35mm 1.8 |85mm 1.8
LR3 & CS5
Calibrated

Facebook

My Blog

mkatiej
AncestralPea

PeaNut 179,915
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Loc: Wisconsin

Posted: 6/14/2010 3:20:02 PM
Thanks Alexis....I loved reading more about you!

TrUcksR4CowGirlS
The important thing is not the camera but the eye.

PeaNut 214,042
July 2005
Posts: 6,406
Layouts: 91
Loc: California

Posted: 6/14/2010 3:37:14 PM
Enjoyed reading!!!! I have always been a huge fan of your blog...visit at least once a week.




Staci
Staci Brock Photography

What's in my Crumpler bag:
Nikon D200; Nikkor VR 18-55mm; Nikkor 70-300mm; Nikkor 50mm 1.8; Tamron 28-75mm 2.8; .5 Wide Angle with Macro

On My Computer:
CS4, Imagenomic: Portraiture, Noiseware, Real Grain


Jennifer G
BucketHead

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September 2007
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Loc: Canada!

Posted: 6/14/2010 3:38:19 PM
Thanks for sharing Alexis! It was great getting to know you a little better!


Jennifer G.

Pentax K200D,
Tamron AF 28-75 F2.8
Kit Lens Pentax 18-55mm F3.5-5.6,
Pentax 55-300mm F4.0-5.8,
Pentax 50mm F1.4,
Photoshop CS3

KJayT
PeaNut

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Posted: 6/14/2010 4:46:47 PM
Cool - thanks for letting us know a bit more about you!




jodar
mama to 3 now!

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Posted: 6/14/2010 5:20:33 PM
thanks for sharing Alexis . It was lovely learning more about you.


Jodie
my blog JLB photography FB fan page
In my bag: Canon 50D, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 430exII;
On my computer: CS4, LR3
Feel free to hhcc me anytime!

bvb
PeaAddict

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Posted: 6/14/2010 7:07:31 PM
It was nice to meet you. Thanks for sharing.



missouri girl
PeaAddict

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Posted: 6/14/2010 8:26:02 PM
I enjoyed reading your interview. Thanks for sharing a little bit of yourself with us!


Take time to enjoy life.
jane

Canon 70D
Canon 50 1.4
CS5, PSE5

myliesmom
PeaFixture

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Loc: Idaho

Posted: 6/14/2010 9:01:48 PM
Great interview Alexis! Thanks for sharing!


~Steph~

Nikon D90 | Nikon 85 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 | Tokina 12-24mm f/4 | Tamron 90 mm f/2.8 macro | SB-600 | PSE7 | JoTote!

Steph, the midnight crafter

paintedmoon
Ancient Ancestor of Pea

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Posted: 6/14/2010 9:35:24 PM
I really enjoyed reading more about you, and what you said about the old family photos resonated so much with me. I've asked some of the older generation of my family to let me borrow their old photographs so I can scan them and put them on CD so they are archived and other family members could have access to them. I fanatically ADORE old family photos!

Thanks for a wonderful interview. My condolences on your grandmother's passing.

Anne

dodgeladee
PeaNut

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Posted: 6/15/2010 1:25:56 PM
Great interview! I loved reading it. That last photo is too cute!

_Shanna_
I pea a lot...

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Posted: 6/15/2010 11:14:51 PM
TFS! I often think of cutting back on the business to spend more time with the kids too. I spend way too much time on the computer.


Shanna

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