My Pea of the Week Interview - just a smidge late

Two Peas is Closing
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Posted 11/10/2010 by Wolfsong in General Photography


PeaNut 275,639
September 2006
Posts: 2,959
Layouts: 136
Loc: Layton, UT

Posted: 11/10/2010 1:17:07 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!!

A self portrait? You mean like this . . .

Yeah, that got your attention didn't it? Yes, that really is a self-portrait I did for my husband a couple of years ago. I don't have anything really recent, since my tripod suffered from a series of unfortunate events

So who am I? I am Sarah. I'll be 31 Dec. 1, which scares me just a little. I look like I am barely 20, but I am starting to feel a little older. Weird.

I am a wife and a mom. My son Cameron just turned six, and he is the light of my life. We would love to have more kids, but God has other plans I guess. FYI, infertility sucks.

I am a full-time photographer, which is kind of cool. I have my own studio, but I also work for Bella Baby Photography , which in my opinion is one of the best jobs you could have I am a member of PPA, and right now I am studying like crazy for my Professional Photographer Certification test. It is something I have been wanting to do since I first got in to professional photography. I will be taking the test in January at IUSA in San Antonio, TX. Incidentally, that is my old hometown, so I am excited to be going back.

And one more thing (which you probably already figured out) - I like to talk A LOT. Probably to much.

You can check out some of my stuff here:

Blog Website Facebook

2. What inspired you to get into photography? And when?

I got my first camera, a little Kodak 110mm, when I was 8. My mom always got mad at me because when she thought I never took enough pictures showing off people in various places. But I was always concerned more about the the real subject (the animals at the zoo, a beautiful vista, a cool building), and I didn't want "random" people messing up my scene or taking away from the subject.

When my son Cameron was about 9 months old we moved to Las Vegas. I started working at a mall studio (Kiddie Kandids), and about a month later I was asked to work as a wedding photographer at Chapel of the Flowers (the one featured on the TLC show "Happily Ever Faster". I had NO IDEA how to use a DSLR. The first day on the job I was a nervous wreck. But I was determined. I started very small and simple, and worked my butt off. Within two years I was head photographer and was getting requests for the "big" weddings. To date I have done over 1700 weddings, from very small and intimate, to the grandiose. I have done weddings in grand Cathedrals, small chapels, on boats, in the Grand Canyon, and in several different states.

After moving to UT, I started my own studio. I have worked for several other companies as well, and am currently contracted with Bella Baby. I have lost track of how many babies I have photographed. Several thousand

3. What is your education? Degree? Self-taught? Workshops?
I have a Bachelor's Degree in Wildlife and Range Resources. I wanted to be a Wolf Biologist since I was a little girl. But field work and family don't mix, so I had to change me plans.

I have been taking a course through New York Institute of Photography for ages. I am not always the best at studying. But the course is very comprehensive, and I have learned a ton.

I have learned a lot from online forums like this one, and I attend lots of workshops. I love that there is always something to learn about in photography.

And, of course, I am studying for my PPC test. The book is Photography by Upton and London. Extremely comprehensive and sometimes a little boring, but still really good.

4. What kind of photographer would you describe yourself as?

I am a portrait and wedding photographer. I do mostly maternity, babies, and young children, but occasionally I do families and seniors as well. My pet photography has also become more popular recently, and I am working on a new website just for my pet photography.

I would call my style "classic". I work primarily in color or simple B&W and Sepia. I am not a huge fan of the vintage and retro looks, and I really hate sun flare that washes out the image. HATE. IT. Call me old school, I guess. I prefer a clean and simple look with natural colors.

5. What kind of equipment do you use? Not every piece you own, but your favorites or use most often.

I am a Nikon girl I have used other cameras, and they are fine, I just prefer the way a Nikon feels and works in my hands.

Right now I am using a Nikon D70s. What, never heard of it? That's because it is ANCIENT. At least as far as cameras go. I have had it for about five years now, and have used it almost every single day. It is a serious work horse! It is starting to act up now and then, though, and I just pray it holds out a little longer, because I have absolutely no money to replace it.

The cool thing is that it is only a 6mp camera. Crazy, i know! But when I tell this to my clients they are always shocked. They can never tell the difference, even on my large prints

I also have an SB-600 and SB-900 Speedlight, Nikkor 18-70mm lens, and 70-300mm lens. Everything but the SB-900 is pretty old, but I make them work.

6. What did/do you struggle with the most?
Making my ideas come to life. I ALWAYS have ideas. They keep me up at night. But I have trouble actually getting my vision to translate to real life. Very frustrating.

7. What was your biggest "A-ha" moment? Can be something technical/camera-related, something personal as it relates to photography, or something you learned about yourself as a photographer.

The first time I used Manual on my camera. When I was at the Chapel of Flowers we did weddings at all times of the day and well into the evening. Near by was the Stratosphere tower, which looks really cool when it is lit up at night. I wanted to really show that off in my pictures, but I couldn't do that on P mode. My boss at the time told me the settings to use in Manual mode. It was like the whole universe just opened up for me! I realized that I could be in control. After that I experimented a lot with different settings in Manual at various times of the day in many different situations. It was a very exciting time for me!

8. Biggest lesson learned? Can be either about photography, the business, yourself, etc.
Learn to master what you have and be happy with it. I have always been very poor, and getting the latest and greatest is completely out of the question for me. So I have had to work with what I have. Even though most of my equipment is worn and outdated, I know it inside and out, and I am immensely proud of all it can do for me.

9. What's your greatest triumph or achievement? Could be just opening your own business, to awards, to a compliment.

I think in general I am just excited when I see my work in someone else's home. To know that they value my work enough to display it in their OWN HOME. It's AWESOME!!

10. What is one of the most important mistakes you made that served as a basis for your progression?
Oh, I never make mistakes.

Okay, maybe that is not entirely true. Not keeping in contact with my current clients is a big boo-boo. I have a hard time getting clients to come back. And I rarely get referrals. I do my best to give clients the most fabulous experience while they are here in my studio, but I am not good at extending that service. It is something I am really trying hard to work on.

11. What is it about photography that makes your heart sing and your mind race with possibilities?
Ideas. My mind is constantly BURSTING with ideas. It very literally keeps me up at night. It drives me husband crazy! LOL. I love thinking of new things in my mind and envisioning ways to make it happen. Even though very few of my ideas actually make it to reality, I still love making those few come to life.

12. Which do you like better - taking the photo or processing it? Why?
I like the whole process, from beginning to end! I love envisioning what I will do in any session, then making it happen during the session, then adding those little touches in editing to really add sparkle to the images, then seeing the faces of my clients when they see the finished product for the time.

The only thing I don't really like is when I have a very large session or wedding with 100s of photos to go through in editing. I try to keep my work flow as short and smooth as possible, but sometimes it still takes a while. Tedious and dull work.

13. What inspires you? Could be anything - other photographers, nature, art, music, people, etc.
I am HUGELY inspired by other photographers and artists. I love to look at others' work and think of ways on how I can use what they have learned in my own work.

14. What is something about you that we don't know? Could be something serious or silly- your choice.
What, you don't already know my life story? Considering how much I talk, and how open I am about myself, there is really not much else to say.

I guess this could be something. I am a master marksman, and was Captain of my high school rifle team in ROTC. I have been shooting firearms since I was 11, and was considered a "natural". I guess shooting with a camera is just second nature then

15. Can you share with us your loved ones? Especially if they have been featured in your work?
I love this one that Shantell did of my family recently

I am TOTALLY in love with this guy. Even though he can drive me crazy sometimes;-P

My little guy This was last year, I need to update his photos!

Orion, my itty bitty mini dachshund

Ender, our very photogenic cat

16. Can you share your top tip/technique with us?
Keep learning. Stretch yourself. If you ever think you have learned enough, you have failed. There is ALWAYS something new to learn.

17. Who are you picking next and why?
Well, I had originally planned to pick Paul, but he picked me intead There are so many on the list I do not know very well, so I am going to pick someone I do not know at all, so I can get to know them better!


18. Please share some of your favorite works with us!!
I am going to show you some that I am planning to enter in my image review as part of my CPP exam.


PeaNut 392,949
September 2008
Posts: 2,839
Layouts: 12
Loc: Memphis, TN

Posted: 11/10/2010 1:37:27 PM
Wow Sarah- way to put yourself out there with that first image!!

Glad to learn a bit more about you and I had no idea you did all those weddings...I knew about the hospital photography but how did I miss the wedding photography!!

Thanks for sharing..


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 ~


PeaNut 398,361
November 2008
Posts: 1,520
Layouts: 27
Loc: Chicago

Posted: 11/10/2010 1:49:39 PM
Great interview! Thanks for sharing!


Nikon D7000
Nikon D40
50 mm f/1.8
Tamron 28-75 f/2.8
18-55 mm kit lens

My Blog
My Website
My facebook page

"So much depends on a red wheelbarrow, glazed with rainwater, beside the white chickens."


PeaNut 406,249
January 2009
Posts: 959
Layouts: 0
Loc: B.C., Canada

Posted: 11/10/2010 1:56:09 PM
What a great story! I LOVE your self portrait.

~~ Corrie ~~

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


My Blog


PeaNut 405,632
January 2009
Posts: 6,773
Layouts: 112
Loc: West Virginia

Posted: 11/10/2010 3:54:42 PM
I love that you are working with what you have equipment wise and not 'trying to keep up with the Jones' so to speak - it is so tempting sometimes. Thank you for sharing - I'd say we know YOU pretty well after that first shot (that's an ice breaker for sure) - You are a beautiful and talented young lady.


Nikon stuff!

The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know!

Blogging at ---> bended road photos


PeaNut 394,697
October 2008
Posts: 443
Layouts: 0
Loc: Under the laundry pile, WA

Posted: 11/10/2010 4:25:15 PM
So nice to learn more about you!! Thanks for sharing.
And that auto portrait...I bet your husband liked it a lot

~ Sylvie ~

Canon Rebel XTi - 17-55mm 2.8 - 50mm 1.8

Drink lots...PEA pale!

PeaNut 276,190
September 2006
Posts: 22,615
Layouts: 717
Loc: Colorado

Posted: 11/10/2010 4:35:14 PM

Learn to master what you have and be happy with it.

I think this deserves to be repeated again and again. So often we (myself included) get caught up in the latest and greatest, that we loose site of the basics. GOOD reminder.

I have to ask, is Ender from Ender's Game? That is my husbands favorite book of all time and he really wanted to name our next son Ender. Just curious.

You have a great way of expressing yourself, both via written word and through pictures, so glad you are part of our community.


24-70 2.8L
100 2.8L IS macro
135 2.0L
85 1.2L II
Fisheye 15mm
Tamron 70-200 2.8
Lensbaby Composer

CS4 on a calibrated Mac

My blog
Photography website
Woolywishes Etsy shop

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

PeaNut 365,669
March 2008
Posts: 12,737
Layouts: 81
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Posted: 11/10/2010 4:48:25 PM
Sarah...fantastic interview! So fun to learn more about you. I knew you did weddings, but I didn't realize how many! Wowza!

Loved your answer to the biggest lesson learned question. I also "make do" with what I have.

Thanks for sharing with us!

Blessings, Rebecca

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


PeaNut 429,784
July 2009
Posts: 898
Layouts: 2

Posted: 11/10/2010 5:08:30 PM
Loved your interview and your photos. I know where your id comes from now too LOL.

Good to see someone other than myself and heartcat who can talk a lot

Ok, I have 5000 what?

PeaNut 230,463
November 2005
Posts: 10,109
Layouts: 1
Loc: West Virginia Mountains

Posted: 11/10/2010 7:42:22 PM

Learn to master what you have and be happy with it.

Excellent advice!

Great interview

Sony A200 DSLR
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens)
Sony 50mm f/1.4
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Telephoto/Macro
Sony 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 Telephoto (it was on sale for $69.00...I couldn't resist!)
Sony HVL-F20AM flash


PeaNut 341,583
October 2007
Posts: 3,185
Layouts: 84
Loc: Erie, PA

Posted: 11/10/2010 8:00:00 PM
Such a nice interview. Thank you for sharing.

Canon 7D and XTi
Jackie S.


PeaNut 409,602
January 2009
Posts: 2,050
Layouts: 65
Loc: Central Florida

Posted: 11/10/2010 8:17:33 PM
Thanks for sharing yourself with us, Sarah! I loved learning more about you!


My Gear -
Canon 50D
50mm 1.4
Tamron 28-75 2.8
Adobe Photoshop CS4


PeaNut 275,639
September 2006
Posts: 2,959
Layouts: 136
Loc: Layton, UT

Posted: 11/10/2010 8:52:06 PM

I have to ask, is Ender from Ender's Game? That is my husbands favorite book of all time and he really wanted to name our next son Ender. Just curious.

Yup! Both my DH and I are big fans of Orson Scott Card, and I LOVE Ender's Game. The rest of the series is okay, but it gets a little weird. DH says the Ender's Shadow books are better. I haven't had a chance to read those yet.

To pea or not to pea that is the question.

PeaNut 355,331
January 2008
Posts: 11,548
Layouts: 89
Loc: utah

Posted: 11/10/2010 10:02:44 PM
Very nice Sarah!!

Nikon D90
Nikon D50
50 mm 1.8
Nikon fisheye 10.5
Nikon 85 mm/1.8
Tamron 17-50 mm/2.8
18-55 mm
70-300 mm
My blog: Whatever
My Etsy: My Etsy

I pea a lot...

PeaNut 345,407
October 2007
Posts: 9,468
Layouts: 47
Loc: Australia

Posted: 11/10/2010 11:09:31 PM
Love it. That is an awesome shot of you. I wish I had that body! TFS.






PeaNut 403,547
December 2008
Posts: 335
Layouts: 6
Loc: Illinois

Posted: 11/11/2010 8:17:52 AM




PeaNut 213,038
July 2005
Posts: 4,688
Layouts: 1,100
Loc: Kazza Land

Posted: 11/11/2010 8:51:29 AM
You Rock!

Website KLS-Images


PeaNut 395,199
October 2008
Posts: 1,996
Layouts: 7
Loc: Wichita, KS

Posted: 11/13/2010 2:50:54 PM
I loved reading your interview and learning more about you. Thanks for sharing!! All I can say is WOW!!!! I cannot believe the way you ROCK that D70!!! You are A.M.A.Z.I.N.G!! Mine is sitting in the closet and has been unloved for a long time. I am going to go and give it a big kiss!!!


Nikon D3S ~ Nikon D700 ~ Nikon D300 ~ Nikon D70s
Nikon 70-200mm f/2.8 ~ Nikon 24-70 f2.8 ~ Nikon 105mm F/2.8 micro ~ Nikon 50 mm f1.4 ~ Nikon 85mm 1.8 ~ Nikon 24mm 2.8 ~ Nikon 18-200mm VR ~ Tamron 28-75mm f2.8 ~ SB600 ~ SB900 ~ LR3 ~ CS5
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