Wedding And Portrait Photographer Victoria Patterson Interview
Enjoy the following personal interview with Ellijay, Georgia based wedding and portrait photographer Victoria Patterson.
Victoria deserves extra credit for revealing a secret about herself which most interviewees chicken out about!
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: I don’t really like to talk about myself, unless I am asked a specific question. I guess I would rather just discuss photography.
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: I actually have a great attention span. I am patient, because in this career it’s a must. You have to wait for that perfect moment.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I became a photographer over 15 years ago. I always loved to take photos but never knew how people made a living at it, and then one day I just leaped….and I love it now as much as the day I picked up a camera.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: I’m not sure if I can sum it up in one or two sentences. Photography to me is a passion not a job. When I shoot a wedding, it’s exciting because I am able to be creative and just do my own thing. there is so much pressure put on a wedding photographer, but to me, that just makes it exciting. I have not had a bride complain yet and hope that I never do.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Yes. It would have to be this beautiful Castle that was located in Wurzburg Germany. I looked at that photo and said to myself, wow this is a fabulous job!
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: I am a self taught photographer, but have attended many workshops, seminars and on going training. In this field, things change everyday and it is important to stay caught up with technology and equipment (gear). But I also attended college for business.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: If your asking if I point and shoot, no. I check the histogram, and set up my shots before just clicking and hoping for a great shot.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: I feel fine about cropping if it’s necessary. If you frame it the way you want it, you shouldn’t have to crop too much.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: My favorite place would most definitely be Germany. The scenery is remarkable and there is always something interesting to shoot. It may be Cathedrals one day, Castles the next then a wedding….if someone were offered the chance to go, take it! you won’t regret it.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Beauty to me is photographing that homeless person on the park bench, no where to go, but yet that “bum” as most would say, looks over at you and smiles with his missing teeth, mangled hair, and torn clothes. Some people can’t see beneath the outer layers in order to see the inner person who has nothing, but yet, still smiles.
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Favorite Word; Thank you – It makes me feel that I have accomplished what I set out too Least Favorite; I can’t – You can do anything that you put your mind too. You just have to believe.
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: Being honest, my personality doesn’t change. I am who I am, and my clients like me like that.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: I feel like, crap I missed that….and move on. Why dwell on something you can’t get back.
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: I’d be lying if I said no. No photographer ever wants to fail, but honestly, none of us are perfect.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Mike Colon and Daniel Hice
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: I’m afraid that I am going to have to pass on this one. I don’t just have one favorite.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: Well if I have a shoot, I show up early, get set up, talk to the client to ease their nerves, and start creating memories.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: I would say my biggest challenge is keeping up with all of the technology and software. There are so many things that you can do in photoshop and I don’t feel that, that happens to be one of my strong points. I’m always trying to learn more.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: Living in a small town. Yes it is easier because you can have your repeat clients, but in order to become comfortable in your finances it is challenging. You have to lower your rates when you know that you are worth more. Marketing is so expensive that I have to market myself mostly on “word of mouth”.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Brides, my daughter and people living on the streets.
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: I skipped this question and went to the end so I could think of something. But to be honest. I can’t think of anything. I know I have tons of stories, but my old age is kicking in and I have a block. Wait…..I have it. My grandfather “Bethel” was 89 years old and had Alzheimers Disease and I had to watch him one day. So I took him to the top of Fort Mountain (in our town) to do some photographs of him with my children. I wasn’t sure how long he would have until he was gone. Well to make a long story short, he died a week later. I will cherish those photos for the rest of my life.
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: I have never thought about stopping being a photographer. I feel that God gives everyone their gifts and this is mine. I will be a photographer until I can’t physically anymore.
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: Heck yeah. sometimes more than I’d like. Well every photographer has their own style, their own way that they see something, but sometimes, especially if your shooting the same thing in multiples, you lose your creativity. We’re not perfect. You just have to stop, take a break, look around you and find something that gives you back your passion.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Weddings. It’s usually a perfect setting, love is in the air, and the moments are easy to capture.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: I personally love B/W. I don’t know why I like it so much, I just do.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes I do think of myself as an artist. Artist have the ability to create from a blank canvas, and turn it into something wonderful.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Safe. I want to go more outside the box, just haven’t found out how to do that yet. It will come to me one day.
Q: What has been the most surprising or most predictable reaction to your photographs?
A: Tears of joy. From a client who thought she was hideous and fat, but she wanted to do something special for her husband. Then she saw the photos and cried. She was so astonished that she looked so beautiful!
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: For several years I shot in Auto because I didn’t know what all the buttons meant. I would read and read the manuals and books but just couldn’t understand it. Then one day, this special person came into my life, and he explained everything to me, and the best part was, he never judged me. He always and still does think of me as a professional photographer. The funny thing is, I actually was able to teach him a thing or two, which made me feel as though I did know a little something.
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: I would love to travel to the lost countries, where they live in huts and grow their food, and where 5.00 is their week’s pay. A place where the types of clothes and purses and the amount of money you make, don’t make the person you are.
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: I think that I would have gone to college to learn hands on about your gear and lighting and so forth. I would have had a mentor many years ago, if I had, had the opportunity.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: I have never really thought about it. I don’t think that they are photographers. I think that they spend their lives trying to be at the right place at the right time to TRY and get the shot that will make them the most money. To me, that is not an artist.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I think that it is important for minor things such as removing blemishes and scratches. A lot of artist use it now to draw and paint….that’s just not me. A photograph is a photograph as a painting is a painting.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: I have been very blessed to find the career/gift that God intended on me to have. Everyday I learn something. I have GREAT colleagues/friends in this business and we all help each other. That is so important to me.