Photographer Interview: Lisa Johnson Of FireLillyCreations Photography
Enjoy the following beautiful and artistic photos plus a truly personal photographer interview with North Carolina based Lisa Johnson of FireLillyCreations Photography.
If you are fortunate enough to shoot with Lisa you will not only come away with great pictures but as Lisa says will have a “night at the improv” as well.
Lisa’s favorite quote about photography is the perfect introduction to her Q&A:
“A Birth Certificate shows that we were born. A Death Certificate shows that we die. Pictures show that we lived!”
Q: Do you like to talk about yourself or your pictures? If yes, about what aspects of photography? If no, why?
A: Yes, I do. I love meeting new people, and creating images that always make a model or family so happy that tears usually follow. Plus, many times I manipulate an image into something unique and create art. After all, photography is a way to preserve history and is art. I love the creative outlet!
Q: How would you describe your attention span?
A: My attention span is very high and especially to detail.
Q: When did you decide to become a photographer?
A: I have always been interested since a kid. When taking a course in graphic design, I really fell in love with the process.
Q: What does photography mean to you?
A: Photography means that is part of my soul and a creative outlet. I always have a camera around me.
Q: Can you recall the first photo you took that made you go WOW!?
A: Yes, it was while in college and I was developing it in the dark room. An image of a cemetery with this great tree.
Q: Do you have any formal training regarding photography?
A: Yes, I have taken digital and dark room courses in college. I have also been an apprentice with local photographers.
Q: How technical is your photography?
A: I am more creative, than technical. I am only technical with my f-stops and shutter speed. I am more technical in studio with lighting.
Q: How do you feel about cropping?
A: Cropping is great, but always save the original because once you crop it, it can mess up when you are printing a certain size.
Q: Where is your favorite place to live and work as a photographer in the World and why?
A: I guess downtown Charlotte and Winston-Salem, NC. There is so much energy there and great places to shoot.
Q: Define the word “beauty”!
A: Memorable, expressive, enchanting
Q: What is your most favorite and least favorite word in photography or life? How do they make you feel?
A: Actually it is a quote that sums it up for me. “A Birth Certificate shows that we were born. A Death Certificate shows that we die. Pictures show that we lived!”
Q: How does your personality change when you look through the camera?
A: I try to capture the emotion, and not just a pose. I am more into expressive shots that tell a story.
Q: How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
A: They are the most unusual ones that hold the most meaning! I always shoot my models when they think I am not looking. Those shots are awesome!
Q: Ever concerned about failure?
A: Before every shoot I am worried that I will not get the shot, and bomb. I think it makes me more conscious and better at my craft.
Q: Who are your influences?
A: Annie Leibovitz is my hero!
Q: What is your favorite image, either your own or someone else’s or both? Describe its creation or meaning to you?
A: The image that stirred anger in every soccer mom, Miley Cyrus’s image Annie did. I love it.
Why? It created emotion and controversy. It was also beautiful and very well done. I saw nothing wrong with it, but the buzz it created was fantastic. Memorable! Plus she caught emotion in the image, and showed the beginning of womanhood when the world was not ready for it.
Q: Describe a day in your personal or professional life.
A: I am a mom first and really enjoy spending time with my kids. My oldest, and I are usually goofing around so much that people mistake me as his buddy or girlfriend. 40 almost, but look 17? I will take it! HA! My youngest and I love to sketch, so you can usually find us having drawing competitions. I guess just being a friend first with my kids,and mom second works from day to day.
Q: What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face on a daily basis?
A: The biggest challenge I face is balancing work with family. I cant always be in two places at once, so that is a big task. I want to work, but I want to be home with my boys too.
Q: What has been the single biggest obstacle against growing as a photographer in whole?
A: The biggest obstacle would be getting every piece of equipment I need to create. I recently purchased more studio lights and it was a two hour drive to get these. I live in the country and photography is not big unless you are shooting only weddings, and family events. A store that sells what I need is hard to come by.
Q: What are your favorite subjects to photograph?
A: Women who have edge to them, and not the usual model look. I love shooting someone with a punk, sinister, goth look. I can stretch my creative zone big time!
Q: Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot!
A: Well that would be three separate stories! HA! Most touching would be a lady I shot and she lost over 100 pounds. She hated images of herself, and when I shot her. She saw the photos I had posted to her personal folder, and cried when she saw the first image. “That’s not me.” She cried and said. It was a touching experience.
The scariest was when I was at Castle Carnival and shooting. My camera popped out of my bag and dropped about 20 feet off a bridge. I was panicking as if it was my child. A sweet gentleman climbed down to get it, and it still worked! Canon rocks!
Funniest? Oh man, every shoot with me is funny. A night at the improv is what I call my photo sessions. We have a ball! Bizarre would be when I photographed a rap group from the Bahamas in downtown Winston-Salem. I was shooting the guys in a very urban area, with not the best characters around. A man comes up to my assistant and me trying to steal our coffee. That was wild. The guys and us, made him leave and continued to work like nothing happened. LOL!
Q: Have you ever thought about or actually stopped doing photography? What were the circumstances?
A: Yes, like everyone we get burned out. When I am not shooting, I am editing and manipulating images. We all need a break, so I may take a month off or so.
Q: Do you ever have photographer’s block and if yes how do you deal with it?
A: I really don’t think I have ever experienced that. I usually see the model and come up with an idea that would fit them for a shoot. I am first an artist, and then a photographer. I can usually come up with something creative on a whim.
Q: What types of assignments are you attracted most?
A: Artistic nudes with a Playboy type setting, and harashuku girl looks.
Q: Describe what black and white photography means to you?
A: Classic, and makes a statement. It was the beginning of photography and I love to shoot in black and white. Add darkroom work and it has a whole new meaning.
Q: Do you think of yourself as an artist and what do you think of the word artist?
A: Yes, because a lot of my images I manipulate into an artistic piece. I was trained as an artist at first, so with every image that is evident.
Q: How do you describe your photographic style?
A: Edgy, classic, unusual, and flirty.
Q: Tell a little secret about yourself that no-one knows …
A: Now, if I do that, then it is not a secret. HA!
Q: Who or what would you love to shoot that you haven’t already?
A: I would love to go to Japan and shoot live Geisha’s and harashuku girls for real!
Q: What would you have done differently during your photography career so far and could this be an advice to others?
A: I would have started much younger, and been more technical.
Q: What are your thoughts on the paparazzi and their effects on photographers and photography?
A: I think they make a lot of people uncomfortable and even in my small area, if they see my 700mm lens pop out, people get nervous.
Q: How do you feel about digital manipulation and to what extent do you utilize it?
A: I love digital manipulation! I use it with every model. I post straight out images, but many gals have something about their body they want me to correct and I always get request to turn a shot into something artistic.
Q: What other thoughts would you like to share?
A: I had a photographer tell me once to get the shots he does all boils down to one secret. Shoot emotion and not the body only. I have used that and my works has grown with leaps and bounds. :)