28 January 2009

on the spot • no. 09

friends, meet ginnie. she has been my friend for a long long time. ginnie has always been the kind of gal who is outgoing, adventurous, hilarious and fun. all qualities which create the perfect combination for a photographer + mother extraordinaire. on a side note, she is a wild storyteller and has some killer dance moves. ginnie is not only a ray of sunshine, but she has the best personality. she seems to have so much fun being a mother of three. i enjoy seeing her photo shoots and the angles she creates inside her images. i knew she would be the perfect candidate to put on the spot. her talent in capturing candid family life delights me.

Name: Ginnie Johnson

Location: Salt Lake City, Utah

Line of work: Wife / Mother / Photographer

Favorite location to take photographs? I consider myself an equal opportunity location photographer. I like to mix it up a bit. Each time I shoot at a different location I get inspired and that drives me to get shots I've never done before.

Favorite activity on a lazy Saturday? Confession: Most of my Saturdays are lazy… (gasp)… Did I just willingly divulge that information about myself? I guess I did. My theory is that I have Monday- Friday to fill my time with lengthy to-do lists. So Saturday is the day I get to spend time with my hubby and the kids and just be a family, doing family things that don't include cleaning or doing laundry.

Best store to spend your dough? I can't help it. I'm a simple girl. Target is my favorite place to shop. I may have, single handedly, kept them in business.

A must in your handbag? 3 things: Hand sanitizer, Burts Bee's lip balm, and a pack of Orbit winter fresh gum.

An every day ritual? I don't eat lunch until I can sit down and really enjoy it. That is my one break in the day where I can sit back, relax, and regroup… and of course I do it with my best two friends Diet Coke, and Good Energy Chocolates.

A must-see in your town? One of my must-sees is something you can't help but see when you visit Salt Lake… the mountains. Just stand and stare for a good while and when you think you're almost done, just stand and stare some more. You need to allow yourself ample amount of time to soak up their awesomeness. Seriously. Another must see is Temple Square down-town. It is truly an awe-inspiring site.

You are great at taking true to life family portraits, what is your advice... Get to know the families you shoot. When I meet a family my goal is to make sure that the next hour and a half that they spend with me is a fun and stress-free one. I want to make sure that they feel 100% comfortable with me, because if they're feeling awkward and uncomfortable it's going to show.

Advice on colors to wear for a family shot?

We've all done it, the matching denim on denim family pictures and if it wasn't that, then it's the denim, with white, and a little khaki thrown into the mix. Yes, matchy-match did have its place in time, but not now, unless you feel like kicking it old-skool. Go ahead, color coordinate. Just try to mix it up a bit.

  • Don't be afraid to wear a color other than black or white. You can do it!
  • Find a shirt you really love and then play off of those colors.
  • If you choose to go with a pattern find some color coordinating solids to go with it
  • Pick colors and clothing styles that match the location. If you are going to a downtown urban location you don't want to have on your formal Sunday dress...
  • Mix in some fun color accents like the killer pair of red heels you've been dying to wear or that perfect yellow scarf that's been sitting in your closet.
  • Wear fun bright colors.
  • Think layers.
  • Dress comfortable.
  • Dress true to your style.
  • Make sure you don't overdo it.

What about family poses versus candid shots? My favorites, hands down, are the candid shots. I love catching the interaction between the families; the Mom and Dad lovingly cooing at their newborn babe, the family jokester that is embarrassing his poor Mom to pieces, the energetic kids that can't hold still and like to use Dad and Mom as a jungle gym. These are the moments that are real. These are the moments that make up life. These are the moments I strive to capture.

How do you make kids behave during the photo shoot? When shooting kids I just plan on making a fool out of myself. It's not required, but it helps. I also want the parents to have realistic expectations of their child that are age appropriate. It's okay if they want to run around and not sit still. I just plan on running around with them. Remember to expect the unexpected. You never know what you're going to get. You just have to learn to roll with the punches sometimes. Never lose your cool and always practice patience, like my Mom always says, "Patience is a virtue."

What kind of camera do you use? For the longest time I used my trusty old Canon Rebel XT. I loved that little camera. People always ask me, "Is it possible to get good shots without the best of the best cameras?" The answer is, YES! All it takes is a little know-how, a lot of patience, and practice, practice, practice and you can do it. It's true. I have since retired my little friend, the Rebel, and upgraded to the Canon 50D.

What is the best time of day to do a shoot?

For me, whenever I feel inspired. For lighting purposes, the best time to shoot is early in the morning (if you're a morning person), 2 hours before dusk or on overcast days. I never thought I would pray for cloudy days, but I do. If it happens to be a bright sunny day and my prayers aren't working, then I will shoot in a shaded area. The goal is to avoid harsh shadows; unless that is the look you're going for.

What are your tips for capturing the moment in your children's lives?

  • Always keep your camera handy.
  • Get down on their level.
  • Not all shots need to be posed.
  • Instead of having them say, "CHEESE" try to get the natural smile by making them laugh or giggle.
  • Bribery goes a long way.

What is the best thing about being a mom?

Being a Mom of 3 small kids, things can be wild and crazy, like, who can paint the cat the prettiest shade of green wild or wipe your bum with your sister's favorite blanket crazy. But at the end of the day, when the chaos has passed, I tuck my 3 little kiddos into bed one by one. They reach up, give me a big squeeze and say, "I love you MOM!" melting my heart in the process. So what's the best thing about being a Mom? I receive my payment in the form of messy-face, sticky-fingered hugs and kisses and endless amounts of "I LOVE YOU's!"

Do you have a favorite photographer?

Oh, that's a hard question. You should check out my google list; it's filled with loads and loads of amazing, inspiring photographers. But, if I narrowed it down I would have to say Wendy Whitacre of Blue Lily Photography. She is a super-sweet and witty person who is also extremely talented to boot.

Inspiring words for aspiring photographers...

  • Be proactive. If you want something bad enough you can't just sit around and wait for it to happen. YOU need to make it happen.
  • Find people that inspire you.
  • Learn how to work your camera.
  • Switch your camera from Automatic to manual. I shoot in manual 99% of the time. Shooting in automatic limits your control and creative ability. Just ask my husband and he'll tell you, I like to be in control. Shooting in manual gives you the ability to decide how much you want in focus (aperture), how fast you want the shutter to close (shutter speed) and your camera's sensitivity to light (ISO).
  • Make google your best friend. If you have a question and you don't know the answer to it, just google it. Seriously. Google and I have become pretty tight in the past few years.
  • Become a member of a photo forum
  • Keep in mind that having the best equipment out there doesn't necessarily mean you're going to take better pictures. Unless you know how the features of your camera work and the basics of photography, it's just going to mean you've spent more money.
  • Practice, practice, practice. Shoot often and learn from your mistakes. Ultimately there is only one way to become better at photography and that is to get out there and actually do it.
  • Try to not let yourself get discouraged. Remember you are your worst critic.
  • Have fun and be fabulous!

Makes you happy...

Buying a $40 shirt on a $15 sale. All you can eat breakfast buffet. Falling asleep next to my hubby with our feet intertwined. Watching my kids play together. Freshly shaved legs. High thread-count sheets. The smell of fresh baked bread. Making my hubby smile. Having a full pantry. Dark Chocolate & Diet Coke… the two belong together. High heels. Getting real mail from a friend, the kind of mail the postman has to deliver. The sun shining through my window.

thank you, ginnie. you are so good at what you do. your advice is going to be so helpful next time i have to be in a color-coordinating group shot. no matching denims, please. your children photos are beautiful, i can hardly wait to get my little benji in front of your lens! be sure to check out ginnie's gorgeous photography website and her hilarious blog recording her real life with her adorable darlings...

all images on this post: copyright ginnie johnson.


Anonymous said...

oh my, clicking on your blog this morning was obviously meant to be. I have my first real photo shoot this weekend. These words were so inspiring and helpful! Thank you!

Jac said...

I came across your blog today and just wanted to say how lovely and inspiring it is. How lucky to have such talented friends this post was really interesting with great advice. Thanks!

summer said...

Such lovely photos! & wonderful hints too--
I am searching for my camera manual as soon as I'm done typing this.

Anonymous said...

I loved reading about Ginnie. I see her kids every week at church and they are everybit as cute as these pictures! she's a talented girl!

Ginnie said...

Wow Marta! if the expression "my ears are burning" is used when someone is talking about you, what expression would you use when someones write's about you? Perhaps, "my eyes are burning?". That just doesn't sound quite right. Any how, you said some amazingly nice things that made my heart happy. Can I keep you around and when I need a little ego boost you can just fill my head with niceness? :)

Fairlightday said...

Awesome awesome post! Thank you so very much for putting your friend "on the spot." :) I loved all her tips. And her photos are amazing. I would love to know what lens she uses, what photo shopping program she uses, and how exactly, what her favorite informative photo website is, and how a fairly shy person who doesn't do well with small talk, do you get people to relax and just let their kids be kids and smile and laugh and have a good time? I guess maybe I should head over to her blog, huh? :) Thank you again Marta! And Ginnie!

the fabulous fifi files said...

great post - loved hearing about cool moms :)

southern daze said...

Thank you for the inspiration! I've been toying with the idea of getting more serious about photography but fear continues to hold me back. The ability isn't just going to fall in my lap...I need to get out there and make it happen.

the mama monster said...

yeah ginnie! i love all your shots and i love you. and i love marta and i love wendy of blur lily. love all around for these multi talented lovely ladies.

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mary plus vince said...

i heart ginne + her photography skillz! this was a lovely post!

Linds said...

thanks for spotlighting Ginnie. We have loved her for a long time and I'm excited that more people can see how awesome she is! (not to mention hilariously wild!!)

Merilee said...

Wow this was an awesome post. So fun to see our friend Ginnie in the spotlight. She really is amazing. So are you Marta..love your blog.

Aunt Spicy said...

What a wonderful post and beautiful pictures! Thanks for sharing!

Amy said...

Thank you for the post about an amazing and talented photographer, mom...and a wonderful friend to boot! She is sooo worth it! Love your blog too!

Chell said...

Yippee for Ginnie and her mad dance skilz along with her photo skills. She really has some natural talent when it comes to capturing those memorable shots..

Jenny B said...

Ginnie makes me happy, on a bad day I can peek at her blog and know I am not alone, lol. Love ya girlie!

whit said...

Marta you are right on the dot when it comes to Ginnie, she's an amazing friend and its so fun to see all of our friends and their amazing talents.

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