INTERVIEW WITH WENDY WHITE PHOTOGRAPHY , Fort Smith, Arkansas
Hi Wendy! Thanks for taking some time to let us peek inside your life and how you run your successful photography business! You do beautiful work. First of all what inspires you in photography? Nature is probably my biggest inspiration. I drive around and see fields or trees that I just have to shoot. Keeping things pretty simple makes my soul happy. Natural in nature, or natural inside the studio- simple, clean looks.
How long have you been in the business? You know, it’s funny but right out of college, I actually shot weddings. With film!! I was a mortgage lender by day and my “real” job quickly took over everything else. After I had my first child, my priorities changed a lot. I didn’t want to be on the phone all hours of the day and night anymore. I was closing loans on the phone while I was in labor- not good! Nothing can put your life in perspective like a child. Like so many photographers out there, my little baby gave me the desire to capture the innocence of childhood on film. (or I guess on card!:)
I’ve been “official” for about 2 years. I did a lot of practicing on my wonderful friends and family before I was ready to be “public”.
Who is your all time favorite photographer, and what draws you to their work? I’m going to have to say Tim Ernst. He’s a wildlife photographer in Arkansas. Long before I ever shot people, I was chasing bugs and flowers. He was the first photographer inspired me.
What has been your biggest struggle in this business, and how do you deal with it or how have you overcome it? Definitely managing my competitive nature. I want to always learn, grow and improve. Sometimes I have to remind myself that I need step away from the computer and camera sometimes and just breathe!
What are you most proud of as a business woman? I know I should have some profound answer about saving the world or something, but I am just SO thankful that this whole dream that I had has worked out. I am able to help support my family by doing something that I love. I know how lucky that makes me.
Are you a wife? Mother? How do you balance your work with family time?I am! I have a supportive husband and 2 handsome little boys (1 and 3). They are my most difficult subjects. My husband included. Just the other day, I was checking my WB in the studio on his face and he crossed his eyes the whole time. I love my boys!Balancing my time just isn’t something that I have mastered quite yet. My family time and work time co-exist, so it’s tricky. My husband works out of town during the week, and I only send the boys to a sitter 15 or so hours a week. So, I shoot while they are at the sitter and edit when I can. I’m up late a lot… YAWN!
What camera do you shoot with? Favorite lens? I’m a Nikon chic. I have a D3 with a Nikon 24-70 f2.8 and a 50 f1.4. I love them both. I use them for totally different things, but they’re both great pieces of glass.
Do you have a studio, or are you an on location photographer only? Do you use all natural light ? I do have a studio and shoot natural light only. Don’t get me started on my flash spiel… I also shoot a lot outside when the weather is not melting or freezing my sweet, wonderful clients.
What keeps you from getting bored, what helps you keep the photography passion spark alive? I am one of those people that can’t sit still. If I didn’t have this business and just stayed home with the boys, I’m sure I would have taken over the world or something by now!I love to sew, I knit and crochet a little. I’m always making something, (I’m the person that will just make it instead of buying it) so I guess that creative energy is the same thing that sparks some of my ideas.
Throughout your course of business, what would you say has been your best form of advertising, how do you get new clientele? That’s an easy one! Moms! I usually get 3 to 4 referrals for every 1 family that I shoot. I do have the best clients. Probably 90% of my work is with newborns. I can’t tell you how much I get attached to some of these families! They are coming to see me in the very earliest days of parenthood, they’re so excited, they’re happy, they’re…sleep deprived haha. I get to see them in the honeymoon stages and it’s so nice. They literally CHERISH their babies and I just love them for it.
What do you do for fun, that has nothing to do with photography? As I mentioned, I sew, I knit, I make things. I don’t get to do those things much. My boys are very interested in my sewing machine, and kniting needles, but that’s bad! My mom was always making things when I was a kid. She taught me how to sew and crochet. I forced her to learn to knit so I could have a hat maker!When my first son was born, I was sewing him things, taking his pictures, I was in creative overload, all over this child! I was going planning to open a baby store and have a studio inside the store. It didn’t quite happen that way, but I think I have what I can handle right now.
Name three things on your “WISH LIST” for your business. Wish? Well, #1, I see these LARGE open window-y studios and would love that. #2, time. There’s just never enough time for me to take over the world.#3 I’d like to go to a really good worksop with some really fun photographers.
If you could give someone just starting out in the business advice that you wish you would have been given when you were just starting~ what would it be? Shoot for practice, but then focus on the few things that you really love. Specializing is impotant- it’s your art, do the things that make you feel inspired. If you’re shooting the things that you aren’t inspired by, just for money…It’ll show in your work.
And finally, what are your most essential items you use in every session? A baby. hahaha. I kid, I kid! Something for your client to sit/stand/lay/sleep on. A blanket, quilt, chair, something. That’s about all it takes!
Thanks for stopping by, hope you enjoyed this WOMEN IN BUSINESS interview with Wendy White. As always, if you enjoyed this article, I’d love to hear from you, so please feel free to leave some love below this post!!