Today I’m proud to introduce Marta Locklear, a Virginia based portrait and wedding photographer whose images absolutely ooze with emotion. I was able to interview her recently and I’m most certain you’ll leave here inspired.
TCM: What do you love most about photographing your children?
ML: I love being able to immortalize pieces of their youth. As a busy mom of three there are things about my children I never want to loose touch with. Those moments that go by so fast. Their small parts. A quirky smile. The way they study undiscovered territory. Pure joy and amazement when playing… just being them. When I photograph a clients child, I photograph them like I would photograph my own…grab little moments in time and stash them away for when were 70 and need to feel that youth again.
TCM: Do you have any advice for those looking to get more natural images of those they love?
ML: Get closer! Everyone thinks they need to stand back and get it all in, but it all is not necessary and generally very distracting. A few weeks ago I was with my father in Charleston SC, and he is a bit of a picture taker. We were side by side, my dSLR and his Power Shot, and comparing pics. He was like…”you chopped his head off!” I told him “yup…and I meant too”. The focus was my son’s face while setting up toy soldiers on a table top…not the world behind him. It made sense, and for the rest of the weekend he would take one the regular way and then zoom in and take one my way. I think he is officially converted to cutting off parts. Note: sometimes cutting them off awkwardly is not a good thing…so take a look at the whole composition and that part is not really needed.
TCM: What are some creative things you do with the photos of your own family? Do you print, frame, mount, scrapbook?
ML: Personally I frame or canvas my images and designate a special spot for them. I like to hang them like artwork and I shoot with that in mind. Scrapbooks are stunning and I think is a super creative way to display images. I personally don’t have the time or patience (although I have a hefty collection at attempts).
TCM: How do you decide between leaving an image in color or black & white?
ML: I wish I could say I had a recipe for this. Some sessions I will have a lot of BW and some I will have just a few. I look for mood, contrast and light in the image to see if it is going to be more compelling in BW. Some images I can’t choose and my clients see it both ways. Really I let the image tell me.
TCM: If you weren’t a photographer/artist, what would be your dream job?
ML: Ha! I grew up in art schools since 2nd grade…so not being an artist really isn’t something I can envision. I have dabbled in so many different creative fields over the years and even studied Fashion Design in NYC. But to answer the question I guess I would be a Fashion Designer…it still holds a very special piece of my heart. I left it to raise a family and help my hubby pursue his business…life just had something better in store for me…mommy and photographer (no regrets).
TCM: How did you venture into photography, and at what point in the journey did you know it was time to go from mom-with-camera to pro?
ML: The summer of 2006 I was itching REALLY bad to oil paint again…it had been years. But I needed something…I missed my art. But with 2 kids and one brewing, oil paints really weren’t an option at the time. One day I opened my Yahoo mail and saw a link to Flickr, clicked and the rest was history. I spent HOURS on there…just looking, ooohing, and ahhhing. I saw some of the most amazing images of kids and I wanted them of my own. So I picked up my Kodak Easy Share and started playing. I studied other peoples work, read forums, and asked lots of questions. I borrowed a friends dSLR to “try it out” and seriously fell head over heals in love! I shot more images that summer than I ever know what to do with. My kids still shutter a little to think about it. But I tried everything… failed… and tried again… and grew. I posted them, asked for feedback and did all I could to learn as much as possible about taking wonderful images. Then friends and family started asking, and I saw the potential of it becoming a little business. It grew, and so did I. It is now full time, I have an office and will be opening my first studio in September. It is a lot of hard work, and constant learning, but I love it and would not change it for a second.
TCM: How long have you been photographing professionally?
ML: Professionally I would say for 2 years. But really this is “my” year. This year I really feel like I have found me in my photography. I am shooting my way and I couldn’t be happier with the outcome of my work.
TCM: Are you Canon or Nikon girl?
ML: Canon… but only because that is where I started and I am invested. Nikon has some amazing gear that I later learned about too. I think either is a safe bet.
TCM: What lens stays on your camera most?
ML: 50mm 1.4 and that would be 95% of the time… until I get the 50mm 1.2!
TCM: You are known for your amazing boutique items, specifically The Original Cocoon, and the incredible images you create with them. Are newborns your favorite age to photograph?
ML: Well thank you! I can honestly say I do not have a favorite. All last year I went back and forth with whether or not to “specialize” in something, but I know me, and I bore easily. I like that each session is different, I like the variety. Even in just my newborns, I am always making a new thing for each one or buying a new bowl (against hubby’s wishes), I don’t like using the same things over and over and that is why I am always coming up with new ideas.
TCM: Your images are so full of emotion, how did you come to find your style?
ML: I struggled really hard with this last year….”finding my style”. I realized through a conversation with another photographer that I was shooting safe and that was making me hate my work. The client never noticed, but I did. I would show images in a session that I fell in love with only to see them not get chosen. Over and over this broke my artistic heart and ego. I made the decision to revamp my sites and only show the work I wanted to do and educate my clients that this is the kind of photographer I am and that is when I started attracting clients that get my work. I am not traditional… I shoot what I see, and I see a world in my lens that others may not. The emotion comes from being slightly romantic, whether it be tragic or love. I know the little things that make me flutter and get goose bumps, and generally those same things work for my clients. When I set up a shot, it is light, color, texture, mood and moment. Some I forecast ahead of time, most just happen…either way, I am ready for it.
TCM: Would you mind telling us why these images of your own mean so much to you?
ML: These are images from our recent Charleston SC vacation. My #1 goal while on this trip was to get some images of my family for my home. I wanted art-esque pieces of my family just being them to decorate my home…and I couldn’t be happier with what I got and they are such a treasure to me. Some will be large canvases and some will be matted, framed and in collage format.
Now, is anyone up for a giveaway? I promised you they would be good, and good they are. Why not start the giveaways off with a bang?
Adobe Photoshop CS4 is one of the many tools in my photography box. I use it for simple edits such as resizing and watermarking, as well as some more advanced uses with actions, digital scrapbooking, and layers. I use it for graphic design and other projects. It’s amazing, and I have a copy of Photoshop CS4 to giveaway TODAY!
That’s right – a copy of CS4 to one lucky reader.
- All you have to do to enter is leave a comment. I’m sure you might like another way to win, so go ahead and spread the word! Twitter, Facebook, Blog, subscribe, or become a FB Fan – whatever tickles your fancy. The catch is you must come back and leave a separate comment linking up to your shout out, subscription, or that you’re a FB ‘fan’. If you don’t leave additional comments it won’t count (easier for me this way, I’m not gonna sugar coat it).
- The other catch is, this giveaway ENDS this evening at 10pm PST. I know it’s a short one, but I forewarned you yesterday that the giveaways were unique during the series. I’ll get ahold of the winner bright and early tomorrow morning, no waiting it out for a week to find out. Pretty great isn’t it?
- Just an FYI the turnaround time for this specific giveaway is 2-3 weeks out. Just so you know.
Alright photography fans! Enter away, and while you’re at it – go give Marta Locklear some blog-love. She’s fab!