Marit Welker, Idaho

How long have you been a photographer?

I received my first camera at age 13. I sold my first image to a magazine at age 20. I am now 44, so a long time!

What got you interested in photography?

I had an older brother who was good at it, and it looked like fun. I LOVE art and the beauty of nature, and it was something I felt challenged to capture on film.

What is your photography specialty?

I enjoy all types of photography, but portraiture of children and families is my very favorite.

How did you get interested in submitting your photos to the Church?

I was approached on a website called Flickr. My desire to submit images was strong since I feel firmly that any talent I have comes from God. I felt that I could help His work on this earth by donating images to the Church and allowing others to benefit from pictures I took.

How do you feel you can use photography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?

Have you ever seen a lesson manual that is not illustrated? It can be pretty boring. I believe that websites, lesson manuals, YouTube, Facebook, and all other forms of media can benefit from having quality images to choose from. Illustrating your point in teaching can be much more powerful with an image than with words alone. Words are processed by the brain. An image can be received straight into your heart. I believe that it often can bypass doubts. That is the power of images.  (*See bottom of page.)

What about photography inspires you?

I am overwhelmed by the beauty of nature, and it lifts my spirits each time I see a beautiful view, whether in print or out in nature. Photography allows me to fill my home and heart with pictures that inspire.

What part of photography is the most rewarding?

That is easy! Capturing the personality of an individual, a specific and wonderful moment, or making someone look their very best thrills me every time I can do it.

What has been a favorite experience or memory while taking photos?

Taking the last picture of my grandfather before he passed away. I see the fun memory of that multi-generational image and the power of remembering the story of that day. It is very special to all of our family.

How do you decide what and how to shoot?

In actuality, I have five kids, a husband, two dogs, and little time to shoot. I LOVE to get my kids playing and just grab the camera. I also shoot whenever I can get someone to come into my studio. Both types of photography (candid and posed) can be powerful. The situation I am photographing dictates the way I shoot. I adore unusual perspectives and often lie on the ground to take pictures. I also love to set up lighting in my studio in new ways and find a “guinea pig” to try it out on. I find that experiments and mistakes that break the traditional rules can often lead to some wonderful results. Any success I have in photography comes from taking hundreds or thousands of pictures at a time.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

I LOVE to shoot outdoors in candid play situations. I also like posed fall leaf shots and studio shots, but outdoors is always most fun because people are more relaxed.

Where is your dream location to shoot?

I want to travel to all the Church history sights and back to Jerusalem to take pictures of all these places I love. If I had the time and money, I would leave tomorrow!

How would you describe your photography?

Much of it is very traditional, but my favorites—which I don't have releases for—are the ones where the magic of a moment is captured and the relationships between individuals or a family or a play moment are caught and displayed to remember forever.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your photos?

I spent untold hours studying the work of others primarily through Flickr. There I analyzed what I did or did not like about other photos. That was the best education I could have. Then, to achieve the results I admired, I learned to use my camera with the owner's manual and became more skilled in the software called Photoshop.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Take lots of pictures. Don't delete even the mistakes. Later, you may go back and realize that one portion of that image or even the picture overall is quite good and analyze the work of others to see what you like and why it works. That has taught me tons!

How much do you edit your photos?

Some very little, many quite extensively, most a moderate amount. I just love to do it!

If you could take photos of anything, what would it be?

If you could take photos of anything, what would it be? Babies, children, the Prophet Joseph Smith, and the Savior. (You said "anything"!)

What is your favorite lighting?

I LOVE the hour next to sunrise and sunset. The longer rays of light are just magic. EVERYTHING looks good then.


*I wanted to add also that a family photo or religiously oriented photo hung in a home can have a powerful impact. A happy family memory of togetherness can help us through the tough times in a family relationship. It helps us set goals. The memories of those times are precious to us. Most of all, loved ones long gone can still be with us in a powerful way when we see their faces at different times in their lives. I love the power of portraits!

Jeremy Hall, Utah

How long have you been a photographer?

I have been taking photographs on a more serious level since 2004.

What got you interested in photography?

The onset of digital photography grabbed my interest. I took photos with film but always felt like I needed to limit the number of photos I took due to the costs associated with film. With digital I felt free to learn, experiment, and create.

What is your photography specialty?

I found my start in more serious photography with concert and event work. I was blessed with a number of opportunities that both challenged me and let me learn as I worked. Now I am more of a generalist, enjoying family portrait work and personal projects more recently.

How did you get interested in submitting your photos to the Church?

I first heard of the opportunity to share photos on Flickr into the Church's official group for review and potential use by the Church. If I have something I can share for the Church's benefit, I am happy to.

How do you feel you can use photography to build up the kingdom or share the gospel?

As a member of the Church, I am always looking for ways I can use my talents and abilities for good. Though I have much to learn with photography, where I am now allows me to make photos that hopefully can be used in the efforts of the Church in various media.

What about photography inspires you?

Any type of photography can be inspiring, depending on the subject matter. A great landscape can obviously be inspirational, but so can photos that tell a story or create an emotion.

What part of photography is the most rewarding?

I am continually trying to learn better techniques and abilities. I feel most rewarded when I have captured an amazing moment that someone will cherish for years to come. This may be at a significant event or even a child's portrait. I also find great satisfaction in pre-visualizing a concept, then being able to make that idea come to life in a photo.

What has been a favorite experience or memory while taking photos?

Photography gave me the opportunity to travel throughout the UK with an entertainer and document the experience. Standing atop the back of the stands at a concert in Edinburgh, Scotland, taking it all in as I created photos of the event—that was the experience of a lifetime.

How do you decide what and how to shoot?

Often the events I am documenting dictate what and how I shoot. Often when shooting just for the enjoyment of it, I like to look around me and see what catches my eye. Once I identify a subject, I try to make photos of it from various angles, distances, and settings to best represent what I have observed. Later I will go through the various photos and decide which make the cut.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

I love to shoot concerts and events, but also any beautiful location that provides the opportunity to make great images. When shooting family portraits, I love going out in the canyons and finding beautiful scenery to make part of the images.



Where is your dream location to shoot?

Any beach of the world. I love the coasts, especially sunset or sunrise (depending on the coast).

How would you describe your photography?

Continually evolving. I hope to always keep learning and improving. The process of photography is where I gain the most enjoyment; the fruits of that effort hopefully will be pleasing to others as well.

What tip or trick have you learned along the way that made the biggest difference in the quality of your photos?

Read the manual and learn the basic functions of your camera. I know that doesn't sound exciting, but knowing the tools available to you will help you make better decisions when determining how to make better photographs. Also, learn how to hold that camera still. Nothing messes up a great photo quicker than causing it to be blurry simply because the camera moved.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Don't be afraid to try. Especially in the world of digital photography, there is nothing lost in making mistakes, only opportunities to learn. You can always delete mistakes later. Read online ideas of how to make better photos; then go out and try those tips. Find other budding photographers and enjoy the learning process together.

How much do you edit your photos?

Every photo I take undergoes some kind of editing. Some may be just slight changes to the exposure or white balance, others more involved steps of retouching. Editing photos is just part of the creative process to me.

If you could take photos of anything, what would it be?

I would love to make photos of every LDS temple and all the enjoyable travel that would be part of that experience. I'd also enjoy covering cultural events on Temple Square. On a more secular level, seeing well-known landmarks around the world is a joy to experience and photograph.

What is your favorite lighting?

I am learning more about controlled (studio) lighting of late and enjoying the creative opportunities that provides. A creative, well-lit concert stage is a thing of beauty. For portrait work, nothing beats a great sunset.