Archive - April 2013


 

Debra Barfuss Lamb, Whidbey Island, Washington, United States

How long have you been a photographer?

I have been shooting ever since I received my first 110 film camera in junior high school. 

What first piqued your interest in photography?

When I was a young mother, I took a black-and-white photography course through the University of Washington's Continuing Education program. Not only did we learn the basics of camera settings and composition, but we spent time in the darkroom as well. I had taken numerous art courses in college, but this was a new form of art for me. I fell in love with photography and decided to learn all that I could.

What is your photography forte?

I am not sure that I have ever narrowed the scope of my photography into one category, but I do know that I am drawn to nature and strong patterns and design that I see in the world around me. I also love capturing emotions and finding beauty in the mundane.

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

At some point along the way—maybe with the advancement of digital imaging—I realized how important it is to shoot a lot, and I don't hesitate to just click away. I shoot many frames of the same subject in order to get what I want. I move around, shoot at different angles, look for changes in light, and try to force myself to see with “new eyes.” You improve by doing this, it doesn't cost anything, and it always pays off.

What about photography inspires you?

Photography has awakened a greater sense of gratitude in me as I pay closer attention to my surroundings and notice details that many overlook. I am constantly filled with joy and appreciation for God's creations, in part because I have trained myself to always be aware.

How do you decide what to shoot and how to shoot it?

It sounds silly, but I am always viewing life as if through a lens. When I witness a heart-warming exchange between two people, beautiful light, or playful patterns or colors, I pick up my camera. It doesn't always become a favorite photograph, but if I didn't take the time to do this, I would not have most of the photos that I love. I just can't force my photography. My husband is accustomed to me yelling, “Stop!” while we are driving because I often see things I want to photograph out the car window.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

I love shooting here on our island in the Northwest, but after visiting my daughter in Germany on many different occasions, I have come to love urban photography as well. She and I have had so many fun adventures with our cameras in the cities of Europe. Our favorite project was finding the letters of the alphabet in the architecture and streets of Bruges, Belgium, for a children's book she was working on.

What do you love about photography?

I love the way an image that represents a fraction of a second can tell a story and evoke strong emotion.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

Don't ever feel like you are not a “photographer” just because you do not shoot professionally. Like any medium of artistic expression, if your photography tells a story, has meaning for you and your family, and brings you joy in the creation of the images, you are a photographer. It is a blessing to live at this time, when help and information are so readily available to anyone who wants to develop this talent. 

How important is Photoshop in your final image?

I take all of my RAW images through Photoshop in order to create the final product. I like to think of Photoshop as my darkroom, or my studio. My original photograph is like my sketch on a canvas, and the computer takes the place of my paints and brushes. It is all part of a process, and I enjoy it from start to finish.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

When taking photos, always be aware of not only your subject, but what is in the background of your photos. Removing distractions by changing your own position or the angle you are shooting at can make the difference between a regular snapshot and a really nice photo.

—Debra


Shayla Marie Fursov, Ames, Iowa, United States

How long have you been a photographer?

I started getting into photography when I was 17 years old (2002).

What first piqued your interest in photography?

I come from a family of nine children; they all are pretty artistic in some way or another. Being artistic runs in my family’s blood; I was not sure what my talent was. I had dabbled in painting and music and anything I could get my hands on, but was never that great at it. I was a senior in high school when I started to realize who I was and find things that I could be good at. I was attending a community college my senior year, and there was an option to take a photography class. It immediately drew me in and I fell in love with it instantly. I learned that I had a knack for it, and from then on I have found different ways to keep up at it.

What is your photography forte?

I love people, so naturally I love to photograph them! I also love emotions. Capturing the different emotions a human being can feel and convey is something that keeps me interested in what I do. Photographing couples or just one individual gives me that time to capture those small details and be more artistic.

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

When taking a photo of a person, I find that by lowering my aperture as far as it will go, so that the only thing in focus is that person, it makes for a much more dramatic and higher quality photo. I also love this technique because it allows you to let more natural light in, instead of having to use a flash.

What about photography inspires you?

I am inspired to know that I am documenting a moment in time. When we look at old pictures, we are in awe at what we see and how people lived. I wonder if in a hundred years, people will look at the pictures that were taken now and be in awe at what they see. I know that photography is no longer a rare thing and there will be millions of pictures to compete with, but I hope to take an amazing shot of something or someone so that when someone does find that picture a hundred years from now, they would be in awe.

Where is your favorite location to shoot?

I love tall grass mixed with weeds and wildflowers. It’s so rural and so untouched that I can’t help but take my clients out in it to get a great photo.

What do you love about photography?

I love that it is constantly progressing. It’s amazing the things you can do with Photoshop and how advanced the equipment is becoming. I love that this is something I can spend a lifetime learning, because it will always be changing.

What advice would you give to new photographers?

We live in a day with so much information at our fingertips. Before you go on a photo shoot, do a little research about it. Look it up on the Internet and you will find examples of what other photographers have done with their poses and location. Once you have seen different examples of what photographers are doing, push yourself to do it better. Put your own spin on it. And before long you will have your own style and flare!

What is your favorite lighting?

I love when the sun is just about to set and you have some extreme clouds coming in. I love dramatic looks, and I think sunsets do just that.

What is one tip that you would like to share?

A tip that I find useful when shooting people is what I call the “above shot.” I find a way to be higher up than the person I am shooting and have the person look up at me and then frame the person in the shot. I lower my aperture, so that the only thing in focus is the person's face. The rest of the person is blurred. It always seems to make everyone look incredible, especially their eyes. I find it’s an easy way to impress a client.

—Shayla