Liz from E. Marie Photography
to Photog Thursday
1. Give us the lowdown on who you are... where have you been? What have you done? What makes you tick.
First and foremost I’m an artist, that’s why I love photography so much. Whether it’s visual or written word I find this is where I’m most relaxed and alive. I live and grew up outside of Buffalo, NY but I’ve also spent time living and working in a the small city of Hamilton, New Zealand. My bachelor’s degree was in Cultural Anthropology and to find myself immersed in a completely different culture like that was an incredible experience.
Over the last few years since I’ve been back in Buffalo, I have spent the majority of my time working with the fashion community, shooting shows and models for local designers. I was picked up as the official photographer for Kimberly Knight’s novels last year, after she found my first romance series with two local models. I have been doing couples shoots ever since, and I am loving every minute of it.
2. When did you first know you wanted to be behind a camera for a living?
Before living in New Zealand I was a model for photographers in the Buffalo area. I enjoyed it very much but it was never truly fulfilling. I always wished I had more creative control over my work. When I decided I would be going on this insane adventure halfway across the world, I knew it was time to buy myself a camera and try it for myself. I haven’t ever looked back.
3. We all want to know how you find these sexy guys to take photos of... tell us the process
Facebook is a beautiful thing. I don’t know how I would have met or interacted with just about any of the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with if it weren’t for Facebook. There are other networking sites out there as well, but the great thing about working in a smaller city is that we have very tight-knit communities. All the fitness buffs know each other on Facebook, and I can find them fairly easily. Also the beach, the beach is a great place to find hot guys with abs to match. I’ve just had to learn to not be afraid to walk up to guys and tell them who I am and what I do. It can be intimidating at first, but I can’t say I’ve ever had a bad experience while doing it, so it’s gotten a lot easier.
4. How do you get the models to give you what you want? Do you coach before the set of pics? During? Shouting out 'turn left, no your other left'?
As you can imagine if I am doing a couples shoot with two models that have never met before, coaching them is incredibly important. I always discuss my shoots with models before they ever set foot in my studio. I explain to them what we will be doing and ask them to define their comfort zones. It’s so important to build that level of trust with your models and make them feel good about themselves, because if they aren’t feeling comfortable with you or even in their own skin, it shows in the photos. I try to have my shots in my mind before they get there and I’m not afraid to walk right up to a model and pose him how I want him. I’m sure that sounds way more exciting that it really is. I’m always in the moment trying to get that perfect shot, then after the shoot I think to myself, “gee I didn’t even take a second to check that guy out, what the heck was I doing?” Ha, I guess what I do takes an incredible amount of focus.
5. What's the coolest location you've every photographed in?
Well obviously living in New Zealand there were so many amazing places to photograph. I would have to say it is a toss up between the Fox Glacier or a place they actually named “Paradise” because it was so incredibly beautiful and serene. The Fox Glacier was both amazing and terrifying at the same time. I was climbing through ice caves and jumping over crevasses with a walking stick in one hand and my camera in the other. How I didn’t end up smashing my camera in the snow I will never know. I watched every single person on that trip fall flat on their face at one point. I didn’t fall though, it’s amazing the feats of strength you can accomplish when you’re holding one of your most prized possessions in your hand!
6. Do you love using digital medium, or are you nostalgic about the old 35mm?
I’m a digital girl, sorry to say I haven’t been around long enough to enjoy the golden age of film. I would probably hate it though, considering how much time I spend perfecting my shots in photoshop. I would probably go crazy sitting in a dark room for that long.
7. What was your first camera?
A Canon XSi with an 18-55 mm kit lens. I thought I was the coolest kid in town showing all my photographer friends, oh how little did I know.
8. Have you taken classes on photography? Photo editing software?
I took one class in college, it was before I had an SLR camera and I really took nothing away from it other than the fact that aperture somehow affected the depth of field in a shot. I would say just about everything I know is self taught from years of practice. You would also be amazed at the things you can learn how to do just from watching Youtube videos.
9. What's the best part of your job?
The best part so far has been seeing my work in print on the cover of a book. There is so much satisfaction in knowing that someone was so impressed with my work, that they wanted it to represent them and what they have worked so hard for. Even though I’ve spent years perfecting my craft, I can take a picture any day of the week, but I admire someone who would take months, or even years out of their life to write a book. I think that is some serious dedication.
10. If we were to peek into your office space what items would we see that might surprise us?
Well, like I said before I have a degree in cultural anthropology and I lived in New Zealand so I actually have a Carved Mere, which is a ceremonial club used by Maori Chiefs. The Maori people are the indigenous tribes of New Zealand. I also have an English Broadsword and a Katana.
11. Do you listen to music while you edit photos or doesn't it matter?
Sometimes, it depends on the mood I’m in, but I am usually so engrossed in my work that I don’t even think about putting it on.
12. What do you absolutely enjoy about working with models and authors for covers?
I meet so many amazing people and have made some amazing friends doing this. It is something I truly enjoy from start to finish, I wouldn’t even be able to pick my favorite part about it if I tried.
13. Who do you have coming up on your schedule that we might be interested in?
I am actually planning a HUGE modeling and photoshoot event next weekend that will have over 45 models and 10 photographers as well as local designers that I will be working with. I have a couple new guys attending that I hope to have photos of for you before this interview is released.
I also have a shoot coming up with Dave Santa Lucia, the cover model from Kimberly Knight’s B&S series, Ryan Kurek who I just shot with, you’ll see some of his pictures throughout the interview as well and several newcomers that I will be introducing in the next few months that I can’t wait to share with you. I can assure you the rest of this year is going to be VERY sexy.
14. What ONE item would you absolutely have to have on a deserted island?
Is that a real question? Why my camera of course!
15. Quick questions (one worders)
Chocolate or vanilla
Morning person or night owl
can or bottle
wine or beer
train or plane
Vegas or Disney World
Modern or classical art
16. Where would you like authors and other interested folks to get in touch with you?
Messaging me on my Facebook page is currently the BEST way to get in touch with me. They can check out www.facebook.com/e.mariephotographs but they can also e-mail me at email@example.com if they prefer.
17. Any traveling you'd like to promote?
I don’t have anything planned but I would definitely consider a trip to New York City if the interest was there.