I am so excited to be hosting a series of photographer interviews and guest posts. There is a long list of AMAZING photographers who have taken time to answer questions, give encouragement, and share their photography knowledge.
Sarah Graybeal is a natural light photographer in Ohio. She is a wife and momma who started her photography journey in 2014. Sarah is a self-taught photographer and knows what hard work looks like. She was kind enough to take time and answer several questions about photography.
1. Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Sarah, from the boring state of Ohio (I really belong way south, maybe someday). I’m 29, I’ve been a wife to an amazing man for going on 7 years, and a mommy to the most handsome little boy for 5 years. I’ve been doing photography for 2 years, self taught, and absolutely love every single second of it.
2. Why photography?
I have always, always had a passion for photography. I was always told I had “an eye” for it, even though I didn’t have a big fancy camera. I wanted to go to school for it, but listened to the naysayers and was told “Oh, you won’t make money doing that, go into healthcare…job security.” So I did, for years I worked in healthcare…but I told everyone “One day, I’ll be a photographer and I’ll work from home and I won’t have to leave my baby all the time.” The last 9-5 job I had was medical billing…hated it. Quit, and told my husband I’m buying a camera, and I’m going to give this dream a go. He supported me 110%, and God has blessed me more than I deserve…so glad I decided to just go for it one day!
3. I know you’re a self-taught photographer. I think sometimes when people pick up a camera for the first time they don’t know where to even start. How did you go about teaching yourself?
Ha, I didn’t either! What are all these buttons, what do all these words mean?! I bought my camera used, a rebel T3 (now I use a my Canon 6D), nothing too fancy, but it was a start. Once I got that, I was dedicated. I was up all night watching youtube videos, following other photographers that I admired, listened to their advice, and practiced. Practice is everything! I found a friend of mine, and she modeled several times (bless her heart). I spent hours upon hours, I would stay up all night watching videos and learning how to use Lightroom (that is all I edit with). Of course, just starting, I over edited LOL. Finally, I figured out simple is best (for me).
4. Can you recommend any good resources (online tutorials, books you used etc.) for other’s teaching themselves photography?
Honestly, I used youtube a lot. When I couldn’t figure out how to do something, that’s what I used. I know it sounds silly, but that’s how I learned. Looking back, I wish I would have done workshops! Luckily, I had some friend photographers that helped me along the way as well. I did purchase a few online workshops (which are great), but I’m a hands on learner! Hence, why I practiced so much.
5. How would you describe your photography style & how have you developed it over the years?
Ohhh, that’s a tough one. I’d say simple, but real. I want people to feel something when they look at my images. I love capturing personalities, who they really are…and I live for emotion. I think that’s why I love weddings so much..I can get it all. Weddings have the raw emotion, the genuine smiles, laughs, and tears. I do not pose, I refuse. If you ask my clients, I say over and over “Don’t look at me, look at each other”. For me, looking at the camera isn’t everything…sometimes my favorite images do not even show a face. I also never use props, that’s just me. Some people love them and that’s great! I just feel with my style, and my goal I try to achieve in my images, they’re not needed. I’m very simple, I just have my camera and 2 lenses. My 35mm pretty much never leaves my camera body.
6. What is an image you’re really proud of and why?
Oh, wow…it’s hard to pick one. One of my favorites that comes to mind, is the picture I took of my sister and brand new nephew. He was born, and two weeks later my brother in law was deployed to Japan (he’s been gone 5 months now). It was a very simple image, just her rocking him with his head on her chest. Those little moments speak volumes, and they’re my favorite.
7. I love the composition in your photography. It seems like every photo has a different angle & perspective. Do you have any tips or tricks on composition and/or ways to add variety to a photo session?
I take the same pose at several different angles. An angle can change everything. A lot of times, I just hold the camera over their heads and shoot…not being able to see what I’m doing, and shoot. I don’t follow the rules, I do what I feel like looks good to me. When I go back to cull, I’ll find images I love that I didn’t even expect to turn out, or that I didn’t even know I took!
8. You are going to be doing a workshop in April to help new photographers learn & grow. Can you tell us a little about this and what type of things your workshop will include?
Yes! Very excited and nervous about this! I have had a slew of people ask for advice, or want to shadow me. I decided I’m going to do a workshop! I’ll be honest, I don’t know everything there is to know, and I don’t consider myself an expert..but I’m teaching what I do know. We will have a model available (boho themed shoot), I will be showing them how to use their camera, lighting, and editing. They can ask questions, and watch how I work as well. Looking forward to it! I am so excited to work with a group that has the same passion and dreams that I have. As long as you have a real passion for it, you can’t go wrong…you just have to work for it.
9. What advice would you give to a new photographer?
I would say, do what you love. Ignore the rules, ignore what everyone else says and what they do. If you keep comparing yourself to others, you will get nowhere. I want to be different, I want people to see my work and know who’s it is. Also, hustle, but stay humble. Bust your butt, work hard, and be kind..it will pay off! You don’t need big fancy equipment, just a dream and the drive to work towards it.
Is there a photographer you think I should interview? I would love to hear suggestions & connect with other photographers. Message me here if you have a suggestion or would like to be considered as a guest poster 🙂