Every week, when it is time to do these interviews I get excited. I mean, how blessed are we to delve into the minds of some truly amazing photographers? Blessed indeed. Over the last 2 days I was gathering the pictures for this interview… and let’s just say, I spent a very long time on her blog. She really is exceptional.
Keli is a little different than many interviewees. She does not shoot families or babies or even her friends really. She shoots HER family. Her dog. Her home. And she shoots the world around her. Anyone that can take a picture of a fan and make it look like art is fantastic in my book. Take a look at her style. Read her words. Grow.
Introducing Keli Hoskins
Has having the baby changed how often and much you shoot? Yes, very much so. There are definitely times that I would like to be taking photos of Emma playing or fingerpainting or drawing pictures ... or I would like to do the fun "bench Monday" setups that I used to do ... but I can't always get out from under Lucy. I would like to say that I take a lot of photos of Lucy or that I am planning a cute newborn photoshoot with her (even though she's two months old now), but the honest truth is that she's not the kind of baby that likes to be put down, so I just don't get the opportunity to take many pictures of her, which is why most of the pictures of her are when she's either sleeping or being wrapped and held. But I still take both girls on daily walks, so my outdoor pictures have actually increased in the past month or so since I was on bedrest at the end of my pregnancy.
Tell me about your magic bathroom light?
I am assuming that you are talking about the pictures I take of Emma in the bathtub? First of all, we have a garden tub in our master bath, and the tub and surrounding walls are white, so it reflects light really well. But most importantly, we have a window right above the bathtub, so if you're looking at the tub, the window is in the upper left corner, so I just shoot during the day while there is a lot of natural light. Have you ever been somewhere shooting something and thought in your head 'I can't believe I am here and doing this thing I love?'
Pretty much every time I'm taking pictures of anything! I try to take my camera with me everywhere, although this has gotten more challenging since I'm lugging around a baby and diaper bag, now, but pretty much anytime I hold my camera and take pictures, I just feel GOOD. Comfortable. Like all is right with the world. Wow, that sounds cheesy, but it's true.
Did your husband think you were crazy when you started needing to buy new camera equipment, or did he just roll with it?
My husband is actually the one who talked me into my first DSLR (an Olympus E-300) back in 2005. I took pictures constantly and really enjoyed photography, so he thought it would be a good hobby for me. Then, he bought me a telephoto lens before we went on our honeymoon. But then I upgraded to the Olympus E-520 and their macro 50mm lens, so by the time I decided on the Canon 50D that I shoot with now, I had to convince him by saying I'd start a business (hasn't happened, yet). Ahem. Sorry, honey.
Have you thought about marketing yourself more, or are you happy to just continue learning and soaking it all in? At this point in my life, I am happy doing what I do, which is taking photos of my girls, blogging about our daily life and contributing to I Heart Faces. I was recently asked to take some monthly "living life" photos for a local photographer whose husband is suffering from Guillain–Barré syndrome, so I guess I'm starting to make some steps in the professional direction. But I am currently too busy with a newborn and a very active preschooler to even consider going into business. What is your favorite season to shoot?
Autumn! I love the leaves, the colors and the yummy golden light at the end of the day. I know you went to Disney World for a vacation this year, if you were going as a photographer, and not as a mommy with a family, what would you have shot?
People. I would love to just walk around (and have the guts) to shoot people without them knowing it. With my camera, I mean. ;) I love people-watching, so it would be a kind of voyeuristic look into their lives while they are experiencing Disney World ... especially those kids who are seeing it for the first time.
What is something you would love to shoot some day. A wild dream? Can you think of anything that is too outrageous to even hope for?
I dream of shooting underwater, like in the ocean. Umm, not sharks or whales, but definitely dolphins and other sea life. If I actually was able to do this, I'd have to get over my fear of scuba diving, but scuba diving is on my "bucket list," so what better way to kill two birds with one stone?
Does Emma ever want to use your camera ? Do you have any ideas about what career path she will choose? Does she seem artsy?
She is curious about my camera, but I am fairly strict about her not touching it. I am not a typically strict mother, we are pretty relaxed parents in what we allow her to do (which is probably why she's busted her lip about 428 times), but since she tends to be more elephant-stomping-through-the-woods than gentle kitten, I've always had to reiterate that my camera is not a toy. But she has to come to the LCD screen and look at EVERY picture I take of her after I've taken it. I have my grandfather's old Canon AE-1 Program 35mm camera, and I'm planning on letting her take a roll with that very soon.
As for her career, I honestly have no idea. Her interests change daily (she's just like me in that extent) but as long as she is doing what makes her happy, then we will be very proud of her. I asked her just now what she would like to be when she grows up, and she said, "a princess!" So there you go.
She actually is very artsy. Her 3-year old drawings are pretty amazing, and she loves anything having to do with coloring, drawing, painting or crafting.
Did you think when you were 20 that you would be where you are right now? Oh goodness, no. I was dating (and soon-to-be-engaged to) my college boyfriend when I was 20 (I never married him), so the path that I saw myself going down is totally different than the path that I'm on now. But I always envisioned myself graduating from college, working for a while and then getting married, having kids and hopefully becoming a stay-at-home-mom. And that actually did happen. The last three have occurred in the past 4 years, but I love what I do and wouldn't change a thing.
But did I think that I would ever be interviewed on an amazing blog about photography? Um, no. I never ever thought that photography would become such a huge part of my life, and I never thought anyone would ever care about my photos. So I'm just sitting here typing these answers with the biggest smile on my face ... this is just about the biggest compliment I've ever received.
Have you been to any photography workshops?
No, I have never been to a photography workshop. I think that they are amazing, and I would love to attend one or two or twenty eventually. I really wanted to go to the I Heart Faces workshop and had researched plane tickets, hotels, etc., but I didn't think that traveling and workshopping would work well with a 2 1/2 month old, and I couldn't leave her behind since she pretty much depends on me for nourishment. Next year!
Does the thought of pricing and ordering pictures and all of that stuff send you right over the edge, or is that something that you look forward to?
Yes. It is one of the many reasons I have not pursued "going pro." It really really terrifies me to try to put a price on what I love doing. I had a small work-at-home-mom business when Emma was a baby (making cloth diaper covers), and doing that really opened my eyes to the fact that many people (women, especially) struggle with undervaluing their work. I'm constantly finding flaws in my images, so I am scared that I'd just give away sessions for free forever.
What is your favorite photoshop action?
I don't use Photoshop actions! I am a Lightroom girl, so the only things I do in Photoshop are in Elements 5.0, which is so outdated by now (the current version is 8, I think?) And all of my Lightroom presets are presets that I've created over the past year, but I do really like the Photo Flavors preset sample that they so generously give away on their website. How long did it take you to learn photoshop? I'll answer this for both Photoshop Elements and Lightroom, if that's okay. I started using Photoshop Elements when I was working as the Quality Assurance Coordinator for a regional vending company. My boss was really cheap and wanted me to do all of the graphic work for his side businesses, so I was pretty much forced to learn how to edit photos, make business cards and pamphlets and brochures and presentations using PSE. Since then, I've always used it for my personal things, as well. I still don't know how to do everything, so I'd say I'm going on 10 years of still learning. As for Lightroom, I just got it at the beginning of 2009, so I'm also still learning the many facets of Lightroom. Other than a few blog tutorials here and there, I'm self-taught on both programs.
What was your best teacher when you were studying and learning that? Was it a book? A class? What? Did you feel overwhelmed with it or was it pretty easy for you? I'm a visual learner, so just getting in there and playing was really how I learned the basics of both PSE and LR. But I've definitely learned a few techniques from blog tutorials - I just search for what I want to do when I'm stumped. I've never been overwhelmed with it ... I always say, "That's what the undo button is for!"
My husband is a computer programmer, so by seeing what he does and how he writes programs, I've gradually become more comfortable with various programs and how they work. In other words, I know I can't blow it up or anything.
Some of my favorite tutorials she has done are here, here and here.
Her blog: Kidnapped by Suburbia is one of my favorites. Truly.
Her Flickr will give you ideas out the wazoo… (what is a wazoo, anyway? )
Go visit. I promise you will fall in love (in a nice healthy way) with my friend Keli!