Thursday, April 7, 2011

Photographer Interview: Darcy Milder of My 3 Boybarians


She seems like the girl next door.

She is an amazing photographer and an even better mother.
You just can't help but warm up to her.
She has a beautiful smile and a beautiful life.
She lives for Jesus and His light shines through in every single thing she does.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview Darcy of My 3 Boybarians this week.


Is Is being an Iowa girl different than being a girl from any other state? Have you always lived in Iowa?


I was born and raised in suburban Chicago and later Rockford, Illinois. My family is still in the Chicago area. I came to Iowa to attend college (Go Hawkeyes!) and later moved to Florence, Italy. Si, parlo l'Italiano. I settled in Iowa when I fell in love with an Iowa boy who I would follow to the ends of the earth.

Being an Iowa girl is definitely different than being a Chicago girl or a Florence girl. Since I live somewhat rurally, there is no delivery here, no public transportation or nearby restaurants. We are 25 minutes to a mall and a Super Walmart though, so it's not a total wasteland out here. The stars are amazing and we have deer, turkey, fox, owls - lots of beautiful critters in our property. This is a great place for little boys to be little boys!







Did you decide to homeschool before your oldest started kindergarten? What made you decide to do it?










When my oldest was 3 years old I committed to trying homeschool. My youngest son was born very prematurely and was oxygen dependent. I couldn't send my oldest child to a germy classroom and risk him bringing home infection. When kindergarten went well, I committed to first grade... and so on. I am now teaching 5th, 4th and K-ish grades. So far, so good. 





Do you go out with a homeschool group for regular activities?





I should probably say yes here... but no. We aren't part of any group. We do have our favorite little pals and friends to join us on field trips and such if we want company. Our friends are an eclectic mix of public schoolers, private schoolers and homeschoolers. I'm probably not your typical card-carrying homeschooler. It's a non-issue for us. Our education choice isn't a political or religious statement. It just works for us and I don't really believe it's a defining descriptive in my arsenal of about-me adjectives.
When did you start your no TV policy? 










In 2007 when I launched Graphically Designing. Turns out I'm lousy at self-discipline. And it's too easy to get sucked into the Food Network. When you work and school from home, distractions need to be kept off to keep us focused. It's hard enough to keep 3 boys on track without the noise. We also no longer have cable or dish. Just sad-looking bunny ears with aluminum foil around the ends. We do have Netflix and a free Hulu account so we won't totally miss all the current event questions on Trivial Pursuit.

You run 2 businesses, right? Photography and Graphic Design. Do you have a favorite?
Yes. My husband and I are the he and she behind His & Hers Photography. I am the designer behind Graphically Designing. Whatever I'm currently working on is my favorite. ;) 
But, okay... I am just a puddle for those brand new milk-drunk, bendy newborn babies.

 Do you have a hard time pricing for your business? How did you decide what would work for you?

Fortunately for me, that Iowa boy who I would follow to the ends of earth turned out to be a talented photographer and a pretty savvy business guy to boot. 

Together, we asked all the photographers in our market who were willing to share their pricing then we did lots of math. And by "we", I totally mean him.




It was important to me that whatever pricing structure we came up with, that it reflected our investment and allowed us to pick the very best products to offer. We don't sell cheap floppy prints - we chose products and vendors that require investment but really show off our images and make our clients look good.
I recently read that we, whoever we are, should not set prices that we as a consumer would like. We should aim higher and aim for a better demographic. What do you think of that? 
Bambi Cantrell said something like that, I believe. She's right. The concept that "prints cost $.50 at WalMart" is irrelevant. You cannot buy a painter's artwork for the cost of his canvas and paint, and you shouldn't be able to buy a photographer's artwork for the cost of the print. However, if someone would like to buy an image for the cost of my camera, please contact me. ;)
I also believe that people can afford what's important to them. Smokers pay $40 a carton; coffee drinkers pay $5.00 for a single drink. People care most about what they invest in, and invest in what they care most about.
My clients know when they hire me that they are investing in me and in turn, investing in capturing a moment of or with the people they love most. I feel priviledged to photograph the little ones that my clients love so fiercely.
Do your boys like getting their pictures taken? 

Um, no. But they like Mike & Ike's candy.

Who takes your family pictures? How often do you get them done?
My friend and local photographer Jen Smith took our family photos in 2009 and 2010. I guess that's yearly? In return, we shoot her family's portraits. See the question above. Poor Jen, she's such a trooper and my boys do not make it easy for her. Prior to that our family photos involved a tripod and a remote. I don't recommend it.

Where do you go on vacation in the summer? 
We are busy shooting in the summer, so we tend to vacation after the senior portrait rush but before the holiday photo rush. About a year ago, we took a 15 day trip on Route 66 - like Lightning McQueen. We saw 10 states and did 3100 miles in our trusty Honda Odyssey; I think we took about 3000 photos of deserts, buttes, canyons, mountains and each other.
You seem like you have a great grasp on balancing time on the computer. I love that about you! How do you keep yourself from email during the day? I once had it on my cell phone and I had to stop that quickly. I mean, it is absolutely ridiculous to be that connected : )
It was necessary. Too many times I told myself I'd just check something real quick only to get sucked into the vortex that is my inbox and spat out 2 hours later. It matters to me that my boys are properly educated and get a mom and teacher who is invested in them, engaged with them and not have to spend all day looking at the back of my head. The mornings belong to them.

Who is one of your favorite photographers? 
Would it be cheating to say Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver, then? They are my mentors but I suppose their book deals, talk show appearances and calendars make them too mainstream to be photographers no one knows about.

I admire the work of Meg Fish. She does amazing baby and belly shots. I love her use of neutrals, texture, fabric, gentle posing and natural light. She has beautiful props, finds exquisite light and her images are always tack sharp at the focal point with a beautiful fall off and shallow depth of field that makes me swoon.

Do you have any songs you are listening to right now that I could put into the interview?


You're not going to have music auto play on a blog post are you? ;) 'Cause that would make the blog designer in me a little twitchy. Currently, iTunes is playing The Voyage of the Dawn Treader - but I guess that's an audiobook not music. But um... let me go look at my song counts. According to iTunes I've been listening to waaaaay too many show tunes. I should probably be embarrassed.

How do you feel about being the only girl in the house?
My house is almost always noisy. Boys tend to run from one place to another, even if they only have 3 feet to go. It's high energy and everything from Legos to toast gets fashioned into a weapon. Still, I wouldn't have it any other way.





Do you like to go shopping? Where is your favorite place to get a pretty dress? Do you wear heels?
When you said shopping, my mind immediately went to B&H Photo and Etsy. But you meant for girly things? Um, well... I do love me some sassy heels but I'm definitely not a hang out the mall kinda girl. I prefer deliveries to my door and shopping online. Can you imagine bringing 3 boys to a mall dressing room? Pass. ;) At home I am very much a yoga pants and pony tail kind of girl... but on a date night I like to throw on something sexier. And lip gloss. I love lip gloss.





How did you decide upon your camera? What do you shoot with right now? Can you tell me your camera history? 
I am decididly in Camp Nikon. I shoot with a Nikon d700. When I married said Iowa boy, he came with a Nikon film SLR (and a possessive rottweiler, but that's another post!) as well as a Pentax k1000. That baby is manual only! We bought our first dSLR in 2005. It was a d70s and I learned to shoot manually on that machine. Somewhere in the middle, we bought a d200 and then the d700 came home in 2009.

To read the tragic story of my Europe photos and the Kodak Advantix I shot them with, please visit 31 Days to a Better Photo.



What is your favorite lens?

I knew you were going to ask that! :) I prefer prime lenses and fast glass. Nikon calls that "nano glass" and Canon calls them L lenses. My favorite lens depends on who I am photographing. For my babies, I typically arm myself with a 50mm f/1.4. When I have siblings or families, my lens of choice is the 85mm f/1.8. For everything else, I like the 70-200 f/2.8 - the only zoom lens I'd wrestle ya for!



If you could go on an all expense paid trip for one week, starting tomorrow, where would you want to go? Would you take everyone in your family? Or would you want some alone time?


I miss Italy somethin' fierce. I'd go back there in a heartbeat. And while part of me would love a get away with the hot Iowa-boy hubby, I can't fathom my boys missing out on the places I love in Italy. I also want to get to Ireland to visit and shoot. I can't recreate my time in Europe, but I'd love to reshoot it.

Do you have gray hair yet? Do you dye it yourself or do you go to a salon?


Oh girlfriend, I wish all this was maintenance free. I could kiss my colorist.


When someone meets you for the first time, what do they think when they walk away?




I'm currently telling myself not to be self-deprecating. But, um... I guess I can only hope they can sense my appreciation for the here and now I am in. My thirties have been good to me so far. My boys are healthy, my husband is loving, supportive and sexy. I love the work that I do. I succeed enough to be deliriously happy, and fail enough to stay humble. I am happiest with my family nearby, a camera on my hip, great music on my ipod, and a good book waiting for me on my kindle.

70 comments:

Bombchell said...

looking through the pictures, i kept going "awwwwww" love the emotion

American in Bath said...

I love this interviews. As a nonfiction writer, I'm always wondering what underlies people's choices of work. You always get straight to the middle of it.

julia said...

Great interview. Man, do I love her photographs.

Caseybumpinalong said...

Super interview! - one of my favorites so far. Love her photos - real and gorgeous at the same time.

Cecily R said...

Boy is there some RANGE in her pictures! I love that in a photographer!

Caroline said...

OMG...her baby shots and AH-MAZ-ING!!! Such a great interview and incredible photographer!

Tracy P. said...

"Um, no. But they like Mike & Ike's candy." Priceless!

I love Darcy best for her "31 Days" series. Gave me a HUGE jump start with my DSLR because I used it to the best extent I could with my point and shoot, but never forgot what I was missing. :-) HIGHLY recommend.

Gorgeous photos, Darcy. Thanks again for being a teacher and sharing freely!

"You're not going to have music auto play on a blog post are you? ;) 'Cause that would make the blog designer in me a little twitchy." Thank you for this too. :-)

Brooke said...

excellent shots!

i'm a cable-less family too. netflix makes it sooooo much easier! plus we only watch what we purpose to watch.

Fresh Mommy said...

LOVE this post, love her and love the pics!! :) Thanks for sharing such wonderful people and lives with us through your blog. You are truly a blessing!

~Tabitha

Nicole said...

Thanks so much for doing these interview posts. I really enjoy them!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Great interview.....love her pictures! Off to look at more!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Yet another great interview. You know the most fascinating people, Becky!

ourlifeinaclick.blogspot.com said...

I'm already a big fan of Darcy but I learned even more from you interview! Thanks Becky!!

Maddy said...

I'm in love with her work...seriously I am! Her tack sharp photos and colors have me swooning over here! I also love how she compared selling photos like artwork. So true!

GayleV said...

Really starting to enjoy these interviews you do. Your questions are delightfully honest. Some super gorgeous photos and and delightfully refreshing answers here. Thanks for sharing (both of you!)

Sarah said...

Darcy, you are so fun! and also hilarious and talented! LOVE your canvas/ artist analogy too-- perfect!

Sharon said...

You're awesome Becky. The interview was awesome. Very cool that I recognized one of the girls she photographed. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Julie said...

thanks for posting this! I really enjoyed the interview and I love her pictures! :)

Susan {Lilbear} said...

Fabulous! I heart Darcy and all her boybarians and loved reading more about her. Thanks for this great post!

Dot O said...

Loved this interview, Becky!! Love the photos first of all - the clarity and the spirit of her boys captured. I loved the candid and the humorous interview - wish she lived next door. She'd be fun to tag along with on photo shoots!!

Darcy, you are so talented!

I'm just the MOM said...

BEE-YOU-TI-FUL! I love the picture of the moon!!!! and then of that naked tooshie on the hardwood floor!!!!

Heart n Soul said...

Super interview. Love your title pics....simply gorgeous. Thanks for stopping by my blog. So appreciated :)

jen@odbt said...

Thanks for featuring one of my favorite photographers. Love Darcy!

Cate said...

Great interview - nice to "know" Darcy even more :-)

Sincerely, Jenni said...

Great interview! I met Darcy and her husband about a year and a half ago at a blog conference, and they just recently shot our family photos. They are super nice, and just awesome photographers!

It was fun getting to read more about her!

Becca said...

What a great interview :-) her photography is just gorgeous too - I'm a little jealous :-)

antoinette marie said...

really interesting interview and super gal! beyond amazing shots of the babies and i was oddly overly drawn to the cup of coffee and candy canes...guess cause i adore them both?

Susan said...

Once again, another incredible interview!!

I love the work of Darcy, and enjoy Sweet Shot each week.

I was so excited to read this.

I so appreciate her talent, and her willingness to teach us. She continues to inspire me.

Her boys are just precious! As the mom of 5 sons I had to laugh at some of her comments. I so relate...

Thank YOU for this awesome post. I look forward to each one!!

Skeller said...

oh, I heart Darcy ever so much (waving, Hi Darcy!!). I love that she loves her husband. I love that she loves her boys. I love that she loves her jobs and does them so remarkably well. Her writing -- her lovely & humorous & profound way with words -- has brought me to tears more than once. Oh, and she made my blog beautiful. :-)

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Darcy has such a great eye...and I love linking up with Sweet Shot each Tuesday!

really.truly said...

That was fun. I love Darci's blog. Being a fellow homeschooler I loved reading that she was not the typical card carrying homeschooler....I could totally relate!

Jennifer @ Studio JRU said...

What a fantastic interview! So nice to hear her share about her life and business.A 15 day trip on Route 66 sounds like a blast! Oh my goodness... that moon shot is breathtaking. Wow!

Buckeroomama said...

I absolutely heart this interview and I heart Darcy! Her photography is beautiful and I learn so much from the articles she has on her blog... Thanks for interviewing her, B! It was a pleasure reading through her answers to your questions. What a great gal. I love how she's "real." You know what I mean. =)

American Mum said...

Such lovely photos! I know of 3 Boybarians and His and Hers Photo, but I never had put them together before.

Fun interview, Becky!

Susan said...

Aw,Darcy is one cool chick! Great interview.

Sarah said...

I always lover her photos. Gorgeous!! Great interview.

Charisma Moran said...

Amazing interview (as always)!

Jentry Aileen said...

This was a super fun post to read! Love the interview, and I love looking at little newborns, too :)

Megan said...

I am a loyal 3 Boybarians reader, and this was a fabulous interview!! I loved learning more about Darcy and seeing more of her amazing work :)

Flower Patch Farmgirl said...

You are the raddest interviewer EVER. Seriously - it's a gift. :)

What a fun post! I love reading about the lives of other mamas. And her photos, of course, are pitch perfect.

Jill Samter Photography said...

awesome interview! i adore darcy too! :-D

justine said...

what a great interview, I really enjoyed it.

Raymonde said...

Super interview. I have been a fan for a while. And I stalked her because she uses the same camera as me (Joke about the stalking!!!) She is great.

Thanks Becky. xxx

Busy Bee Suz said...

A beautiful interview...gorgeous photos.
My heart melted with the little baby propped on his hands. Adorable.

Lisa said...

Fantastic interview! :) I love these!!! Helpful? VERY! I learned so much! and her photo's WOW!!!!

I'm going to her blog next...ummm, after school. The mornings should belong to my kids :) She's dead on!!!!

Thanks Becky :)

xoxo. Lisa

P E N N Y said...

A great read and wonderful pictues!

Mimi said...

Great questions! I absolutely loved this interview =)

Farmgirl Paints said...

Amazing once again. I love your questions. You should be the next Oprah friend!

Sarah said...

Another great interview! I have been following Darcy for some time and I absolutely love her style of photography. She has some great images and love her blog! Thanks for interviewing her!!

RR Mama said...

She is AMAZING!! I don't know how you do it with all these great inteviews.

Grandma J said...

Rebeckah, you are so much all wrapped up in a beautiful package! I love the interview, and your subject was so beautiful inside and out.

JennyRain said...

Love Darcy! She is the reason that I know how to use my Nikon, and how to photograph, and what ISO and f-stops and all that other jazz is. She is a ROCKstar!

Suzanne said...

So these are just about the best interview questions evah!

And Darcy? Just about the best blog designer evah....

Mwahhhh!

Suz

photowannabe said...

Great questions and definitely great answers.
The photos say "Loving Life" and all that that means.
Precious moments shared.

SALMA said...

Love the colours...

Suki said...

Great introdution to this girl. Love the pictures. I definitely wll be following her.

creatingme said...

man her photos are amazing! Lovely interview!

Unknown Mami said...

What a committed, dedicated, and prolific artist and human being.

Krystyn said...

Wow! Not only great shots, but also witty and funny, too!

Great interview, as usual!

Shuva Rahim said...

Love love love LoVE this interview!!!! So great to hear from another Iowa girl! (I'm in Davenport and Iowa City). Congrats on keeping such a balanced life, and especially on the no-TV policy!! I so love that, and think so many families could benefit. My boyfriend and I don't have a TV, but do have a screen for video games and movies... Thanks for sharing a glimpse of your life :-)

MelaKamin said...

What a fantastic interview - really interesting questions & smart & witty answers - I got to meet you ever so briefly at Blissdom ... wish we had had more time to chat. I appreciate & have so much respect for what you said about your schooling choice and also about your biz pricing. My hubs has been a commercial photographer in MPLS for 12 years & this is an ever-increasing issue because "everyone has a camera." We also live in Camp Nikon and love the view here! Bless you as you continue to use your gifts!

Debra said...

Enjoyed the unique questions you asked of Darcy; it's fun to know her little bit better.

Darcy kept me from putting my head all the way through drywall when I 'made' myself go manual and only manual for a month. I never went back and it's all thanks to Darcy!

A life long grateful Darcy 3B fan here!

Jennifer Bowen said...

Love your interviews, Rebeckah! Darcy is one truly talented lady. =)

Erin W said...

Seriously loooveee this interview!! Her newborn shots are out of this word!!! She is just beyond talented!

Kelly @ MillerMix said...

I always love your interviews, but this one made me really think and I feel like I've learned a bit about photography. Very cool!

melinda said...

I have only won one thing on the internet...ever....and it was from Darcy's blog! Great interview, girls! Thanks for keeping it real, Darcy. The stuff on pricing was, well, priceless...for lack of a better word : )

ChantaleP said...

Terrific interview! Not just a great photographer but so down to earth and lovely.

MarshaMarshaMarsha said...

Darcy inspires me in so many ways!

GabbyRM said...

I love your photographer interviews!

Beth @ Pages of Our Life said...

Loved reading this and have enjoyed watching this marvelous woman who is open hearted and skilled unbelievably.