Introduce yourself: Where are you from, how old are you, how did you get started with photography?
My name is Kristen, but I’m better known as KristenWithACamera. I’m from New York, but I am currently attending college in New Jersey. I’m going on 21 years old. I was always really interested in photography growing up and tried to immerse myself in it as much as possible. I took pictures for the yearbook, took digital photography and film photography in high school.
One Christmas in high school, my mom had bought me a Canon Powershot, but one of my friends broke the screen on it and I was never able to have it replaced. After that, I didn’t pick up a camera again until I was 18. I was attending college on Long Island and it was the most rebellious time of my life. At the time, no one could tell me anything. I was doing my own thing, hanging out with the wrong crowd and getting into a lot of trouble.
I remember there being a sale on a Fujifilm Finepix S1800 on Amazon (I find it amazing that I still remember that) and something just clicked. I slept on it for a few days and eventually ordered it.
Here’s a few of the first photos that I ever took with it. (Which I thought were great at the time. It is so nostalgic looking back.)
Photography became so important to me because I felt that I needed something tangible. I felt that memories wouldn’t always be enough. There were a lot of moments in my life when I wish I had my camera present and there are a lot of times when I did and boy, am I glad that I did. I think photography is a magic. It continues to amaze me, every single day, even after years of shooting everything and anything.
Photography changed my life and it wasn’t until recently that I felt comfortable enough to call myself a photographer. It takes time. It takes finding your specialty, paid shoots, unpaid shoots, shoots in the rain, shoots at sunrise.. It takes dedication and passion. It takes 12 hour shoots and sleepless nights up editing those shots when your body is aching and you don’t think you can stay up any longer, but the excitement of the entire process gives you a rush that makes it all worth it.
Sometimes, you may hear that “everyone has a camera, so everyone thinks they are a photographer.” Only half of that is true. Yes, most people have cameras now a days. They are on our cell phones and they are accessible, but the most important thing to remember if you have a talent or are a jack of any trade is that although everyone can own something, it does not make them that thing. For instance, owning a camera doesn’t automatically make you a photographer, just like owning a pen doesn’t make you a poet or owning sneakers doesn’t make you any type of athlete.
What kind of camera and equipment do you use? How did you choose these and what do you like about your equipment?
I’ve jumped from camera to camera over the years, but the one that has stuck has been the Nikon D90. I have been absolutely blown away with what this camera is capable of. Prior to purchasing the D90, I went into B&H Photo in NYC and tested out the Nikon DSLRs. When I fell in love with the D90 initially, some of that had to do with the sound of the shutter. Something just clicked. ;] Although I do have an assortment of lenses, I find that the 18-200mm lens works best in almost all situations. It is a fast lens that produces a nice depth of field.
I’m expecting the Fujifilm Finepix X10 this week. I couldn’t’ be more excited. Big things are on their way.
What are your inspirations for the subjects that you decide to shoot?
Whilst shooting portraiture, the people that I am shooting inspire me endlessly. I am lucky to have many creative people in my life; actors, musicians, aspiring models, athletes. You name it, I probably know someone who is aspiring to be it or at least has at one point.
The thing about shooting portraiture is that your subject gives you a part of them when you photograph them. Whether it be a part of their soul or whatever it is. They trust you to present them as who they are, unless they are purposely trying to misrepresent themselves as something else.
As a photographer, it isn’t always easy to give someone direction, especially if it is your first time really spending time with them and getting to know them, but it is the type of conversation that you have with that person that is unlike a conversation you’d have in the same type of meeting scenario had you not had the camera in your hand.
There are a lot of other photographers that I am inspired by, but lately, I am also inspired by music. Kid Cudi is someone who is frequently playing on my iPod. I’m all about a carefree type attitude lately because I think it is one of the most important things to be successful in anything that one may choose to do. Cudi’s song “Up, Up, and Away” has one of the best lines ever in it, “In the end, they’ll judge me anyway, so whatever.”
Can you share some of your favorite photo shoots with us?
This photo was taken while I was shooting portraits of a friend of mine who is an actress based in NYC. (Her name is Lisa Finn and she is amazing.) It was a cold winter night and I was just taking a quick snapshot. At the time, I never would have expected that it would end up being one of my favorite photos that I have ever taken.
I was walking down 6th avenue and saw a man hailing a taxi. His pose is so carefree and confident.
This was taken from the roof of a building in the financial district. That was a fantastic day. I had met up with someone for the first time who I met on Tumblr and somehow during the day, we ended up going to this rooftop that had an absolutely amazing view. I will always remember that day. I have this thing about views.
The photo above was taken on Coney Island on my birthday last year. It was my first photo to be mentioned in the official tags on Tumblr.
Most memorable shoot and why?
This was from my second shoot ever. One of my close friends, Molly, has been really good about modeling for me. This was taken in November 2011. It was freezing cold that day. She event went in the ocean. The results of this shoot were amazing. I had no idea whatsoever what I was doing. (I can admit that now.) It was one of my first experiences ever using a DSLR.
How do you prep your images for print? What processes do you use in Photoshop?
I’ve used Photoshop for many years, but recently, purchased Adobe Lightroom 4 and I could not be happier. Personally, I feel that Photoshop is more for graphic design type editing and intense retouching. Lightroom 4 is ideal for any photographer. It has all of the controls you could want all in one place. For my photos, I usually add contrast. It is hard to give any kind of generalization because I do all types of different work and every situation is different.