Today is a super fun awesome day on the CMblog! Our members have been asking for this for a very, very long time – we will likely be able to hear the collective squeal of delight when they see what’s in store today. CMadmin, April Nienhuis, was downright giddy when she got the chance to interview the amazing Bobbi Sheridan, one half of the photography dynamic duo Bobbi + Mike. We’re so happy to share this fun, candid interview with you – make sure you read right to the very end for a special treat from Bobbi herself!
An Interview with Bobbi Sheridan
How did the two of you become a photography duo? Did you each find your photography passion prior to meeting or is it something you discovered together?
We met in a “Physics of Photography” course at Indiana State University… so yeah, we were both into it before we met, he the more technical and me the more artsy…
Being a husband and wife team do you find it difficult to separate work and marriage/ home life or do you feel they all go hand in hand?
It was a challenge in the beginning…figuring out who was responsible for what, how to offer constructive criticism, how to disagree in a business setting, and most of all, how to “turn off business mode” and go back to being husband and wife when the cameras are put away and the computer is shut off, etc.
Once those items were figured out, it’s great! You don’t ever wonder what the other is thinking – you already know. And you trust your spouse implicitly.
When I view your photography I really get a sense of what your subjects are feeling. How do you inspire such genuine emotion from your subjects?
We show them our genuine first. How can we expect our clients to show us the real them if we’re not willing to do the same?
You both have very strong and unique ways of composing your images, would you mind sharing a few thoughts on that? Did you learn the rules first and then start to experiment or was learning composition an organic process?
Before becoming a full time photographer, I was a graphic designer… so I think that composition is something that comes naturally. I don’t over think it; I simply shoot what appeals to me artistically.
On average, how often do you meet with your clients prior to their wedding and how important are the pre-wedding consultations?
Meet with face to face? Hardly ever.
However, Mike starts the pre-wedding planning with our brides very early in the process… and by early I mean before they’ve even booked. We’re all about managing expectations and setting our couples (and ourselves) up for a low stress, happy day!
One of the most amazing wedding stories and images I have ever seen is from your ‘tornado wedding’ last year. Would you mind sharing a little of your thought process during that day and how you managed to create beautiful images while, I’m sure, being frightened for your life?
It was the scariest day of my life! Honestly, Mike was my strength. I’ve never been so blown away by him as I was on that day (pun not intended). I often jokingly refer to him as “Mike the weatherman”… but that day my weatherman may have saved a lot of people from getting very badly injured. From calling a tornado warning to suggesting they still have toasts and a first dance regardless of the situation… he’s one in a million.
You recently stated on your Facebook page that “Mike is the main shooter at the reception, shooting guaranteed money shots while I have the room to be a little more creative.” Does this mean that you are the main shooter during portraits? How does it work for you two to take turns being in the lead and how did you come to this decision?
Yes, yes, yes… I’m the main shooter during portraits.
We don’t really take turns per se; we just know and respect each other’s strengths, so it all happened very organically.
It doesn’t matter if you shoot in a field, parking lot, someone’s home, or the middle of the street, your images are a constant source of beauty and inspiration. To you, is there such a thing as a bad location?
Thanks! I pride myself on that. That doesn’t mean that I prefer a parking lot to a kickin’ downtown street full of amazingness… but sometimes time doesn’t allow for it.
I do mental exercises often. I always think to myself, no matter where I am… “if this were my shooting location, where would I shoot, how would I shoot it, and how would I pose it?” Because I do that often, my brain is as ready for it as it can be when our only option is a strip mall parking lot!
Personal projects can be a great way to challenge ourselves as artists, do you currently have any personal projects you are working on or would like to be?
We bought our first house in April. So, it’s not the traditional photographer’s personal project but I’m obsessed with turning it into a home we love!
You two are kind of famous for your Christmas cards. How do you come up with your ideas and manage to top yourselves year after year?
We brainstorm our ideas all year long… but usually the idea doesn’t come until two weeks before Christmas. Why wouldn’t it?! ARGH! The Awkward Family Photo… I don’t think we’ll ever be able to top that one! I still laugh about that one! HAHAHAAA!!!
It’s easy to see that you two do not take your jobs lightly. In your opinion, what is the importance of photography and what does it mean to you to get to photograph others?
When we photograph a young couple or a family, I view their session through the eyes of their future grand children… and know that these images will be loved so much more than they are right now. And for that reason, we take this job so incredibly seriously.
When someones house is on fire, the very first thing they try to grab are their photo albums. To say that we’re honored to photograph such important memories would be an understatement.
What we as photographers do… matters… and it matters a lot.
What advice would you offer to those wanting to improve their photography?
- Shoot what makes you happy. If it doesn’t bring you joy or fulfillment, you won’t be great at it.
- Photograph every session and/or event as though it were your own.
- Be genuine. Your images will show it. I promise.
Thank you so much for such a candid, inspiring interview, Bobbi! The work you and Mike do continues to leave us in awe and spurs us in our own creativity.