I can’t believe that 2011 is almost over – this year has both dragged and flown by at times. So excited to see what 2012 brings! What better way to wrap up a fantastic year and create excitement for the year to come than an inspiring interview? Wrapping our year up with total style and class is an amazing interview with the one and only Meg Borders! Meg is truly one photographer that actually makes me want to be a teenager again just so I can have senior portraits taken by her.
Meg recently released a brand new video on her site that tells so much about her as a mother, a woman and a photographer and how she approaches her work. It’s a definite “must see” – trust me. CMteam member, April Nienhuis, recently got the chance to interview Meg and we’re so excited to share it with you as we’re sure it will inspire you as you look ahead towards a new year. Thank you, Meg!
an interview with meg borders
Let’s start at the beginning, when and how did your interest in photography begin?
I started shooting over four years ago when my daughter was born. I knew I wanted to capture every single moment of her life and freeze it in time. I picked up my first DSLR and decided that I was going to master it. I wanted to learn all there was to know about photography. That started a year-long journey: online tutorials, trial and error, reading books, spending hours upon hours as a student, and talking with other photogs. I basically gave myself an education. I think that was a differentiator in my journey—I didn’t sell an image professionally until I understood the science of light and the equipment I had.
The way you use light is incredible. How did you learn to use light the way you do? Trial and error? Did you take a class or workshop?
I love dreamy sun filled imagery and was determined to master natural light when I first started out. Like I said before, I am self-taught and through endless amounts of trial and error I have learned how to make that magic ball of light we call the sun work for me instead of against me. I have learned to be a “light-hunter” and will drag my clients into bug-filled brush, or dirty trenches if that’s what it takes to find my light.
I always feel like I’m looking at a magazine when I view your work. Where do you find your inspiration?
So much of my inspiration comes from nature, music, movies, and even magazines. My best moments of inspiration come when I am driving around on a beautiful day and I’ll see something that sparks an idea and my imagination runs with it! I am a dreamer and I like to say my imagination is still that of a 4-year-old little girl. I view the world through magical fairytale lenses.
You photograph a little bit of everything but today we’re going to focus on your senior photography. What is it that makes senior photography so special?
Great questions! My business is actually headed towards exclusively seniors and families. I am cutting out all other genres and honing in on what I truly love.
I am passionate about the self-esteem of women and the pressures they face in today’s society. I want to show young women a new perspective of who they are, and to see themselves in a way they never have.
The media has morphed and distorted the standard of what beauty is and made it something that is unattainable. It’s a fraud. As photographers we know how easy it is to liquify someone, smooth their skin, and get rid of imperfections. We can draw on six pack abs in a matter of minutes.
There is nothing cooler to me than when I show a senior girl her photos for the first time (even if its on the back my camera) and you see their eyes light up and you watch their self-confidence rise. I love showing women their true beauty. In the end it isn’t the 8×10 or 20×30 canvas I sell them, its self-discovery.
How much interaction do you have with your seniors prior to their photo shoot?
I do my best to meet with every senior girl prior to their session for an in-person consultation. The point of this is not only for them to get to know me and be comfortable with me photographing them, but for me to truly get to know them. I want to know who they are, their likes/dislikes, their style, personality, everything I can before a shoot. After all, I want the photos to be a direct representation of who they truly are. I want these girls to look back on theses photos at such a pivotal time in their lives and see a reflection of exactly who they were in that moment in their lives.
Tell us a little about the stylizing process of a senior photo shoot.
I strongly urge every senior to get into touch with my preferred makeup artists for an appointment. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to find someone that I trust completely and I’ve finally found her. She does makeup in a way that enhances each girls’ personal beauty and still makes them look like “themselves”. 99% of my seniors opt for this and it really enhances the images and makes post processing a breeze.
As far as wardrobe, we have a discussion in our consultation about what works/what doesn’t and I always make sure to stress the importance of their clothing choices to reflect themselves and who they are. Typically my seniors bring a luggage container full of clothing/accessories and we go through them all at the beginning of shoot and I help them finalize and piece together the perfect outfits. It gives them the extra boost of confidence having me go over everything and give it my stamp of approval. Wardrobe can be a stressful thing for teen girls and I refuse to let it be. I let them know the images are about them and not what they are wearing, so just have fun with it!
For photographers interested in getting into senior photography, what is one tip that you would give them?
Start with quality, solid Senior Reps. Don’t take just anyone, but be picky and choosy about who is going to represent your brand most accurately. Remember, who you shoot defines your business. Photographing ballerinas versus biker chicks will have a major impact on your brand; neither one is wrong, but it comes down to who you are and what you choose to reflect.
From the initial client inquiry to the moment you’ve handed a client their final images, what is your favorite, or perhaps most rewarding, part of the photographer/client experience?
The relationships that I build with my clients are by far the most rewarding part of it all. Many of my clients have become my friends, new business contacts/partners, and even my babysitters (Senior clients). Life is all about relationships and I want my clients to walk away with more than a just a need met, but with an experience they will never forget.
Congratulations on your recent feature in PPA Magazine! PPA featured a personal project of yours, tell us a little about the project.
Thank you!! This is probably one of my greatest accomplishments to date and true reflection of me and what I am all about. Every year I take on a personal project and last year I knew I wanted it to somehow relate to teen girls since they are the cornerstone of my business and since they hold such a deep place in my heart.
I ended up organizing a project last December giving teen moms from our local Boys & Girls club free Senior Portraits; Girls who got in a tough situation, but were continuing their education for the sake of their children, girls who could never afford the luxury of professional Senior Photos. The coolest part: a handful of local photographers jumped on board with me and all decided to give back with me in this project. It ended up being an awesome community event with all the local news stations coming to report on it. Not only did I want to make an impact on a few underprivileged teens in our community, but was given the opportunity to spread the story and inspire others to do the same. PPA published the story this last summer and I couldn’t be more grateful. Giving back is so important to me. We’ve all been given a talent and a gift; I am strong believer in using those gifts to help others who are in need of them.
You can read more about the start of the project here and the outcome here!
Thank you so much for taking the time to so candidly share with us, Meg! You inspire in so many ways. You refer to yourself as a “camera artist” – we couldn’t agree more!
Keep your eyes peeled in 2012 for a special collaboration beween Meg and ClickinMoms – you won’t want to miss it!