How is it February already? It’s the first and that means time for a brand new CMpro of the month! This month we have a wonderful longtime CMmember, Lora Swinson of Swinson Studios. Spend a few minutes admiring Lora’s work and you’ll see what a gift she has for storytelling. Stay tuned next week when we’ll be announcing Lora’s breakout session at ClickinMoms. The topic is “Creating Connections in Family Portraiture” and it’s sure to inspire, much like Lora herself.
february cmpro of the month | lora swinson
If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?
I shoot with only 3 pieces of gear so this is easy! My 5DMkII, 50mm 1.4 and my reflector. I sold some of my gear when we moved out of state and it has really forced me to work with what I have. I feel like I’ve mastered my 50mm 1.4 so well that it would be hard to throw another lens into the mix even though I’m sure I’ll be adding the 135mm 2.0 here soon!
What was your first experience in photography?
I remember being 12 or 13 and getting five disposable cameras one year for my birthday. It has always been something I’ve loved doing and something my parents encouraged me in. They’ve been my biggest supporters. My sophomore year of high school I took a film and darkroom class and haven’t looked back since. I continued with it through college mainly shooting still life and landscape, but it wasn’t until I had my oldest that I dove into portraiture head on. I love digital and the flexibility it gives me but there will always be a soft spot in my heart for the darkroom. I’ve promised myself that one day I’ll have one in my home.
If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?
The first photographer that comes to mind is Sally Mann. After watching ‘Blood Ties: The Life and Work of Sally Mann’ in college she completely changed my view on photography. The way she sees the world/her children/moments in time is just incredible to me.
Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?
I am a music junkie. I am a lover of every genre….The Weepies, Florence + The Machine, The Beatnuts, The Roots, John Legend, Bon Iver, The Mamas & The Papas, Beyonce, John Denver, Looptroop Rockers, John Mayer, Mumford & Sons….everything! If you were to listen to a mix CD I made you’d think I had multiple personalities. I can’t carry a tune to save my life, but I still love it and I pretend that I can!
Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.
This business is about so much more than the camera you use. As well as the fact that your clients are not going to just show up on your doorstep. If you work hard the rewards will be great.
What’s on the horizon for your business?
We just relocated to Oklahoma from Colorado in Aug.2011 so starting all over from scratch is where I am at. I am looking forward to building relationships with my clients and seeing where that takes me. Hopefully I’ll be opening up a studio in the next year or possibly buying a home with land and an out building for a studio.
Describe the perfect session.
This is hard for me! My perfect session would be a newborn that sleeps three hours straight without a peep LOL! But really, I love clients who trust my vision and give the creative reigns over to me willingly. Any session like that is a perfect session.
What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?
Over the holidays I took both my boys (ages 5 & 3) over to their GG’s house and we made the sugar cookies that my husband spent his holidays making with her 25 years ago. The boys love their GG and their eyes are so locked into hers. I love their expressions and the motherly quality to her.
If you were not a photographer, what would you be?
Probably something still in the art related world. I would have loved to have been an art director for a gallery! Art history courses in college were some of my very favorite.
What aspects of photography do you find most challenging?
I’m trying not to get caught up in the ‘who’s who’ of the photography world, whether or not you’re up to their level or if you have enough fans on your FB page. There is a constant battle in my head going on with whether or not I’m keeping up with others in this business. One of my 2012 resolutions is to find peace with who I am as an artist and be 100% comfortable in my photography skin.
Where do you find inspiration?
Music, magazines, the weather outside, Pinterest, food blogs, my sisters…everything!
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go and what would you do there?
My perfect vacation would be to load up my boys and husband into an RV and spend a month or two traveling from California to Alaska. Camping out on the beach, fishing, hiking and stopping to see friends on the way.
If you had a superpower what would it be?
That calories were non existent! Now that would be amazing.
Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!
Canon or Nikon?
Prime or zoom?
Studio or on location?
Natural light or flash?
Neck strap or wrist strap?
Color or black and white?
Black and white
Mac or PC?
Photoshop or Lightroom?
Sunrise or sunset?
Heels or flip flops?
Beer or wine?
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Lora! You can find more of Laura’s work on her site, her blog and the CMpro Daily Project and, of course, around the CMforums. Have a question for Lora? You can ask her in her “Ask the Pros” thread on the CMforum.