Hello November! How did you show up so soon? The seasons are changing, the holiday decor is appearing in the stores (way too early if you ask me!), and pumpkin spice lattes are being talked about everywhere. There’s also a new CMpro of the Month to introduce you to…Chloe Ramirez! Chloe is such an incredible photographer who has a true gift for photographing couples. I had the privilege of interviewing her for our photography blog and I am thrilled to finally share it with you!
november cmpro of the month | chloe ramirez
Let’s start off by you telling us who is Chloe Ramirez? What do you love and how did you get started in photography?
I am a Wife to a military man, and mom to an amazing little 3-year-old girl named Ella. I adore and am inspired by my family so much; I could talk about them for hours. I also love people’s stories, coffee, snuggling, cold nights under warm blankets, adventures, music, finding new locations, and love. I got started in photography the year I graduated high school. My parents bought me a little Nikon D50 with a 18-55mm kit lens as a graduation gift. I photographed everyone who would let me; friends, family and strangers. I would sit in bed and dream up new ideas, these images just had to get out of my head and I finally had a way to do it!
At what point did you realize you wanted to turn your passion for photography into a career?
Ever since I first got that D50 I knew I wanted to do something in photography…what that was I had no clue! I worked several jobs in the photography industry everything from print shops to chain studios. It wasn’t until a year after I had my daughter Ella that I decided to take the leap of faith and venture out on my own. Starting my own business was a wonderful turning point in my work. I felt those old feelings resurfacing from when I first picked up a camera, the excitement, creativity, and no one telling me what to do and how to do it. I had total creative freedom and it tasted so good!
Why weddings? So many people run from them, fearful of the ‘you only get one shot’ thought, but this is where you’ve decided to specialize. Why?
It is definitely not for everyone! Weddings fit me great because I work very well under pressure, almost better than if I had all the time in the world. There is only that one shot, that one moment to be captured, and it is so exhilarating and challenging for me as a photographer to be able to execute that. Before I go to a wedding I know the couple pretty well and I am genuinely excited to be there and to photograph one of their greatest moments. People in love make me happy. Photographing them in their happiest moments makes me feel what I am doing matters.
On a wedding day, what is typically your favorite moment?
My favorite moment is when I am photographing the Bride and Groom alone. They are in their own little world and it is just so sweet to me. During these posed photos it also gives me a chance to catch my breath and enjoy creating instead of simply documenting.
What are some of the trials you have had to overcome in regards to shooting weddings?
Business can be messy. I have had a few sour business things happen with contracts and money and it wasn’t pretty. I learned a lot and I believe all that annoying stuff needed to happen so that it could never happen again. If you are thinking about being a wedding photographer get a solid contract and a lawyer.
Weddings are tedious. Not only do you spend hours photographing the wedding day but there are also the engagement photos, bridal portraits, and countless emails and meetings. How long do you estimate you spend with each wedding client?
Consult: 2 hours
Engagement: 2 hours
Wedding: 8 hours
Editing: 16 hours
Emailing and phone calls: 1 hour
Total prep time for shooting: 1 hour
Travel time for local wedding: 2 hours
Total: 32 hours!
How do weddings differ from the times you choose to photograph a family?
I have more time to do the posed images during a family session which is fun for me since I get to be creative! Weddings are fast paced and unpredictable and family sessions I set the pace.
During weddings, you’re either at the mercy of the available light or you must create the light you want. Care to give us some insight on how you work with lighting and quickly make a decision on what’s best?
Lighting can be very tricky at weddings, especially if you are outdoors because your light is constantly changing during that 8 hour period. I shoot natural light until I completely run out of available light. I have learned to make the best out of each natural light scenario and pose and shoot accordingly. For receptions I tend to use off camera flash for dancing and sometimes I mix it up with some ambient light. Controlling the reception lighting is a lot easier than dealing with the changing natural light!
Is there any advice you would be willing to offer to someone interested in getting into the wedding photography industry?
Don’t jump in on your own at first. Take a year or so and second shoot for others. You will probably in that year see all different sorts of scenarios that can happen at weddings. You will be able to deal with them without the pressure of being the main shooter. Bonus, you will have a nice little portfolio of images and a handful of letters of recommendations when you do decide to venture out on your own.
Congratulations on your new little one on the way! I have to ask, how do you manage being pregnant and operating a photography business?
Thank you!! We are so excited! I am due December 3rd so we are getting close to the end now. I have been totally blessed and have had a fairly easy pregnancy. I do find myself getting extremely tired now that I am toward the end! I think if this pregnancy had been at all like my first daughter, I would have had to scale back a bit.
What is one business tip you would offer to someone considering starting they’re own business?
Ask for help! Do not try and do it on your own. Surround yourself with people who are supportive of you and reach out to new people in the business who have experience.
Continuing education is important in any career. How often do you attend photography conventions and/or workshops?
It really is important! So far I have consistently taken 1 workshop or convention a year. Next year I hope to be back at WPPI.
You’ll be offering a CMU breakout session very soon. Do you mind torturing us with a little information about what you’ll be discussing?
Of course! In my breakout I will be discussing how I use storytelling in my everyday sessions. I have my process broken down as well as how I go about composing images to get the most out of your location, atmosphere and surroundings.
Goals and dreams are important both in life and work. Would you mind sharing some of your long-term goals regarding your business?
My long-term goal for my business is to be a well-respected and successful artist.
Make sure you head over to Chloe’s website, blog, facebook and Instagram to view the rest of her gorgeous work. You can also view one of her sources for inspiration on her Pinterest board and if you have a question for Chloe please visit her ‘ask a pro’ thread within the photography forum.