Huge congratulations to December’s CMpro of the Month, the incredibly talented Dana Lauder! Let’s kick this month off with an interview with Dana!
december cmpro of the month | dana lauder
Hi, Dana! Thank you so much for being with us here today. I’d love to start off by hearing more about yourself?
Well, I’m 33 years old and I live in Ontario, Canada with my husband, 2 year old son and 2 cats. I’m a chemical engineer by trade, and I work for an environmental consulting firm. My typical day involves sitting in front of a computer. Photography is an artistic outlet for me. I’ve always been interested in science and math, so it’s nice to be able to explore a more artistic side of myself.
And the question we always love to hear the answer to, how did you get started in photography?
My sister bought me a Nikon D40 as a wedding gift in 2008. I took a beginner photography course from the local college and started learning to shoot in manual, but still mostly shot on auto for quick snapshots. After my son Avery was born, I was home with him for a year and I got a prime lens when he was about 5 months old. Then I found Clickin Moms and really started learning and practicing.
What gear do you shoot with?
I shoot with a Nikon D700 and my lenses are a 50 1.8 prime, 105 macro and a Lensbaby Spark. I shoot with my 50 most of the time, but it’s feeling a little tight so I’ve got the Sigma 35 in my sights too.
How would you describe your photography style?
I think my style is a lot like my personality. I’m kind of an introvert, I’m quiet and laid back. So I think that comes out a lot in my photography. I’m not really an in-your-face, social person. I prefer to sit back and observe, and I think that’s reflected in my work. That’s the style that developed naturally and now that I’ve thought about it a lot, it’s just “me.”
I noticed you have a lot of faceless/storytelling types of images in your portfolio. Is storytelling something you strive for when you’re shooting?
I think I just naturally tell stories with my work. I’m always conscious about what message I’m sending with the mood and light of an image, I put a lot of thought into my images. My work is all about being a parent to a young child. I try to capture the little details that I want to remember, or that maybe only I would notice and I try to highlight those. I talk about how I achieve this in my breakout.
Speaking of Breakouts, you have one coming out in this month. Congratulations! Can you tell us a little bit about it?
The breakout is all about visual communication. I talk about the rhetorical triangle and all the elements needed for effective communication. It’s broken up into sections about the different parts of it – photographer, subject and audience. I go into detail in each section about how I use that part to convey the message I want.
What would your ideal shooting situation be?
I really just love light and shadows, so the location doesn’t matter to me as much as the light does. Indoor window light is probably my favourite, and I also discovered that I love to shoot at the beach.
Personal projects can be so beneficial to a photographer’s growth and creativity. Do you have any you’re working on right now?
I do. I started a group project with 5 of my friends this year – a blog called Eleven Sons. There are six contributors, and we have 11 boys between us. We talk (though our images) about what it’s like to be mothers to boys. We’re all assigned to a day of the week where we post an image that represents being a mother to boys. We discussed at the beginning that we want to avoid heavy gender stereotyping, but they are boys, so there are a lot of trucks and dirt, but we’re trying not to make it all about that.
What is your current favorite image and why is it your favorite?
I think if I had to pick one, it would be one of Avery when he was about 18 months old lying on his stomach in a rocker. I love the light, how tiny he is and how peaceful he looks looking out the window. It looks like he’s daydreaming but I conveniently had the iPad set up in front of him and he is actually watching cartoons.
The new year is fast approaching. What are you photography goals for 2014?
I think I’d like to eventually do some juried shows and get into more of a fine art direction. I wish I could go to one of the photography conferences next year, but they’re all so far away and we have some plans up in the air for next year, so it might not happen.
Thank you Dana for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Dana’s website, blog, and facebook to view the rest of her gorgeous work. If you have a question for Dana, you can ask in the comments below or in her ask the pros thread on the forum.