Photography interview with Bre Thurston

Today’s interview is with Bre Thurston!

If you could take only three pieces of gear on a shoot, what would they be?

My 5D, my 85, and my Speedlite since you’ll never know when you might need extra light.

What was your first experience in photography?

I honestly don’t have a defined moment. I’ve always loved being in photos as well as taking them, and I remember shortly after I graduated elementary school, I asked my mom to drive me past my school so that I could take photos of it so I would always be able to remember my time there. My elementary school is now shut down, so I think my instincts were right, even at a young age. I’ve done the same thing by taking photos for my clients as well as my own family.

If you could shoot alongside any other photographer, who would it be (and why)?

Oh gosh, that’s hard. I’d probably have to say Ben Chrisman and his team at Chrisman Studios. I look at their images and wonder how they are able to even see the things that they capture. When I look at their photos, I feel like I must be walking around with blinders because I just don’t see things they way they do. It would be fascinating to shoot alongside them for that reason.

Other than photography, do you have any other creative outlets?

I was very involved in art classes when I was in school. I loved to sketch and could draw nearly anything that I looked at. I also love to shop. That’s creative, right? πŸ˜‰

Tell us one thing you wish you’d known when you started your business.

Again, I’m going to be honest and say that I don’t know. The progression of how I’ve learned things has been so natural, and I think the progression is a part of who I am. I’ve learned things slowly along the way, and I can’t say that I’d change that. Being professional, customer experience oriented, personable, and driven are the most important aspects of what I do, and those things can’t be learned overnight. To quote Ms. Miley Cyrus…it’s the climb. As long as you keep striving to be the best individual, the best photographer, and the best business person, you’re doing the right thing.

What’s on the horizon for your business?

2012 will be my busiest year yet for weddings, and I’m happy to say that this was my goal for the year. I am head over heels in love with weddings and I’ve been striving to push my business in that direction. Last year I eliminated newborn photography and it was one of the best things that I’ve done. I’m dialing down and focusing on what I love.

Describe the perfect session.

I don’t care if my subjects are 3 or 83, as long as they are comfortable with me and willing to laugh and play, it will be a great session. I love sun – lots and lots of sun. I love natural, soft tones, like a soft beige field and a sunset starting to form in the background. I love groups – either a couple or a family because I love interaction. I don’t care what they wear or what they look like, truly.

What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken (and why)?

Last November, I took a photo of my dad and stepmom. My dad’s lung cancer had moved to his bones, so it was now stage IV. We knew he had very little time left. I went to visit them at their home outside of Monterey, CA. Just me. I wanted time to spend with my dad. It was my last visit with him where was of an able mind. The next time I saw him, he was in the hospital being pumped full of pain medication. I didn’t take many photos that weekend, but I took this one, and I am forever grateful for it. It was my job as the photographer in the family to take the final portraits, and no words can describe how hard that was. I took a nice photo of my dad and stepmom where they were both looking at me and smiling at the camera, and after I snapped the shutter my stepmom leaned down to be close with my dad. This was the result. My dad passed away one month later.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I wanted to be a paleontologist (dinosaur scientist)…until I saw Jurassic Park. haha.

What is the best and worst part of your job?

The best part is the drive home after a session or a wedding. I call it my “photographer’s high” – I always leave a session feeling so, so lucky to do this for a living. The worst part is editing. I HATE EDITING!

How would you describe your artistic style?

I love happiness and pretty things. I have a hard time putting my style into words, because “pretty” seems overly simplified and superficial. I love finding beauty though someones smile, through tears of joy, through the laughter shared between lovers or a mother and son. I love the beauty of a warm California day. So, as I’m taking a photo, that is what I strive to show.

Funniest or most awkward moment on a shoot?

Oh, I’m sure there are many! I like to wear dresses to weddings, and at my most recent wedding I wore this blue cotton dress that fell right above my knees. Well, it was the first time I had worn it outside and I realized that the skirt blew up easily in the wind. So, as we were shooting outside, I had to keep one hand on my hem pulling it down. At one point I guess it blew up in the back and my 2nd shooter said to me, “It’s like a boudoir session” Whoops.

If they made a movie about your life, who would play you?

Isla Fischer comes to mind. I’m bubbly and smiley (sometimes overly so) and I think she fits that bill. My husband also has a thing for red heads, so he’d approve of that casting πŸ˜‰

quickie questions – one word answers!

Canon or Nikon?


Prime or zoom?


Studio or on location?

On Location

Natural light or flash?

Natural Light

Neck strap or wrist strap?

Across the shoulder strap πŸ˜‰

Color or black and white?


Mac or PC?

Hopefully by the time you’re reading this, Mac

Photoshop or Lightroom?


Sunrise or sunset?


Heels or flip flops?

Flip flops

Beer or wine?


Thank you so much for sharing with us, Bre!

You can find more of Bre’s work on her blog, her facebook, and, of course, around the CMforums.

About the Author:

From the parent company Click & Company, Clickin Moms has revolutionized the photography industry as the first and largest organization to embrace and serve female photographers of all levels, from hobbyists to professionals.


  1. celestejones Apr 02 2012 at 7:09 am - Reply

    congratulations…i love bre's work:)

  2. Ashley Spaulding Apr 02 2012 at 7:12 am - Reply

    Your work is beautiful, Bre, and I've enjoyed getting to know you a little better on the board…I was sorry to have missed meeting you at WPPI! The image of your dad literally gave me goosebumps. You captured love and emotion so beautifully in that image, as you do in all your images. Thank you for sharing with us!

  3. Anita M Apr 02 2012 at 8:48 am - Reply

    Congrats Bre, on being pro of the month… And for your continued success. I love your work and you do create beauty for your clients. Thank you for sharing your talent with the world!

  4. Jenny Cruger Apr 02 2012 at 8:59 am - Reply

    Great interview! I can't wait to see what is coming this month from Bre! πŸ™‚

  5. Alicia Gould Photogr Apr 02 2012 at 9:01 am - Reply

    gorgeous work Bre! Nice getting to know more about you πŸ™‚

  6. Sandy Young Apr 02 2012 at 9:11 am - Reply

    Agree with PP's — the emotion you caught of your Dad and stepmom was very special. I'm glad you captured that image, and that you shared it with us. Thank you. I love your work — love the light and the emotion in the images here. πŸ™‚

  7. Ginger_79 Apr 02 2012 at 10:13 am - Reply

    So beautiful! I saw the pictures of that desert boudoir session on Bre's blog before and can I say, if I could afford to fly over to America just for a shoot, she'd be it!

  8. Mayra Apr 02 2012 at 10:18 am - Reply

    I loved reading a little bit more about Bre! She's an awesome photographer.

  9. Ann Westerman Apr 02 2012 at 10:56 am - Reply

    Congratulations and so well deserved! Your work is beautiful. The photograph of your dad and stepmother is breathtaking.

  10. Ariana Falerni Apr 02 2012 at 11:37 am - Reply

    Great interview Bre, can't WAIT to see what your breakout session will be! πŸ™‚

  11. Stacie Apr 02 2012 at 12:09 pm - Reply

    Your work is gorgeous, Bre, and you know I'm a fan. But that picture if your father – that is beyond good. What a precious, precious thing to have after your heartbreaking loss. Just… wow.

  12. Lisa Holloway Apr 02 2012 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    I love Bre and her work! So fun to read more about her!

  13. Leah Cook Apr 02 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Congratulations, Bre!! it was so fun to meet you in Vegas and I've loved getting to know you better in the last months! beautiful work and it's so exciting to hear that you're getting to shoot more of what you love. the image of your dad and story behind it was amazing.

  14. megan moore Apr 02 2012 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    Congrats, Bre, I loved reading more about you. Your work is stunning. πŸ™‚ That image of your dad & stepmom is priceless, just amazing.

  15. Tracy Apr 02 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Congratulations, Bre! And, I loved getting to know you a bit better!

  16. Mara Vaughan Apr 02 2012 at 6:00 pm - Reply

    What an awesome article! Bre, that photo of your Dad brought tears to my eyes. You are an amazing photographer! I love the genuine emotion that you are able to capture and make into art.

  17. Elle Apr 02 2012 at 6:25 pm - Reply

    Beautiful work, Bre <3 That image of your Dad is so emotive, very powerful…

  18. Emily Velgersdyk Apr 03 2012 at 7:53 pm - Reply

    I loved reading this and seeing your beautiful images! The story about your dad and the picture of him and your step mom was so touching. It made me cry and it also makes me even more determined to enjoy every moment with my family while they are here. Thank you for reminding me that tomorrow is never promised and I need to cherish each day!

  19. Whitney Apr 03 2012 at 8:01 pm - Reply

    I loved reading this and getting a glimpse into the creative mind of such a beautiful photographer! Thans for sharing Bre! Your work is light and airy and so full of love!

  20. Michelle Kirnan Apr 04 2012 at 4:37 pm - Reply

    I adore this post! Bre, your work is amazing! I love the emotion you capture with your family images. You had me when you started talking about Ben Chrisman – I feel EXACTLY the same as you do! How do they see things the way they do?! And Miley Cyrus' song "The Climb"? I heard it while editing one night and decided that is the theme song for my business! Thank you so much for sharing, especially the image and story of your father and stepmom…so, so moving!

  21. Karen Cox Apr 06 2012 at 7:51 pm - Reply

    Bre, your work is so inspiring. πŸ™‚ So full of emotion.

  22. Donna Good Apr 09 2012 at 1:13 pm - Reply

    love your work Bre!!!

  23. Donna Good Apr 09 2012 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    how can i ask Bre a question…the "box" isn't working….

  24. Terra Kirby Oct 05 2012 at 11:13 am - Reply

    hmmmm, really interesting

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