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? 😉

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 😉

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 😉

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.