Today’s interview is with Barb Uil!
What path did you take in becoming a professional photographer?
I used to be a child care worker and enjoyed snapping black and white film of the kids. Later on when my daughter was born my in-laws purchased a camera for me – and it kind of took off from there.
What gear do you shoot with?
All Canon gear! I’m a Canon girl! A 1d MIV and my gadget of choice is any L series lens (I’m a bit of a gadget girl too).
If you were not a photographer, what career do you see yourself in?
What is your go to lens?
I don’t really have a go to one, I use a range of them depending on the look I’m after – however primes are a good go to – always. The 50mm is very nice.
Favorite time of day to shoot and why?
Mornings or afternoons for the light. Unless its indoors.
Who or what inspires you?
Children inspire me, they have amazing imaginations. I just love kids.
What would your “dream shoot” be?
Ohhh one with my children in it. Sadly I’m like a builder who never fixes his own home. My children are hardly ever photographed because when I’m spending time with them I loathe having the camera out….time is too precious! Actually I think my dream shoot would be having someone come and photograph my family, I must organize that!
What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?
You have hard questions!!!!!! I don’t really have a fave.. I think any with my own girls – again because they are my girls.
When do you do most of your editing and why?
In the early morning – when my kidlets are asleep. Its just about the best time to do it. Or at night when they are asleep however I’m usually tired.
What is one piece of advice you would offer an amateur photographer with pro aspirations?
I’m going to be a little controversial because its something I’m so passionate about….. kids.
Don’t be the cheap photographer. There are so many reasons not to be. Especially mom photographers (which not everyone is). However, those of you who are – every moment you spend on your photography where you aren’t being paid accordingly, is a moment you are sending a message to your child that you are choosing photography over them.
At our workshops we discuss what people earn, and we have worked out that, as a rule of thumb: If you are charging less then $40 for a 5×7 then you are running a risk of earning below minimum wage for your time. So many photographers these days are earning less then they would make doing the same hours working in a gas station. I’m not saying working in a gas station is bad. I’m saying working for next to nothing is.
I’m passionate about this because I love kids and sadly sometimes its the kids of moms who work for next to nothing that are being left by the wayside. My advice is this: Do not charge until you’re ready (just like a doctor cannot charge until the degree is done). Then, when you ARE ready – charge correctly. A new brand of milk isn’t cheaper just because its new on the market or because the makers love making it………. they make it right then they charge accordingly.
And remember, if you work from home, any time your on your computer is time your child soon realizes you’re not actually available to them. They soon understand you’re picking the computer over them.
Now in having said all that… I think its important not to judge other photographers and their work practices – we have so much pressure on us and at the end of the day I’m just trying to help. Everything I’ve mentioned is merely a guide. Just be honest with yourself about your earnings…for your kids.
When did you know you were going to be successful in business?
Was there a defining moment? I think when my husband quit his job to be a stay at home dad. It was bliss!
Current favorite song?
Imagine : John Lennon (always).
Three words that you feel describe you best?
Spontaneous……….Oh I cant think of anymore right now.
What three words would your best friends use to describe you?
Hahah! Busy, spontaneous and forgetful.
Favorite television show?
We don’t really watch tv… (probably the news?).
I’m an avid reader, however mostly on business and creativity.
Describe a typical day in your life.
Right now its 6am. I’m up doing work at the pc whilst my family sleep – as soon as they are up I’ll help the older kids prepare for school. Usually they ride so I’m back at work for a few hours after that. Today I’m heading out to do groceries at 10am then I am meeting my assistant at 1pm to go over some things. At 2pm my dad coming for a late lunch. At 3pm my kids arrive home so homework etc. At 5pm I have a session (I do them locally mostly) which will wrap up at about 6.30pm just in time for family dinner. We have a photographer friend staying with us for a few days…she comes in today too. Wow you know.. I feel very flustered now thinking what I have to get done.
Who do you think should play you in the movie of your life?
Ooooh, I love Toni Collette. She is so down to earth.
If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you have to have with you?
Water, a phone (to call for help) and sun screen.
Quickie Questions – One Word Answers!
Canon or Nikon?
Prime or zoom?
Studio or on location?
Natural light or flash?
Both, mostly natural light.
Neck strap or wrist strap?
Color or black and white?
Both, mostly color.
Mac or PC?
Photoshop or Lightroom?
Night owl or morning person?
Sunrise or sunset?
Heels or flip flops?
Jinky Art offers workshops for those lucky enough to snag a spot. In you’re in Australia you can find information here. For US photographers, keep checking back on her blog for details on her next US retreat trip. And head on over to her Itty Bitty Actions site to pick yourself up some of her fantastic actions!
Thank you so much for sharing your time and talent with us, Barb!!