Today’s interview is with Erin Cobb!
What path did you take in becoming a professional photographer?
The serendipitous one. I always intended to go back to teaching kindergarten after my children started school but after an image I took of my daughter won the Baby Gap Casting Call in 2006 my life path veered in a different direction. I’ve never looked back other than to smile and wave.
What gear do you shoot with?
Canon 5d Mark II, 135mm/2.0L, 50mm/1.2L, 85mm/1.2 L. Pretty much in that order.
What is your go to lens?
Outdoors the 135. Indoors the 50.
What would your “dream shoot” be?
Any session with a spunky kid and parents who are happy to be there. In other words, what I shoot everyday!
Favorite time of day to shoot and why?
I used to think that I needed to cling to the ends of the day like good photographers learn to do when they’re starting out – 9 am and 5 pm right? While I definitely still like and take bookend sessions like that, I’ve recently discovered how much I love the sun to be higher in the sky. I love to backlight my subjects and it’s so much easier to do that and get great catchlights in the front when the sun is higher and bouncing around everywhere.
Who or what inspires you?
Silly knock-knock jokes from 5 year olds, first time parents of newborns, families that love each other, adoption, light in the eyes, the color orange, blogging, Tuesdays, my friends who loved me even when I had a mullet, and well-told stories. In a word, LIFE inspires me.
When do you do most of your editing and why?
After 7pm when the kiddos are in bed. And random minutes sandwiched in between. My work station is in my kitchen so I actually do some of my best work while I’m cooking dinner!
Funniest or most awkward moment on a shoot?
I once made a group of school aged brothers laugh hysterically by getting them to repeat silly words I said. One of which I later found out had been banned in their home. Oops!
Most memorable photography moment?
Winning the Baby Gap Casting Call. In the moment I answered the phone I knew my life was changing direction. It was thrilling.
If you could pick one celebrity (and their family) to shoot who would it be and why?
I would love to photograph singer/songwriter Lucy Kaplansky, her husband, and her daughter, adopted from China. I fell in love with her music after hearing the song “The Red Thread” which is about the bond she shares with her daughter and mother. That kind of bond is what I seek to capture in my images daily. Lucy has since graciously allowed me to use her song “Manhattan Moon” on my website’s homepage and I would love to one day photograph her sweet family as a thank you.
What is your current favorite photo that you’ve taken and why?
Professionally I really, really love this image:
Personally, this one:
What is one piece of advice you would offer an amateur photographer with pro aspirations?
Don’t rush the business. Once I had developed my photography to the point that I knew I wanted to launch a business I devoted 10 solid months to setting up the inner workings of Erin Cobb Photography. I made a timeline of goals I needed to achieve before the launch date and assigned several goals to each month. Setting up a website, getting your legal paperwork in order, acquiring insurance, opening a bank account, starting a blog, figuring out taxes – all of these things take time. Don’t rush them. Your clients deserve to have a photographer that is fully present with them in the portrait process and that’s impossible to do if you’re scrambling to take care of all these things after you’ve already started taking on work. If you want to be a professional, you simply cannot ignore the nitty gritty business stuff.
When did you know you were going to be successful in business? Was there a defining moment?
I think successful businesses are never really sure they’re going to be successful, which is what drives one to make keep working, harder and harder. In other words I still don’t know what defines “success” and if, at the end of that day, that’s what I’ll have. But you can bet I’m committed to doing the work it takes to make it happen!
What’s on the horizon for your business?
With the release of my Clean Color Workflow Tutorial I’ve branched out into a new segment of my business. I’m not sure what the future will hold for that side of the business but I continue to work as hard as ever on the portrait side. As my children age and client demand grows I continue to increase my workload in Huntsville each year. This year I have business trips to Los Angeles (this weekend!), Ohio and Kentucky (May) planned and am open to further travel as it comes. In this work every day is different and I love that!
Current favorite song?
Will I be stoned for cheesiness if I admit that “Never Grow Up” on the new Taylor Swift album is tickling my ears these days? Yes? Well then I’ll have to go with “This is the Sound” by Brighter Things.
Three words that you feel describe you best?
Me: Happy, motivated, sensitive. My photography: Fresh, clean, fun.
What three words would your best friends use to describe you?
Caring, busy, ridiculous.
Favorite television show?
Watership Down. (So weird, I know.)
Describe a typical day in your life.
Wake up, run, make breakfast/lunches, work, carpool, work, carpool, work, make dinner, kiddos bedtime, work. Lather, rinse, repeat. (With about 2 dozen “I love you”s thrown in for good measure.)
Who do you think should play you in the movie of your life?
In the last month I have been stopped by two random strangers (grocery store and bank) who wanted to know if anyone had ever told me that I look like Jennifer Garner. The answer is yes. So I guess her.
If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you have to have with you?
Brent, Sarah, Ephraim. Those are all the things I need.
Any bad habits that you have no intention of breaking?
Waiting until the last minute.
Canon or Nikon?
Prime or zoom?
Studio or on location?
Natural light or flash?
Neck strap or wrist strap?
Color or black and white?
Mac or PC?
Photoshop or Lightroom?
Night owl or morning person?
Sunrise or sunset?
Heels or flip flops?