Photography interview with Allison Zercher

Today’s interview is with Allison Zercher of Snippets from Suburbia!

To start us off, please share with us a little about yourself and how you got into photography?

I got into photography minimally when I was in college, but like many of my fellow Clickin Moms members, I started with it much more seriously when my first daughter was born.  It began just by wanting to share photos with loved ones easily via email, and then I started a blog to share them, and it kind of took off from there.

Photography is not your primary career, education is.  What are your reasons for not giving up teaching to pursue a full time photography business?

I feel like photography is really my ONLY hobby.  It’s the thing I think about night and day, it’s my passion in life.  I know that many professional photographers start out with photography as their hobby, but oftentimes I see those same people starting to feel like photography is a chore rather than a passion.  I guess my feeling is that if I were to stop teaching and do photography as my full time career instead, not only would I risk losing my love of doing it, I would also give up time with my kids, whereas with teaching, my work schedule is basically the same as their school schedule.  I love my time with them, and I love having photography as my passion rather than my career.

Congratulations on your engagement!  Tell us, how does a talented photographer like yourself go about choosing a wedding photographer?

Oh wow, this was SO difficult.  I have so many really great, talented friends that are photographers, too – many of them wedding photographers.  It was difficult to choose one as I would never dream of wanting to hurt any of the other friends’ feelings.  I ended up asking Kelly Mendoza of TrueBlissPhoto.com and she was more than willing to be ‘the one.’  I’m secretly hoping that my other photographer friends bring their cameras too, because I love ALL of their work, but then I’m not sure I really want that many pictures of me from that many angles!

Your images are so simple yet full of stories at the same time.  How do you find the perfect balance between simplicity and storytelling with your work?

After writing the “Finding the Frame” breakout session, I feel more able to answer this question.  It was a huge introspective piece to write – having to describe my own style and attempt to teach others how do train their “eye.”  I guess I think of a moment in either my life or my children’s lives and a way to capture it.  Sometimes is a moody moment, sometimes light-hearted and bright.  First I think of the moment that I want to capture, and then I try to figure out a “spot” to best capture that moment.  When we’re in that moment together, I don’t always know from what perspective I want to capture it until I’m shooting and moving around and catching it from several different angles.  Typically, I’ll take 20 shots of the same thing, just from a slightly different perspective, and then scan through them one at a time, looking for “the one.”  I’ve even done this, not found “the one,” and tried the moment all over again because, in  looking through the images I want to scrap, I figure out just exactly what I missed the first time around, so I try again to capture it a second or (I cringe) a third time around.

While many of us are groaning about our 365 projects and counting down the days until we’re done, you keep pursuing them.  Why do you return year after year to another 365?

I think it’s part mental illness.  HAHA!  Honestly, I’m on year 5 this year and it’s just become a part of my life.  Every time I get a little bogged down by it, I sit back and think honestly to myself, “Could I ever really stop doing this?”  Truthfully, I think the answer is “no!”  I look forward to finding ‘that moment’ in my everyday.  Sometimes it’s much easier than others – some days I feel like I have nothing special to capture, so I force myself to find something, anything.  Those are the days I’m less proud of, but it’s hard to always have some kind of special moment to capture.  My life is just not that interesting!

How do you stay motivated and continue creating fresh images with each 365?

I wish I knew.  My kids love looking at my photos, so I do it for them as much as myself.  I like to look back at everything, and they like to sit with me and say “Oh, I remember that!”  I guess it’s a way of documenting life, and even the most mundane moments have something special about them, something worth photographing.

Do your girls ever get sick of the camera since you use it every day?  How do you approach that ‘battle’?

They have never known life without it!  But, they do of course roll their eyes sometimes and put up a fight.  I never force them to be my subject, but I won’t exactly say I never bribe them.  They do love to look at photos afterward, so sometimes that is the only motivating factor that I have to remind them of.

One of your new projects is a ‘from where I stand’ in which you take an image of the ground, including your feet, from where you stand.  Big question here, how many pairs of shoes do you own?

Too many!  I really do have a lot, but many of the shoes I’ve used for that project are honestly ones I don’t wear that often.  I put them on just to change it up, as it were.

In all seriousness, why this project?  Do you ever fear that you’ll repeat an image since you’re using the same perspective every time?

I think I have a photographic memory for photographs – is there such a thing?  I don’t fear I’ll repeat one, but I do fear that the project has already become boring, and some days I just take one for the sake of not missing a day.  As I type this, I’m a couple of weeks behind on processing photos because I was working so diligently on the breakout session.  Sometimes I’ll edit and put together 20 of them in a day and play catch up in a big way.

What is it about photography that you love the most?

I love capturing a moment.  Whether it be happy, sad, silly – it’s a moment I’m always after.  I love the creativity needed to do it, and I love the editing process.  I love the challenge of seeing a moment in my mind and trying to create that moment with my camera.

You’re obviously busy with a full time job and raising two daughters.  How do you find the time to continue to develop your photography skills?

I actually only work part time – I share a teaching contract and a classroom with another teacher who is half time as well. So, I do often have time during the day when I’m not working and my girls are at school, but I also edit photos in the evening or early in the morning.  I try not to sit at the computer TOO much, but I can get sucked into perfectionism, and if a photo isn’t just right (to me) I will sometimes spend too long editing it.  That’s definitely a fault of mine!

Is there any advice that you would offer to someone who is feeling the pressure to go into business but isn’t sure if they want to or not?

If you don’t need to do it financially, then don’t.  If your love for it is greater than your need to start a business, don’t start a business.  You’re allowed to just be a photographer and not have it also be your career.

What things are on the horizon for you and your photography?

No big changes – I am shooting a wedding this summer for a friend, but other than that, it’s just status quo, which is just fine with me!

Allison, thank you for being so open and sharing with us! 

Do you want to see more of Allison’s work?  Head on over to her website here or her facebook page.  Make sure and leave her some love in the comments below too!

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.

59 Comments

  1. Melissa Jul 02 2012 at 7:10 am - Reply

    I loved reading more about one of my most favorite photographers! I just love Allison and her work. Congratulations on the upcoming wedding! :hp

  2. Jo Jul 02 2012 at 7:26 am - Reply

    LOVE your work, Allison, both here and on the daily blog!

  3. Tiffany Jul 02 2012 at 7:44 am - Reply

    Allison was one of the first CM's I started following on Flickr & I LOVE seeing her amazing creativity through her photos!! Congrats on the wedding!!

  4. Megan Jul 02 2012 at 8:37 am - Reply

    Allison, these images are STUNNING. Love your work and learning more about you– congrats!!

  5. Katrina Stewart Jul 02 2012 at 9:30 am - Reply

    Allison, l absolutely ADORE your work and cannot wait to see your breakout. I'm so excited! Thank you for sharing your gorgeous images.

  6. Kristen R Jul 02 2012 at 11:02 am - Reply

    Wow! Just wow, your images are stunning and it was fun to learn about you too 🙂

  7. JessicaN Jul 02 2012 at 11:44 am - Reply

    I love this interview so much. I have been following Allison for since finding her on Flickr many years ago and I just adore her work and her creativity. Thanks for sharing more with us, I am a true Snippets stalker. 🙂

  8. jennifer Jul 02 2012 at 1:57 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Allison!!! I adore your work and loved reading more about you!! <3

  9. Jessica Jul 02 2012 at 4:21 pm - Reply

    Congratulations Allison! Your work is beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this glimpse of yourself!

  10. Melanie Jul 02 2012 at 4:55 pm - Reply

    Allison, your work is amazing! I love how you put the timestamp on the pic with the title – what a fabulous idea!! Thanks for sharing your amazing talent with us

  11. Jodi Jul 02 2012 at 4:59 pm - Reply

    I LOVE all of these images! Thanks so much for sharing!! So sweet and simple.

  12. Allison Jul 02 2012 at 5:58 pm - Reply

    Wow everyone, thank you so much! As you probably know by now, I love photography and I love sharing my passion with anyone and everyone who'll let me! Thanks for all of the kind words, they mean so much!

  13. Jes Gwozdz Jul 02 2012 at 6:14 pm - Reply

    Another Snippets stalker here. So happy to see you featured in this interview, Allison. Yay!

  14. Cary Jul 02 2012 at 6:19 pm - Reply

    Love your work!

  15. Linda Jul 02 2012 at 7:54 pm - Reply

    WOW Allison I LOVE your work!! Stunning stunning images. Thank you for sharing – I cannot wait to see what your BO session is all about 😉

  16. Lacey Jul 02 2012 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    My goodness … I'm in love! Every image is as amazing as the next – wonderful, Allison and thank you for sharing!

  17. Kimberly Anne Jul 02 2012 at 10:09 pm - Reply

    These images are just beautiful! I love every one of them. I am half way through my first 365 and I love it, I look forward to it and I feel like I want to keep it going too. Thanks for sharing with us!

  18. Shannon Wilkinson Jul 02 2012 at 10:35 pm - Reply

    Oh my word. I am so in love with these images…especially the stormy skies image. It's been a while but is that Palm Springs? I love the row of palm trees there. Your work is stunning. Thank you for sharing a small part of yourself on here.

    Shan

  19. AngieO Jul 02 2012 at 10:53 pm - Reply

    I just discovered your blog about a week ago and I'm so inspired by your work! Congratulations on making CMPro of the month.

  20. Heidi G. Jul 03 2012 at 5:21 am - Reply

    I have to say, I didn't know your work before now … and now? LOVE!!!! Thank you for the great interview, for sharing with us, and for the gorgeous images you capture. You really do have an eye that frames perfectly.

  21. jodi Jul 03 2012 at 5:38 am - Reply

    allison, i loved getting to know more about you through this interview! your work is so inspiring to me!

  22. Jodie Jul 03 2012 at 6:19 am - Reply

    Wonderful interview, but I have to say… Im SO EXCITED FOR THIS BREAKOUT! Sounds like exactly what I am needing at the moment. You are an inspiration Allison!

  23. Jess Jul 03 2012 at 7:54 am - Reply

    Wow. WOW. Love your work Allison!

  24. Amy Lucy Jul 03 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing more about yourself with us, Allison! I've been a fan of your work for a long time. It's always such a joy to see the world through your eyes.

  25. Mary Wortz Jul 03 2012 at 12:13 pm - Reply

    I love your work and your work ethic! You are very inspiring in more ways than one. 🙂

  26. Emma Wood Jul 03 2012 at 2:02 pm - Reply

    Allison – I find your photography completely inspiring and unique – I honestly can't get enough of it. Thank you so much for sharing more about yourself with us all – and I look forward to viewing your work for a long time to come <3

  27. Jax Davidson Jul 03 2012 at 3:43 pm - Reply

    I loved this article, Allison! Every image just drew me in!

  28. Allison Jul 03 2012 at 5:41 pm - Reply

    Thank you all so much, again 🙂 I appreciate all of the comments and, of course, the kudos!

  29. Emily Krbec Jul 03 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    Fantastic interview! Love how every image really tells a story. Beautiful work Allison!

  30. Lisa (Tout Petit Pix Jul 03 2012 at 9:53 pm - Reply

    Allison I am blown away by your talent and sense of composition… thank you so much for the inspiration!

  31. Emily Jul 04 2012 at 9:13 pm - Reply

    Your work is AMAZING! Honestly, I am in awe!

  32. Phani Morgan Jul 04 2012 at 10:43 pm - Reply

    Wow! Wow! Wow! I love your work! Every image DOES tell a story! How wonderful!

  33. Kathy Travis Jul 05 2012 at 1:46 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this. What amazing shots. I'm totally envious right now!

  34. Adele Humphries Jul 05 2012 at 2:06 pm - Reply

    I am always so stunned by Allison's images – she is so talented and inspiring! Thanks for sharing these thoughts here!

  35. Chris Jul 05 2012 at 4:52 pm - Reply

    Gorgeous. Such beautiful images.

  36. megan moore Jul 05 2012 at 7:24 pm - Reply

    I can't tell you how happy I am that you're Pro of the Month, Allison!! I've loved your work for years (hence the flickr stalking, haha), and I'm sooo excited for you. I LOVE your work, and your eye. You make me see things I'd otherwise miss. Congrats (and on the engagement too!), I can't want to see more from you!

  37. Jody McKitrick Jul 06 2012 at 4:59 am - Reply

    You have such a unique eye. It makes me want to pick up my camera and shoot more. I also loved your thoughts on having photography as a passion instead of a career. I think it is something a lot of people struggle with–I know I do.

  38. Janeen Jul 06 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Amazing images!! I love them, but the one that just made me say, "WOW!" was the dandelion. I'm on year 4 of my 365 (a year behind in posting ^_^), and looking at these images gives me a renewed sense of what I like about photography and why I want to be more purposeful in my daily images. It's also so nice to hear from an extremely talented photographer who is clicking because she loves it!

  39. Ligia Jul 06 2012 at 7:43 pm - Reply

    I love your work Allison! I'm in the same boat as you, I love photography too much to turn it into a career. Keep going strong!!

  40. Mia Jul 06 2012 at 11:21 pm - Reply

    I love the interview Allison! I've been following your blog for a while, the way you capture life is inspiring (& I enjoy seeing local places from your perspective- I'm in San Bernardino).

  41. Colie J Jul 07 2012 at 1:42 pm - Reply

    Congrats!!! Can't wait to see a breakout session from you.

  42. Allison Jul 07 2012 at 10:03 pm - Reply

    Thank you all so much for the comments 🙂 Sure makes a girl feel good!

  43. Jessica Jul 08 2012 at 8:51 am - Reply

    Wonderful artidle; ver inspiring. Thank you!!!!

  44. jerilynn Jul 08 2012 at 7:12 pm - Reply

    stunning photos!! and what a great interview. i am really interested in taking your "finding the frame" breakout session!

  45. Amii Jul 09 2012 at 7:08 am - Reply

    One of my favorite interviews yet! Allison, your work is impeccable…I just found myself getting sucked into each of your images you shared and studying it. Now THAT'S an artist!

  46. Rebecca Jul 09 2012 at 7:30 am - Reply

    Love, love, love your work Allison! Great interview…thank you for sharing:)

  47. Crystal Jul 09 2012 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing with us!

  48. Allison Jacobs Jul 09 2012 at 11:09 am - Reply

    I love your work SO much! Your images are so memorable & inspiring! Thank you for sharing this interview!

  49. Jenn Jones Jul 09 2012 at 2:38 pm - Reply

    Wonderful interview! Thank you for sharing. Beautiful work!

  50. Jessica Jul 09 2012 at 5:33 pm - Reply

    What a joyous fun read!! Thank you Allison! I'm left feeling so inspired. 😉

  51. Holly Thompson Jul 09 2012 at 7:10 pm - Reply

    Allison, you are truly an artist. I first discovered your work with your From Where I Stand project and got lost in your images. I find myself returning again and again to your work to admire and be inspired. I hadn't seen some of these in this blog post and as schmaltzy as it sounds, I actually got tears in my eyes. THAT is how much your work moves me. The cat at the window… amazing. The last wish… aching. Everything is so perfect. I will be one of the first to purchase your breakout session, for sure. And kudos for doing a 365 for five years in a row… I bow down.

  52. Elle Jul 09 2012 at 7:58 pm - Reply

    Allison, I am such a big fan of your work!! I love everything about it; your framing, your honesty, even your titles!! You do simplicity so well, and still have such a strong element of storytelling in each and every image… I cannot WAIT for your breakout session <3

  53. celeste pavlik Jul 09 2012 at 7:59 pm - Reply

    lovely work! I'm excited to get to know you more. I love your FWIS project I've been looking at it for awhile now! thanks for sharing more about yourself and your journey!

  54. Megan Jul 09 2012 at 11:35 pm - Reply

    Allison, I love your work and I'm really looking forward to learning more about your breakout session.

  55. Erika Jul 11 2012 at 8:13 am - Reply

    Wow LOVE your work! You are amazing! New fan.

  56. Janelle Jul 11 2012 at 10:05 am - Reply

    I am ridiculously inspired by Allison’s work. Just found her with this blog post and her break out session. My head is swimming with ideas.

  57. Juliana Jul 15 2012 at 8:46 pm - Reply

    Love you work. Love the picture of the cat, how unique and beautiful. thanks for sharing with us.

  58. Felicia M Jul 17 2012 at 11:11 pm - Reply

    Allison, Your work is stunning! I have loved your breakout session!

  59. goodetribe Jul 18 2012 at 3:08 pm - Reply

    Cannot wait until I have the opportunity to purchase your breakout. I adore your work, so much! Thank you for sharing!!

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