What?! What?! Heather on:

Hey all! My name is Heather McKinney and I am a natural light (as often as possible, because studio lighting annoys/scares the pee out of me) photographer now living in Germany! I volunteered to be a contributor to our blog, yet nevertheless, I am late on my first posting, as this SHOULD have gone out last month…so please don’t kill me! As I was pondering how I should start out with my first blog post on AAPIG, I thought “why the heck are these people going to want to read what I have to say?” Answer: “I don’t know!” haha So, I hope if nothing else, I can make you giggle to yourself every once in awhile, or maybe, as new as I am to the whole Photography Utopia, could teach you something new as we make our way through a fun new year.

So, where to start…how about telling ya’ll a bit about myself, interview style, mainly so I don’t feel so weird about talking about myself. I’m not going to pull one over on you, I grabbed my favorite questions…the one’s I wanted to know the answers to the most, during interviews with other photographers, from some of my fav photos blogs. I thought it could be a good way to engage all of us, to think and answer for ourselves, in the reply area, letting everyone in the group learn more about one another! So…here we go:

Use 3 words to describe yourself:

Social, Caring, Vintage-lover (it counts as one if it’s hyphenated, right? 😀  )

What do you love about photography?

That it can capture such emotion, for a lifetime, in just a split second.

What are your favorite subjects to shoot?

At first… adults, because they were E.A.S.Y. They didn’t run off, have boogers on their face, or cry when they couldn’t have their favorite toy in their arms. However, now I would have to say children….because I realized, if you just go with the flow, and LET THEM BE CHILDREN…you can capture some pretty awesome memories!

Have you attended college or had any formal education in Photography?

Yes, and no. Yes, I went to college…graduated with a BS in Security Management, Certificate in Homeland Security, and one class shy of an Associates in Emergency Management. As for photography…nope! lol I read something photography related EVERYDAY, and whenever I see something I dislike about my images (which is quite often) I research how to fix it! I did take a few photography classes in high school, and a basic course to refresh my memory a few years ago, and I am about to do an AWESOME mentorship with Sarah Cornish of My Four Hens Photography tomorrow!! Whoot-Whoot! So excited to learn new things!

How do you push yourself to keep growing and learning? Any Big “Aha!” moments?

I know I will never be the best, or even come close to it. So, I just do what I love, learn what I can, and strive for the moon (and the stars) and that’s all I can do! As Tony Horton (from P90X) would say…”Do your best, forget the rest!” Big “Aha” moment? One would be when I realized there was a difference between a regular light bulb and a studio light…I was like “temperature, what?!” Yes….DING!

Biggest photography related insecurity?

Lighting….I strive and strive….mainly the problem is in the studio. These dang German, nasty, cloudy days…are KILLER on the natural light. I have 2 huge windows on one side of my studio, and 2 more through the living area on the other side…and yet…AWEFUL LIGHTING! Er (can you tell this is a sensitive subject?) Outside, I’m pretty confident <-haha. I still overexpose more than I’d like, but in the studio….I constantly worry, mainly with older kids or family sessions, about getting everyone in focus with slow shutter speed, and not having proper light. I think I just need to find some help! Anyone?! lol

In 2012, what do you want to learn or get better at?

The list could go ON! Studio lighting; I want to learn to back-button focus…tried it, I just can’t get it; getting my WB right in camera, I just ordered an ExpoDisc, so I am hoping this will help; and I guess get more consistent at my editing style.

Digital or Prints?

Both. I really only wanted to do prints, but I know I would want the digitals…so I offer them…and for pretty low too. Especially since now, I have some fancy new boutique packaging going on. But it’s hard in a military community, and I try to make it up in session fees…but I’m still working on getting a balance.

How long does your processing usually take you?

Too long! 10-15 hours per 2 hr session. That includes emails, processing, uploading galleries, ordering prints, and other general maintenance.  As for just editing, aka being the zit remover, snot wiper, wrinkle reducer, eye popper, cellulite smoother, stray hair grabber, lint picker-offer, blanket de-creaser, and style enhancer….for 25 usually 40 images….average 11 hours.

In 3 words, describe your image style:

detail-focused, vintage-pop, and striving for journalistic-feel (again, hyphenated counts as one, right? lol)

Favorite photo ever taken:

This one of my little boy, he’s about 18M picking wildflowers, and he glanced back at me with such a look!

What else is there to know:

Fav Color: teal

Guilty Pleasure: gelato

Pet Peeve: Photography wise – people using Picnik to edit “professional images” aka images they charge too much for. Life – chewing sounds…gum, food, etc.

Studio or On location: On location – I wish 100% of the time…darn you European weather!

When did you move to Germany? Mid-April 2011 (4 year tour)

What do you want to be when you grow up? (we are still young…right?!) Lets see, a veterinarian… until I realized I would have to cut open animals sometimes; an astronaut, so I could jump on the moon; an architect, until I realized how much schooling it required; a home decor designer, until my mom told me I wouldn’t make anything (wrong!); an Emergency Manager (which I what I did for 8 years in the USAF and basically what I did for the US Army North as a contractor for Booz Allen Hamilton, as a Critical Infrastructure Protection Analyst…yeah a mouthful and stressful, but AWESOME experience); and a stay at home mom and photographer…which is what I am doing now!

One thing no one knows about you is: No one? I’m not sure…my hubby knows pretty much everything….um, sometimes (in the states) I’d sneak out for a Big Mac…..MMMMmmmmm….Big Mac…. (drooling)

Are you a Mac or Pc lover: MAC MAC MAC….once you go Mac, you never go back! lol

Lightroom Or Photoshop: PSE…I find it’s all I need! Although, I do find Lightroom to be intriguing….

Props or No Props: Torn. I LOVE vintag-y or special props, but also love the simplicity of no props.

If you could travel anywhere it would be: Paris….and I better, since we are only a 4 hour drive from there! Or back to Greece, because I was born there.

Raw or Jpeg: Jpeg, although…I think I might experiment with RAW this year. I thought I just liked my sushi that way, but I could be changing my mind!

Favorite Music to Edit to: She & Him, Beatles, Lenka, Superchick, Jason Mraz, Michael Buble, Maroon 5….anything feel-good, and sounds like it is straight out of the 50s-70s!

Favorite Quote: “Destiny is not matter of chance, it is a matter of choice. It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.-Unknown.” AND this one from my dad…which I don’t know if he heard it from somewhere, but the only place I’ve ever heard it, and it’s so true: “Failure is just another chance at success” -James H Copeland

Coffee or Tea: Love me some Chai Tea

Thanks for reading!

Peace & Love,

Heather McKinney



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