Photographer Spotlight Interview with Sheryn Ellis Photographer
Studio Name: Sheryn Ellis Photographer
Studio Location: Tallai, Queensland Australia
Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/sherynellisphotographer
What is your background and how did you get into photography?
My first camera was a Kodak point and shoot film camera given to me by my parents for my 12th birthday. This was way before the ‘digital era’, (yes, I’m showing my age).
When I met my husband, he had a Canon SLR Film camera, kit lenses and a natural eye for taking nice images. I picked it up and started taking photos – I wanted to be better than he was!
I was such a terrible photographer, I had no idea about composition, lighting or settings… what I did have was a desire to learn and from there I read lots of photography books, I took photos all the time and I kept practicing.
Fast forward a few years, I became a stay at home mum with 3 children under 3. I purchased a DSLR and started photographing something/anything every day.
I started documenting my children’s lives and the rest, as they say, is history! Sheryn Ellis Photographer was born 🙂
What type of photography do you shoot?
Is this a trick question?! My first love is portraiture. Mostly children, I love capturing their cheeky personalities and quirky little expressions.
However, I also love photographing animals (especially children with their pets), flowers, abstracts, macro, landscapes, umm pretty much anything!
What is your favorite type of photography?
Portraits with a close second being abstract/impressionist photography.
What is your photographic style? How did you develop this style?
This is a tough question, my style is still evolving, I often change it depending on the subject I’m photographing.
My portraits have a serious, emotive feel to them and that is what I’m after, capturing the essence of someone is more important to me than capturing a smile – although I like to keep ‘mum & dad’ happy so I always include a wonderful natural smile in my client’s portfolios.
You could say I have a Jekyll & Hyde personality, sometimes I love clean, simple editing and other times I love to create something that has been composited together that requires a lot of weird and wonderful editing and imagination.
What is in your photography kit?
Too much to list (in case my husband reads this!) so here’s an abbreviated list: When I’m not taking photos on my iPhone, I shoot with a Canon 1DX.
Currently my favourite lens is my 50mm f1.2L with my macro 100mm f2.8L a firm runner-up. I love natural light (and a trusty reflector) and I equally love using my latest ‘gadgets’ (a Jinbei studio lighting kit).
What is one piece of photography kit you just couldn’t live without?
To be honest if I could only take one thing, I’d probably choose my iPhone and it’s not even the latest version!
OK, seriously, I’m not sure I’d be very happy if I had to give up my Canon 1DX and if I had just one lens for the rest of my life I would have to choose the macro 100mm f2.8L over my 50mm prime…
What post processing tools/software do you use?
I download/import into Adobe Lightroom, it’s my sorting, cataloging, rating, key wording, basic editing mastermind which I compliment with Adobe Photoshop CC.
I love using Alien Skin, Topaz BW Effects & Nik Software plugins, they definitely speed up my workflow!
What is your best photography tip and post processing tip?
Don’t be afraid to break the rules – some of my favourite images are those that break the rules!
Best photography tip – landscapes: hang around and watch the light, wait for something to happen in a scene; people: the emotion is in the eyes, even when the eyes are not facing the camera you should be able to read emotion by their eye contact or lack of contact.
Best post processing tip – stop using white vignettes (my pet hate!) and don’t turn people into plastic Barbie dolls! Just like photography, post processing requires a lot of practice and play time.
Edit an image, walk away and if you still like it when you come back to it then share it with your friends ☺
What was your greatest challenge so far as a professional photographer?
Self doubt. Human nature means we all go through ups and downs and I’m no different. The good news is as time goes by I have less doubts and more conviction.
My best tip is: Don’t compare yourself to others – well, not in a negative way – there will always be someone better than you and there will always be someone worse than you, be proud of your work, always look to improve your own skills and go above and beyond to keep your client’s happy.
Happy client’s rave about you and tell others about you and that is worth even more than a ‘pretty picture’!
What is the ‘Sheryn Ellis Photographer’ favourite InkFX medium to have your work printed on & why?
It depends what I’m printing! I love Ilford papers for my portraits, I love Aluminium for making colours pop, I love canvas for texture and I especially love the rag papers for a gritty black & white!
If you were able to give any advice or recommendations to someone starting out in their Photography career what would it be?
Don’t be a shoot and burn photographer, you will burn out before you even establish a business.
Do free photography sessions to improve your skills and build a portfolio and then charge what you are worth, based on conversations with your photography peers.
Seek guidance and/or mentorship from experienced photographers, there are plenty out there and they are happy to help up and coming photographers.
Any last words of wisdom or advice?
Be ‘the’ photographer who passionately records life, love and light and you will always be happy!
Never stop learning, don’t be afraid to ask questions and remember even the best photographers in the world, were once beginners just like you.
Gold Coast, QLD Australia