I had the privilege to interview Ohio based photographer Brandis Allison; and I must say she is one of the sweetest girls I’ve met. Ok, so I haven’t actually met her yet…but we’ve talked a few times here and there online and I would love to meet her one of these days.
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Who you are, what you do, and where you’re from:
Brandis Allison: I am a mommy of two babies that are 16 months apart in age. I am a professional wedding photographer. I am an artist, who loves to free-hand draw, write and create things from scratch. I love to travel and to experience new things. I’m extremely passionate in my personal and professional life. I love…LOVE [as cliche as that is!]. I’m not your average, every day photographer. My website and my blog are located under one place and I blog 3x a day, in hopes of inspiring myself and others. O, and I am originally from Arizona :)
Where are you located?
Brandis Allison: I am in Columbus Ohio. Home of The Buckeyes!
What do you specialize in?
Brandis Allison: I specialize in wedding photography and writing. I draw too! I am actually in the process of creating, writing, illustrating and self-publish a children’s abc book and other amazing products. I originally started this project for my babies, but people are starting to convince me that I should offer it to the public too! haha
When did you get into photography? How?
Brandis Allison: I picked up a dSLR camera for the first time in April of 2009. My son just turned one and I was pregnant with my daughter. I don’t know why I never thought of pursuing photography earlier in my life. The moment the camera touched the palm of my hand, I was hooked. I’m 100% self taught and am very pleased with my skill and talent as of today. I still have a lot to learn and I’m having an amazing time on my journey.
How would you describe your style?
Brandis Allison: I have a timeless concept to my style. And romantic too! I only shoot weddings if I fall in love with a couple’s love story and if the bride and I totally hit it off the first time we meet. It’s important to me to establish a friendship with my Brides. It’s important to me, to document that love story. Capture the essence of who those two individuals are as a couple. And I’m always shedding a tear or two and get goosebumps as they say their vows. My photographs are filled with emotion. They are real. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What’s your favorite part about being a photographer?
Brandis Allison: The constant challenge. I have a true artist’s brain and I’m always looking for a challenge. I never want to find myself bored. Photography is an amazing outlet for me. It lets my personality shine through my images and to be able to capture an image of what I’m feeling or seeing – truly inspiring and it keeps me moving forward.
What’s in your camera bag?
Brandis Allison: I don’t have a camera bag! Can you believe that? I am getting a shootsac soon though! I use my purse. How totally ridiculous is that? haha. I shoot with a Nikon d700. I own a 50mm 1.4 and several film lenses. I love putting a film lens on my full frame camera. It’s quite a challenge! I rent lenses from Borrow Lenses, whenever I shoot weddings. Because I’m just a year and a half into my business, it’s important that I do not accumulate any debt. Renting solves that problem! For every wedding, I rent a 70-200mm, 85mm 1.4, 105mm macro and a 24mm lens.
What is your favorite go-to lens?
Brandis Allison: I adore my 50mm 1.4 for portraits. It’s sharp, quick and is amazing in low-light situations.
Do you have any advice about purchasing a lens?
Brandis Allison: YES! Please rent first. I made the mistake early on in my career, to just purchase a lens because everyone else had one and they loved it. All of the lenses I purchased without trying on my camera first, were all wrong for me. I lost a lot of money doing that. Rent, rent, rent. Fall in love. Then buy.
What is your all time favorite image? Why?
Brandis Allison: I stylized an engagement shoot a year ago, with a fun-loving couple, who wanted to model for me. The “look” I was going for was vintage. I wanted something different and totally fun. This particular couple had a blast with me and me with them! As I was setting up for my next shot, I noticed them being lovey-dovey. He was whispering in her ear. I totally live for those moments – the in-between moments, when you think no one is looking. The emotion in this photo is overwhelming. I’m so so so in love with it!
What was your first paid shoot like?
Brandis Allison: It was nerve-wracking. The bride contacted me 3 days before the wedding, which was only 5 weeks after I brought my daughter into this world. I knew that I wanted to see if photographing weddings was for me and I blindly said YES. I had NO idea what I was doing. This was also my 3rd month with my camera, from that first time I put it in my hand. Um.YEAH. I told the couple that I was new to photography and they didn’t care. They loved the 3 shoots I had done previously and paid me $500 to shoot their wedding. The day came and I tried to capture everything I could think of. All of the details, etc. I know that I missed some key images, but I also know that I captured some amazing moments. After all was said and done, I did a really great job documenting this couple’s love, on the biggest day of their life. They loved the images and I fell in love with photographing weddings.
What’s your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot?
Brandis Allison: The funniest – well I tend to trip over something silly at EVERY shoot. Totally hilarious.
The scariest – photographing that first wedding!
The most bizarre – I decided it would be a good idea to shoot anything and everything to gain experience and to see what types of photography fit me best. I was shooting a glamour photo and I had the client walk into the street. This creepy guy starts taking photos of her on his cell and crosses the street to talk to us. I was like, please go away pervert. Eeww.
Most Touching – is one of my candids. I walked into my children’s bedroom to find them both reading a book, quietly. That is, hands down, my favorite personal image and makes me cry happy tears, every time I see it!
What does photography mean to you?
Brandis Allison: It is so much more than taking a picture. It is all about capturing an emotion. It is about documenting a true story. It is abut finding beauty in the world and sharing it with as many people as possible.
What makes a good photographer in your opinion?
Brandis Allison: I don’t think I am in the position to judge anyone as being good or “not good” haha! It’s totally a personal preference. Just be sure to find yourself, your passions and build on your skill level. Stay true to yourself and your beliefs and everything shall fall into place.
If you could photography anyone, who would it be and why?
Brandis Allison: I would do ANYTHING to see my mother once more and to photograph her. I’d want to show her, just how beautiful I think she is. I want to show her, how much I admire her. I miss her deeply.
What motivates you to do what you do?
Brandis Allison: My children. They are my whole world. Having them and experiencing something new as a mommy every day, is such a blessing to me. They are such a blessing to me. Since they came into my life, I started seeing beauty in everything. I strive daily, to capture it. Beauty. It is in everything and everyone.
What goals have you set for yourself as a photographer?
Brandis Allison: O, sooo many! I started my new site and have a passion for making it work. For it and my photographs to be a daily inspiration for someone and for myself. I recently became a boutique wedding photographer and am starting to really personalize everything I offer to my clients. I am currently searching for the perfect studio space – something to capture my personality and a place that feels like my home away from home. I hope to have my grand opening Spring 2011. I have 3 weddings booked for 2011 and waiting for a 4th. 2 are in Ohio, 1 is located on the other side of the U.S. in California and the 4th will most likey be in a different country. I hope to book 6-10 more weddings in 2011. And looking at the bigger picture, I hope to be photographing destination weddings on a regular basis. That is truly my dream.
What advice can you give to new photographers starting out?
Brandis Allison: Where to start?! I honestly made so many mistakes starting out and wish I would have known another photographer to ask questions and their opinion on my thoughts. My biggest mistake came to pricing myself. I often see other new photographers doing the same. Do not price yourself to your market. Price yourself according to the type of client you desire. Price yourself to make a profit. Price yourself to what you feel you are worth. What is your time worth? What are you giving up, by photographing a client? People do not realize the impact of pricing yourself too low. Price yourself high and offer a portfolio building discount. Raise your prices, the more experience you obtain. Your client will respect you and their investment much more this way, you won’t have to explain why you’ve raised your prices all of a sudden. Trust me, please, please, please! And for those new photographers that want someone to talk to, I now offer phone consults via skype. Because I never want to see anyone go through what I went through!
Where do you see yourself in five years?
Brandis Allison: On a beach, in Maui. :) Ok, f’real – I see myself running a successful boutique photography studio. And quite honestly, I know it will happen. I’m driven and I have the know-how to succeed. I won’t accept anything less.
If you could spend one day with anyone, who would it be and why?
Brandis Allison: That’s easy, my mother. But if you’re talking about someone not residing in Heaven, I’d love to spend a day with Elizabeth Messina. I love love love her photography. There’s just something so incredibly magical about it. She was an inspiration for my now wedding blog posts. I love her simple and beautiful approach to her entries. I’m all about keeping it real and keeping it simple. Okay, and beautiful too!
What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Brandis Allison: Spare time? What’s that?! I don’t see much of it. When I am not a wife, mommy, blogger, writer and photographer – you can find me sitting on a bench people-watching. I’ll have a book in one hand and my camera in the other. And if I’m being even more honest, some of my spare time goes to reality tv. I love that stuff! I totally want to be on Big Brother some day! Don’t judge.
What quote do you live by?
Brandis Allison: It’s more of a saying that a quote.
[Life is about becoming who you are and all that you were meant to be.
It’s about growing, dreaming and taking chances.
It’s about loving courageously and never holding back.
It’s about finding a brighter, better way- not just today, but every day.
There will never be another YOU.
You owe it to yourself and to the world to make the most out of all that is in you.
Don’t just go through life – grow through life.
Keep blooming into your incredibly, gloriously, brilliantly, beautiful self.
The possibilities? Endless]
– Unknown author
Who/what is your inspiration?
Brandis Allison: So many things. My family. My friends. My photography colleagues. Artists all over the world. Stepping outside and just looking around. I get inspired pretty easily ;)
What can’t you live without?
Brandis Allison: Cupcakes! And I’m so excited to have found a healthy cupcake recipe. Hollllla! For real though, I cannot live without my drive to succeed in life – both personally and professionally. I have such a strong-will and determination in me. If I ever lost that, I’d be a “lost-cause” for sure.
What’s your favorite word to use?
Brandis Allison: Hmmm. I tend to say “Word” a lot. I like it. I have no idea why! My husband said something funny the other day and I replied back with a slang version of “WORD!” His face was priceless and just laughed at me. Not with me, but at me. I seriously cannot help it. I’m wired to be totally silly, most of the time!
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you want to be? Why?
Brandis Allison: If I didn’t love photography and personal writing so much, I would own a B&B on an island. Someplace where it was warm and beautiful year round. I’d always be my own boss. I did the mortgage/financial planning thing when I was younger. I love numbers but hate working for others. I’m too independent and driven to be stuck behind a desk all day, every day.
What’s your favorite movie?
Brandis Allison: The most favoritist (o yes I’m good at making up random words) is Sixteen Candles. I fell in love the moment I saw it. My life has never been the same since.
Favorite musical genre? Artist?
Brandis Allison: I love anything and everything that has a good beat. I can’t deal with whiney music. My favorite band is Lifehouse. Jason Wade has the most amazing voice. He totally rocks my world. Wait — do people say that anymore???
What would you say your weakness is?
Brandis Allison: I have a hard time saying NO. If I could help everyone I would. But there’s just not enough time in the day.
Brandis Allison: To watch : FOOTBALL! To play : Tennis
If you had the opportunity to meet anyone in the world who would it be? Why?
Brandis Allison: I’d like to meet Reese Witherspoon and go shopping with her! She seems like the most beautiful, down to earth person. She is definitely my kinda people. haha!
Favorite childhood memory?
Brandis Allison: Every moment I got to spend with my mom. She was my best friend and made growing up so much fun!
Do you collect anything?
Brandis Allison: I do. I have more journals than I can even count! I’m actually on a mission to find them all and take a photo! I always have a journal nearby or in my purse. I have one by my bed for when I wake up with an idea that I just cannot ignore. I have one for every topic I find myself wanting to write about. I have a journal for EVERYTHING. It’s an obsession fo’sho!
Where can we find you on the internet?
Brandis Allison: If you visit my site before Sept 13, it’s a work in progress. Please come back and see it ON September 13th (my official launch date and my birthday and a HUGE giveaway of many fabulous things!!!!). http://BrandisAllison.com. You can find my twitter and facebook links there as well. Remember, I’ll be posting 3 blogs a day. [Daily Inspiration] a [Confession] and something [Wedding] related. I’d love to hear from you on a regular basis, so be sure to say hello!
Brandis, thank you so much for your time. You are truly amazing and I can’t wait to see what you’re up to next.