Introduction: Maddie E.


/All photos belong to Maddie E. Please do not use images commercially, or uncommercially, online or offline, without her permission//

I've always admired wedding photographers. Even though my wedding photographer was a friend, I still couldn't get comfortable and making someone at ease to shoot a photo that's going to last forever is tough work. Whatever the gift is, Maddie E. has it. A bride is always beautiful on her wedding day, but she makes a woman in a white dress look stunning. Actually, she makes anyone look stunning. The beauty we see in children is captured, the love you see in a couple is frozen in her shutter. Maddie photographs for a living but despite the monotone of work, she still loves what she does and it's obvious in her photographs. She brings a tower of inspiration and I hope you find this in her interview just as encouraging as I have.

your career is a photographer. How did you begin your career and how did you market yourself?

I've been teaching myself the ins and outs of photography for the past couple of years now... My parents got me my own digital camera for Christmas when I was 20 . . . It was a Nikon D50 and it was the most amazing thing I had ever owned!
I didn't really know that I was interested in photography until I took two of my guy friends out to a nearby lake just to try out the camera...A few little photo-shoots here and there, and a year or two later, I started to realize how obsessed I'd become at looking at other photographers' work! I thought "If they can do this and make a living, than I can do it, too!"
I've been pushing myself harder and harder all of the time to get more shoots in, more practice, editing techniques, camera settings as often as I have time for! The past few months have been quite exciting. I've had more photo shoots in three months than I'd had in the previous 2 years total! I now have a business name, business cards, great business partners . . . the pieces are all falling into place. My life is changing rapidly, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

Just like any other job, it can be uninspiring and tiring. what do you do to keep yourself motivated? any quotes, photos, or mottos you have?

Well, everyday when I'm sitting at my desk at work, I think "This isn't going to work for me. I need something bigger than this!". When I started to get paid for taking pictures is when it got really exciting! It made me realize that this is a profitable hobby. I have to keep telling myself that I'm almost there. My grandma has always told me that I'm meant for great things, and she never let me believe otherwise. She's the best! My family definitely keeps me motivated.
Also, photo challenges I've been working on! Lack of motivation or creativity is basically the whole reason I started doing them, because I needed something to get me out, taking pictures if business was slow, and they're pictures that are just for me, not a client. I wanted to just have new ideas always circulating in my mind, to benefit me on the business end as well. It's also very exciting to see what other people can come up with.

when did you first pick up a camera?

The first time I learned any camera basics was in 10th grade. I took a film photography class and I used my dad's old Minolta. I felt that I did just okay in film, but it was very time consuming and expensive. Now that I know a little bit more about what I'm doing, I've been interested in trying film again. I love the vibrant colors that film can produce!

what is your favorite camera?

It's a Canon 5D Mark II, and it's the most expensive thing I've ever owned/paid for, so I'm super protective of it! I bought it in February so I could photograph my sister's wedding. It was totally worth it! I read almost the entire manual and memorize certain parts. I want to be completely prepared for everything when it comes to my camera! I should know it like the back of my hand if I'm going to do this professionally.

what is your favorite photo and why?

This photo is probably one of my favorites. I love to take pictures of objects, soft evening scenery, flowers, etc., but photographing people is my favorite! This little girl was a doll. At the beginning of the impromptu shoot my friend and I took her on, she was just wild and hyper as could be. She was pretending to be a cat for the first 20 minutes! Finally, my friend (and business partner) Lee, started to ask her little questions about her day, about school, about her favorite Disney princesses . . . almost instantly, she was calmed! Lee is a genius! So, the reason I love this picture is that we got to capture her being a sweet little girl, not camera shy, or self-conscious . . . she was being herself and basically forgot I was even there. That was probably one of my favorite photo shoots.

you photograph complete strangers and it seems like you have known them for years in the photos. what's your secret? (if you are willing to share, that is!)

I've been VERY lucky to have natural, beautiful, confident couples to shoot! Seriously, not just saying that. They are usually very casual, and they're too involved in each other to really even care that I'm there! Lee is awesome at asking them questions about how they met, their wedding plans, etc., then I worry about the photographs. So, we DO like to shoot casual pictures, but sometimes you've got to throw poses in there of course, but for the most part, we like to turn 'em loose and follow them around as they tease each other, play with each other, and just be adorable together. Occasionally a couple will get stuck and wonder what to do next, but you've just got to be prepared with that with posing suggestions and interesting shot ideas.

Children are my favorites to photograph, though! I like to let them run wild and just run after them while they play with toys, eat grass, dig holes . . . it's much more fun for both the children and myself! Plus, kids hate to pose and say "cheese!", so once you get the idea in their head that you're not looking for that, they are so completely hilarious and full of life, and their true colors come out!

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Thank you, Maddie for sharing your personal photos. These are not her typical ones you see on her portfolio, and it's a different view of her but she can shoot all kinds of photography.
Her personal blog here, go and say hello from our.city.lights
Her flickr is here.