As our readers know, we love to do interviews of real photographers from time to time. It’s amazing how many different approaches there are in the industry regarding business, attitude, perspective, and motivation. This time, we found a great photography duo out of South Carolina, Karson Photography (https://www.karsonphotography.com/).
Tell us a little about yourself and your studio? Our studio is Karson Photography and it is located in a little avante-guard artist community called “The Old Village of Park Circle” located about 5 minutes outside of Downtown Charleston S.C. We are both a photography studio and an art gallery. The gallery is host to several shows a year highlighting local mastered artists as well as our art photography. Karson Photography is owned and operated by myself, Kip Bulwinkle (lead photographer and business manager) and my fiance Liz Bartoccini (photographer and graphic designer). We both are College of Charleston graduates with degrees in Art and Biology. Our photographic concentration is weddings however we do also shoot commercial photography, that is my background since most of my mentors when I began photography were commercial shooters. I think having the creative eye for art as well as the detail eye for commercial photography is what makes our “look” unique.
Where’s home and why do you like it there? Home is Charleston South Carolina. Charleston is where I was born and raised. In my college years I would put all of my belongings into storage, pack a few things in my truck and traveled across the U.S. experiencing what our country had to offer. On return home I was able to see Charleston thought the eyes of a traveler and fell back in love with it each time. Same thing would happen when I would travel abroad. Coastal Charleston is just the perfect place for me.
How would you define your photographic style? We define our photographic style as “The Art of Capturing Emotion”. That is a lot easier said than done. Liz and I pride ourselves on presenting our clients with works of art that capture the beauty of human emotion.
How did you get started in photography? Liz got her start early in life when her father gave her his 1967 Mamiya-Sekor 35mm that he used to capture images in Vietnam during his service as a Navy Corpsman. She started shooting everything in her surroundings concentrating on the details and their arrangement. This eye for detail shows through in her photography today.
I got my start when, in an artists group, the leader of the group saw some of my pictures from Europe and asked if I wanted to assist him in photographing a wedding. I promptly replied “No, I want to be an artist, not a photographer”. Yeah, yeah, I know how that sounds but I was young and stupid. His reply to me was, “Well, I will pay you.” So, I found myself shooting a wedding on Sullivan’s Island, SC and fell in love with the art of photography.
What is your favorite lens and why? Favorite Lens. For weddings 70-200mm 2.8 hands down, perfect for our style of photography. For fun 50 mm 1.4. It’s light, fast, great low-light capability and it captures what you really see, it tells the truth.
Where do you turn for inspiration? Inspiration.., I’m inspired by the world that God has blessed us with. I’m inspired by relationships and the emotion that are evoked by humans interacting.
What’s your favorite and least favorite aspect of the job and why? Favorite aspect: Relationships Least favorite aspect: Paperwork
If you child or relative wanted to become a photographer, what would you think and why? If my child wanted to be a photographer, that would be great! My parents allowed me to pursue whatever path I desired as long as I followed one rule “Be the best at it you possibly can be.”
Mac or PC? Mac. Mac. Mac.
If you had to do one thing differently it would be…. What would I do differently: Hmmm, don’t know that doing things differently would have changed where I am now. I think we are where we are supposed to be.
The hardest part of your job? The hardest part of my job is self promotion. Argh, I hate sales. The whole money part is just so cumbersome.
A website and/or blog you visit often and why? Hah, I’m kind of a lurker and never make blog comments, so now I’m tipping my hand, but, I love Zack Arias, Jose Villa, Jerry Ghionis, and of course SLR Lounge
What is your favorite computer/editing accessory other than your computer and why? My speakers are my favorite accessory. I work much better to certain types of music depending on the style of shoot I’m processing. Music is the key to emotion
What has been your best photographic experience (wedding or non wedding) and why? My best photographic experience was on my trip to Alaska photographing from Homer, AK to Denali National Park. My words cannot describe the beauty. Here are some of the images: www.karsonphotography.com/art
Do you shoot what you feel is best for your clients or do you allow some to clearly define what they want? Shoot 50% for the client and 50% for the artistic experience. Clients like to see the clean shots, it gives them peace of mind. Then they order prints of the creative shots, the ones they couldn’t have asked for because they had no way of describing them, the images that were made in the moment from the pallet of emotion that the client displays for us during the shoot.
What is one effective way you market your business? Networking: whether in person or online
If not a photographer, what would you have been? Probably a writer – a travel writer
Do you make time for personal photographic work? If so, what do you enjoy photographing? Yes, you must make time for personal photographic work to keep the creativity flowing. I love nature.
What would you like to be doing in 5 years from now? Traveling on a sailboat with my family photographing the world around us.
Are you looking for assistants, second shooters, or shooting partners? If so, how can they contact you? Not looking for second shooters or assistants. Liz and I are a well oiled machine when it comes to shooting weddings. We cover everything and know what the other is thinking. That’s pretty hard to beat.