Hear It!
An Interview with Katrina Brown

A professional photographer, a devotee of child photography and also a mother, Katrina Brown aka Tobkatrina is our feature for Hear It! this month. Let us find out more about this photographer from California, who believes in pushing the limits and gets her inspiration from retail therapy!

Photographer: Katrina Brown
Country of Origin: United States

1. Production Equipment: Please list the production equipment that you use on a regular basis (eg. Cameras, lenses, flash & lighting, photo editing software).
  1. Camera: Canon 5D With 28-300 USM L Glass Lens
  2. Studio lighting: strobe and hotlights
  3. Software: Photoshop CS and of course, Mac.

2. What do you think of photography these days?
Digital Photography has led so many photographers in a new creative direction. With so many techniques evolving and changing (3D, HDR, light painting), the possibilities are endless! The potential excites me and drives me to constantly learn.

3. What did you want to be when you were younger?
I wanted to be a choreographer on Broadway.

4. Tell us about the time when you first got started in photography.
I began when my first child was born. I was determined to "find the light" and get perfect shots of my perfect little one. That's when the bug got me!

5. In your opinion, what does it take to become successful in this industry?
Skill, imagination and a lot of research!

6. What was your biggest challenge coming into this industry?
My biggest challenge has been my appearance. People tend to dismiss talent based on looks alone and that has really been an obstacle to overcome when working face to face or getting into events.

7. What are the best perks as a Photographer?
Perks? Being able to photoshop my portrait instead of resorting to plastic surgery!

8. How do you plan for your shooting sessions?
It consumes me for at least 2 days prior. I play it in my head, like a performance: What sequence, all angles, lighting setups, backgrounds etc. to ensure smooth and professional flow.

9. How would you describe your work to first time viewers?

My work varies - I have done a lot of work for various applications, most not mainstream. My microstocks are geared more for the fantasy studio photographer who may need some extra help obtaining that perfect fantasy shot.

10. Do you shoot to what your heart tells you or do you go through a complex check list in your mind when you produce your work? Describe the feeling/check list.
I shoot what I want, when I want and how I want. It works for me. Only when a client has specific parameters do I shoot how he/she wants it. Of course, my mental checklist consists of:
  • Did I get all the angles I wanted?
  • How about light ratios?
  • What about White Balance?
  • Anything distracting in the background?
  • How about Depth of Field?
Once I think those through I am able to feel exhilarated that I did my job.

11. From your experience, what subjects gives you the greatest satisfaction? Any examples?
The greatest satisfaction for me is photographing children in fantasy situations. I LOVE knowing that image will remain with the family for years and generations to come. These children and their parents will forever think, WOW what a beautiful shot!

12. From your experience, what subjects are the hardest to work with? Any examples?
Wedding parties are the hardest. ¡°Bridezillas¡± are so rampant that it really puts a damper on things. There's nothing worse than being blamed because the bride's fats are hanging out of her dress and they ask: "Why couldn't you Photoshop that OUT!?"

13. What is your philosophy when it comes to your work?
My work must be my personal best at all times. I constantly strive to think outside the box, push limits and please my eyes.

14. Describe who/what inspires you, tell us why?
I love the imaginative work of Anne Geddes for obvious reasons - she sees the light and has immense creativity. Dave Black also inspires me - his works are stunning!

15. What do you do when those creative juices just seems to evade you. How do you "get creative"?
To get inspired, I go shopping! I look at trends, displays, clothing, magazine covers, anything that's an advertisement to see what is in demand. I use that input to create my own interpretation.

16. Tell us about a time when inspiration just hits you, and you felt the insatiable urge to create. What did you do with that energy?

While shopping, I saw an image that made my heart jump. It inspired me to use the technique the photographer used. I ran home, turned on my computer and with lots of trial and error, my idea came to life! To this day, it is my most cherished photo. It even hangs in my home! Every time I look at it, I beam with pride. It's that exact energy that kept my passion alive. (Editor: Ok, this just sparked our curiosity big time, we're left wondering what image is it and whether it's here on 123RF...!)

17. What have you discovered about yourself through photography?
Photography has expanded my life experience and I discovered just how far it really can take me in life!

18. Whose work do you admire the most? Why?
Dave Black - his light painting technique is phenomenal and he truly inspires me to create, explore and take photography into new directions!

19. Do you have any advice for those who are just getting in to stock photography?
Read, read, read! Ask questions, search the internet and read every forum out there. Know your customer and shoot what you think looks good while aiming for your customer's target!
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