Today we have the bright and beautiful artwork of Tonya Poitevint. Learn more about her gorgeous work and visit her at website Tonya Poitevint Photography.
The best news… Tonya will be featured as our “Celebrity Mentor” in the Pretty Forum for the entire month of November, so come on over and ask her anything you like. Thank you so much Tonya for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I have always loved taking pictures to document the moment. It wasn’t until I had my children that the “photograph taking” moved full steam ahead! After the birth of my third child, I upgraded to a professional camera and that is when I feel I truly embraced photography, the learning of technical aspects and participating in lots and lots of practice!
How would you describe your photography style?
My style is very much candid in nature and simple in its set up. I prefer to sit back and observe moments unfold and interact with my subjects on an emotional level, in order to capture the true spirit of the moment. My images have been described as emotive with an editing style that is complimentary to the image. My post processing is non complicated and I err on the side of “less is more” 😉
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am self taught. Between lots of practicing and literally taking thousands of photographs and scouring books, my camera manual, and the internet, I was able to gain a lot of insight and wisdom into the world of photography. I also asked a lot of questions and wasn’t shy about contacting favorite photographers and inquiring with them. I was pleasantly surprised that almost every one of them wrote me back with helpful answers!
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot Canon. I am really happy with the Canon line. My favorite lens is becoming my 85 1.2. I find I keep it on my camera most of the time.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Finding light…I believe as photographers, we are naturally drawn to light, and with that said, sometimes the “good light” finds us. For me I watch for smooth, non patchy light. I will often move around a subject to find the most flattering light for the type of shot I am trying to achieve. I was once afraid of too much sun, but now find that I prefer too much sun to too little sun. I love to backlight my subjects and play around with shadows and illumination that way. I also really, really have a fondness for window light…and we all know how to find that. We just need to find a window 😉
What is the most challenging thing you’ve found in your photography business?
For me, it’s pricing my own value. I think it’s pretty typical that we underestimate ourselves and I almost recommend a course in self esteem and business finance before starting a photography business. It is imperative to value ourselves as human beings, as creatives and as business people too!
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
An important lesson I’ve learned this year was not to limit myself. Try different things. Shoot different scenarios. I want to experience all sorts of shooting jobs. I even took a job shooting food for a local restaurant. My philosophy was that I would never know if I liked it, unless I tried it. I more than likely will not be making a career out of food photography…I crave personal interaction too much, but I would never have known this without trying. I am taking on a no more fear approach…I will not limit myself!
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
I would encourage them to not look to social media for inspiration. Shoot from within…create your own vision. Look to your own imagination and ideas and create from that, first. It’s OK to eventually scour the internet, pinterest, facebook for inspiration, but initially start with creating your own style and interest. You will develop into a unique, fresh and exciting photographer much more quickly by listening to what makes you tick, than if you depend on outside sources to do that for you!
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love that I am not fully comfortable. I still get nervous. I still make mistakes. I still am learning. I still critique my work and I am still making images that move me and my clients. I think when all of this stops, I would more than likely stop taking pictures. I don’t foresee that happening 😉
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
This question always stops me in my tracks and when I’ve answered it 5 years ago, or 5 years before that…I am never doing the thing I “see” myself doing. So therefore…I see myself doing whatever it is I’m meant to be doing in 5 years and hopefully realizing it’s exactly where I should be. For me, life is ever changing and it’s up to me to adapt to it and accept the path that life takes me on.
About the Artist: I am a Mom first, a photographer second. I feel that if it weren’t for my children, I wouldn’t be inspired daily, at the depths of which I am. I love to feel, and I love to see beauty in the unremarkable, therefore, life easily moves me. My happy place is while I’m dancing, letting the music clear my mind. I enjoy deep and powerful conversation, I love to cook, yet dislike following recipes, wine and lipgloss are my guilty pleasures and for me the search of the simple life is what moves me and projects me forward always! I reside in Southern Oregon, am a self taught photographer, have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and am certified in Cosmetology for hair…all of which help me immensely while on photo shoots…It has become a very helpful trifecta. I am 42 years old and feel, for the first time in my life, that I’m finally hitting my stride. I plan on riding it for a while! 😉
And don’t forget, you can ask Tonya anything you like in the Pretty Celebrity Mentor Forum for the entire month of November!