We are so thrilled to welcome Brenna Gentry to the Blog today! Take a moment to learn more about Brenna and visit her website Brenna Gentry Portraiture and Online Mentoring . Thank you so much Brenna for taking the time to share your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
My inspiration for photography showed up while I was in High School(around 1998). I was 15 and carried my point & shoot camera everywhere I went. I worked in a film lab and worked part time for a local photographer. I quickly realized that my interest in photography was stronger than most interests I had picked up and knew that it was the ONLY thing I could imagine doing as a career and actually be happy. My wonderful mother saw my passion, bought me my first SLR camera and gave me all of her photography books. I photographed everything I could and had dreams of becoming a photographer for Rolling Stone or working with record labels on album covers etc. Anything that could incorporate my second passion, music. A lot has changed since then, but that is where it started.
How would you describe your photography style?
This is a hard question for me. I usually rely on others to give my style the descriptive words they feel it deserves. I don’t really like to describe my work in general. My style is very diverse and is usually dependent on what I am inspired by at the time. I feel I always have a modern vintage vibe that runs deep, but my processing style changes based on the inspiration behind each shoot. I have been faulted for not having the same style on every shoot, but my brain just doesn’t work that way. I am inspired by too much to stay in a box.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am completely self taught. I wish that I had all the learning opportunities that are out there today when I was a teenager. The teen photographers out there today are so far ahead of where I was. In my early twenties photography took a back seat in my life and when I had time to focus on it again I had to re-teach myself everything when I switched to digital. I think that is why I enjoy mentoring and teaching other photographers so much. I just want them to move at a faster pace than I did.
Do you shoot Canon or Nikon, and what is your favorite lens?
I have always shot Canon, but am not a loyalist. I think both are great. I am currently shooting with my Canon 5D Mark II and the Canon 50mm 1.2L is my main lens, but I am really wanting to work more with the 135L.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Just always pay attention to it when you are driving around. Look for the pocket of light at different times of the day and allow your eye to start to learn how things respond to different light. Practice! Light is definitely not something I feel I have mastered, but I am challenging myself to step out of my light comfort zone.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about shooting?
It depends on what I am shooting, but usually it would be the balance of what you hoped for in a shoot and what actually happens when you are doing it. I always plan a shoot knowing that it will play out differently most of the time, but it is still a battle in my head while shooting. I don’t like feeling rushed or discouraged while shooting, so sometimes I have to get myself in check and let the shoot go in the direction it organically wants to go.
What inspired you to go into photoshop mentoring?
For me editing is the most rewarding part of my process. I usually have a vision in mind when shooting and just can’t make it happen with digital cameras alone. I also love teaching and mentoring new photographers. I teach a few in- person workshops a year and my favorite part of the day is always teaching how to edit. It also is usually the most ‘mind blowing’ part of the day for the photographers. So I decided to give it a more important spot in my business plan allowing me to do both of these favorite things on a larger scale. It’s been such a joy knowing I am helping photographers get over the editing learning curve and getting them there faster than they would on their own.
Can you tell us about your most memorable workshop experience?
It wouldn’t be just one… I would actually say that everyone who has done an in-person workshop or has taken an online class with me is memorable. I continue the relationships through facebook and email… I get seriously invested in these relationships and each journey is just as memorable. With the launch of my new video website it makes that harder, but anyone who gets the whole Workflow Workshop gains access to a private facebook group which is where I can get to know them & help them continue their learning.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Oh I am learning lessons every day it seems! I would say one of the most important things I have learned this year is that it is more important than ever to tweak your business to be exactly what you want it to be. What will make you happy and how to accomplish that. I’ve cut out everything that was bringing me down and am constantly tweaking to stay in my happy place.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
Post processing! Shocking, I know…. I encourage all new photographers to take a minute to just sit and look at their image before they start slapping things on it. What are the things you could have done better while shooting? (work on those things next shoot) What can I do to make this image better? Forget the colors.. look for the small details & the overall image. THESE are the things that can take an image from good to great.
What do you love most about being a photographer?
That I am doing the one/only thing I KNEW I wanted to do as a teenager. It’s a good feeling!
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I don’t think that far ahead… but I hope to still be on this journey and settled in. I hope by that point I will be reaching all of my goals & have the love and support of friends and family just as I do now:)!
About Brenna: I spend my days trying to balance work, quality time with my husband and son (plus two dogs), laughing on the phone with my wonderful friends and “ME” time which consists of really good TV shows, music and books. I love that I live in my hometown of Franklin Tennessee and that it’s not a place I am trying to escape. I am so thankful to be able to follow my dreams and share what I learn along the way with other photographers!
And don’t forget, you can “Ask Brenna” anything you like in the Pretty Forum for the entire month of March!