We are so pleased today to welcome the amazing Leigh Ripps to the Blog! Learn more about Leigh in our Photographer Spotlight, then visit her at her website Fresh Light Photography. Thank you so much Leigh for sharing your work with us today!
Where did your inspiration for photography begin?
I didn’t pick up my first DSLR until I was pregnant with my first baby 4 years ago. My dad gave me his old Canon 10D and a couple of lenses and off I went. I think using an older camera benefited me greatly because it forced me to learn how to shoot without all the bells and whistles than newer bodies have. A year and half on that nearly 10 year old camera, I finally was able to upgrade. It was at that point my work finally starting looking how I envisioned it.
How would you describe your photography style?
My style has really evolved since beginning my business. I am deeply drawn to simple and natural photography that doesn’t let bright colors, props, and poses distract the moments and people in the image. I keep my palette soft and neutral and work on creating interest with light.
Did you study photography in school or are you self taught?
I am completely self taught through lots of reading and lots and lots of practice. I have been a member of a couple of forums over the past few years that have been very helpful, but my best critique and support comes from an amazing small group of women I am apart of that.
What camera do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens?
I shoot with a Canon Mark ii and I am so fickle with my love for specific lenses. I love my 135L outside, but I love using my 100L for newborns (and not just macro!). Probably half of my newborn session galleries are with my 100.
Do you have any tips for photographers on how to find the light?
Look for light everywhere! Observe the light on a friend’s face over lunch. Notice the way it is glittering though trees while driving down the highway. Spend time sitting outside watching the sun set and see what the light looks like at each stage before it dips below the horizon or pay attention to how it changes in your house throughout the day. The more you observe, the more you will learn about how it behaves, and then you can learn how to manipulate it.
What is your favorite subject to photograph and why?
I love photographing my daughter. She was my initial source of inspiration and continues to be my muse. Professionally though, newborns are my favorite subject. Their newness is so special, but fleeting, and I love getting to document every new baby that comes into my studio.
What is a good lesson you have learned this year in photography or in your business?
Everyone is not your client, and that is OK. I don’t want everyone to love me because it means that I am becoming too generic. Something that appeals to everyone is no longer special and unique. Find ways to be different in your style, pricing, products, and customer experience so that when clients consider who to hire there are multiple characteristics that set you apart. When you are the only one offering X and that is what a client wants, price won’t be an issue any longer.
If you could encourage a new photographer in one area, what would it be?
This quote by Ira Glass encourages me every time I read it, because it rings so true. As someone who is still a relatively new photographer myself and still struggles with getting the idea in my head to be fully realized in an image, it gives me the drive to keep pushing.
“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”
What do you love most about being a photographer?
I love the flexibility is provides. It has allowed me to “retire” from my teaching career and come home to mother my children full-time while still providing for my family. I love being in a career that lets my creativity thrive.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to have a studio where I work out of 100% so that home can just be home. Right now I have a studio I use for shooting and meetings, but all my editing, orders, packaging, etc. is done at home. It works for now, but I would like to have my dining room table back!
About the Artist: Leigh Ripps is the owner of Fresh Light Photography in Houston, TX. She is known for natural, organic maternity, newborn, and family portraiture that glows with love and light. She is inspired by her children’s passion for life and unconditional love, and strives to follow their example. She has been photographing babies and the families that love them for the last two years and is honored to be a small part of so many new families.