Q & A with Sarah Elizabeth Grantham
Welcome to another Q & A Session! Get to know Sarah Elizabeth Grantham. Sarah specializes in Portrait and Wedding Photography. Enjoy the interview and if you enjoyed what you read as much as me, please leave a comment.
1. Tell us about yourself. How did you get started in photographing Portraits and Weddings?
Well my mom actually does some wedding planning/ wedding coordination, and I after I graduated high school she was planning a wedding for a girl she works with (at her full time job) and the girl still needed a photographer, so she suggested I give wedding photography a try (I was already set to go to SCAD to double major in fashion and photography and wanted to become the next great fashion photographer).
Portraits actually came after that, well non-fashion portraits. I’ve always been interested in photographing people, but I never thought I would be comfortable being up-close and personal with so many people, and photographing babies…that was the huge obstacle. I was always kinda scared of babies, like they were this fragile China, but I’ve learned over time that it’s okay to touch them!!
2. What does photography mean to you?
So much, it means sharing a little bit of the beauty I see in the world with others. That probably sounds a little cliché, but I’m fine with that! People absolutely fascinate me (yes, I people watch often) and I love to share my way of seeing with them.
3. What type of equipment do you use?
I’m a Nikon lover all the way. I shoot with two camera bodies (I suggest all wedding shooters own 2 bodies, and carry them both!). I have a d90 and a d2x. I chose these two because one is a crop sensor and the other a full frame, which each gives a different look. I have a couple lenses….18-55mm, 18-105mm, 70-300mm, 85mm (fav), and a wide angle/fisheye adapter. I have two speed lights, a sb900 and a sb400.
I also have Alien Bee lights with a vagabond for portable power, which provides some awesome dramatically lit outdoor portraits.
4. You also photograph infants, how tough is it to photograph them?
As I talked a little bit before, it can be very intimidating! Admittedly I am still not the greatest, but I’m learning more every shoot I have! They are a little wiggly and can be very grumpy, just be patient. That’s the best advice ever…patience, and lots of time. There is no rushing a newborn.
OH so many good stories! I’ll share two…
The most bizarre story was from when I was working at the portrait studio in the mall, I had a session with a family of 5. In the middle of the session the about 6 year old boy gets a little whiny, and the mom says, ” oh, I think he needs a snack” I say yeah, why don’t we do that, if you have some cookies or fruit snack—” I cut myself off mid-sentence as I looked over at her pulling her boob out to feed the child. Um awkward. Breast feeding doesn’t freak me out, but with a 6 year old child…its not appropriate to me. Now what you do in your own house is all on you, but in public…with NO warning? It was bizarre. I got so flustered I had to leave the little room for a minute.
Scariest would probably be from a school assigned shoot I did with a friend and my wonderful mother assisted, and we went to the abandoned ice factory (in Asheville). We were blissfully unaware of the creepy homeless people that would be hanging out, and the “potty” (a hole in the ground with feminine products around it and a smell) we would be exposed to…haha my mom and Olivia were GREAT sports that day!
6. What sets you apart from other Wedding photographers?
My passion and handiness when it comes to weddings. I so so so love weddings. I actually contemplated leaving school at one point and just becoming a wedding planner. I can make bouquets, tie ties, bustle any dress, do makeup, do hair, attach boutineers, tell you how to properly put on your garter, and even tell you where in your hair the veil would look best. On the day of the wedding I’m not just a photographer, I carry it all tissues (for everyone), tic tacs, tide pens, Swiss army knife, sewing kit, deodorant, brush-ups, etc.
I also LOVE getting to know the couples, and being friends with them. I think having a relationship with the clients is the most important part. It makes the photos look better because they are comfortable with you, and you’re comfortable.
7. What is the ONE lasting impression you want your client to have after seeing your photos?
In seeing my portfolio: That they can absolutely trust, and have faith that I can capture their vision after seeing their photos: That I captured so much more than they thought was possible.
8. Besides photographing infants and weddings, do you offer any other photography service?
Portraits in general, families, babies and teens. I love senior portraits! Next to weddings, that would be my favorite kind of session. I mean I love all my sessions and clients, but Seniors are a lot of fun, and always unique.
Oh it can totally help you reach people you have never met and grow your client base tremendously! I invest 7 hours weekly tops! It becomes less effective it you spend more time, because then it becomes spam.
10. What are the biggest personal or professional challenges you face as a photographer?
Balancing personal and business time. I am working from home right now, and it’s very easy for things to spill over on each other. You have to set aside a time for everything. Your sanity will depend on it!
11. Do you think that a person must possess talent to capture emotion and expression in a picture? How do you capture that moment?
I think there is a certain innate quality to people to know, and be able to capture things effectively. I believe it can be learned, just takes a lot longer, and I don’t think it will ever be easy for those people.
I capture a moment by often halfway posing a couple or a group walk a away and kind of watch and see what happens, then slowly start to take photos, then start coaching. Its a more organic and fun process.
12. How do you feel about missed shots which cannot be recreated?
Its hard to give that moment up, but it happens, there will be other moments, other times where you can capture the same emotions. The first kiss shots are hard to give up too, but just remember there will always be more kisses! I’ve missed some key shots before, and its regrettable, but it happens.
13. Where do you see yourself in the future as a photographer? Where do you think it will lead you?
I think I will end up becoming more of a wedding photographer, right now my business is split 50/50 with weddings and portraits, but I hope to see that flop to a 70/30. I also want to get a studio space, somewhere to meet clients, have indoor shoots, etc. I would love to expand it to more than one location too! How awesome would that be? I could have residual income, and be able to duplicate myself. I would also love to start a mentoring program down the road, to kind of give back to the photography field.
14. What tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
Seek knowledge from industry leaders, send them emails, find as much free info as you can, never stop learning! Also read success based books (i.e. Think and Grow Rich, The Millionaire Next Door, The Magic of Thinking Big). They can help you more than you will ever believe at this moment.
15. Finally, what other thoughts would you like to share?
I’m an open book! Its an important thing in this business. Nothing I do is a trade secret. I fully believe in Karma, and reaping what you sow.
Thanks for reading!!
Click on the links below to find out more about Sarah.
Her Blog: SEBG Photography
Make sure to visit her Facebook Page: SEBG Photography
Twitter: SEBG Photography
You can check out her work at: SEBG Photography