June Photographer Inspiration {Spotlight & Giveaway!}

It’s June and I am a little behind, but it’s time for the June Photographer Spotlight, but this is one photographer you are going to LOVE and she is totally worth waiting for!

This month I am going to introduce you to a photographer and designer that I have been a fan of  for years. She is not only a wonderful photographer and designer, but I feel very honored to count her among my friends as well. 

So, everyone, here is the phenomenal…

Stacey Severt of Wild Hearts Photography

Here is a little bit about Stacey….

I have been married to my wonderful hubby, Jim, for almost 22 years (this month!). We were childhood sweethearts and married right out of high school. He is my soul mate and has been so supportive of all of my business endeavors. After earning a Master’s degree in Speech/Language Pathology, I went on to work full-time in that field until we started our family in 2001. We have 2 beautiful daughters that are such a blessing to us! After becoming a mommy, I began to look for ways that I could work from home. This eventually led to me turning my photography hobby into a business. While I am still a licensed speech therapist, and continued doing that on a limited basis for some time, I have now transitioned to doing my photography and design work full-time.  Besides photography, my favorite things to do are spending time with my family at the beach, hiking at the park, and watching movies.  I also love working in my flower beds and reading.

Time for a little Q&A session with Stacey…..

1.       Use one sentence to describe your photography style.
My photography style is focused on a “non-traditional” lifestyle approach and is eclectic, fun, fresh, full of contrasts, and…..different!

2.       Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration all over the place!  I’m always looking at light and color and how it changes and evokes emotion.  The biggest source of my inspiration is this world that God gave us….I’m amazed at the beauty that surrounds us in nature and I love shooting outdoors and finding the beauty in any location.  I also love unexpected beauty…such as that found in the rusty, grungy, deteriorating, and basically falling apart in places like abandoned buildings and urban environments.  Texture is another thing that I look for and these type of locations offer plenty of texture, color, and light!  And, of course, I am inspired by so many of the wonderful photographers that I have found online…it’s wonderful to see things from others’ perspectives!

3.       Besides your camera, what piece of equipment do you find that you can not live without?
Besides my camera, I cannot live without my reflector/external flash.  I know that’s two items, but they kind of serve the same purpose.  I am a “mostly” natural light shooter, but I’m not afraid to use my flash when necessary to achieve the correct exposure.

4.       If you were going to travel for one year and could only pack what would fit into an average sized backpack, what would you pack? (You don’t have to include food,  that will be provided along the way!)
Bible, Camera, flash, and memory cards (of course!), iPhone, iPad, comb and hair ties, one bottle of bright pink, OPI nail polish for my toes, toothbrush, lotion, and tons of lip balm.  I’m pretty basic, lol!

5.       If you could take one single photograph to signify your life, what would it look like?
It would have my family and I either at the beach (our favorite place) or at our house out in the field.  Just us together…that is our true happiness!  (Maybe we would be eating some ice cream-that makes us pretty happy, too!)

6.       Have there been moments when you wanted to stop shooting professionally? If so, what changed your mind?
Yes.  I honestly say that I think all photographer’s feel this way at times when struggling to find the balance between work and family.  What changed my mind is the awesome clients that I have, my love for photography, and the wonderful support system I have with my family.  They make it possible for me to move beyond the difficult times and keep doing what I love.

7.       What has been the biggest challenge you have faced while following your photography dream? What has been the greatest reward?
The biggest challenge is most definitely finding the balance, but working for myself is the biggest reward…it’s all tied together.  When moving from a fast-paced career in the medical field, I looked forward to working from home and leaving behind the hectic schedules and demands.  Unfortunately, I am a pretty demanding boss, so sometimes I find it difficult to separate myself from my work since it’s always here with me.  I have found that setting a schedule for my work day has helped immensely.  I have had to learn to treat my work at home just like I would a regular job, and setting boundaries has been good.  I love the flexibility I have and the ability to work around my family/household commitments and health needs.

8.       If you were given a choice to attend any workshop or seminar anywhere in the world, all expenses paid, what one would you choose and why?
Well…..this is a tough one!  I’ve heard so many good and not-so-good things about different workshops and it kind of makes me a little scared to try one.  I guess I would have to say either a workshop with MIchele of Pinkle Toes Photography (favorite photog from way back!),  the CRAVE Photography workshop (just because her work is so awesome), or the Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver Baby Posing workshop (since newborns are what I have the least experience with).  Sorry, that’s three….  

9.       How do you budget your time to make sure you are staying on task? What keeps you motivated when you have deadlines?
Oh, this is difficult when you are your own boss, for sure!  I would have to say that I’m a pretty self-motivated person, so even though I work from home, I still approach each day as if I am going to work.  I keep lists and try to remind myself of all deadlines coming up.  There are times when I “get stuck” in the middle of a project and I try to break it down and focus on smaller goals until it’s finished.

10.   Do you ever shoot self-portraits?
Haha!  No, I’m terrible at self-portraits!  What I do sometimes do is have my hubby shoot a photo for me, which is how most of my photos have come about.  I did do our family photos a couple of years ago using a tripod and the camera shutter timer….this was somewhat of a nightmare, but did yield some great photos, surprisingly, lol!

11.   What would you say has been the hardest lesson to learn about photography? What would you change about your business if you had to do it all over again from the beginning?
For me, the hardest lesson to learn has been more about the “business” side of professional photography.  I am so much more people-oriented and I prefer the interaction of shooting the photos and talking with my clients.  Taxes, paperwork, budgeting, legal stuff, etc.  have all been necessary, but least favorite activities!  I wish I had known more about these areas when I first started. 

12.   Do you have a photography “hero” that inspires you and that you look up to? If so, are you willing to share who it is?
Yes!  I have so many, but I will say that Michele Anderson of Pinkle Toes Photography has been my photography “hero” for so many years…I found her work when I first started learning about photography and was very inspired by her wonderful lifestyle sessions!  I would love to have Michele take my family’s photos sometime, but alas, she lives too far away!

13.   How do you scout locations for shoots? Are they just places you know or do you go out searching for new and cool places?
It’s a little bit of both.  I know several great places that I use on a regular basis and sometimes I scout whenever I’m looking for a new place or have a specific look in mind for a shoot.  I truly love it when I visit a place without photography in mind and become inspired by the surroundings.  Then I will often wait for just the perfect shoot to use that location.  We are very fortunate to have an abundance of great location spots where I live, so I feel very blessed in that aspect.

14.   Besides photography, do you do any other forms of art? (painting, drawing, etc.)
I have done a little painting and the graphic design work, of course.  I also sing and play the piano and guitar, although, not as much as I used to.  I am a big fan of the arts and love to attend ballets, operas, musicals, and visit the art museum.

15.    Do you have any advice for new photographers?
Yes….and you’ve heard it before…..Don’t give up!  Try not to get discouraged when you think it’s not working out.  We ALL have those times, and I still have days when I feel uninspired or it seems like my work is not what I want it to be.  Photography is one of those things that SEEMS like it will be easy to learn, easy to do, easy to turn into a profession.  Well, it’s not any of those things, it’s tough, but if you love it, it can be so rewarding!  I promise, it’s worth the effort and the waiting that it takes.  

Here is a little bit about her business and the links so that you can find her and love her and swoon over her work just as much as I do!!!!

Wild Hearts Photography: I have been offering custom photography services for about 7 years. It has been a long and often difficult journey as I taught myself the necessary skills and built my business and the Wild Hearts brand from the ground up. After the first couple of years in business, I began to focus more on the “lifestyle” type of photography that appealed so much to me. I love capturing those un-posed moments of a child or family just being themselves. I now offer both studio and location photography services, with a continued focus on capturing life-as-it-happens. I also offer many custom, “boutique-style” products for my clients, which is what eventually led me to start doing digital design work.  I’m beyond excited to see how my business has blossomed even more with the event of Facebook marketing.  This has allowed me to meet so many new clients, other photographers, and vendors to network with.

WHP Designs: I had started designing cards and collages for my own photography clients and began to think that other photographers would like to use my designs for their clients, as well. My design business was officially launched at the end of 2010 and so quickly outgrew my blog site format, that I had to have a new site designed with more functionality within a couple of months. My focus in my design work is creating beautiful and easy-to-use templates that offer a wide variety of options. I have a very eclectic nature and that translates over to my photography and graphic design. I have a love for country, vintage style, and urban grunge looks, which is something you will see frequently in my work. I was so excited when I was approached by Jennifer of Photo Prop Floors and Backdrops about a collaboration of our businesses. I loved the idea of seeing my designs as backdrops, and was completely honored that the first and best vinyl/canvas backdrop company on the market was interested in me! It has been such an honor to work with their company!  I love doing custom work for my design clients, as well, helping them to achieve that totally branded package for their business.  I will continue to add more designs to my product offerings to keep things fresh!


Now for the giveaway part of it….are you ready?

Stacey is going to give one of you a set of her photo display template bundles!

What an awesome way to show off how photos will look when displayed! And WHP templates are so easy to use!

To enter: (mandatory for entry)
Go to Wild Hearts Photography’s Facebook page and like WHP! Feel free to admire her photographs and visit her shop too. You will find all kinds of goodies there!

Additional entries are all optional. You do not have to do any of the others to be entered!

Entries will be accepted until midnight on June 16, 2012.

To make it easy to enter I am using Rafflecopter!

Winner has been drawn courtesy of Rafflecopter….Sherry Wood McManis you won!! I will be sending you an email!


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