Featured Babe: Amanda Taylor
From beaches to mountains, Amanda Taylor is making an impression on the the photography world. Family portrait/wedding photographer and founder of the Wild Collective- Amanda has built a faithful following to her dreamy Florida sunsets and forest atmospheres. Not only is Amanda running a full time business, she's also a mom and fiance. We wanted to ask the questions that are on everyone's minds- so Amanda fills us in on outfits, equipment, emotion, and life/work balance.
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Amanda, and I am a portrait and wedding photographer based out of Fort Myers, Florida. I have a beautiful soon-to-be 4 year old daughter, and a wonderful fiance who runs our business Lennon Photography together. We have been together for 5.5 years.
How would you describe your style?
My style could be described as moody, emotional, and fun. I shoot mostly families so I try to find balance between dark and happy.
Your use of lenses is one of my favorite things about you! Can you tell us about the equipment you use?
My favorite lens is my 85mm 1.4 although I use my 24mm 1.4 the most. Shooting mostly families means that I am often around younger children. Children are so unpredictable so when I get that cute facial expression, or kiss for mama - I'm right there, ready to take the images. Also, because I shoot mostly at the beach, a wider lens is necessary. It distributes harsh light beautifully, it catches every detail of the sunset without compromising my subject's exposure. I adore my 24mm TS lens, it effortlessly creates an artistic and moody image.
For more info on Amanda's bag and equipment, visit her blog post here.
Living in Florida, you do a lot of work on the beach. What are the challenges with that? Best parts?
Lighting is certainly the biggest struggle. Sometimes, depending on the cloud coverage the first 45 minutes of a 60 minute session is extremely harsh, and bright. The next 15 minutes after that are amazing though. The lighting, the clouds, the calmness of the water. That 15 minute window is when all the magic happens. Another struggle that beach photographers face is dangerous lightning storms that can literally pop up out of nowhere. Once in awhile I will use my Dicapac for protection, but for the most part I don't use anything.
Your clients are always wonderfully dressed! How do you ensure that your client comes to the session in clothing that compliments your style?
I send out a very detailed, and strict wardrobe guide. I ask my clients to text me pictures of everything before they buy. I think it's important to be honest with your clients. If you don't think an outfit they've chosen will photograph well, it's best to just tell them!
How do you balance motherhood with a full time business?
I work when I can, until 5pm. I think it's important to shut it down at a certain time everyday. My daughter understands that Mommy needs to work. It helps that my office is right next to her toys. I also have a wonderful support system. If I'm deep in edits, or culling Brandon is always there.
What's your favorite session you've done with your daughter?
Definitely our "wanderlust" series. I wanted to emulate basic hipster instagram photos, and it ended up being super cute. Brandon built the boat, and I did the styling. I purchased her some adorable boho styled tattoos off Amazon, which she loved! I thought to myself "what does every hipster have on their IG feed?" and I reached out to my friends, and they gave me some great ideas like a Haruki Murakami book, Cheerwine Cola, large framed glasses, a beanie, etc. Brandon took around 2 weeks to build the boat from scratch, with no plans. I showed him a picture of a vintage row boat that I loved and told him to make it "Julianna size" and it turned out beautiful, and actually floats!
You founded the Wild Collective on Facebook, what is it and why did you feel the need to start?
The wild collective is an online photography community. Members share their images, and ask for advice. We do blog features, and giveaways. I started the wild collective because I wanted a safe, yet fun environment for photographers to be who they are. Discuss anything they wanted. A group where you can use any presets. Talk about any workshop. Any group. No politics. Just each other.
You have had a busy year with travel! Where have you been able to go?
Being a travel photographer is my goal. I want to photograph families and children everywhere. We have done: St Augustine, Savannah, Baltimore, Phoenix, San Fransisco, Hood River, and Olympic National Park. My favorite place that we've gone was the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon. It was everything you'd want as a photographer. Hills, rivers, mountains, gorgeous lush trees, beautiful waterfalls, and gorgeous light.
What was your favorite adventure from your most recent trip to several states?
My favorite adventure during our travel sessions is actually not photography related. Brandon and I decided to go wine tasting in Napa. It was so, so much fun. We laughed, drank, and ate. I remember going when I was a child. I was so bored watching my parents have fun. It was interesting to be back at the same exact winery 20 years later and follow in my parent's footsteps. After wine tasting, we actually visiting my childhood home in Petaluma.
Do you have any advice for photographers who are struggling with balance?
If you find yourself turning away photoshoots because you still have another job, it's time to just go for it. It's scary, but it's a good scary. It will light a fire in you. If you are truly passionate about anything in life, and you give it your all - You will not fail. Trust me on this.