I'm so excited to share more from Anna Gay, the woman behind so many of our blog posts and tutorials, today on Pretty Presets. Anna is such a talented writer and photographer. I am very grateful for the opportunity to work with her. Enjoy this interview! Thank you, Anna.
When did you decide to pursue photography?
Photography has been a gradual progression in my life for about six years now, but I never really had a defining “this is what I want to do” moment. I sometimes feel as though photography decided to pursue me, and not the other way around! I definitely remember when it all started, though – November of 2008.
How would you describe your photography style?
Totally wacky! I jump all over the place, from digital to alternative process, Impossible Project film to black and white pinhole images. I no longer do commercial work, as I enjoy showing my work in galleries and publications, and focusing my time and energy on that. Being a fine art photographer gives me the opportunity to cut loose in the best possible way for me. My style of photography is whimsical, dark, comical, romantic, and narrative. I have a background in theatre, so much of my photography revolves around storytelling.
What is your favorite lens in your camera bag right now?
50mm f/1.8 – it is, and always will be, my favorite lens.
Favorite Pretty Presets Collection or Preset?
I love them all, honestly – they are, by far, the best Lightroom presets I have ever seen. I primarily use the presets that create a matte effect (especially the Pastels collection) as those fit my style of photography perfectly. Even when I shoot film (which is a large percentage of the time), I use these presets to edit my images in Lightroom. My editing style is very dependent on the matte presets – I can’t imagine my photos without them.
What advice would you give to new photographers?
Early on, show your camera who’s boss!!! Digital cameras today are amazing pieces of equipment, so learn about all of your camera’s features so that you can use them to your advantage to make the best possible images. In other words, read the manual, and read/watch as many tutorials as you can. Also, don’t get bogged down in too much technical stuff early on in your journey. When you are new to photography, a DSLR and Lightroom are all you really need. Become proficient with your camera and Lightroom first, then, if you are ready to branch out, start adding studio equipment to your arsenal. This will not only save you a ton of money, but will also prevent you from becoming frustrated and overwhelmed.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
5 years is a very, very long time in my mind! I am currently an MFA candidate and photography instructor at the University of Georgia, so teaching in the Arts is a big part of my life right now, and a part of my life that really feeds my soul. I hope that I will have more teaching opportunities in the future.
Any last words or advice you'd like to give?
It sounds cliché, but it is so important to stay true to what you want your photography to be. We are bombarded by images online, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of following trends a bit too closely. This goes for commercial and fine art photography! While I think following trends can be advantageous to a certain degree, you need to find a healthy balance between trend-following, and setting yourself apart.