11 Feb 2011

This Much I Know Is True - An Interview with Liz

Gosh, it's Friday night again already! Could this week have gone any faster? I sure could have done with an extra few hours everyday - been crazy, busy - tweeting, blogging, out drinking margaritas with @SirenofBrixton. Did some ace climbing on Thursday plus that little old thing called a day job!

Anyway here I am on my virtual l-shaped sofa with the lovely wedding photographer Liz who runs Eliza Claire Photography. For food we've decided to stick with the Asian themed food from last week and we've gone for Chinese take out. We've got mini vegetable spring rolls, prawn toasts, spare ribs and yummy kung po chicken. We're drinking ice cold Sauvignon Blanc and I've lined up Madonna, Greenday and Adele on my iPod playlist speshly for Liz! Grab yourself a drink + snack and let's get started.....

Me: So, you know I'm gonna start with a tough one - what is the best piece of advice you've ever been given?
Liz:  This too shall pass. Invaluable during the baby-raising years! I had two children 17 months apart, and so there were times when this advice was, honestly, my lifeline. 

Me: Wow, that was fast, I'll bear that in mind seeing as I've been a tad broody (!) Okay then, next, describe yourself in a dating ad!
Liz:  Interesting, sometimes-funny, singing-in-the-car workaholic seeks bag carrier and second opinion. Camera and sense of humour vital.

Me: I like the bag carrying, that's very important. Let's talk a little about your photography, how exactly did you get into it - and particularly wedding photography?
You know when you have a group of friends, at school or uni, and there's always one with a camera in their hand, recording all the embarrassing moments? Well, that was me

I stopped taking photos for a long time - life got in the way, I guess, but then picked up a camera again on 1st Jan 2008 for a Photo-a-Day project, and it spiralled from there, really. 6 months later, someone asked me (based on my PAD pictures) to second shoot a wedding. I was terrified, but I loved it. It was like the pieces fell into place, and I was hooked.

Me: I think that from what I've seen - that you have a really beautiful, unique photographic style - particularly the lighting + colour - how did you develop this?
Liz: <looks modestDo I? Thank you. I don't know, I just do what feels and looks right to me. The processing is a constantly evolving thing, and I'm 100% self taught (although doing my first workshop - with Jonathan Canlas (http://canlasphotography.blogspot.com/) this summer. And it's a 100% film course. Eek!

Me: What really inspires you when you're snapping away - not just weddings, but generally also?
Liz: <thinks for a little while> People inspire me. It probably sounds like a cliché but it's true. And colours and shapes, I get quite excited about textures too - give me an old wall, and I'm in heaven! I like things that are interesting to look at. I like things that draw the eye into the shot, and I like to show nature and contrast. 
Love inspires me. I was on my way to a shoot recently, the kind of shoot that I've done a lot of lately, in a location that I've used countless times before, when I stopped and realised that, for this couple - giving up their precious time off, two weeks before their wedding day - this was a big deal. This could be the first time they've had professional photos taken, it could be the first time they've ever posed together for a photo. And these photos represent the last time they were together as boyfriend and girlfriend, not husband and wife. And that IS a big deal. My job is a big deal because love is so special, so important.
And my kids inspire me. The way they see things. They'll stop and spend 10 minutes looking at the pattern that the rain's making on the pavement - that's the kind of vision I need on a dull day, the ability to see shapes, textures, colours, beauty everywhere. When we walk anywhere now, I never rush my kids along, never hurry them up, because they're observing so much, all the time. Give me their eyes for the day, and I'll take better photos!

Me: Do you have a favourite wedding photo? Perhaps you could talk us through it....
Liz:  My god, what a question! I have no idea. It's like trying to pick my favourite child!! How about you pick a photo that you like best and I'll talk you through it?

Me: Okay sorry What about this one:

That photo was taken during a first dance. The weather at that wedding had been awful, it had barely stopped raining all day, and consequently we hadn't spent the 'alone time' together that I usually spend with my clients (I usually take them off for 20 mins or so, get some portraits, but also back off and let them just 'be'). So I knew I didn't want to be 'in their faces' during the first dance. I'd set up the light already, as the venue was really very dark and we needed the light during the speeches. I wanted to give the photo that isolated feel, for them to be alone, unaware of anything. I wanted the light to just silhouette them. Triggered by the on-camera infra-red, I had to be in direct sight of the flash. And so I kept them between me and the flash, with just enough room to get the signal through. And this is the shot that I got. Thank you for choosing it, it's one of the ones I'm quite proud of!

Me: Finally, last photography question, what advice do you have to offer someone who'd like to get into wedding photography?
Liz: Second shoot, know your worth, get insurance, make sure you're prepared - it's a huge honour and a huge responsibility to photograph what is potentially the most important, happiest day of someone's life, and there are no second takes!

Me: Here come the fun, last few questions! Firstly, what would be your last meal?
Liz: Easy - minced beef pie, mashed potato, cauliflower and gravy. A childhood favourite. Yum!

Me: What is your favourite book?
Liz: The Red Tent, I think. Or The Mists of Avalon. Both not my normal read, but both left a lasting impression.

Me: What is the nicest thing you have done?
Liz: I watch formula 1 because my husband loves it, and I even bought him tickets to Montreal during Grand Prix weekend for our honeymoon. It was a surprise, and he found out on our wedding day :) 

Me: Awww that's really lovely! < I smile> Finally, last question, what do you know to be true about life? 
Liz: You learn something new every day. If you don't learn, you might as well give up.

Well that's it for tonight's interview - I really enjoyed my `behind the scenes` look at Liz's life! We are heading off to fight over the last spring roll + have some frozen margaritas. Hope you enjoyed the show. Don't forget to check out Liz's website here, her blog here and you can follow her on twitter @elizacphoto.

I'll be back on Sunday with a special valentine's themed list - Top 10 `Alternative/Indie` Love Songs, so be sure to tweet me any suggestions (@stupidgirl45). Next week has an exciting WoTW - Motivation, in which I'll be talking about my love of climbing + how it helped my writing and.....we have a special mystery interview person! I'll say no more :)

Have a great weekend everyone.

Thank you and goodnight,

Stupidgirl has left the building

1 comment:

  1. Wedding photographers have a hard job. They have to deal with all members of the family, not to mention the friends. Diplomacy is pivotal to the performance of the task. Rather like a film director with a large cast and crew.Interesting insights into the field! NOTE- some fashion and magazine photogs started this way. The 'eye' is everything.