This weeks Featured Photog is Alicia Mick of Mick Luvin Photography!!
Q. Welcome, Alicia! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you so much! Well, I am a single mom to 2 totally perfect kids, a 5 yr old boy and a 9 month old girl! I love to record and preserve things; I am the keepsake-keeper and family-tree maker and photo album collector of the family. I have a full-time day job as a paralegal, but hope to one day focus only on photography!
Q. How and when did you get into photography?
After my son was born in late 2006 I naturally became a photocopter mom – had my little Kodak point-n-shoot in his little face 24/7. All of the zillions of snapshots I took of him led me into the world of digi-scrapping, and I started making scrapbooks and learning basic photoshop template skills. After a year or more of using Photoshop solely for making awesome scrap books, it slowly dawned on me that maybe just maybe I could use Photoshop to actually improve all of my snapshots! So, I started playing with actual photo editing a bit. And then I got a bit more into it and took a good look at all of my snapshots and tried to figure out what I was missing! I knew it was SOMETHING! Nothing I could do in Photoshop was magically turning my snapshots into the awesome baby photos I was seeing online. It took me a great while before I figured out it was this thing called “Photography” – and that there was a whole entire universe encapsulated by it! I started reading general tips for improving your photography; tips like: Turn off flash. Ahhh! Ok, something I had never done! NOW my photos rock! Well, actually, they are just slightly better snapshots. Hmmm… still I KNOW I am missing something… So I joined a few online photography communities (without a clue as to what I was about to get myself into), and started reading ALL the dizzying facets of this thing called photography. Realized pretty quickly I’d need a better camera if I was ever going to rise above the snapshot. Bought my very first DSRL in December 2009 (Nikon D40) and proceeded to take about a brazillion horrible, underexposed out-of-focus shots – all of which I believed to be true photographic masterpieces!
Q. How long have you been in business and what do you specialize in?
I was portfolio-building for about 1 solid year before I started charging in December, 2010.
Q. How did you come up with the name Mick Luvin Photography? :)
My last name is Mick, and as you’ve probably guessed, one of my favorite movies is SuperBad: “I. Am. MickLuvin!” Hahah – I just spell it differently! (“It was either that or Muhammed!”)
Q. Natural light v. studio light?
Natural Light. It is all I know at present. And I actually like the challenge of shifting, changing, uncertain lighting conditions. No two sessions are ever the same!
Q. Tell us about your camera gear. Any gear on your wish list?
I started with a Nikon D40 and upgraded after about a year to the D80. When my D80 broke I bought the D90 and loved it! I started back-button focusing on the D90 and that pretty much marked the first positive turning point for me in my work. I shoot with primes only for now – my two main lenses are the 50mm 1.4 and the 105 2.0. I have the 35mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8 but rarely use them nowadays. I would LOVE to go full-frame one of these days!
Q. How would you describe your style of shooting; your style of editing?
I would have to describe my shooting style the same way I describe my life – just wing it! I have never once planned a session, or done any research other than basic location-scouting. I have never sketched out poses or discussed a session plan with a client or done any kind of pre- prep work. I just get there, see what my clients are wearing, look to see where the sun is, give the clients a general idea where I want them to be posed, back myself way far away and just shoot. I direct as little as possible. I try to get a mixture of classic posed shots and natural candids.
My editing style is a bit more fine-tuned, however! I shoot in RAW and first edit the raw using Capture NX2 (similar to Lightroom but designed specifically for Nikon nefs). This is where I fix the white-balance, levels, curves, and sharpen. Then I bring each image into Photoshop to have a little fun with it! I add gradient layers, clone out distracting background elements, smooth skin, whiten teeth, and really look at the details here in CS3.
Q. What’s your favorite subject to photograph?
I love photographing large groups – photos with more than 4 subjects! Since I am just not that up-close, in-your-face photographer, I’m most comfortable with the distance required to shoot large families. And I like building little family pyramids and posing the members just so, and making them get closer than they ordinarily would!
Q. What’s your favorite time of day to take photos?
Always around sunset. It is gorgeous light, it is beautifying light, and it is directional light that I can wrap around my subjects and mold with. Any other time of day is a bit more challenging for me, as I’m looking for open shade, patios, garages, or anything to help give light some direction and not be so harsh.
Q. What’s your best marketing tool? Where do most of your clients come from?
I need to invest in marketing more! Most of my family-session clients live out of state and find me on google. Most of my maternity and newborn referrals come from the local Midwife Birthing Center where I have hung a bunch of canvases!
Q. What has been the best advice you have received on your photography journey?
The best advice is more like my personal goal or mantra – and that is to slow down, to relax, to think, to see, to feel – and to do all these things in order to grab the shot I want, and not just walk away with the shot I got, kwim?
Q. What’s something you wish you knew when you first started out?
I really wish I would have put a pricing plan in place before I even started portfolio-building. Pricing is something I’ve just recently been working on and it would have been so much less traumatic for everyone if I had a solid foundation way back when because my pricing now seems as if it just came out of nowhere.
Q. Who or what are your photography inspirations?
I’m most inspired by photogs who are consistent in their awesomeness and who have developed and honed their own unique style – their work is recognizable as theirs and theirs alone!
A few of my favs in no particular order are:
Brooke Logue (http://www.facebook.com/brookeloguephotography)
Cayden Lane (http://www.facebook.com/caydenlanephotography)
Sylvia Cook (http://www.facebook.com/SylviaCookPhotography)
Amanda Leatherbury (http://www.facebook.com/aleatherberryphotography)
Molly Wassenaar (http://www.facebook.com/MollyWassenaarPhotography)
Jason P. Odell (NX2 master) (http://www.luminescentphoto.com)
Because I seem to ALWAYS be without my camera at the exact moment something spectacular is happening, this quote is an awesome reminder to me. I try to get over that angst and just be grateful that I’ve been given the opportunity to be present IN the moment and not just thru a tiny viewfinder: “There will be times when you will be in the field without a camera. And, you will see the most glorious sunset or the most beautiful scene that you have ever witnessed. Don’t be bitter because you can’t record it. Sit down, drink it in, and enjoy it for what it is!” – DeGriff
Thank you so much, Alicia!!