Thursday, April 23, 2015

Featured Artist | Tracy Jade Photography

Tell us about yourself and your business:

Quick facts about me: I've been married for 9 years. I have 1 cat. I love
indie music. Lisa Hannigan and the Local Natives are among my favorite
musicians...check them out! I'm a big-time thrift shopper. Nearly
everything I wear is second-hand. Antique furniture shopping is one of my
favorite ways to spend a Saturday. I have lots of antique pieces in my
home. I love restoration projects and wish I had all the time in the world
to tinker with stuff. I'm an outdoors girl through and through. I feel
most like myself and the most free when I'm on the top of a mountain, in
the woods, or swimming in a lake or water hole. The Adirondack mountains
make me feel giddy. I'm an introvert by nature...and a major dork. I have
a Journalism degree. I make a point to see my family regularly. I love
Indian food and go to an Indian buffet at least once a week. I hate
cooking...probably because I stink at it. One of my greatest desires is to
travel the world...not the touristy places...the places where I can really
dig in and photograph truth and humanity. That's my dream.

I started my business in September of 2013 after much encouragement from
family and friends. It has been incredibly challenging, but so exciting
and rewarding. I always enjoyed taking pictures of my family growing up,
but never really thought much of it or saw much significance in it. It
became more a part of my life about 4 years ago when my husband bought me
my first D-SLR for my birthday. I credit it now as the best gift I ever
received. I never put it down. It was pretty much the most basic D-SLR
camera you could buy...a Sony Alpha 230, with an 18-55mm kit lens. But I
learned the crap out of it and got as much out of it as I possibly could.
In fact, some of the images featured here were taken with that camera. I
made the leap to all-manual with that camera. I started my business with
it! Any other professional photographer would have laughed at me. I used
it for 4 years and only recently upgraded this year. But I'm so grateful
for the chance to have really learned how to make what I had work for me
as best I could, with no frills or fancy features. I think photographers
get really spoiled with all that's available now.

Where are you located?
I live in Rochester, NY in a little country town. I literally live in the
middle of a cornfield....and love it! I tell clients that I'm available to
travel anywhere. I'm going to Canada in August to photograph a wedding.

Who or what inspires your art?
There's so much that inspires me, and a lot of the time I feel completely
on fire for photography. I tend to be all over the board with what I want
to work on at any given time. There's just so much that interests me, and
so much I want to create. I think what inspires me most is finding the
beauty in everyday lives and stories. I love the mundane details and the
seemingly unremarkable. But I also love a good atmospheric image out in
nature, and I'm obsessed with the macro world. Light catches my eye
everywhere, whether it's a little pocket on a wall or striking golden hour
haze...I take note of it everywhere. Light is amazing.

At the end of the day, where I want my photography journey to lead me to
most is the opportunity to tell visual stories of ordinary people living
extraordinary lives of hope, perseverance, and grace. I want the images I
create to point directly to the Lord, and for the stories they tell to
celebrate His people.

What do you love most about photography?
Well, after thinking on this question for a good long time, I would say
that what I love most is that photography has shown me how to see beauty
everywhere. I think that's really important.

Describe your style in 2 words.
Organic & creative.

Tell us about your specialization or what subjects you prefer to shoot.
I'm currently focusing on wedding and family stories, using an unscripted
approach. It's very important to me to create images for couples and
families that are authentic, speak of truth, and show natural beauty. When
I'm not working with clients, I continue to love shooting in nature, and I
regularly practice free-lensing.

What do you do to jolt your creativity when it's running low?
I think it's really easy to feel pressure to be creative all the time, and
to be on fire for photography everyday. But I've learned that it's okay to
have dry spells, and to go days, or even weeks, without creating anything
of interest. So I allow myself to live in those periods of time, and to
use them to focus on other aspects of my business. I also use those times
to look at other photographer's work. There is no shortage of inspiration
out there, and I am constantly in awe of the talent I see. The "Looks Like
Film" website ( is one of my go-to sources for

What's in your camera bag?
I'm currently shooting with a Sony (yes, Sony!) A77ii. My lenses include a
50mm 1.4, a 30mm 2.8 macro, and a 75-300mm zoom. I use the 50mm the most.
I love to explore different creative techniques and have been
experimenting with a prism (find a tutorial on YouTube...very fun!). Last
year I fell head-over-heels in love with free-lensing and have now
incorporated it into all my client sessions...even weddings. A few of the
images featured here are free-lensed.

What are your top 3 must-haves when shooting?
50mm lens for conventional and free-lens shooting, clients who love
photography and the creative process, and freedom from the expectation to
pose my clients. I need authenticity to shoot well.

Share a fun fact about yourself with the readers.
I studied ballet for 15 years and taught classes for 8 years. It was my
whole life growing up.

If you could photograph anyone in the world, who would he/she be?
There isn't really any one person that comes to mind. I do have a very
strong desire to visit remote places of the world to photograph people
living their everyday lives, and to capture and shed light on the
beautiful unknown stories of ordinary people.

Natural light or artificial?
Hands down, I always prefer natural light to artificial. I occasionally
pop the external flash on for emergency lighting situations, but I do it
kicking and screaming. Even if there's no natural light, I try to use
available ambient light in a creative way before using flash.

What impact does photography have on your family life?
In a way, I'm fortunate to have not started a family yet as it gives me a
lot of freedom to go where photography takes me, and the ability to devote
a lot of time and energy to it. However, with that said, I am not good at
balance. I am a type-a personality through and through, and it takes a lot
of reminders for me to walk away from my work to invest in the other
important aspects of my life. My husband is incredibly supportive of what
I'm trying to grow, and he's very, very patient with the amount of time I
spend on business-related things. But even he has to remind me often that
I need to be mindful of achieving a healthy balance.

What's your most important artistic tool besides your camera?
I have never wanted to spend a lot of time in post-processing. I love
editing, but I'm always careful not to over-edit as I want my images to
maintain a sort of organic feel. VSCO Film presets changed my life. They
have done wonders to speed up my workflow and give me the natural,
analog-inspired aesthetic that I want in my images.

What's the most important lesson you've learned since starting photography?
I've learned how important it is to respect your own journey. This is such
an over-saturated market, and there is an astonishing amount of talent out
there, and it's so easy to feel discouraged. But as long as I keep going,
I always improve. Patience is really important.

What advice would you give to an artist just starting their journey in the
photography world?
It sounds really cliche, but don't compare yourself to others. Really,
just don't do it. Theodore Roosevelt was spot on when he said "comparison
is the thief of joy." You will do your best work when it's authentic to
you and who you are. Everyone's images are in some way a reflection of
their own personal story. Don't be a copycat. Create something different.
This has been a hard lesson for me to learn, and it's an on-going process
for me to let go of my insecurities.

Also, learn your camera inside and out! It really doesn't matter if you
have the most popular model. All that matters is if you know how to use
what you have. Learn about the exposure triangle and how it affects your
images. Learn how manual focus can open up a whole new world to you. Shoot
everyday! Shoot something completely outside your comfort zone. Most
importantly, acknowledge and celebrate your achievements along the way, no
matter how small. When you look back on your work 5 years from now, you
will be amazed at how far you've come!


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