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CREATIVE SPOTLIGHT : ABBEY MOORE PHOTOGRAPHY

I am so beyond excited to finally be sharing this new feature with everyone! I’ve been gathering up an inspiring (and very talented) group of creatives that I plan to feature every other Monday. I think this will be a good opportunity to meet someone new, get a little behind-the-scenes info and cast the spotlight on very deserving creative businesses. I’m hoping that this series will inspire readers to be brave, take risks and notice that we are all people, doing what we love, trying to make it in this crazy world.

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So, first up is someone I’ve been chatting back and forth with for some time. Abbey Moore, Photographer + Owner of Abbey Moore Photography. She is sweet, spontaneous and someone that I can’t WAIT to meet in person. She kindly agreed to answer some questions and I had to show you guys some of her work. In my opinion : A-M-A-Z-I-N-G.

01. TELL ME YOUR STORY

Well, I think it all started my freshman year of high school when I got my hands on my first digital camera. It was my Mom’s and it was huge and you can bet that I put all the photos I took on my livejournal. Usually it was just photos of friends hanging out, but sometimes I got a little creative. I distinctly remember the first photo that I believed to be “artsy” was two garden gnome children kissing. And I OBVIOUSLY edited the photo with a sepia effect.

From there, I somehow became involved with the school newspaper and was the photo-editor. Which then leads me to my major at Michigan State University, journalism. I wanted to tell stories, and I wanted to tell those stories through the lens of a camera. However, photojournalism sometimes has to put a stopper on creativity. They want pictures that tell the story, which can often not include the beautiful, artistic images. I was sick of not finding the perfect balance.

It was around junior year of college that  I discovered Jill DeVries. She’s a fantastic Grand Rapids photographer who’s work completely inspired me and changed my entire outlook on what I wanted to do with my life. At that point I knew I wanted to be a wedding photographer – a job that involved melding storytelling photos with an artistic vision. My opinions, dislikes and likes are constantly changing, but photography is something that has always been a constant in my life, and I’m pretty sure it always will be.

2. What does a typical day look like for you? How do you juggle a full-time job and your photography business?

This question is hard for me to answer, as I am currently in a HUGE schedule change. For the past year, I’ve worked a Monday – Friday 8 – 5 desk job doing graphic design for a small company in Milwaukee. My days then were spent with a designer hat on during the day and a photographer hat on during the evenings. There would be some days that I was at a computer screen for at least 10 hours. With editing/blogging/website-building and preparing myself for my first full-time wedding season I had a lot to do!

However, I’ve recently decided to move back to my roots in Grand Haven, MI. It was getting to the point where I was driving to Michigan at least once a month for photos and having to turn clients down because of my availability. With this new move, I will still be working a part-time design job, but it will not be a scheduled desk job. I will be able to do the work on my own time, and I’m hoping with this change that I can start really pushing my business further and further.

There are definitely nights when I’d rather just curl up in bed and not do anything after a day at work, but then I remember that this is what I want to do, and it requires work, and I just get it done. It’s rewarding when I can successfully book shoots and yet still be giving 100% to my other design job. I know there will be a day where this is not the case, but in the meantime I’m trying to learn as much as I can from both opportunities.

3. What is your favorite part about being a photographer?

I think that it has to be the ability to provide special and beautiful moments to my clients. I’m the most nostalgic person in the world, I can spend hours reminiscing on old photos and notes and other tokens. The idea that I am able to give this little piece of history to my clients is absolutely rewarding. We all change, and we all get older, but photographs stay the same. They’re like a little window into the past, and the fact that I have the opportunity to provide people with that, is amazing.

A close second would be getting to know my clients. I am constantly meeting the most wonderful people, and given the BEST opportunities — and I have being a photographer to thank for that.

4. What did you want to be when you were little?

Honestly, I can remember at one point wanting to be a famous singer. The problem? I don’t sing. I clearly remember filling out one of those career pathway surveys in elementary school, and answering them in a way that would direct me toward the “Creative Arts and Performing Arts” section. I was a smart kid, so I was successful in getting the correct pathway as an answer… but let’s just say there’s no musical career in the future for me.

I always did enjoy art classes though and seemed to find creativity a thing that came to me naturally. I think that is the one thing that has stuck with me, and though it morphed from being a famous singer, to an actress on a tv sitcom, and now to a photographer… it’s always been present.

5. What does the future of Abbey Moore Photography look like?

I’d love to be known as a photographer who’s work really reflects the true personality of her clients. I don’t want to be creating cookie-cutter images that anyone with a digital SLR could create. I want my couples to say that their time working with me was fun, rather than awkward.

Though I am primarily focusing on weddings I’d love to branch out and be given new opportunities to document stories of all kind — since that is what I fell in love with in the beginning. And in a dream world? It includes travel, a TON of travel. I get most of my inspiration from exploring new places and I’d love to be finding and reaching out to clients that are located in the midwest and BEYOND! The more you see, the more you grow, and I don’t ever plan on stopping.

6. What advice would you give to other recent college grads about starting their own photography business?

It’s not all about what equipment you have or what editing program you use, or how many megapixels your camera has. I’ve spent countless hours googling tutorials or reading manuals attempting to understand my camera from the inside out. The images are only as good as what you put in the viewfinder, so find what makes YOU unique and run with it.

As a photographer, your clients really have to enjoy who you are as a person, so if you’re too busy trying to be someone else it’s going to show.

I’d also say that networking has been the biggest help to making my business a success. Every job I’ve received has been from word of mouth — not a google search. Make sure you are connecting yourself with other creatives who are willing to build you up and vice versa. Life really is all about who you know, whether you like it or not.

7. Favorite motivational/inspirational quote?

I’ve got three!

“They are so damn ‘intellectual’ and rotten that I can’t stand them anymore….I [would] rather sit on the floor in the market of Toluca and sell tortillas, than have anything to do with those ‘artistic’ bitches of Paris.”
-Frida Kahlo

WHY: Frida Kahlo is one of my favorite artists. She didn’t create art that people wanted to see, she created art for herself, and people began to like it. I think as a photographer you have to be creating work that you are proud of rather than what the rest of the industry is doing.

“All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
-Pablo Picasso

WHY: Having a child-like free spirit while you are shooting photos is absolutely necessary. You have to be willing to try new things, and you can’t hold yourself back. You have to keep that open-mind that you have a kid, and bring it into your business.

“Happy. Just in my swim shorts, barefooted, wild-haired, in the red fire dark, singing, swigging wine, spitting, jumping, running—that’s the way to live.”
-Jack Kerouac

WHY: I think this one is just a little self explanatory. :)

THANK YOU SO MUCH ABBEY FOR TAKING THE TIME TO ANSWER THESE QUESTIONS!

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What do you guys think? Talented? Yes, I know! Go check out her website to see her entire portfolio. You can also connect with her on Twitter and Facebook.