Austin’s Callie Harper has been a member of our forum from practically the beginning. We have loved watching her blossom as a photographer over the years! Thanks to her skillful eye and her trio of prime lenses, her style has really evolved and her work is filled to the brim with confidence. We love having her on our forum and really enjoy everything she adds to our community! She truly is one generous and talented artist and mother!
Need proof? Just check out that photo below that she took from her hospital bed after giving birth to her darling daughter!
Can you tell us a little about yourself?
Well I’m a mom to two great kids (ages 6 and 2) and I have an amazing husband. My family and I live in Austin, TX but I grew up in McComb, MS. My family has been there forever and I consider Mississippi home, although Texas is a close second. Every year I’m in Austin I’m enjoying more and more the fun eccentricities of this place. I’m a part-time social worker in addition to photographer. I work with young children and their families in my social work role so the people part of photography comes relatively easy for me.
How did your photographic journey begin? Are you self taught or do you have formal education?
I always find this such a hard question. I have always had a love for photography. I remember combing through copies of National Geographic and Life Magazine as a kid and being enthralled with the images. My dad had a SLR and took a lot of landscape shots on vacations. I remember asking him why he never took pictures of people and he just looked at me quizzically. (We differ in what we like to capture.) I also remember traveling abroad (Israel and India) when I was in college and I loved capturing the people I saw. But it wasn’t until my son was about a year old I finally realized how to properly use my camera. I stumbled upon a baby website/community board for moms of kids born around the same time as my son. A photographer there was taking a few people for a mentor group and I jumped on board. There I learned the basics of shooting in manual mode. It was an amazing experience. From then on I practiced relentlessly (my poor son) and then took the Bloom workshop about two years later in early 2010. Since then I’ve taken a few mini workshops on the Bloom Forum and have had some wonderful in person and online conversations with photographers about my work. So all that to say I’m not formally trained but I wouldn’t say I’m “self-taught.” Too many people have helped me along the way.
What equipment do you use?
I shoot with a Canon 5d mkii. I use three lenses: 85mm 1.8, 50mm 1.4, and 35 mm 1.4. Usually the 50 doesn’t leave my camera. I received the 35mm for Christmas and I have fallen for it fast!
What program do you use for editing? Do you have any special recipes you use as far as post processing?
I use Lightroom for the majority of my editing and then export to Photoshop for some finishing touches. I tend to use a light hand in editing and I’m a big fan of the VSCO presets.
How would you describe your style?
Honest, fun, emotive. I hope that is my style….that’s what I strive to capture.
What keeps you inspired? How do you organize all your inspiration ideas?
My family continually inspires me. There are so many moments I wish I could be outside of myself to capture. I think that’s why I love to capture moms and kids. In addition to my own family, other families and their unique family cultures inspire me. I hope to capture other families in an honest, real way.
I have loved watching you grow over the past couple years, you have come so far. What have been the best investments you have made for your business?
I think some of the workshops I’ve taken have been invaluable. My very first workshop was Bloom and then I’ve taken just two mini workshops on the Bloom forum after that (Breaking the Mold with Deb Schwedhelm and Be Extraordinary with Joyce Smith). Each workshop has pushed me and helped me to see things in my work that could be improved. My other investments that have contributed significantly would by my lenses. I tend to want to get in the mix when I’m photographing families so my 50mm and 35mm have been great. I also think building relationships with other photographers I admire has really helped me to grow. Two photographers in my area, Bonnie Berry and Rachel Chaney, have given me invaluable insight and pushed me in ways for which I’m so grateful. I’m so appreciative to them and the gift of their time.
What is your favorite picture you have taken?
I took this one from my hospital bed 2 ½ years ago. My son still adores my daughter and I love that I captured this first moment with them.
What, where or whom would you LOVE to shoot that you haven’t yet?
I’d love to shoot with an underwater housing unit. And I’d love to start shooting film. I’m not in a place yet where I can do either but they are on my list.
I know you have 2 beautiful children, how do you balance your home life and work?
I don’t! I try really hard but find I can’t do everything I want to do. I have to say no a lot. I attempt to put my kids and husband first. I pledged to refocus my priorities at the beginning of this year. When my kids are home and awake, I’m not online or on the computer. I’ve had to let go of my desire to have a strong online presence. I just can’t keep up. My clients find me via word of mouth. I think when both kids are in elementary school I’ll have more time to devote to other pursuits and grow my business more.
What is your most guilty pleasure?
I can’t just choose one! TV…it’s my husband and my escape nightly. Southern Cooking…no explanation needed. And chocolate!