Feature Bloomie Spotlight: Tara Parker
It’s that time again folks…another fantastic former bloomie is being featured here! Tara Parker is one of the up-and-coming e-session and wedding photographers to watch! I would bet all my beloved photography equipment that she WILL be featured in magazines soon because a talent like hers is not to be missed!
Tell us a little something about yourself? Where are you from, kids, hobbies, etc?
I consider myself from North Carolina but I moved around a lot as a kid because my dad was in the Coast Guard. I was born in Virginia, moved to NC, then New York, then Alaska, and then back to North Carolina when my dad retired. I consider myself a Carolina girl and I don’t think that there is anywhere else in the world that I would want to live. I love it here! I am married to my best friend, Dave, and I am a mommy to the coolest two year old you will ever meet, Griffin. Dave and I had an untraditional “courtship”. We were friends for a few years and then became roommates when I finished graduate school and he was buying his first house. We fell in love while we were renovating the house and drinking wine by the fire pit on our back deck. We got married a year and a half after that and then had Griffin a year later. My two guys are the best parts of my world and I don’t know how I ever got through a day without them!
How long have you been in business?
Last month marked the end of my first year of business. It has been a crazy roller coaster of a year and I am thankful that things have gone as well as they have. I was so excited to be able to quit my full time job at the end of August to be able to spend more time shooting and organizing the business and more importantly, to be able to be a stay at home mom and get to watch Griffin grow up!
What equipment do you use? What’s your favorite lens?
I am a Canon girl! I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and LOVE prime lenses. Without a doubt, my favorite lens is my 85mm1.2L! My husband and I argue over it whenever we shoot together so it looks like it is time for us to start saving up for a second one so we can each have one in our bags at all times!
So what made you fall in love with photography?
When Dave and I got our engagement pictures taken, I fell in love with how our relationship, and how we felt/feel about each other, was captured so perfectly in front of the lens. Even when I look at the images hanging on our walls now, I can still feel how I felt during that time in our lives. What a gift we were given to have those feelings captured forever! I wanted to be able to create that for other people and I wanted to be able to capture all of the future moments in our lives and all of the special moments for our children. I only dreamt that I would one day be able to pursue photography full time and that I would actually get paid to do something that I love so much.
Do you like portrait photography or lifestyle photography? Or do you do a dabble in a little of both?
I guess you would say that I dabble in both- or at least my style is a mix of both. I don’t think that I ever do true portrait or true lifestyle photography. When I approach a session, I typically put people in a beautiful location or in beautiful light, but then I ask them to be themselves and interact with their significant other or family members and to do what feels comfortable to them. I do offer minor coaching when people are feeling lost as to what to do, but my favorite images are of people laughing with each other or loving on one another as if I wasn’t there.
Who or what inspires you?
As far as photography inspiration, I know that it sounds cliche’, but my husband constantly inspires me and that I why I am so thankful that he enjoys shooting with me! He always finds interesting angles and perspectives from which to shoot our clients and he is the master at capturing the little details that are going on throughout a wedding day, while I am capturing all of the “must-have” shots.
As far as life inspiration, my husband, again. He is never afraid to dream big and is constantly planning our next life adventure! He has taught me that anything is possible and that you just have to go after what you want. He is the most amazing dad you will ever meet! The way he looks at Griffin could make you melt, he positively adores him!
Post Processing You have such beautiful soft colors that pack a punch in your photos….do you have certain actions that you continually use or any tips for achieving this?
Thanks! I typically do all of my basic edits in LR and then take photos into PS for final adjustments. I have always been a TRA fan, but by far, my favorite actions are two actions that Brenda shared with us during the Bloom Workshop! I call them my secret weapons although I guess they aren’t much of a secret since I just told everyone, huh?
You shoot mostly weddings…what drew you to do them and e-sessions?
I don’t think that I intentionally shoot mostly weddings and e-sessions, that just happens to be what I have shot the most in recent months. I will say that they are my favorite though so that is totally fine with me! :) I love the emotion that comes out at weddings and I love being able to capture the real moments of the day as they unfold. I think it is so cool that someone can relive their big day through our pictures because our goal is to tell the story of their whole day.
We see that your husband shoots along side of you….any pros or cons to this?
Pros: I can boss him around and he will give me back rubs when we are all done! Haha!
No, in all seriousness, Dave is the best second shooter I could ask for! Aside from the fact that he has natural, innate talent, he has a very creative eye. He is also great at keeping calm and keeping me calm in stressful situations, which are sure to arise in the course of a busy wedding day. Dave and I have really close connection so most of the time he knows what I need of him before I even ask. He also knows me well enough to know what types of shots I get excited over, so he captures images that are close in style to my own.
Cons: I think that sooner rather than later, we might have to change the name of the business to Tara + Dave, or Parker+Parker Studios!
When did you take the BLOOM WORKSHOP and what was your “AHA MOMENT” when you took it?
I took the Bloom Workshop in the spring of 2009. I took the workshop when I was first learning how to properly shoot in manual, and learning about the rules of composition and proper exposure, etc. so every moment seemed like an “AHA MOMENT”. It was the first workshop/class I had taken so I was so eager to soak everything up. I learned SO much from the workshop and I know that I would not be where I am today if I had not invested in Bloom.
If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be doing today?
I would probably still be working as an adoptions social worker or perhaps pursuing another more therapy based social work position. I would like to say that I would still be a stay at home mom, but photography has made that a possibility and I know that I wouldn’t be afforded this luxury if I wasn’t a photographer.
And now some fun not so serious questions!
Favorite color: It really depends on what I am coloring! Haha! Colors I would prefer to wear would greatly differ from colors I would choose to paint my house! I am a lover of color!
Favorite food: the edible kind
Favorite song: There is no way that I could come up with favorite song! I love all kinds of music and I have many different favorites depending on the time and the mood.
Favorite place to shop: I know that I am going to have rocks thrown at me here, but I really hate to shop! Haha! Maybe if I had more money I would enjoy it more! :)
(I just realized that I am not very good at all at these “Favorite” questions!)
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be: Like I said, I am a North Carolina girl! I think I will stay for a while! ;) Now places I would like to travel…. that is a whole different conversation! A very LONG conversation!
What is your all-time favorite quote or saying: It is better to fail at doing something you love than succeed at doing something you hate.
If you could have dinner with any two people, who would they be and why: I would have dinner with my amazingly talented and super-sweet friend Jeanine Linder. Too bad I don’t have a teleport to Switzerland! Jeanine and I took the Bloom workshop at the same time and instantly clicked! It is amazing how much we have in common and she has become a very dear friend of mine! And of course, I would love to have dinner alone with my husband because those nights are few and far between with a two year old! :)
Thank you so much Tara for the wonderful interview and the eyecandy photos! We are sooooo proud to call you a bloomie and we are truely blessed to call you a friend and class clown to boot…you always manage to put a smile on our faces and make us laugh!!