Sunday, 5 December 2010

Photography Interview with Lisa Michelle Arhontidis & Picture Prompt Poetry Challenge

Welcome to One Shoot
Photography Sunday!

Over the American Thanksgiving holiday weekend, amidst Turkey and other fine delicacies, I had the honor of interviewing Texan photographer Lisa Michelle Arhontidis. She is a self-taught photographer with a penchant for people – and her website, for one, boasts a fine portfolio of her experience with portraiture photography. No newcomer to the social media scene either, this Nikon girl has already gathered a loyal following on both Twitter (@lmphotos) and Facebook.

*One Stop Poetry's Chris G. conducted the following interview:

What sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been working with photography?
LMA: I remember trying to get into Photojournalism in high school but I didn't have any room for it in my schedule. Years later I was desperate to get a camera and see if I had "The Eye" for it. In 2006, a Nikon D50 was purchased and I practiced and practiced shooting anything I could. In late 2007, I got a call from a friend in need of a replacement photographer to shoot her elementary cheerleaders' annual group and individual photos. 22 girls total, and to say I was nervous was an understatement. I got there...parents behind me watching...and it just happened. I was cool, calm, creative, and I had a ton of fun. Best beginning experience ever. Haven't looked back since!

In your case, your photography tends to focus on people, portraits, etc. – what is it about people that appeals to you and your camera?
LMA: People! Sounds simple but I love people. I love the range of emotion I can get from someone in a single session whether it's a child or adult. I also adore working with kids, since I seem to have a superhuman patience when it comes to photographing them.

Do you have a personal philosophy about photography? 

LMA: Inspiration over Imitation. So many people out there forget that what you see from most photographers came from their heart and usually tons of planning. I am inspired every day by amazing artists and I take that inspiration and turn it into something that I hope will be an inspiration to other artists.

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of people-centered photography? How does one, in a sense, "capture" the essence of a person?
LMA: Connecting. In order to bring out true emotion you have to find a way to connect with your subject. It's always awesome when by the end of the session I feel like I've made a good friend. In all honesty though I have had a couple sessions where I just couldn't find that connection or they didn't really let me in. Those were tough shoots and I found it hard to enjoy the finished product.

What has been your experience with the internet as a medium for sharing your art and experiences with photography?
LMA:  Facebook amazing and in my opinion the easiest and most fun form of advertising for any photographer. First off, it's free! And besides that it's just a great way to spread your name around to the masses. I haven't exactly had much luck in the way of bookings through twitter ( but it's certainly another tool I use. Why not, right? The more free advertising the better! ;)

What sort of education/experiences have you gone through to get where you are today?
LMA: I'm completely self-taught. It's been frustrating at times when I desperately want to do something I see in my head yet can't quite get it exactly right. I will always be learning though and hope to never feel like I know everything there is to know. I mean how could I when art is always changing.

How much of your work/photography in general would you say is pure shot vs. post-processing/digital editing? 
My goal is to have a great shot straight out of camera so the only cropping that ever takes place is when I take the shot. Lighting is also a big deal to me because that just makes my finished product more beautiful and natural. My post processing consists mainly of skin retouching. I also like to use actions that I play with and alter in order to create different moods like a vintage effect or a killer b&w or sepia.

What kind of camera, lenses, filters, and/or editing programs do you typically use? LMA: I'm a Nikon girl. I am currently shooting with a Nikon D300, and for lenses I go between the Nikkor 50mm 1.8, and my Nikkor 18-200mm 3.5-5.6. I use Photoshop CS3 with plans to upgrade to CS5 soon. And I only shoot in RAW.
What would you suggest to people just beginning with photography?

LMA: Take your camera everywhere. Take pictures of everything. Learn how to visually crop when you shoot as opposed to cropping while you edit. Practice on friends and family before you start charging. And have fun learning.

Are there any photography resources you would recommend for individuals who wish to know more about the art form?
LMA:  I love to look at my local competition's websites to get a good understanding of what attracts them and how our work differs. I also find a ton of inspiration in their work and use that inspiration to fuel me to be better!

As far as technical information, here are some goodies:

And this next one is my photographer crush...her work is beyond inspiring and she is only 21!

And now for the Picture Prompt Challenge!

Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55). Post it on your site.
Sign up using Mr. Linky so people can find your work.
Let us know what you are sharing by leaving a comment below.
Finally, visit other participants, comment, & give credit to Lisa in your post. 

Thank you,

Accept the picture prompt challenge! :)


dustus said...

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Thanks to Chris G for another excellent interview. Lisa Michelle Arhontidis takes amazing photos. Enjoyed reading her responses. As for the challenge, a bit of a change from the last challenges. Eager to see what you post.

Just posted my challenge entry:


Anonymous said...

Amazing Interview & Photography...Wonderful!!! =)) ~April

moondustwriter said...

Great photography. Love meeting self-taught artists, photographers.

Thanks Chris and Dustus for the One shoot

Here is my poem

Anonymous said...

Not sure how to link mine through here, guess I'll have to wait on Mr. Linky :)) ~April

shewriting said...

Well, that was a fun prompt. Great interview and beautiful photography!

Cosmic Enigma

Claudia said...

thanks chris and adam for an excellent interview and
Lisa Michelle - wow - i like your pics

...and what a picture..prompt..smiles i'm in!

have a great sunday everyone!

me_duress said...

Don't know if I am on the ball with mine, but its beautiful photo, and a fun challenge - loved all the other enteries!

Glynn said...

Great interview, beautiful photo.

Wysteria said...

Great Picture... I have to admit, I am a little jealous of this prompt..)


Aquarius63 said...

Thank you, mine is posted.


Helena Malheur said...

Fantastic photography and interview. Always been envious of people who can take photos of ordinary things and make them look and feel extraordinary. What a great talent to have!

hedgewitch said...

Mine's up. Some very nice portraiture from Ms. Arhontidis.

Lisa Michelle said...

Thank you ALL so very much! To be able to do what you love as a career has been everything I could have dreamed for!!!

I just wanted to make a little correction.... there seems to have been an answer swap on one question and a jumbled up answer for another. I would just like to fix the swapped answer (another photographer's answer was posted)

The question: Are there any photography resources you would recommend for individuals who wish to know more about the art form?
And the correct answer is: I love to look at my local competition's websites to get a good understanding of what attracts them and how our work differs. I also find a ton of inspiration in their work and use that inspiration to fuel me to be better!

*As far as technical information, here are some goodies!

*And this next one is my photographer crush.... her work is beyond inspiring and she is only 21!

I just had to clarify since the answer posted seems to have gone to school and I did not and we have different views and experiences of course.

Thank you all again! I am loving reading all of your beautiful poems for the prompt challenge!!


Reflections said...

Hope everyone is having the start of a wonderful week. Mine is up.

Jerry said...

I've got the itch for photograpy already...and the interview has me scratching more and more. Scintillating and challanging photo prompt but I wasn't too scared. Looking forward to reading the posts on this.

Hope said...

Amazing photographer!. wonderful interview
thank you

Desert Rose said...

Hi all..
loved the photo and the prompt..hope my contribution is not so disappointing.was moved by the photo.
wish you all great week ahead.

The Desert Rose

Desert Rose said...

sorry it got pressed two can delete one Adam..hope its not breaking any rules concerning the number of words here.

Maureen said...

Very much enjoyed the interview, and the challenge.

M.L. Gallagher said...

the photo is stunning -- and what a great prompt!

Thanks for the opportunity to take up the challenge.


Brian Miller said...

great interview and some wonderful images...especially love what i am seeing with what people are doing with the photo prompt...

Alegria Imperial said...

Compelling image, great interview! How can't this prompt not lure words to take form and shape? I'm humbled to be in such creative company.

I'm sorry I haven't had time yet to create a blogger account. I do try to read all poems but hardly ever succeed in posting my comments. I say it here now--each poem is awesome, in its own a treasure.

Thanks for another Sunday challenge, Dustus and Chris!

Anonymous said...

I wrote this poem a week or two ago but it just begs to spend time with this photo! I love the photography

shewriting said...

oops...just added my link and didn't realize it was already added, thanks to whoever did that!

Fireblossom said...

I love her inspired photography, and I love love LOVE the photo prompt picture! Shallow chica that I am, last week's "homeless" prompt didn't do a thing for me, but this one does and my contribution is up!

Beachanny said...

An excellent interview; wonderful responses already. I tried a different "take" stop by and let me know if it even qualifies. It is a little tongue in cheek.

Chris G. said...

A real pleasure here - another photographer that was a real delight to work with. Thanks Lisa for the great interview! Sorry for the slight mix-up with the initial posting, that's all been worked out now.

Hope everyone's enjoying the photos and Lisa's wonderful insights as well. As Dustus said, the prompt this week's certainly different from those we've had in the past - hope everyone enjoys a bit of steaminess added to their Sunday!

Adam White - Poet said...

Hey guys. Hope you all had a great weekend.

Catherine Mackie said...

Hi. I kinda cheated with this one... using an old poem... hope I'm not hanged, drawn and quartered for that... please visit it at It is called Rhythm.

dustus said...

Glad to see you all participating in the challenge!

@Fireblossom lol :)

@Beachanny I enjoy reading different creative takes on prompts. Great post!

@Desert Rose No worries, my friend. Happy to see you take part :)

Lisa Michelle Arhontidis said...

You are all AMAZING!!! I love reading every single prompt entry and feeling different emotions with each! LOVE this!! Thanks again for all of your kind words!!!! xo Lisa Michelle Photography

Catherine Mackie said...

I totally messed up my post... waiting to see if I can cheat and post a 2nd poem... I said I was posting RHYTHM but in fact I posted SEDUCTION. Damn...

Michele Brenton aka banana_the_poet said...

My second poem since I found this community - quite a lot different from my first - a serious one.

Mama Zen said...

Gorgeous photography!

Anonymous said...

thanks for hosting the photo prompt and links.

Gwen Dubeau said...

Hello everyone, hope your weekend has been nice.

I have posted a poem and a picture for the one shot today. The photo was taken in my yard, late in the evening. Few happy moments with camera in hand. Hope you like them!
Have a great week.

Cheers ~ Gwen

Giovanna Coberts said...

Thanks to you all. Wonderful photo, Lisa. What fun for a wintry Sunday!

Anonymous said...

Great pics and great to be here!

Pete Marshall said...

this was, yet again, a wonderful interview and a great feature....i loved the picture prompt, just sorry i wasnt around to be more involved...well done Adam & Chris...cant wait to see what is in store for next week...cheers pete

Medhini said...

Hello everyone,

This is my first time here and I am loving it already... Loved the prompt...