Sunday, 16 January 2011

Photography Sunday: Interview with Katherine Forbes (& Picture Prompt Challenge)

One Shoot Photography Sunday!

Katherine Forbes
Welcome all to another wonderful One Shoot Sunday, hosted here by Chris Galford. This week I bring to you another portrait photographer—a skilled woman named Katherine Forbes. Katherine came highly recommended to us by another photographer you may remember, Lisa Michelle Arhontidis, who was previously spotlighted on One Shoot Sunday.

Katherine is one of those photographers that can really capture the essence of people. In action, or caught in a moment’s embrace, Katherine has the eye for catching people at their brightest. Furthermore, she has a great love of children, and it shines through in her extensive work with them. What’s more, she had some great insights for One Shoot, as well as a number of samples for your viewing pleasure. I hope you enjoy – and be sure to thank Ms. Forbes for taking the time for this interview!

What originally sparked your interest in photography? How long have you been working with photography?
Katherine: I’ve always appreciated the art of photography and the feelings evoked that go along with it. Looking through old family albums growing up and seeing how my grandmother kept every photo tucked away in her grandchildren's individual albums made me realize the importance of preserving memories in one’s life. When my family moved to Colorado in 2008 I was instantly in awe of all the beauty around me. The mountains, the wide open fields, the sunsets, the pure happiness of the people living in such an amazing place really inspired me. I would get up before the sun, camera in hand, and venture out to find interesting places to shoot. It was winter when I first started doing this so I was instantly in love with the quiet beauty of the morning and being able to capture what surrounded me with my camera. Eventually I had the urge to do more, shoot more, take my photography to another level and that’s when I started photographing children and then moved on to everything in between. My main goal when photographing someone is to capture them as they truly are. I want to snap their natural laugh, a glance between a couple when they don’t think I’m shooting, that innocent smile of a baby while they slumber. Those are the moments I feel people will look back on and be thankful they have as keepsakes of their lives.

In your case, your photography tends to focus on people, portraits, etc. – what is it about people that appeals to you and your camera?
Katherine: I must admit, I LOVE photographing children! I could spend hours (and I usually do at my shoots) chasing them around a park, getting down at eye level with them and asking what their favorite things are, seeing that look in their face when I know they trust me and think I’m just a tall lady with a camera who is there to play with them and every once in a while take a few photos. I’m not big on posing when it comes to little ones. I want their parents to see their child how they were at THAT moment when we took the pictures. If we get a few pouty faces and arms crossed here and there, than so be it. I am all about capturing the truth in my photos. As much as I ooh and ahh over babies and children I do love photographing seniors, families, engaged couples and am looking forward to my first wedding next summer! I treat each session the same and want to deliver fabulous images to my clients. If I am true to myself as a photographer and photograph what I love then it will come across in my work and everyone will be happy!

Do you have a personal philosophy about photography? How would you describe your style?
Katherine: Be true to yourself and don’t try to be like anyone else out there!!!! I was guilty of not practicing that philosophy when I first started out and it did nothing but bring me down and frustrate me. I would see all of these amazing images from other photographers whom I admired and would try to obtain those “perfect pictures” like they had and it never worked.!! After a while I began to realize that it was ok to be different, to find my own style, that people would book me for ME and MY style, not because it looked like someone else’s! Photography is not only about freezing a moment for someone else, it’s about letting go of YOUR insecurities and finding yourself each time you shoot. I feel like I learn something different at every session. I may be photographing a child and know in my head exactly how I want to process the images. Or I may be shooting a senior and have a vision of what I want the end result to be and I race home to try it out only to realize that what I had envisioned isn’t exactly what I had wanted or what I think the client would want. It’s a learning process and I love that! I’m definitely never bored when it comes to photography. There is just a plethora of opportunities when it comes to your creativity and where you want your journey to take you!

What would you say is the most challenging aspect of people-centered photography? The most rewarding? How does one, in a sense, "capture" the essence of a person?
Katherine:  The most challenging aspect of people-centered photography is the uncertainty of what kind of session you’re going to have. Will the child feel comfortable around me enough to let me follow them around and shoot freely? Will the newly engaged couple be relaxed and be themselves? Will clients like a location I‘ve recommended if they wanted me to choose? Will the 10 day old newborn sleep deeply for those “posey pictures”? All that being said, each of those things are also the most rewarding! Every session will be different and I love that! As a photographer you just need to be on top of your game and be prepared for anything. It goes back to what I said earlier – I am there to capture the person/people in that moment. The essence of a person is easy to photograph when they trust you and feel like you know what you’re doing. Confidence is key, but trust is everything. Makes for a successful shoot every time!

What has been your experience with the internet as a medium for sharing your art and experiences with photography?
Katherine: I’m sure many would agree that Facebook has been a huge medium for those in the photography business! Not only are my friends and family able to see my work, but it gives their friends and family a chance to see it as well and the exposure is limitless! Having the ability to post specials, referral program incentives and just having current clients comment on their pictures is invaluable in getting exposure. Word of mouth has always been helpful to me in this business and Facebook has certainly helped get my name out there. Not only has it brought me new clients, it’s also allowed me to meet other photographers who have become a huge part of my life. The network of artists I have met and learned from has been instrumental in keeping me focused and lifting me up a bit when I’m having “one of those days” in the world of photography. I don’t know where I’d be if it weren’t for a few people who have let me ask them a million questions, inquire about what printing companies are the best, asked advice about settings on a new camera, etc. I have to give many many thanks to Kristen Mackey of Son Kissed Photography ( for her unending friendship, advice and support as I’ve embarked on this photography venture. She has always been there to lend an ear and has taught me SO much! She along with many others are invaluable and a huge part of my success.

Do you find any common ground between photography and other creative pursuits like writing or poetry?

Absolutely! Photography is a way of writing by using your eyes and the lens to capture a story. I have an English degree and a lot of times when I’m shooting I can almost hear the words that might go along with the subject in front of me. Just like I’m reading from the pages of a book as I click the shutter. Definitely depends on the subject in these cases, but it usually happens when I’m doing a model or senior session. I’ve been cooking up a few ideas for a session and it falls into this category for sure! Telling a story through photographs can be one of the most powerful ways of expression there is.

How much of good photography would you say is pure shot vs. post-processing/digital editing?
Good, or great in my opinion, photography needs to have a combination of both excellent photography skills and a great grasp on editing. Let’s face it, you can take an amazing photo SOOC (straight out of camera), but if it’s not processed in a way that gives it that extra something special it may not measure up. So much of photography these days is how you edit. Anyone with a DSLR can take a picture and call themselves a “photographer”. It’s what you do with that camera, what you know about the camera and how it works, that sets you apart from the rest and makes you a true photographer. Many people take years (me being one of them) to perfect their craft and be content with what they’re producing. I still find myself wanting to learn more, put a new edge on my post processing, to just be better in general! When I find myself loving someone else’s work 9 times out of 10 it’s their post processing that I love. Sure the image in itself is amazing, but again, it’s taking the photo to that next level and making it unique that sets them apart. People know and remember certain photographers for how they edit. Period. And post-processing is monumental in the outcome of a photo as a whole. I see a lot of over editing and honestly it makes me cringe. I think it takes away from the beauty of a picture if it doesn’t look real, if a child’s eyes are too colorful and don’t look natural, if you can tell the editor doesn’t have an eye for when someone’s skin looks orange and a sky is blown out. As cliché as it sounds, it’s the whole “picture” that makes a photographer look good.

What kind of camera, lenses, filters, and/or editing programs do you typically use?
Katherine: I’m a Canon girl 100%! I was shooting with a Canon Rebel Xsi for the first two years and have just recently upgraded to the 5D mark II and LOVE it! I was a little intimidated with it at first and was honestly a little frightened by everything it can do (ha!), but with a lot of practice and a few S.O.S. emails to friends for advice I’m getting the hang of it and love what it can produce. I shoot almost 100% of my sessions with a 50mm 1.2L lens. My other lenses hardly ever see the light of day (sorry guys). Glass is so important!! You can have one super duper camera and all the editing software on the planet, but if you don’t have the glass you’re pictures aren’t going to be what they could be. I have PS Elements, CS3, CS4 and Lightroom 2. I edit nearly all of my sessions in LR first and then do any tweaking in PSE and CS4.
What would you suggest to people just beginning with photography?
Katherine:  Don’t be afraid to ask questions!! I am self taught and never took any photography classes to learn the art of photography. I learned through shooting over and over again until I liked the end result, reading tons of photography blogs and forums and of course through asking questions to the people I admire most in the business. Beyond just taking pictures and meeting so many wonderful clients what I truly love about this business is the camaraderie between photographers. I know there will always be competition out there and the goal to “be the best”, but I can honestly say that throughout my short career I have never felt like we are out there to “one up” each other or outshine one another. The beauty in photography is the differences in the way we shoot, the way we edit, the way we connect with the person (or animal or structure) from the other side of the lens. If we all had the same editing style, the same marketing, the same props, the same vision, what fun would that be? The world of photography would be a very boring place! I love that I have friends in the business that are in the same town as I am but we aren’t threatened by one another. We can discuss new ideas, shoot at the same locations, give each other tips for finding new clients, etc and it’s OK to do so! You’re not going to book clients by being like everyone else. Be an individual! Be original! BE YOU!

Are there any photography resources you would recommend for individuals who wish to know more about the art form?
Katherine:  There are so many wonderful resources out there for photographers these days. When I first started out, I Heart Faces ( was a great place to learn. They have a discussion forum where you can ask anything and everything and everyone is extremely helpful! I love Pretty Presets for Lightroom ( for my editing tools and MCP Actions ( is a great resource as well.

Now for the Picture Prompt Challenge!
  • Write a poem (or Flash Fiction 55) based on the prompt.
  • 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 Katherine in your post. 

Thank you,

Accept the picture prompt challenge! :)


dustus said...

Fantastic interview by Chris G. to kick things off! Katherine Forbes takes amazing photos. I think she has such a gift for capturing light, expression, and the various personalities of her subjects!

We have another cool prompt today. I altered my approach and tried a flash 55. Whether you opt to write poetry or microfiction, I'm looking forward to seeing what everyone posts. Go on and give it a shot! Have fun. Cheers

LeiffyV said...

*sharp inhale* oooo, I'm a bit too dark these days for this challenge but I look forward to seeing who puts up what!

Claudia said...

thanks chris for introducing katherine to us. these are amazing photos, full of life and emotions. esp. the children's pics touched my heart.
i'll be in for the picture prompt...kissing...hmmmm...nice.. ;=)

hedgewitch said...

I don't write often about babies and moonbeams and young love and such, but I did find an old poem about a kiss from years gone by. I dusted it off and it's as close as I'm going to get, I'm afraid. Those are cute babies, though. ;-)

Theodore Daniel Richards said...

The Cuff

Anonymous said...

I really adore Katherines photos truly inspiring! Great interview Chris and thanks for hosting Adam!

the walking man said...

I enjoyed the interview. But I was bonked in the head with the baby wearing the dog tags. I think that picture should go up on every bill board and bus sign all over the world.

Just because they wear bra's and can grow beards doesn't mean they are not someone's child off fighting. We need to be reminded of that me thinks.

Glynn said...

Great interview.

In some of the photos it's plain to see but it's suggestive in all of them, that these are images of the American midwest or plains. For someone like me who lives and works in the midwest, they are very familiar.

Brian Miller said...

great shots...and great interview chris....the baby with the monkey rocks...and the dog tags pull the heart...

i am in...

dustus said...

@farflungstar Unable to post to your site, so will tell you here that I enjoyed your poem very much, in particular the building of the rhyme for kiss that comes full circle at the end. And "oxygen breathed in sudden bliss" is such a great poetic line. Cheers

Andreas said...

i love the playfulness of this picture. i rather enjoyed this exercise. thank you.

Gigi Ann said...

Thanks Chris, the interview was great, as they always are. I love Katherine's photos, she captures her subjects so well. Thanks for sharing them with us today.

Jerry said...

Through these interviews and this writing prompt meme I really feel so much more than a pixel. The art of image capture is infecting me bit by bit...great interview and nice to meet Katherine.

Mattison said...

A first-timer here. The interview is great, especially Katherine's thoughts on photography and words. Thanks for sharing her photos and her talents!

Fireblossom said...

I cheated. My poem was suggested by the photo prompt, but in the end I used a different picture that i felt reflected my sestina better. I throw myself on the mercy of the court. I want Moonie for my defense attorney!

info said...

I don't usually write about love - although a departing kiss is sad -lol i should have thought of that earlier... I really enjoyed reading everyone's - wow - perfect food for the soul on a sunday

Alegria Imperial said...

Thanks again, Chris! Great choice of artist and as great an interview. Katherine Forbes' pictures elicit tender thoughts like first loves and unforgettable first kisses. I had fun with this prompt! Thanks all!

Maureen said...

Wonderful photo prompt today! It has a look of Norman Rockwell about it.

Thank you for introducing us to Katherine Forbes' excellent photography.

Fireblossom said...

Alegria's link isn't working for me. I get the ordpress homepage. :-(

Fireblossom said...

PS--I mant to say how much I like that sunflower photo!

Recovered Zombie said...


Chris G. said...

Always nice to have a little change of pace isn't it? More romance for you poets out there for a prompt...but we haven't seen too many children's shots yet, and that's something Katherine's really talented at.

Hope you all enjoyed Katherine and her work as much I enjoyed sharing them with you. Love these portraiture photographers...always interesting to see what they can capture of their subjects.

Pete Marshall said...

made it...this has been in and out of my mind all day...great picture prompt and a wonderful interview...fantastic photography..thanks guys ...and of course Katherine..cheers pete

Adam White - Poet said...

Probably a bit late for this but hey, I've been super busy.

Katherine said...

Thank you thank you thank you for all of the amazing and sweet comments on my photos and interview! It was a pleasure to work with Chris and I am honored to have been asked to participate on this wonderfully talented website!
All of your kind words have MADE MY DAY!!!
With much respect always,

Anonymous said...

Better late than never!!! i took the a Shadorma! Thanks Katherine for the inspiration...and Chris G for a dynamite interview


Anonymous said...

Nice interview and Pictures.

Anonymous said...

The photos are so sweet. It warms my heart to see an artist reflecting the softer, sweeter sides of life in their work... So often we become inundated with darkness in art, it's a relief to see joy again... And the prompt works SO well with the lovey-dovey yearning the majority of my work has been reflecting lately... Thank you Katherine, and thank you Chris!

JackAZ Photography said...

First time I've attempted to write a poem based on someone else's photo and not on my own inspiration. Hopefully, I have done Katherine's photo justice.

me_duress said...

I have been captain obvious with this one - I am discovering that romantic is not my strongest suit!

Alegria Imperial said...

Joy and Brian had informed me that the link to my blog from here was busted. I tried to access it from here and indeed it was! I've reposted it. I hope it works for all. Please do try. Thanks Joy and Brian!

budh.aaah said...

Really good work Katherine. I tried 160 with it but couldnt upload the pix with it :(

Anonymous said...

oops ! i wrote the poem last night but got late in posting on blog :(

Anyway i will submit the same for One shot !

PS : the pics were superb !!! loved them :)