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Meet Caitlin Fisher of Caitlin Fisher Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Caitlin Fisher.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I guess I have to start by saying I am originally from Birmingham, Al and I never thought I would ever be a photographer because I always wanted to be in front of the camera. My childhood dream was to be an actress. Now, I remember always having a camera in my hands from a very young age. I even remember being in 4th and 5th grade and trying to orchestrate photoshoots with my girlfriends. I would flip through the pages of Kevin Aucoin’s Making Faces and try to recreate looks using whatever makeup my 10-year-old self could get my hands on – which is hysterical when I think of it but also kind of impressive that I had Mr. Aucoin’s book as a 10-year-old.

I shot with a disposable camera, and I would take my rolls of film to Walmart to process them. Naturally, none of them turned out. Anyway, because I was so enamored with the silver screen, I moved to Los Angeles right after high school to pursue an acting career. I consider myself one of the lucky ones that started working professionally almost right away. I signed with a manager 3-4 months after moving to L.A. and started booking recurring roles in television and worked a lot commercially. When I first moved here, I also worked at a commercial agency as a receptionist/assistant, so I was able to learn the business side of how the industry works and that experience was invaluable, to say the least.

There were so many highs and lows in my acting career that I won’t get too much into, but I was lucky to do it for a living for a decade. I talk a lot of about my acting career because it’s pretty synonymous with my photography career, so there is a lot of compare and contrast. Ya know being an actor is tough – it’s an inconsistent business in which a lot of the time you have no control over what happens. After I got married 5 years ago, I started asking myself if this was the type of lifestyle I wanted for the rest of my life. Also, as an actor, you quickly realize that if you’re not making a living by ONLY doing acting, then you need a survival job… or two…. or three.

But even if you are a working actor, you need to have something else going on in order to keep yourself mentally and emotionally healthy. Keeping all your eggs in the “acting basket” can be risky. For years I was trying to figure out what those other baskets were for me. What else could I do besides acting that makes me happy? I needed another creative outlet that I had control over. Three years ago I decided to revisit my childhood hobby of orchestrating, and I picked up a camera again. I fell in love immediately. I started asking my friends to shoot with me and started building my portfolio.

I know this might sound crazy, but I originally wanted to pursue photography because I really loved retouching and Photoshop. I loved the idea of being a digital artist. When I first picked up a camera three years ago, I knew I needed to ask myself what kind of photographer I wanted to be. In what direction did I want to take this? That is when I knew I had to do studio photography. I loved the look of studio lighting. Even as a little girl flipping through fashion magazines, I remember being drawn to studio photography. I didn’t know it was studio lighting at the time but looking back those were the images I was drawn to.

I love the technicality of studio lighting and molding light in a controlled setting. The sheer simplicity of shaping light is a craft I hope to spend the rest of my life trying to master. I love the work of it. The process of it. If I’m being totally honest, I love the process of photography more than acting. I feel, no matter what career path you pursue in life I feel you need to enjoy the nitty-gritty work of whatever you’re doing in order to find satisfaction in that career path. So many times we choose careers because we see the end of the product of what could be, instead of seeing the 1000’s of hours put in to get to that end goal or position of being truly skilled at something.

I think as a kid this is why I was so drawn to being an actor. Sounds so cliché when I think of it. Now, when people ask me advice about how to break into the acting game. I always have to ask them, do you like the “work’ of acting? Do you have a natural inclination for the work? Or are you wanting to get into this industry for the recognition and status? If it’s the former – go for it. Even if you suck as an actor, it won’t matter to you because YOU enjoy it and it makes you happy. You might not make a dime, and you’ll probably have to work a regular job to pay the bills, but your soul will be fed. However, if you love it and you’re great – the sky is the limit.

Even if I didn’t make a penny doing my photography and everyone hated my work – I would still do it. I guess I just want to take the opportunity to encourage young artists and young professionals alike to be honest about their talents and interests and be honest with themselves about what you want to do with your life. That honesty will lead you in the right direction even if notoriety or recognition aren’t at the end of the tunnel. Sorry I got onto a soapbox there, but I spent a decade always wondering if there was more and if I would have had the courage to have been honest with myself I would have revisited photography way sooner.

But I also believe everything happens when it’s supposed to. I’m currently moving in the direction of building my portrait and beauty portfolio because I would love to shoot beauty campaigns in the future. Beauty photography is a very technical niche in photography, and I just love it. It’s all about the hair, makeup, skin, and casting of your model. It’s all about the face. I feel portraits are the same way however the end product doesn’t have to be as perfect as a beauty shoot and for me, portraits are all about the emotion. I somehow want to merge the two of these, and I think that is what will make my work different.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I am not sure any road is smooth, there are always bumps along the way. But, I am very fortunate to have had a pretty smooth road so far, and I think a lot of that is due to the fact I have an amazing support system of family and friends. Especially my amazing husband. He has been my #1 fan, and I seriously have no idea where I would be without his love and support. A good man is hard to find, and I somehow was lucky enough to find one.

My husband is also an entrepreneur and owns his own company, so he gets it. He is a quarterback coach, and his company is called Throw To Win Quarterback Training. He has this tagline he always tells his QB’s, and I also take it to heart… he says “Get comfortable being uncomfortable.” It’s so true, and for me maybe that is one of my struggles. Life isn’t comfortable and you need to settle into that fact sometimes in order to reach your goals.

Most of my journey I have had to do alone in the aspect that I am completely self-taught, and I have never assisted. I taught myself Photoshop and how to retouch and all of my lighting techniques come from reading books, watching online tutorials and good old trial and error. Also, I have a one-year-old daughter who is just the joy of my life, but it’s been a challenge being a working mother and balancing the two things.

My daughter always comes first, so sometimes my business has to wait, and things can a take a little bit longer to get done. My husband and I also have another baby on the way so at this point in my life I am learning to slow down and enjoy my family and my babies and trust that I will always be able to pick a camera but I won’t always be able to pick up my children.

Caitlin Fisher Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I am a studio photographer specializing in headshots, portraits and beauty photography. Right now I am known for my headshots, and I’m hoping to shoot more beauty and campaigns. I think I am most proud of how I work with my client’s one on one. I love people. I love faces. I love the diversity and uniqueness of each person.

Out of that love, I feel I am very natural at giving direction and making people feel comfortable and cared for. I have been ‘the talent’ for so many years that I think that allows me to connect with my clients on a whole other level. Having your picture taken can be very intimidating for people, even if your model. I think my approach to the process makes people feel unintimidated and allows people to open up, be free, and have fun.

It’s so cheesy sometimes to say ‘oh just have fun’ but I personally NEED to have fun and enjoy my own shoots and if my clients and I can’t have fun and enjoy our time together then get away from my lens. I say this jokingly because if you shoot with me, I’m going to make sure you have a good time and enjoy yourself. I set the tone for my shoots and rest assured it will be the easiest breeziest photographic experience. I’m confident of that.

I am extremely detailed oriented with hair, makeup, wardrobe, posing, lighting, and everything else in-between and that makes for a great shoot. When people sit in front of my camera, I don’t expect them to be anything but themselves. I’m simply there to help guide them in showcasing their uniqueness and beauty and capture it with my lens.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
I don’t know if I have just one moment – but whenever clients tell me that they had so much fun shooting with me and my team and that they don’t want to the shoot to end… or that they love their photos and they are finally getting work in television and film… or that my photos helped them have a breakthrough – that always makes me very proud.

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