This week’s Featured Photographer is:
Danielle Gardner Photography
Areas of the world you Serve:
The Capital Region of New York
Tell us a little bit about yourself:
Hi! I’m a wife, mother and photographer in the Capital Region of upstate New York. Now that my 6-year-old son is in kindergarten I am relaunching my documentary/lifestyle wedding and portrait photography business. Before I became a mom, I was a photojournalist for Sun-Times Media in the Chicago area for six years and a wedding photographer for several Chicago studios for ten years. After my family, photography is my number one passion and I’m always studying different types of photography as well as practicing my craft.
How did you get started in photography?
My grandfather was a photographer in Soulac-sur-Mer, France when my mom was a little girl. My Mom followed in his artistic footsteps and worked as an artist and designer in Chicago and while I was growing up, she was always taking photos. Since I was 13 I knew I wanted to be a photographer. In my late 20s, I answered a strong calling to pursue photography as a profession.
What genre do you shoot?
My passion in images is authenticity. I was trained as a photojournalist in the University of Montana photojournalism program and worked in newspapers for six years. Now, I bring my passion for authenticity to family portraiture and wedding photography. I strive to make honest images filled with love and connection.
Who or what inspires you?
I’m inspired by people and love. People are immensely varied and so are their expressions of love. Finding authenticity in human variety and love is a joy. Great light is nice too, but not essential in my opinion 🙂 Also, we lived in Oregon for five years where there are so many different landscapes; photographing nature’s beauty is infinitely inspiring.
What kind of camera bag do you carry and what’s in it?
I have two Lowepro camera bags that I’ve had for a long time and they have never failed me. I also like my Think Tank belt and rolling case. I have Nikon 35mm digital and film bodies with Nikon prime and zoom lenses and Nikon speedlights. I keep basic supplies in my bags should the need arise for a bride, a portrait subject or for myself: scissors, snacks, tape, lint roller, money, pens, and paper. I also, have a fortune cookie quote in my bag, “If you must, you can,” to help me move past my fears.
What are some of your favorite photography products?
I’ve been using White House Custom Color for print products. The prints are beautiful and the customer service is very consistent and professional. I did several test prints with different labs, including non-professional consumer labs, to see if the professional price is worth it, and White House Custom Color’s prints were the best. For albums I’m going to offer Asuka Book’s Fine Art Layflat book to my clients. The design is timeless and artful.
Three random things about yourself:
I worked as a white water raft guide on the Rio Grande in Texas and the Arkansas River in Colorado; I’ve lived in nine different states; and I love to garden.
Best piece of advice you’ve received?
When I’ve doubted myself as a photographer (which is everyday at least once a day, lol) I always remember that my high school photography teacher believed in me. Thanks, Mr. Knippenberg! That has been invaluable and gave me the courage to believe in myself. Second best piece of advice that I have read over and over again in my photography studies is to trust your instincts and vision. I take this to mean that the more your images come from a quiet and honest place, the better they will be. Don’t try to make images like the photographers you love, make the images YOU want to make. Putting this idea into action for me is tougher than it sounds, but worth striving for every day.
Any advice you’d like to share?
Believe in yourself, trust your vision and work hard! Take photos as much as you can. But, don’t be afraid to step back if you need to. Push yourself to your limit photographically but be sure to rest too! Simple advice but I believe it can take you far. Work hard to develop your skills and vision – a lifelong process that is totally worth it when you start to see the images that you want to create come to fruition.
Mac or PC? Photoshop or Lightroom?
Whatever is available. I’m not picky! I currently use a PC and Lightroom but I have used a Mac and Photoshop too and they each work great!
Where else can we find you on the web?
I’d love some follows on Instagram: www.instagram.com/danielle_gardner_photography/ 🙂