I am so excited and honored to have Amanda Reed of Amanda Reed Photography be my very first featured artist and WAHM.
I discovered Amanda a couple years or so ago on facebook and was completely blown away by her. By her work at first, especially her work with high school seniors. She is far from cookie cutter and sticks to what works for her and her client and is never afraid to reach and try something new and exciting! Her work and her ideas never cease to amaze me. As time went on and I got to know Amanda, I was in awe of her as a person. She is honest, giving, down to earth, humble and has not a bit of haughtiness about her. Her e-book is full of useful and insightful information. She has some gorgeous images to go along with her words of wisdom that serve both as inspiration and as a posing guide. If you want to up your game with the seniors, this e-book is a must have! Amanda has graciously offered a discount to KML Creatives readers as well. See bottom of the post for more details there 😉
for more about Amanda!!
KMLC: What was it about photography that drew you in and made you decide to pursue it?
Amanda Reed (AR): If anyone knows my story they know my pursuit of photography started when I photographed my brother’s high school senior portraits. My brother suffered a brain aneurysm when he was 4 and we were told he would never live to see a high school graduation. When I photographed him I realized we just overcame what doctor’s said would never happen. I also realized one day these images would be all we may have. At that point preserving not only my memories but the memories of other’s became the 3rd item on my goal list. Right after God and Family…………keep in mind these three things compete for the number one position daily. Balance does not come easy but it does come.
KMLC: How long have you been in business?
AR: I have been photographing professionally for 4 years (give or take a few months). I started with the class of 2008 and now am working on the class of 2012.
KMLC: How do find balance between your business and your personal life?
AR: All of us struggle with balance. I charge a professional price for my knowledge and creativity. This allows me to outsource. I do not outsource typical things in this industry such as my post production, instead I outsource a cleaning service, a lawn service, etc. This allows me to not worry about getting the floors mopped and my husband doesn’t have to worry about the weed trimming. We are available to each other and our children at the end of every day. We also know how to compromise. If I agree to work a Saturday I charge a premium. This means that by missing part of the weekend with my family at least I have extra money to do something bigger and better the next weekend.
KMLC: Your work with high school seniors is amazing! What was it that inspired you to write the Senior Synergy E-book and share so much of yourself?
AR: I have this connection with high school seniors. Either you are trying to be their friend or trying to be their boss when children reach this age. I don’t try to be either. I just try to be myself and let all of the other pieces fall together. I think sometimes photographers try to hard. They try to fit in talking their talk or they try to push the weight of their professionalism by being know it alls. I don’t think I fit either of those categories. I am honest, transparent. I believe my high school seniors are drawn just as much to my personality as they are my images. I think most photographer’s are trying to fit in a little box this industry believes the popular photographer to be. I see so many bio’s on websites that say the same thing. I have loved photography since I was a child. It is my passion. I am a mom, wife, sister, believer. I am over that crap and I think that our client base welcomed me because I wasn’t different per say, I was just me!
KMLC: How would you define your artistic style?
AR: Artistically I think I am very versatile. I believe I have the awareness to be completely precision and nail an image technically. I also can cut the technicalities and capture raw emotion but place it in the best available light of the moment. You can look at my portfolio and see amazing color and sharpness or you can see soft lines and golden rays of sun. I believe that my processing is based on the moment and the client. It is about reading their thoughts and taking that into consideration with their outfit choice and mixing those together to complete the AR Experience.
KMLC: Where do you feel you find the drive and inspiration to continually grow, be creative and unique?
AR: I grew up in a family where I was always taught I could be anything I wanted to be. That stuck with me. I come from a family of hard workers. My grandfather, father, uncles they always worked hard to provide for their families. Mostly in the mining and construction trade. They spent long hours not only providing for their families but setting an example to work ethics. What it meant to be faithful to your company and whether you were doing paper work as the superintendent or digging a ditch as a laborer, that you took pride in what you did. The women in my life for the most part worked in the food service industry. Little pay for large appetites! They too took pride in the meals they served, in the customers who appreciated that they knew what their order was before they ever opened their mouth. My mother also wrote poetry and painted with oils and acrylics to help make ends meet with her crafts and small poems she had published. They give me my work ethic. I was raised with very little, I don’t care one bit to say that I lived in a mobile home and that it still sits on my parents property. What that showed me is they never settled, they kept pushing for better. My drive comes because I am proud of West Virginia. West Virginians are always bearing a lot of “backwoods” humor. West Virginia is of course a very sheltered state but that has kept most of our homes honest and caring more about the people in our lives more than the money in our bank accounts. So as a woman of West Virginia, I wake up everyday hoping not just to make my family proud but also the great people of my state who get out of bed and work hard not only for their families but for the future of our communities. To answer your question about being unique and creative, I am competitive. I hate to lose but when I do you better believe I will get back up and play harder the next time. It is that winning spirit that keeps me pushing my game to the next level.
KMLC: If you could only give one piece of advice to those just starting out in this business or thinking of starting, what would it be?
AR: Everyone starts somewhere. I had of course entry level prices as well for about 6 months. Do not set out to undercut other photographers. Do not compete on price. Do not say, I only charge $25 and be proud of that fact. Instead, focus on your goals, write a business plan. Decide to be better than cheap. Decide to be a professional. I do not say this because I worry about losing business to the “newbie” I say this because I could cut my prices and charge $25 bucks as well. That would also cripple the photography market in WV and undermine the hard work and creativity of all of my peers who I respect across this state. I want to compete on my work. I want to know I am a great photographer not a cheap photographer. Invest in your education, take a workshop, read a book because just buying a camera only makes you a camera owner.
KMLC: This is a two part question to get to know you on a more intimate level. What do you feel is your strongest and most positive personality trait and what is your weakest?
AR: Wow, that is a tough question. I am not a self praise kind of person. I am still amazed that my career is where it is today, that my life has been blessed beyond measure. I think my positive personality trait is that I am a leader. I have never been one to think I had to follow the crowd. I don’t need to be a part of the clique and for the most part I probably think your clique is stupid. Which leads me to my weakest trait and that would be my tongue. I am quick to respond without first thinking the situation through. I am quick tempered which often get’s me into trouble 🙂
Thank you so much Amanda for your honesty and for the honor of letting us get to know you and show you off!! I feel blessed that you are the very first KMLC featured artist/WAHM.
Take a peek at some teasers of Amanda’s no holds barred Senior Synergy e-book with a little bit of eye candy. You can see Amanda at her website here , her blog here and her facebook page here.
You can purchase her amazing e-book here. As a special gift to KMLC readers, enter in the code kml25 to save $25.
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