Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Maria Manco

This week, Maria of Manco Photos wants to see things the way you see it. While you consider what that means to you, enjoy her beautiful photos and read about her relationship with photography. 

1. Tell us about yourself...

I am a natural light documentary/lifestyle photographer based out of Cleveland, Ohio.   I am a mom of two little ones and I love documenting their childhood in an honest and authentic way.  I don't direct or force my family to sit perfectly and smile, instead I choose to capture them as they are.

2. What ignited your passion for photography, and what fuels it now?

5 years ago (to the month) we took our first kid to Portrait Innovations for 3 month photos.  We spent a small fortune and I naively thought that it would be cheaper for me to just buy my own fancy camera and take photos of him myself.  Little did I know at the time that it would ignite a spark inside me and I'd become so in love with it.  So my passion started with and continues to be my kids.  When I start feeling overwhelmed or that I am taking on too much or trying too hard or comparing myself to others, I remind myself that I am doing this for my family first, they are always the priority.  Photography has become my outlet, so when I'm feeling down or stressed or worried, I grab my camera and start shooting and let my mind rest. It can be really meditative.

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?

Canon 5d Mark III
Sigma Art 35mm 
Sigma Art 24mm 
Sigma Art 50mm 
Canon Tilt Shift 45mm
Canon 24-70L
Canon 135mm
Fuji x100s
Fuji Instax

I use my 35mm or 24mm all the time!  I rarely use the 135mm other than an occasional wedding and I never got used to the 50mm focal length, I keep toying with the idea of selling that one.

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?

I would love to spend a day documenting a person or family who needs their story to be told, to use photography to spread their message and get them whatever help they may need.  One day I will figure out how to go about doing this. 

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?

Comparing myself to others and listening to the opinions of others.  Everyone photographs in their own way and their own style.  What works for one person won't work for everyone.  I just try to keep reminding myself of this and to trust the process, that by continuing to plug away and trying new thing I will continue to grow. 

6. If you had $500 to spend on photography...

How should you spend it?  Set it aside to save up for a new camera (my shutter is getting high and it will need to be replaced soon)
How do you wish you could spend it?  Buy a bunch of photography books of some of the masters of photography
How would you really spend it?  I would probably set it aside to save for a new camera.  Although an ONA camera bag has always been on my wish list..... :)

7. Is there any one thing you wish someone had told you at the very beginning of your photography journey?

Keep going.  Even when you doubt yourself.  Don't compare yourself to others.  As long as YOU are growing and experimenting and learning and better than you were last year, you are doing it right.  Things don't happen overnight.  Just keep going. 

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