Thursday, June 9, 2016

Meet This Week's Judge: Joni Burtt

This week, Joni of Joni Burtt Photography asks what you find "out of your front door", keeping things close to home. Here, she shares some of her own work. Enjoy!

1. Tell us about yourself...
I'm a thirty-something stay-at-home-mom to Charles (8) and Rosemary (4), married to a bearded paramedic, and dog-mom to Joey, a 12-year-old black lab with lots of distinguished grey whiskers.  I got into photography by chance six years ago, was terrible at it for a very long time, but fell in love with documenting our little life here in the forest of southern New Brunswick, Canada.  We love exploring, hiking, camping, and gardening.  I also love napping (sadly, my kids do not), thrift shopping, and cooking.  Obviously, I also love photography, and I especially love trying new things - freelensing is something that has stuck for years.

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

To be honest, I only got into photography because my old camera broke and I had enough tax refund money to buy a "nice" one.  I had no idea what I was doing and my plan was to just take cute photos of my toddler son who was the Handsomest Boy in the World.  However, as many fellow momtogs know, it's hard to stop once you've started!  Over the years I've spent loads of time trying to find a style (the learning curve was steeeeeeep, let me tell you) but I've settled into it.  I am mostly inspired by my kids (shocking, I'm sure) and the beautiful countryside around me.  I love snapping these memories to keep forever.  They tell a story I never want to forget.  You'll also not find a lot of black and whites; I LOVE them, but I am really into colour and how it adds to our story as well.  

3. What’s in your camera bag right now, what do use the most? the least?
I have a Nikon D600 (bless that thing, it's been heavily used for over two years and just keeps trucking), a 50mm 1.4, 90mm macro, Sigma 24-70, and Sigma 35 ART.  The 35 stays on my camera 90% of the time.  It's perfect for the documentary-style photos I take, and wide enough for my little house.  

4. What’s your dream project or shoot?
I'd love to do more travel photography, but we're po' folk, so it's definitely something very far in the future.  Landscape photography is not my forte so I'd love to dabble in it and improve.

5. What is the biggest challenge you face as a photographer?
The pressure I put on myself to keep churning out 'winners', and also the tendency to slide into doing what other people expect.  I have to frequently remind myself that I shoot for me, and me alone, 90% of the time. (I do have a small business that operates solely on word-of-mouth, so I do have to reign it in occasionally.)

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

How should you spend it? a decent camera bag and harness.
How do you wish you could spend it?  an amazing sale on a 70-200; I hate to buy one if I won't use it much but I'd love to have one anyway!
How would you really spend it? probably put it towards another ART lens.

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

Shoot primarily for you.  Don't try to imitate or impress.  Shoot what you love and let it speak for itself.  Also: break some rules. :)

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