Friday, February 17, 2017

Feature Friday with Cara Soulia Photography!

Cara Soulia Photography was the winner of our recent 'play' theme challenge. Read on to find out all about her, and of course to ogle some more of her gorgeous work!

1. Please tell us about yourself

I am a Boston, Massachusetts newborn and family photographer, wife, and mom to three kids and a cat.  After a 15 year career in the investment management industry, I left the corporate world to pursue my dream of starting my own photography business.  My experience as an analyst in finance gave me valuable preparation for the nitty-gritty of running my own business. And my role as a mother gave me valuable preparation for the long hours, steep learning curve, and at-times terrifying, but mostly thrilling, roller coaster ride of leaving a comfortable, steady career for the pursuit of passion. I believe equally in willingness to take risks and in careful preparation, and it’s both of these things that make me the photographer I am today.

I think taking pictures is in my soul: even when I’m not working, I almost always have my camera at my side to capture that must-have shot.  Besides that, I like to cook, knit, travel & read--although at this stage in my life it feels like I never have enough time to do any of these things!  I’m not ashamed to admit that deep inside I’m a complete math nerd.  I cannot even talk to you in the morning until I have a cup of coffee.  I almost never just sit on the couch and watch TV, but if I do, it’s to catch up on Top Chef with my husband.

2. Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?
I think I would say, colorful, moody, and luminous.
The vast majority of the pictures I take are of my everyday life with my kids.  This is the good stuff! There is so much wonder and beauty in day-to-day life with children.  My goal is to capture the emotional essence of what’s happening in front of me. I use color, light, and shadows in deliberate combinations to elevate these ordinary moments into extraordinary photographs.

3. What sparked your passion for photography?  
I didn’t really get interested in taking pictures until the birth of my second child in 2009.  I remember being on maternity leave and trying to figure out how to manually operate my Canon Rebel.  I was taking a lot of really bad pictures at that time…!

In 2011, I made a New Year’s Resolution to do a project 365, and that year I saw tremendous growth in my skills.  Being a mathematical person, I really enjoyed learning about the technical aspects of photography. I spent a lot of time just playing around with the mechanics and getting a feel for what my camera could do.  I started taking classes at a photography school in Boston and upgraded to a Canon Mark II.  A little bit on a whim, I decided to offer some free photo sessions to local families just to see what it was like.  I loved it! I really enjoyed working with so many different people and mostly I loved hearing their stories. Around this time I decided I wanted to try to turn my passion for photography into a business.  It was a long, slow, completely-worth-it labor of love…I grew my business on the side for four years before going full time.

4. What's in your camera bag right now?
Canon Mark III
Canon Mark II
Canon 70-200 f/2.8L
Canon 24-70 f/2.8L
Canon 100 f/2.8L
Canon 50mm f/1.4
Sigma 35mm f/1.4
Canon 430EX Flash
Gary Fong Diffuser
Extra memory cards, batteries, lens cleaner, tissues, hand sanitizer, remote trigger, prism and lollipops!

5. What is your dream shoot or project?  
I think it would be amazing to photograph a birth. My second child was breech and I ended up having a C-section. My midwife offered to take pictures since the OB would be delivering the baby.  These are some of my favorite images of all time and I wish I had photos like this of my other two children’s entrances into the world.  Right now, with three young kids, it would be hard for me to be on call as a birth photographer, but someday I think this is an avenue I would like to pursue.

6. What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?  
The more I develop as a photographer, the more I realize that we all started somewhere--even amazing photographers who inspire me every day also started out not having a clue what they were doing and taking really terrible images!   It’s hard to recognize this when you’re first starting out and you feel like everyone is better than you.  I will never forget the photographers who helped me out or offered guidance in the beginning and I’m committed to paying it forward. I’m always willing to offer a bit of advice, an encouraging word, or a sympathetic ear to new photographers when I can.

7. What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

By far the most important thing you can do is to shoot every day or almost every day.  There is simply no replacement for doing the hard work necessary to take your photography to the next level. You can have all the natural talent in the world, but you still need to put in the time to practice and try new techniques.  Also, don’t go it alone! Becoming part of a group, either online or in person, where you feel comfortable asking questions, is invaluable.

In the beginning, I wish someone had said to me: “Be brave.”
As much as it might feel scary and awkward to put yourself out there, you have to just start sharing your work.  It might be as simple as a social media share, or as formal as asking for an official critique by a mentor, but either way, a huge component to improving your work is sharing it with others and receiving feedback.

Find more of Cara's beautiful work here:

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