Tava Bradshaw: I'm not sure when exactly, but I've always liked taking pictures. We moved around a lot growing up and lost many photos of me and of my family. I didn't want that happening to my children. I want them and their children to picture their past and the people that helped make me who I am today.
Candie and Michelle: I understand that completely. There are moments from my past that I wish I had captured. Did you go to school for photography or were you self taught?
Tava Bradshaw: I am self taught. I learn something new every day. Thankfully, I am a speed reader, and that allows me time to read and research new concepts and ways I can improve my skills.
Candie and Michelle: What a wonderful and helpful skill to have. How many years have you been doing it?
Tava Bradshaw: Professionally, Ive been taking photos for about 6 years. Before that, I remember getting a Polaroid instant camera for Christmas one year from a cousin. I think I might have been 13 or 14. That was the biggest Christmas I ever had as a kid! I had other cameras through the years but pictures started meaning more to me when I had children.
Candie and Michelle: I understand what you mean there. They call me the "Momarazzi". LOL. What’s the first picture you ever remember taking?
Tava Bradshaw: Wow, Ive taken so many! I can't remember the first picture but I'm pretty sure it was probably my nephew, my friends or one of my dogs. When I really got into photography, though, my kids were pretty much my subject all the time.
Candie and Michelle: How do you balance family life and your photography business?
Tava Bradshaw: It's tough to balance. Not only am I a photographer, wife & mom, I also work full-time in healthcare. Ive been in the medical field since 1999. I am very fortunate. I have a lot of support from my family. They help me set up sessions and assist me any way I need. Plus, being a photographer has its benefits in regard to knowing about events in your kids lives and being present to capture them.
Candie and Michelle: We are so glad you have that wonderful support system. How do you like living in Hiawassee, Ga?
Tava Bradshaw: I love it. The Mountains, the people. The amazing scenery in our area provides the most incredible back drop in many of my photos
Candie and Michelle: The backgrounds in your photos really are stunning. Where is your favorite location in Hiawassee, Ga to your photo shoots at?
Tava Bradshaw: For regular sessions, Im not sure I have a favorite. We have a lot of variety from rustic, vintage to polished and ornate. But if I must choose one - I would choose our local school. The view is incredible from the football stands but my heart is more into capturing these talented young people Ive come to know and showing the world how great they truly are. Every child should have memories that they are proud of and memories that make them smile for years to come.
Candie and Michelle: Awww....sweet. Have any other photographers influenced your photography style?
Tava Bradshaw: I'm constantly reading and learning. I can't say there is a photographer in general that has influenced me but there are some amazing artists that inspire me.
Candie and Michelle: What are the biggest challenges you face as a photographer?
Tava Bradshaw: Lighting. Any photographer will tell you- good lighting is a must. Secondly, editing. I am very much a perfectionist in what I create to share with people. Third, trying to cover several school events and feeling really guilty not having time to capture so many other school events.
Candie and Michelle: I can understand that. What’s your favorite picture you have ever taken?
Tava Bradshaw: When I upgraded my camera, I did a little fun session with all 3 of my children (all teens! which is a task!). They were goofing off and posing for laughs. There are several of those that are my favorites.
Candie and Michelle: Memories you will have forever. :) What is the most memorable photograph you have ever taken?
Tava Bradshaw: My grandson in his first moments. I was overwhelmed by how much I could love someone I had never met. He was born in December 2014. These photos may not win any recognition but they bring me great joy. Our first grand!
Candie and Michelle: Those photos are more precious than gold. :) What is the weirdest photograph you have ever been asked to take?
Tava Bradshaw: Um. Did I mention that I am around a lot of teenagers at local school events? Lets just say that I said "no".
Candie and Michelle: LOL. What is the one thing/place/person you have always wanted to photograph?
Tava Bradshaw: One thing? Everything!
Candie and Michelle: What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
Tava Bradshaw: That I don't have to "salvage" every single photo I take. I am allowed to have a few that need to go to the recycle bin.
Candie and Michelle: Good advice. Is there any advice you would want to give to aspiring photographers?
Tava Bradshaw: Practice. Practice. Practice. I was encouraged by many people to step up and do more photography. Sports events will test your skills to the max. Don't sweat it that you can't get all 3 of those toddlers in the perfect pose like you see in the magazines. Mom & Dad really love those "real life" shots you get when you interact with them and let them be themselves.
And while you are practicing, offer to help local charities, a special needs group, or even your local school. While these things may not pay at all, the experience will help you improve your skills and that is truly priceless.
Candie and Michelle: That is really good advice. Where do you see your photography taking you in the future?
Tava Bradshaw: I haven't really thought about that before. Thanks to my much loved sister, Angie (who proudly displays my creations), I was introduced to YA Author, Christy Sloat. Christy was looking for original work that was one of a kind to adorn her book covers. We made a connection and here we are, 2 one of a kind covers, and another one on the way. So, for the immediate future, I am breaking into the book cover business.
And taking LOTS of photos of my grand. LOL.
And gearing up for my sons graduation this year. I guess I should say, my many children that will graduate this year. I have grown so close to many of his classmates. Photography has allowed me to know many of them really well. I'm sure I will be a blubbery mess by graduation- but I will still be taking pictures, Kleenex in hand!
Candie and Michelle: I have seen your covers. Absolutely gorgeous. As for graduation....I would need some tissue too if I were in your shoes. Please explain your photography packages for our readers?
Tava Bradshaw: My photography packages are varied. As I photograph Newborns, Families, Seniors, Engagements, Weddings, Pageants, Sports Events, etc, each client I serve is unique. My base price is $75 for simple sessions. Wedding packages start at $350. Typically I provide disks of the photographs to my clients with a print release so they can print what they want. I also offer regular prints up to 16 x 20 and I offer landscapes on canvas.
Candie and Michelle: If anyone of our readers are interested in your work what would be the best way to contact you?
Email or facebook is always the best way to reach me. My email is picturemeingeorgia@Live.com
Thank you so much Tava for taking the time to sit down with us. We feel blessed to be featuring you this month. :)
-Candie & Michelle