I would like to introduce "The Enchanting Elizabeth Valentine of Studio V. Photography" as our Photographer of the Month for the Month of December. Here is the personal interview that we were blessed with. Thank you Elizabeth. :)
Candie and Michelle: When did you discover you had a love for photography?
Elizabeth Valentine: I discovered my love of photography when I was a teenager. I have always been a visual, creative person and it made sense for me to pursue it. At, first it was a hobby.
Candie and Michelle: :) Did you go to school for photography or were you self taught?
Elizabeth Valentine: I did not go to school for photography. I learned from another photographer. I worked with him for many years. I shadowed him on his photography jobs. I learned how to work with people and my camera at the same time. He was an amazing person to help me. Many photographers I know, do not like to help out photographers, just starting out.
Candie and Michelle: So glad he was there to help you learn. :) How many years have you been doing it?
Elizabeth Valentine: I have been a photographer for 10 years.
Candie and Michelle: What’s the first picture you ever remember taking?
Elizabeth Valentine: I do not remember the first photo. My fondest memories in my beginning years, were photographing my friends and we would stay up all night editing them and enjoying each other's company.
Candie and Michelle: What a sweet memory. How do you balance family life and your photography business?
Elizabeth Valentine: I have 3 children so the balance of family and business is so important, Monday-Friday, I wake up at 4:30 and I edit my images early in the morning. I then have the day to spend with my family. When I book sessions, I like to cluster them on the same days so I only have a few days to shoot a week and then I have many days off with my family. They are the most important aspect of my life. My business will always come second to them.
Candie and Michelle: :) How do you like living in Port Allegany, Pennsylvania?
Elizabeth Valentine: Port Allegany, is a very small town, but it has a big heart. I grew up here and moved away for 13 years. I never thought as a young adult , I would ever want to move back. My husband and I moved back here in 2010. It is the perfect place to live when raising children. We love to travel so I still get to be part of the world. I do love the sense of community here and small town values.
Candie and Michelle: Sounds like a wonderful town. Hope to visit it one day. Where is your favorite location in Port Allegany to do your photo shoots at?
Elizabeth Valentine: I love shooting on my parent's property. They live on a mountain with an amazing view. I know that location will always provide some amazing shots and sometimes, the wildlife comes out to say hello too.
Candie and Michelle: Awww. They want their picture taken too. :) Have any other photographers influenced your photography style?
Elizabeth Valentine: Absolutely! I love the creativity of Anne Geddes, the warmth and heart of Lisa J Holloway that she gives to her portraits, and the intensity that Meg Bitton gives to her images. All these ladies are amazing in their own right, and I hope someday to be as amazing as them!
Candie and Michelle: We will have to check them out. What are the biggest challenges you face as a photographer?
Elizabeth Valentine: One of my biggest challenges is trying to make my business grow. I am an on-location photographer, I would love to open my own storefront someday. That is a long process, but I feel that it will happen soon. Another challenge I feel I face is trying to narrow down a specialty. I just love photographing everything. I do not want to limit myself to one particular genre. My favorite sessions to photograph are families, children and maternity.
Candie and Michelle: We hope to help you grow your business. What’s your favorite picture you have ever taken?
Elizabeth Valentine: I LOVE doing artistic photos. These photos are close to my heart because I get complete, creative control. I love creating a tone and a feeling for people when they look at my work.
Candie and Michelle: :) What is the most memorable photograph you have ever taken?
Elizabeth Valentine: I did a series called "capturing cancer" I photographed a husband and wife who both had cancer. Their struggle and story, I felt, I captured on camera. They donated money at the session, that went to a child with Leukemia, of whom, I was raising money for.
Candie and Michelle: Awww. What are the biggest challenges you face as a photographer?
Elizabeth Valentine: SPENDING! I have a bad habit of spending too much money on props, backdrops and camera equipment. I feel like a kid in a candy store. I over spend for sure. I need someone to ground me and tell me NO!
Candie and Michelle: LOL. What is the one thing/place/person you have always wanted to photograph?
Elizabeth Valentine: I have never photographed twin babies. I would love to do that. That would be challenging for sure.
Candie and Michelle: That would be sweet. What do you know now that you wish you knew when you started out?
Elizabeth Valentine: I know now, to never compare yourself to other photographers. Only compare my work, to my work. If I knew that then, I would have had more self confidence for sure. In the beginning of my career, I feared many situations. I feared I would fail. It held me back for many years.
Candie and Michelle: Good advice for anyone. Is there any advice you would want to give to aspiring photographers?
Elizabeth Valentine: Follow your dreams and your heart and never give up.
Candie and Michelle: Also great advice! Where do you see your photography taking you in the future?
Elizabeth Valentine: TO THE PENTHOUSE! Just kidding. I hope I can make a good solid career out of it and I am hoping it can be something to pass down to my children.
Candie and Michelle: Ha ha. I hope we help build your business so that you can do that. Please explain your photography packages for our readers?
Elizabeth Valentine: I do sitting fees. I charge a certain amount for the session and then artwork and prints along with many other items, can be purchased after the session reveal.
Candie and Michelle: If anyone of our readers are interested in your work what would be the best way to contact you?
Elizabeth Valentine: My Facebook page would be the best way!
Thank you so much Elizabeth for taking the time to sit down with us. We feel blessed to be featuring you this month. :)
-Candie & Michelle