Richard Photo Lab

Richard's Photographer Spotlight: Carrie King

With sweeping views, luminous tones, and graceful movement, Carrie King's photography is unmistakable. Her ability to make fine art out of life's beautiful little scenes before they are gone has not gone unnoticed—she's been featured in print and online by publications like Style Me Pretty, Wedding Sparrow, Magnolia Rouge, and Elizabeth Anne Designs, just to name a few.

Today in Richard Photo Lab's Photographer Spotlight, Carrie is talking about the visceral draw of film, who is the "peanut butter to her jelly" in business, and the little pink camera that started it all!

Image by Carrie King

Richard: What first sparked your passion for photography?

Carrie King: I have always been passionate about photography. However, I considered it a hobby, not a career choice. In 2005, I moved to Italy. While living in Europe, I felt something... shift. I was deeply inspired by the history and architecture. The culture was all encompassing. I wanted to capture every moment! Realizing my desire to document our European adventures, my husband surprised me with my first DSLR. I now had the passion and the tool to pursue photography.

I traveled at every opportunity, visiting England, France, Spain, Switzerland, Greece, and Egypt. I cherish every captured moment. But I started feeling that something was missing in my photography. While landscapes and architecture are incredible subjects, my photographs were missing a human element. I came to the realization that beautiful backgrounds are only enhanced by the inclusion of people. This eventually transitioned into my current career as a wedding photographer.

Image by Carrie King

R: Making the leap from photography as a personal passion to a paying gig is a big oneŠ... how did you decide to pursue it as a career?

CK: My transition from photography as a personal passion to a career choice is incredibly personal. At times, it is painful to recollect. In 2009, my life was forever changed when my husband was killed while serving in the US Navy. I was now a single mother with an unfulfilling career. I came to the epiphany that life is short—you have to follow your passion.

I spent a considerable amount of time thinking about career choices and the pursuit of happiness. Photography was at the top of my list. I knew my husband would have supported my decision. He always supported and encouraged me in this pursuit. It brings me an immeasurable amount of happiness! Coupled with my personal passion for photography, I knew I chose the right career.

Image by Carrie King

R: When you aren't shooting for clients, what do you LOVE to photograph?

CK: If I am not photographing clients, I am coordinating editorial, stylized photoshoots. Photographing real weddings can be chaotic—events happen at a hectic pace. The opportunity to photograph events and details the way I envision is not always an option. Editorial photoshoots, on the other hand, allow for my complete vision to be realized. I have more control over the timeframe, details, and artistic concepts. The struggle between reality and creativity is real (and I think most photographers would agree)!

R: How do you find a balance between being creatively fulfilled and being able to pay the bills?

CK: The balance between creativity and financial freedom is a constant struggle. Creativity costs money. Film is not cheap! However, it is important for me as a film photographer to know my self worth. Clients are not only purchasing my esthetic, they are purchasing art. Sometimes, I have to sacrifice money for creative opportunities. But, I do my best to find a balance between the two!

R: What is your favorite camera and why?

CK: My Contax 645 with 80mm Zeiss lens has been the only camera I’ve wanted to pick up for the past two years. I’m convinced that the sound of the shutter is actually my heart going pitter-patter. I’m in love with the dreamy depth of field it captures and the way it feels in my hands. I know, I know, that’s not at all technical! I just know the visceral response I get from shooting with it, and it’s unlike any other camera for me.

When it’s time to put the Contax away, I adore all of the technical aspects and low-light capabilities of my trusted Nikon D4 partnered with a variety of prime lenses.

Image by Carrie King

R: What's your first memory of shooting with film? Why do you continue to shoot it as a pro?

CK: My first memory of shooting film is not glamorous and I’m sure it will age me. I am, after all, a child of the 80's! Film was a major part of my childhood. Digital cameras were not yet available. My first film camera was a pink Le Clic. My first memory of using it was at the zoo—animals were my favorite subjects back then. I blew through film like crazy. Ahhh...those were the days!

I continue to shoot film over digital because of the esthetic. Nothing captures light like film! There is a nostalgic quality about it. Film grain is so unique, and there is beauty in the imperfections. Film is tangible—I can hold it in my hands and see a physical representation of a hard day's work. Additionally, in a world obsessed with instant gratification, there is something to be said about the anticipation of an email from Richard Photo Lab stating that “your scans are ready for download”. Best. Feeling. Ever.

R: Why is it important to have continuous communication with your lab(s)?

CK: The lab is an extension of my business. They are the blue in my sky, the peanut butter to my jelly. I need to be able to trust my lab with a precious commodity. They are handling documentation of precious memories that cannot be recreated. My lab must care as much as I do about the work that I submit to them! It is also important that we collaborate on my prescribed esthetic. Consistency and trust is imperative.

R: Do you have any pre-shoot rituals?

CK: I shoot a lot of mountain/destination weddings and am usually there a day or two ahead of time. So, I feel very fortunate that I can take the day before, with my assistant there, to really feel inspired by the location and couple. Fueled by wine and good food, I scroll through my Pinterest boards that contain color palettes, patterns and textures, and art I love. I feel that I produce my best work when I’m really focused in on a vision.

Image by Carrie King

R: Let’s play a game of “Either/Or”! Savory or sweet?

CK: Savory.

R: Chocolate or vanilla?

CK: Chocolate.

R: Dogs or cats?

CK: Dogs.

R: Urban or rural?

CK: Urban.

R: Modern or vintage?

CK: Vintage.

R: Breakfast or Dinner?

CK: Breakfast.

R: Warm weather or cold weather?

CK: Warm weather.

R: Biggie or Tupac?

CK: Tupac.

R: Early bird or night owl?

CK: Night owl.

R: Crossword or Sudoku?

CK: Sudoku.

R: Batman or Superman?

CK: Batman.

R: Historical Non-fiction or SciFi/Fantasy?

CK: SciFi/Fantasy.

R: Comedy or Drama?

CK: Comedy.

R: Truth or dare?

CK: Truth.

R: What song/music gets you pumped up?

CK: Lose Yourself by Eminem: “If you had one shot, one opportunity to seize everything you ever wanted in one moment, would you capture it or just let it slip”. How can you not feel ready to take on anything after that?!?!

R: If you weren't a photographer, what would you be when you grow up?

CK: A food critic, yum!

R: If you were a super hero, what would your super power be?

CK: To pause time. I’ve been in so many moments that I never wanted to end.

R: What is your favorite word, and why?

CK: "Chiaroscuro". Light and shadow is in everything! You cannot truly appreciate one without the other.