Today I’m excited to share with you my interview with professional photographer Marina Art! Photographs have always been important to me and I’m always the one snapping away at family events, but my knowledge and skill are only very basic. However, photography is an art form I really appreciate and want to learn more about.
Marina is a professional child, family and wedding photographer and owner of Marina Art Photography, based in Boston, Lincolnshire (UK). She specialises in maternity, newborn, child, family, portrait and wedding photography.
I first met Marina for a family photo session when my daughter Leona was around a year old. We had just been to a christening and Leona was already tired and cranky. The shoot could have been a complete disaster, but thanks to Marina’s skill and patience she managed to capture the beautiful pictures below.
Now, on with the interview!
When did you first get into photography? Is it something that interested you as a child?
Yes, my father was interested in photography and I knew how to use a camera since I was a child. We’ve been taking cameras wherever we’ve been going and I still have one of the Zenits we used in my studio. Although, now I only use it as a prop.
Where did you study?
I have a degree in Linguistics and History, but I never actually thought that I’d be a professional photographer. When I was starting out I already knew a great deal about light, composition and how my camera works. But later I came to a point where I realised that I need more knowledge to create the kind of images that I want to create. So I travelled all over the UK and Europe to learn from the best photographers I could find. I also took a course in newborn safety to make sure that my newborn photo shoots are 100% safe for the little ones.
Were you influenced by the work of other photographers or artists?
Oh yes, I am a visual person, so visual artists have always influenced me. My biggest photographer crush is probably Annie Leibovitz, followed closely by Karina Kiel, Elena Shumilova and Von Wong. Berthe Morisot, Angelica Kauffman and Rembrandt are my favourite painters. I think each of them influenced me in one way or another.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Everything. From shoot preparations till late night editing – I love it all.
People love to share photos on social media or collect them in albums to look back on. Why do you think they hold such sentimental value?
Time flies so fast. Photos and videos are the only things that help us to grasp those precious moments of our lives and relive it once again while we look at the pictures.
Photography involves a lot of work behind the scenes that your clients don’t see. Can you explain the process you go through before and after a shoot?
It all starts long before the shoot. First we discuss the colour schemes and ideas for the session with the client. Then, depending on how crazy we get, I might end up sewing an outfit, cutting and glueing props or even painting a whole background scene. The shoot itself is usually the shortest part, but most enjoyed by everyone involved.
Next, I need to back up every file on a couple of different devices to avoid them ever getting lost. Then comes the editing. First, I choose the best images in Lightroom, colour-correct them, crop or sharpen if needed and send them to Photoshop, where I polish them and prepare for both
When everything is ready, I arrange a viewing with my clients and they choose images for wall art, etc. Depending on the order, I might have to do some extra editing for specific wall art types. When the wall art arrives, I have to check the quality and only then send it to the client.
You photograph lots of special occasions, from 1st birthdays to weddings. What is your favourite event to capture and why?
I can’t possibly pick a favourite. Long ago my photography mentor told me that I should pick up to 3 shoot types and only devote myself to them. I still can’t do it. I mostly call myself a family photographer as I am with families from the moment two people decide to be together forever
Your arrangements are always really creative, from beautiful and rustic scenes to vibrant superhero themed shoots. Where do you find your inspiration?
Everywhere. Books, movies, cartoons, paintings. I have a whole book of ideas written down with details, waiting for perfect families to choose them.
What are the main challenges involved
in your work?
The main problem is that a day has only 24 hours. I have 3 kids and sometimes it’s hard to balance work and family life properly.
What’s the most important lesson you have learned during your career?
Make sure you get it right in the camera. This simple rule saves a lot of work.
You do a lot of work with babies and young children, who are notoriously difficult to work with. What are your tips for photographing little ones?
You need to be prepared for only getting a short time of the child’s attention. Have something ready to distract them (toys, music box, bubbles) and possibly someone to help you do it.
If one of your clients is self-conscious or anxious in front of the camera, how do you help them to feel confident and at ease?
Everyone is different and there is no single secret way to make a person relax in front of a camera. Humour works for me most of the time. But also making a few shots and showing it to the person to help them realise that I will capture them in best light possible. For women, having their makeup and hair done before the shoot works wonders. This is why I now work with two make-up
Do you think it’s important for a photographer to have good interpersonal skills?
I think it can help people of any profession, but for
What do you think are the three most important things that make a great photo?
Good light, composition and not having shaky hands.
What’s the funniest thing that’s ever happened to you during a shoot?
There are a lot of stories, especially when it comes to children. Once I had been photographing siblings who were fighting all the time. I really wanted to take a photo of them together. I’d been asking them to at least come closer for quite some time, but they were refusing all the time. Then, finally, the older sister hugged her brother and said (a bit annoyed): “All right, I’ll just take shower later.”
If you were taking a self-portrait, what location or props would you use to reflect your own personality?
I am dreaming of a photo shoot in the mountains with golden hour light. Romantic maxi dress and brown leather working boots. Matching the unmatching. Maybe a hat or a flower wreath on my head. But the idea changes every year or so.
What advice would you give to someone who wanted to start a career in photography?
Practice, practice, practice. You can’t get better without shooting a lot. Start practising long before you start charging people.
What’s one thing that you wished people understood about your job?
A photographer is foremost a problem solver and a multi-tasker, but also a confidant, a sounding board, and a therapist. People can feel very vulnerable in front of the camera and I have seen some tears shed and very personal stories shared. I love connecting with my subjects on a deeper level! And I think some may not realise how much of a people person you need to be.
Thank you so much for sharing this behind-the-scenes glimpse into your work, Marina! Being a photographer sounds very challenging at times but also very rewarding. I love that you are giving people the gift of preserving their special memories.