Amanda Rose or Mandy lives in Valparaiso, IN with her husband, two kiddos, pooch and two fishes. She has worked in banking, as a 911 operator, and a nurse for 12 years, but none of it was really her. She is now a photographer specializing in couples, engagements, elopements, weddings, boudoir, seniors and family photography.
Tribe Collective: Can you tell us more about yourself? What is your background, and how did you get into photography?
Amanda Rose: My name is Mandy--Mandy Rose to be exact. I found out there is also a WWE wrestler by that name. I am NOT her. Sorry, folks. I came into my photography journey by accident really. Like most Moms, I really found an almost yearning to photograph and document my children. I've always had good cameras. Not sure why, but my parents trusted me with expensive equipment at the age of 8. I only knew how to shoot in auto though.
Three pretty good cameras and two kids later, I decided I needed to learn more about it. I took pictures, posted on Facebook, took more photos. People started asking me to photograph them and boom it snowballed. Here I am, 6 years later. I quit my job as a nurse a few years back and went full time as a photographer. I don't regret the decision for a single day.
TC: Can you provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis?
AR: I shoot with a Canon Mark 5D IV, but have a backup Canon 5d Mark III for weddings. I use my Canon 35mm 1.4 for 95% of my sessions. I also bring along my Canon 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2 and Sigma 24mm, but my first love is the 35mm.
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
AR: It mainly looks like me on the couch, pyjamas, laptop and Netflix, but that's probably not what you're asking.
I am a lover of all things Tribe. When I first discovered Tribe presets, they changed my world completely. It felt like a piece of the puzzle that had been missing. So when new presets are released, I'm all over it.
The new Terrain presets have not disappointed. What I love most about these presets/creative profiles, is that I can use several different ones on the same session and still maintain a cohesive look through out. Being able to change the profile with a different preset has been a game changer. Another bonus is the skin tones. They are natural. I've struggled in the past with skin tones and the Terrain presets really enhance the natural tones. From beach to mountains to cityscapes, there is something in there that works for every location.
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
AR: Not to sound cliche, but I will: I'm always evolving. Even month to month, I find I'm changing. Let's just say 6 years ago, I was buying fabric from the local fabric store and trim from the hardware store to create a homemade wall set up. I'd move my dining room table into a hallway, and plop some toddlers on the floor with thousands of props. Over time, I realized this wasn't me. There was no emotion or connection, which is what I was wanting but at the time didn't realize it. I was just taking a picture to take a picture. I wanted to be good right away, I wanted people to tell me how to be good and I couldn't understand why I just couldn't get to where I wanted to be right off the bat.
Truth is, I didn't know what I loved at the time. I was frustrated constantly and I'm not going to lie, I still get frustrated because I'm constantly wanting to be better. I'm not a photographer who loves every single photo I take or think they are all great, even though others may love them. I tend to scrutinize myself and my photos and I've learned that's ok for me because it has helped me improve. I don't realize that I am evolving until I look back. That's when I give myself a moment to say, you're doing it. You're getting there. The biggest change for me was saying no. I found when I was shooting things I wasn't into, it held me back and frustrated me more. I gradually said no to photographing newborns, toddlers, etc. The power of no is a real thing/feeling. By saying yes to what I want to do, I feel like I've grown as a person and a photographer.
TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?
AR: I'm not just saying this, Tribe presets have been a game changer for me. I edit in ACR. I have a little trick I do on each photo that sometimes gives me that little 'ompf' that I need. I bring the photo into Photoshop, select tools and hit the auto button. Sometimes it gives that nice little extra boost, but sometimes I like it just the way it was before. I'm not sure if that is really a trick, but I like to pretend it is. For these images, I used Summit and Forged on the mountain photos and a mix of LXC and Forged on the sand dunes and TERRAIN on the rest.
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
AR: Oh man. If I could talk to myself 6 years ago. Where do I begin? I'd tell myself, you're going to fail. You're going to make mistakes. You are going to think you are not improving, but you are. Your journey is unique and not like anyone else's. Yes, some people improve quickly, some take longer. You cannot compare yourself to others. You may at some point but don't let it deter you, let it inspire you. Don't get caught up in trying to be someone else. Be yourself. Find what YOU love to do and go after it. Stay true to what you love. Value your worth. If you value yourself, others will value you as well. Lastly, practice. Practice without the fear of failing.
TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?
AR: Hands down, couples. I feel I connect with them the best. I love to experience their interactions together. I love to learn how they connect with one another. Every couple is different and if they are full of laughter, they've made my day.
TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?
AR: Let's start with what encourages me. Other photographers encourage me. I've built some of the best relationships with photographers. They help me to get out of my comfort zone and see things in a different perspective. Taking photos for myself encourages me. I love to do sessions just for the joy of doing them. I find those are my greatest tool for growth. Also, I LOVE to see before and afters of other's work. I love to see how each person can interpret the final outcome of an image.
What discourages me? At the moment, it's the struggle of balancing my work life with my home life. I want to give 100% to photography, but I also need to give 110% to my family. I started my journey while raising two boys. I'm nearing 40 this year, which I'll just say does not bother me in the least because mentally I'll always be about 24, but I feel like I may have started photography a little later in the game than others. Does that really matter? Not really, but I tend to get discouraged about the 'what if's.'
For instance, what if I would have started this journey 20 years ago. I don't feel like I've been able to go all in like I've wanted to. It's easy to get discouraged while seeing others traveling to amazing locations while I'm in the school pick up line. However, photography is not all about locations. For me, it's about the people and hey, those cool locations give me an excuse to go on a family vacation.
TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?
AR: Last year. I started off my year with a passion and desire I hadn't felt in quite a while. Then slowly, I let doubt settle in. I started comparing myself to others like I hadn't before. I was picking myself a part and second guessing everything I did. I got lost in trying different styles of editing that weren't me. I began to feel like every shoot I was going on, was a reproduction of the one before. I stopped posting my photos. I almost felt like I was disappearing. I had lost my voice. I had to dig myself out of a hole. I started opening up more to my peers about how I felt, I found out I wasn't alone. I became encouraged by the fact that other photographers experienced the same feelings as me. I was able to talk about it with other people who understood.
I also started shooting for myself. I can't even begin to tell you how much this helps. Letting go of a fear of what the client wants or expects and just photographing how I want to photograph. I've been experimenting more with shooting when the sun is still high. It gives me an entirely different look and it may not stay as consistent with the golden hour portion of the day, but I've really been loving the results. This is what I'm now pushing myself to do with each and every session.
TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?
AR: I think we all have a different idea of success. For me, success is when I feel like I rocked a session. When I feel like I've let go of a fear and explored creatively, that's when I feel the most successful.