Kate Whyte is a photographer, graphic designer and illustrator who has been working with some major brands in North America. She grew up on two islands off the coast of British Columbia, Canada and was raised by two creative parents who pushed to follow her dreams. She now lives in Vancouver.
Tribe Collective: Tell us about yourself. What is your background, and how did you get into photography?
Kate Whyte: I grew up in British Columbia, Canada. I always knew that some form of art was my calling but it took me until after I'd graduated with a graphic design and illustration diploma to figure out that photography was really what brought me the most joy.
TC: Please provide us with a list of the gear you use on a regular basis:
KW: I have a Canon 5D IV, a Canon EF 70-200mm f/2.8L IS II USM and a Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS II USM.
TC: What does your post-production process look like?
KW: I use Lightroom to apply my presets and tweak certain colours and then I bring each photo into photoshop and remove distracting elements, dodge and burn skin, composite photos together. I play around a lot in PS and I don't see the harm. I'm not a SOOC purist - if I've got a vision and it requires me to combine elements from 5 different photos to get me there, I will do it.
TC: How has your photography style evolved over time?
KW: I was gifted my first SLR in 2008 - a Canon Rebel - and in the beginning, I shot a lot of colourful nightlife characters; Drag Kings/ Queens and burlesque dancers and I'm definitely still so inspired by their energy and theatrics. I also had absolutely no idea how to use my first SLR, or my second, or my third, to be completely honest. I shot on auto most of the time - I tried really hard to figure out how to use the manual settings on my own but it was never something that came naturally and I ended up spending a tonne of time in post fixing things that I should have got right, to begin with.
In the past few years, I've knuckled down and focused on learning how to use my gear properly and it's been such a game changer.
TC: What are your favourite tools for capturing, editing, and enhancing your photographs?
KW: Lightroom and Photoshop.
TC: What is your greatest piece of advice for emerging photographers?
KW: Make mistakes and learn from them (just maybe try not to make big ones at someone's wedding!). Be bold and ask that person if you can take their portrait. Make friends and share tips with other photographers. Don't get discouraged by the naysayers and don't get too caught up in gear. I love my 5D IV to the moon and back but I can also take a pretty great photo on my phone when I need to.
TC: What type of photography do you most enjoy?
KW: I love shooting people. My greatest goal is to portray each person that I photograph in the light that they would wish to see themselves. I think, because of my background in design and illustration, I love introducing, patterns, bold shapes and colours.
TC: What are you discouraged about in your work/business? What encourages you?
KW: I get discouraged by the amount of down-talking I see online from mostly older male photographers to mostly younger female photographers. Like in just about any other industry on earth, it is so much harder to be taken seriously as a woman.
That being said I have seen a lot of camaraderie within the female photographer community and it makes me so happy to see vulnerable questions answered graciously and people uplifting each other and empowering one another to take their careers to the next level.
TC: When was a time you thought you would/had failed? How did you overcome it?
KW: There have definitely been instances where I have bitten off more than I can chew. I've taken on jobs that I knew were out of my depth and struggled through them. Looking back, now, I know I could have improved the product I delivered but I just chalk it all up as a learning experience and strive to better the next time.
TC: What defines success for you as a photographer? If you never achieve that, will you still be satisfied with what you do?
KW: Success to me is that feeling of elation when I've created an image I'm proud of - whether I've just done something myself or I can share that joy with a team. I would LOVE to shoot for Vogue one day but even if that never happens, photography is my creative outlet and I will always be grateful for that.