Photographer, North Carolina native and world traveler.
So you’re originally from North Carolina, what’s it like coming from a small country town and settling down in the city of angels?
I always wanted to live in California. Anytime I would see pictures of Los Angeles I would get all giddy like a middle school girl. I remember first coming out here when I was 22, I was driving on PCH and saw the water for the first time and it literally took my breath away. I finally made it! Before coming out here I lived in NYC, Miami, and Phoenix…so was already accustomed to the big city life. And I loved it.
When did you first start taking photographs?
9 years ago.
How old were you when you got your first camera?
18 years old.
Did you start with models?
Sorta. I was hired right out of high-school scouting and directing model searches. I helped aspiring models develop a portfolio. It was then I discovered a passion for photography.
What is your favorite style to shoot?
I love shooting fitness, which is quite ironic since I hate working out! Besides fitness, I love shooting fashion/lifestyle. I absolutely love shooting fashion with a lifestyle appeal. I’m not a very structured, super detailed or particularly dark person….so I like to add a bit of warmth, movement and humor while still maintaining a high-end appeal.
What photographers inspire your work?
I have always been a huge fan of Peggy Sirota. Her work oozes emotion, joy, energy….I just fall for it every time. Deeply love Sally Mann’s work and of course Bruce Weber, Patrick Demarchelier, and Herb Ritts…the classics.
Where has been your favorite location to shoot at thus far?
Hard to say, I’ve been so blessed to be able to travel all over the world. Every city I shoot in I love it for different reasons. For instance, I love Bora Bora because of how clear the air is. You are able to capture “true colors”. No air pollution, its amazing. I also love shooting anywhere in the south, I have a deep connection to it and always have been drawn to that “down home appeal”. No frills, little trashy….its great.
So you produce all your shoots on your own which can consist of styling, location scouting, putting together mood boards etc. Does this get exhausting?
It can get exhausting, but I’m a bit of a control freak so I don’t mind it. When I’m producing a shoot, I’m really specific about everything. Sometimes it’s hard to express everything you see in your mind. It's much easier not having to explain it to someone and hope they understand what you’re envisioning.
I love that you have a SMILE tattooed on your “shooter finger”, when did you decide to make such a commitment to photography by choosing a tattoo that tied into your role as a photographer?
That was a result from a bachelorette party in Missouri! Hurt like hell, but it's a great conversation starter.
What are your plans for the future?
Hopefully a farm and some chickens! Besides a few photo projects I’m working on, my goal is to continue taking pictures that simply, make people happy.
How do you make your mark on the world through photographs?
I haven’t fully discovered it yet. My hope is when people see their images say, 5….10….20 years from now, they will smile. I hope that the images will transport them to that time and place and that they will still feel as beautiful.
We are aware of your amazing home cooking in addition to your photography skills, what are some of your favorite healthy dishes to cook?
I love meal prepping. It keeps me from going to the mcdonalds drive-thru. I love making huge salads and hearty soups (even if its 90 degrees out) and breakfast stirfrys. Beginning of the week I go to the market and pick up a few pounds of veggies and meats, and make different salads so I never get bored of it! But my favorite meal of the day Is definitely breakfast. Eggs, avocados, ground turkey and raw peppers are my go-to breakfast bowls….keeps you full for hours!
What are some of the craziest things you’ve seen models eat while on a shoot with you?
A bunch of things I cannot pronounce. As long as it does not smell too bad, eat away!
You’re a great role model for women, showing them even a young girl from the country can chase her dreams and make a life for herself far from her family. What other things do you hope to do for women?
My hope for other women is that they know they can be whatever…whoever, they want to be. And once they decide, embrace it. There are no rules to this except you must love yourself. Use your voice, use your mind but most importantly use your heart. We are pretty freaking amazing creatures….nothing on this earth is like us. If you have a dream, go after it….even if you don’t have two nickels to rub together.