Each month, I interview a local photographer to learn about why they love photography.
Candice Christensen is a portrait and lifestyle photographer in Portland, Oregon. Aside from photography, she’s also a technical writer and editor by profession. A lifelong lover of books, reading, words, and writing, she also loves showing stories through photos. You can find her at www.ccphotographypdx.com.
Roxanne: When did you become interested in photography?
Candice: I grew up in a family of amateur photographers with film SLR cameras, but during college, when I was on the staff of the literary arts publication at PLU, I started to realize that photography could also be art and not a mere snapshot.
Who or what influenced you to become a photographer?
I stopped working just before my daughter turned a year old, and I found myself with a lot of time on my hands to kill for several years. Photographing my daughter and the items around us, learning all I could, and improving my skills helped immensely to fill the void I felt without having an outside job. A few years ago some friends asked me to photograph their wedding, and then a few other friends asked me to photograph their kids or families, which inspired me to eventually start my own part-time portrait photography business.
Why is photography important to you?
It’s a way to make memories permanent. My husband died in an accident when our daughter was a baby, and the few photos I have of them together are priceless to me. As I spent more time on photography as my daughter got older, photography became equal parts creative and technical outlet and therapy.
What motivates you?
Our children and families change and grow so quickly, and I love being able to capture a moment, a look, a facial expression, that people can return to over and over again. I love photographing people and showing how they really are—their smiles, love, relationships, giggles.
What’s your favorite lens or other piece of photography gear?
The lens that’s on my camera 95 percent of the time is my 35mm f/1.8 lens. I love wide apertures, and its combination of shutter speed and wide aperture has made the difference between getting shots indoors in my dark 1950s ranch house and having failed, blurred shots. That said, I’ve also loved learning how to use off-camera lighting and modifiers.
What advice would you give someone just starting out in photography?
You can find a wealth of information online and in books, but you need to get out there and actually shoot in a wide variety of conditions to translate book knowledge to actual skills. Experiment with settings, evaluate what works and what doesn’t, and discover which subjects make your heart sing.