We had the good fortune of connecting with Sandra Walker and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Sandra, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
Freedom. Freedom to build something special, the freedom to be creative and expressive. The freedom to fly or fail all on my own.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I think, if I’m being honest, my work is ever-evolving. Much of my work has been Western Lifestyle, The Cowboy Life and Portraiture. There is something in me that sees everything I shoot romantically. From the people I capture to the animals that are part of the scene. I am definitely a light seeker in my work and I have a true fondness for capturing that which is not obvious. I love trying to capture beauty that is so simple it is missed. When doing a portrait session, I feel like my best work comes from the subjects I can fall in love with. That connection allows me to find subtleties in my subject that are overlooked.

I have been in the horse business and shown horses for most of my life. When I met my husband over 20 years ago, I was blessed to be introduced into the western world in a way I had not known before. The romance of the cowboy life was right up my alley since I shoot with a romantic heart for life.

Being self taught, while that alone comes with it’s own challenges in learning, has allowed me to be open and daring with different ways to shoot. Not so methodical and technical. I have learned to trust myself and what I like. In those moments self doubt crept in, I would shoot more. I would try more, play more. Adjust settings, light and structure.

The growth of social media has helped my work be seen where it wouldn’t have before. It allowed me to share my work, show case my work and grow a business as an artist, not just a photographer. When it’s all said and done I would love to be known for being an artist who creates with a camera.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
We live in a small, rural, agriculturally based town. When we moved here the population was approximately 3100 people. We’ve been here about 15 years and we still have only one grocery store if that helps paint a picture…lol! It is set in the greenbelt of a small valley that has many vineyards, Native American culture, family owned ranches and is not far from amazing hiking in the red rocks of Sedona. We have some amazing micro breweries, wineries and restaurants in old town Cottonwood, AZ. Jerome, AZ is great to visit not far from us that has great shops, eateries and a wonderful artist community for a full day of fantastic site seeing. With the Verde River that runs right through the valley, canoeing, paddle boarding and tubing are a lot of fun.

If you want to listen to live music and have a meal locally there is Low Places right here in Camp Verde. For breakfast and lunch we have another amazing local family owned eatery with fresh homemade food and pies, Udderly Divine.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that encourage and support me, my journey and my business. From clients, friends and fellow photographers. They do NOT go unnoticed or unrecognized. Who needs no thanks but deserves it the most is my family. They inspire me in ways they are completely unaware of, put up with the countless hours I’m away shooting or at home editing or creating. They guide me and uplift me in the moments where I doubt myself or my vision. They remind me to trust myself.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/raftermphotography

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/raftermphotography

Image Credits
All Images – Rafter M Photography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.