We had the good fortune of connecting with Suzie Barber and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Suzie, we’d love for you to start things off by telling us something about your industry that we and others not in the industry might be unaware of?
In today’s digital age, portrait photographers are everywhere. Photoshoots appear to seem as simple with the photographer clicking a shutter and then providing images within a short turnaround period. What most outsiders don’t realize is how much planning, equipment, post-production, and business knowledge are involved to ensure a successful client session. If you have a really good photographer, there is a planning session before you ever meet for the shoot. Whether it’s a studio session or on-location, a photographer needs to plan for lighting and equipment. What is the best wardrobe to wear for the type of portrait session you are having? Believe it or not, the details do make a difference in how a final image will look. Also, different lenses produce different results, and different lighting types and modifiers create myriad outcomes too. Additionally, posing subjects to look natural is a science all its own and plays a huge role in how an image will look. Did you know that men and women should be posed differently, or that heavier builds are different to pose than slighter builds? Or, what about large groups? Or pets? There are answers to all of these issues that an experienced photographer will be able to answer ensuring a spectacular image. Then, depending on the photographer’s style, the amount of post-production work on a set of images can be time-consuming. Some photographers take several images and blend them into a composite image; others create lots of effects within photoshop to enhance the image. Finally, there are prints, wall collections, albums, and other products that photographers provide; any of these offerings can bring your images to life. Most people don’t ever print out their digital images, and sadly, they never get displayed. Technology changes all the time, and if we’re not careful, a generation of images will be lost. It’s important to print memories. A great photographer uses quality photo labs that produce long-lasting, archival products. So, the next time you choose a photographer, look at their work and ask them about their process. If they describe only a quick click of the camera, you probably want to do some more looking.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I love capturing people in their element! Whether an athlete in action, a high school senior memorializing their final year of school, a fun-loving family, or a corporate professional, I love working with people to produce an image that speaks to them! My style sets me apart from other photographers. I tell a story and evoke emotion with every single image I create. I am especially proud of my work with athletes wherein I use dynamic lighting to showcase an individual’s athleticism. As a former collegiate athlete, I know how much sports can be part of a person’s life. The training, time, practice and discipline are a part of my client’s identities, and I love capturing that essence. While I have been shooting professionally for over ten years, I am always learning new things and improving my craft. The biggest lesson that I am still working on is to not compare my work to others. Everyone has their own artistic style. What works for me may not work for another photographer. My brand, and business name, Fresh Photography, was chosen because I am always trying to improve and push myself to be better, therefore always staying Fresh! I love what I do and hope that it comes through in the images I create!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love Arizona! It’s a beautiful state that offers lots of incredible things to do and see. If I had a friend in town, here’s what we’d do… We’d go for a hike at one of our many beautiful mountain preserves and then grab breakfast at Prep & Pastry, it’s so good! Then, we would shop in Old Town Scottsdale and have lunch in one of the many delicious restaurants there. We would check out the Cactus Garden at the Phoenician Resort and have drinks on their patio to watch the sunset. Dinner at Lon’s At the Hermosa or Cafe Monarch would be a must; both are among Phoenix/Scottsdale’s finest! Frank Lloyd Wright’s Taliesin West is a must-see, and we have the world-famous Musical Instrument Museum to explore! The Desert Botanical Garden will showcase our beautiful Sonoran Desert landscape, and finally, Scottsdale Fashion Square, The Scottsdale Quarter, The Biltmore, and Kierland will meet all shopping desires. If we still have time, and depending on the time of year, we can check out the Waste Management Open or a Spring Training Baseball game. Can you tell I love where I live?
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The Arizona Professional Photographers Association (AZPPA) and the Professional Photographers Association (PPA) are my local and national professional organizations that provide support, training, education, and networking opportunities. These groups have helped improve and refine my business offering both technical and operations insights. Also, these organizations have allowed me to develop good industry peers and mentors. Finally, huge thanks to my husband and two boys for their endless support. I couldn’t have done it without them!
All images were taken by Fresh Photography by Suzie Barber