Today’s interview comes from Cape Cod, Massachusetts and features a multi-talented photographer named Liz Thomas. Liz draws inspiration for her photography from the love she has for the beauty of nature and an awareness of her surroundings. With a fresh approach and connection to nature, the perfect formula is provided for Liz’s stunning photography.
Liz, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts experiences with us and thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses. You are a talented photographer and someone whose work is definitely worth following. I hope to see more wonderful things from you in the future!
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I was born in a small town in Connecticut. When I was six my father’s job required the family to relocate to Toronto, Ontario, Canada where I lived until I was fourteen. We then moved back to Massachusetts where I have been ever since. My husband and I have been married for almost 30 years. We have a daughter and son, both of who are married, and four beautiful grandchildren, two girls, and two boys. We have three dogs, a lab Brady and Mellie, and Coco two rescue dogs that we brought back from the island of St. Martin.
In addition to photography, I love to garden and bake. All give me great satisfaction and pleasure.
Where is home?
We live in a small town on Cape Cod and have been here for 25 years. It is quite scenic and the quintessential New England town. Our home is about a ten-minute drive to the ocean. A place I love to visit in the offseason as I find it quite mesmerizing.
What inspired you to be a photographer?
I have always loved to take photographs ever since I was very young. Whenever I would travel I would document my ventures on film. I am especially drawn to landscape photography and as I grew to love gardening I became enamored with flowers. I also enjoy photographing young children when they are in action rather than a structured shoot.
Is photography your full-time career or a hobby?
Photography is a hobby. I especially started to place a more serious focus on it about ten years ago.
Are you formally-taught or self-taught? And what has been the best source of information along this journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?
I have taken many, many online courses over the years in both photography and numerous editing programs. I believe not only do you need to have a good eye but a good photograph can become excellent with editing. Not all photographers feel this way.
What type of session do you look forward to the most vs what type of session you most often do?
I least enjoy photographing adults and children once they become aware of the camera. I like the spontaneity of capturing children when they are unaware they are being photographed. All people are vain to a degree and for this reason, many people are not thrilled with most photos of themselves straight out of the camera. I personally am my own worst critic when it comes to photographs of myself so I do understand. Typically a structured session with an individual then requires editing so that people appear the way they see themselves, which is not always how the camera sees them. The only structured setting I like still life photography. You can control the lighting and angle of your subject. I generally do this type of photography in the winter when the weather does not permit a lot of traveling to get out and about.
What has been the easiest part of learning about photography?
I don’t think you ever stop learning. You morph over the years in your likes, dislikes, and technique. This never seems to stop.
What has been the most challenging part of photography?
For me, the most challenging has been the cost of equipment. A good camera and the many lenses and accessories can get quite expensive. If you don’t have a lot of disposable income you become limited. That is when photo editing is helpful in taking a good photo to a great level.
What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
I find mother-nature is most inspiring to me. The way different light, the seasons, the weather can transform something ordinary into something amazing.
How do you keep yourself motivated and your work fresh?
By not following what other photographers do. By just focusing on and doing what you love most. With time and patience comes improvement.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
One image that pops to mind is a photo I took of one of my granddaughters when she was about 2 and a half. It was Christmas time and I caught her profile and exclamation when she saw the most beautifully decorated Christmas tree. Her expression was one of pure excitement and awe. I took that photo years ago and to this day I love looking at it.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
I have three different Canon camera bodies. My favorite lens is my zoom 75-300mm. I like the blur effect I can create while also having a point of extreme focus. I particularly like using it when photographing people. I love to take their photos from a distance when no one realizes they are being photographed. I especially like using it with children.
What is in your camera bag?
Currently one of the Canon camera bodies six different lenses, a flash, cleaning items, and my Mac computer.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
As I said previously editing can take a good photograph to an amazing level. I mostly edit in Lightroom. Occasionally I will move into Photoshop with it when I want to get more creative with a photo. But I tend to use Photoshop less and less with time.
Can you tell me about one of your favorite or most memorable photo sessions? What made it so great and why did you like it so much?
I actually did a photo session at the beach with a young woman who had professional modeling experience. Her knowledge of how to hold herself and move her body to make for an interesting and great shot was eye-opening to me. It was then that I realized I really did not like shooting people. Not because of her. The photos came out fantastic but the realization that most people are just not as easy to photograph. I think that’s why I like photographing children when they are in movement and unaware of the camera. They are much more relaxed and natural. It makes for great photos. I have the utmost respect for photographers that love shooting weddings, or portraits or babies. It takes unbelievable patience of which mine is limited.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
Each year I look back and am just amazed at how far I have come in that time. Persistence and patience are key. Nothing becomes great quickly. It all comes with hard work and time.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn?
I have explored many different types of photography. One thing I have learned is what I don’t enjoy photographing and so it has enabled me to focus more time on what I do like.
What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
In the immediate future, I don’t see a lot changing. However, in the next seven years, I will retire and then I plan on devoting much more time to my photography. I look forward to that day.