Today, I have the honor of presenting an interview that comes from Australia. Catherine Reading is a talented photographer who excels at capturing the natural beauty of our world. As you browse through some of the photos from her collection below, I think you’ll agree that she’s quite accomplished at her craft.
Catherine, thank you so much for sharing your experiences with us and thank you so much for all your thoughtful responses. It’s not every day we get a behind-the-scenes view of someone with such skill and passion.
Can you please tell the readers a bit about yourself?
I’m an Australian working full-time as a company accountant for a group of three companies. The rest of my time is largely split between enjoying family activities and photography. I started photography as a hobby and have recently turned my efforts to develop my hobby into a business.
Where do you call home?
I live in the Tweed Valley area of Northern New South Wales in Australia. It is quite close to the surfing beaches of the Gold Coast and isn’t far from my childhood hometown.
After browsing through your website, I see that you’re truly immersed in the field of photography. What is it that led you towards photography and how long have you been working in it?
I have always enjoyed looking at different types of photographs. When I was nearing completion of my accountancy degree in 2010 as a mature age student, we were required to choose one subject that would broaden our education outside our chosen field. I was also looking for something that would fill my free time after the busy few years of fulltime work and part-time study. My choice of subject was Introduction to Photography, and straight away I was hooked. In 2012, I was made redundant from my job. At about the same time my father became ill, so it was fortunate that I was not working and had plenty of time to help with driving Dad to appointments, hospital visits etc. I had about six months off work and during this time I was also able to spend a lot of time developing my photography skills. When visiting Dad in hospital, I would show him some of photos. He enjoyed seeing my photos of the local area he knew so well. It was a lovely thing to share with him in his final months and encouraged me to continue with photography.
Are you self-taught or formally taught? Where have you found the majority of valuable information along your journey?
When I first decided that I would like to learn photography, I felt that the best learning method for me would be to attend some workshops and learn from professionals. My first beginner workshop was with Bluedog Photography. I loved the knowledge and enthusiasm for teaching shared by the Bluedog tutors and continued attending various workshops over the years in my desire to learn more. My belief is that there is always more to learn and definitely new places and things to photograph. I love travelling as part of small group photography tours with like-minded people who are focused on photography as their main interest. I have been fortunate to travel with some amazing photographers – Brett Wood, Pete Dobre, Danielle Lancaster and Michael Snedic, and will no doubt, travel with them again in the future. If you can afford it, photography tours are a great way to learn the craft in the field without any distractions.
I have also supplemented the hands-on learning with lots of reading on the internet, books, and magazines.
Regarding your styles of photography, which do you prefer the most?
I love to photograph the beauty of nature, particularly seascapes and landscapes. I also have an increasing enjoyment for macro and wildlife.
What type of photography shoots do you look forward to?
I love beach sunrise shoots because I will quite often be the only person on the beach and it is so peaceful and beautiful. Unfortunately, I’m not a morning person at all and find it hard to drag myself out of bed. This means I’m always anticipating the next sunrise shoot but rarely get there!
When shooting subjects, what do you find most challenging?
The most challenging thing for me is to have enough patience to wait for the right moment and light.
What’s the best part of being a photographer?
The best part for me is it gives me the desire to closely look around me, wherever I might be, to find the next subject. Having a camera in my hand encourages me to really see my surrounds and find the beauty to photograph.
What is the most challenging part of being a photographer?
My biggest challenge at the moment is time management. It is often difficult to find the time for photoshoots, editing, and marketing amongst all other commitments.
Share with us your favorite image and why.
Like a lot of photographers and artists, I find it very difficult to name my favorite image as that is constantly changing. One of my current favorites is “Seaside Serenity.” I love its simplicity, the gorgeous clouds, and color of the water and because of the memories it evokes for me.
How do you keep your photography fresh and how do you stay motivated to keep on learning?
Travelling on photography tours to new places with amazing tutors and other like-minded people is the best motivation for me.
Do you visit any photography related websites or blogs on a regular basis and if so, which ones?
Not so much at the moment as my focus, this year has been on marketing.
What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer just starting out?
My advice to a new photographer is to always be open to learning and never think you have learnt it all. Learn the basics of composition and lighting. Learn about your camera and its settings by thoroughly reading the camera manual but try to stick to one thing at a time so you aren’t overwhelmed. Learn to look all around the scene as sometimes the best subjects aren’t the obvious one. Learn patience, as photography is all bout the light and waiting for the right moment.
What type of camera(s) do you shoot with? What is your favorite lens?
I use a Fujifilm X Pro2 and my most used lens is my XF 18-135mm due to its versatility.
What is your favorite photography accessory?
My favorite accessory is my tripod because they are absolutely vital in getting great shots. It is a Sirui T-1204X tripod and at only about 800g, it is ideal for travelling but solid enough for my use.
How important is Photoshop or other image editing software in your final images?
I shoot in RAW so every image is first processed in On1 Photo Raw and then I will use On1 Effects for further editing if needed. Most of my editing now is completed using On1 software, but I still prefer using Photoshop for cropping, sharpening, and removal of difficult blemishes and any final tweaks that are needed.
Can you tell me about one of your favorite or most memorable photoshoots? What made it so great and why did you like it so much?
One of my most memorable shoots was on a Photography Weekend Retreat with Bluedog Photography on a sheep and cattle station in outback Australia. We had a sunset shoot on a nearby desert sand dune enjoying the company of a great bunch of photographers, a few champagnes, and some gorgeous colors in the sky and sand. It was great because the scene was so different to anywhere I had visited before.
Do you have any projects that make you look back and shake your head? What made the experience so unpleasant?
I don’t really have any bad memories of any photographic experiences. Sometimes a shoot doesn’t work out, maybe due to weather, forgotten equipment, or the place is too crowded with tourists, but generally, I just try to take it as it comes and enjoy every moment.
Are there any areas of photography that you have yet to pick up on that you’d like to learn? What do you think the future holds for you? Where do you see yourself in the next few years?
I would like to learn more about black and white photography and also macro and still-life. I enjoy creating abstract-style photos in camera and plan on experimenting more with that style.
My dream is to be able to take early retirement from my accounting work and supplement my retirement income with photography print sales.