Oh heeeey there blog! So so sorry for the neglect the past three months! I missed you too and PROMISE to visit more often! So with that said ... what better way to make a comeback then with one of my favorite photographers, Mr. Keith Claytor of TimeFrozen Photography!
I first fell in love with Keith and his wife Chinenye back in 2012 when we were both hired for a wedding at the Waterview in Monroe, CT. It was love at first site! Our love of old school rap music, killer photos, dirty martini's and food are the makings of a darn good friendship. Not to mention late night shop talk and life talk. Three years later Keith has earned the title of "photog-boo".
Working with Keith is in one word, FUN! You never know what he's going to do at any moment to get the BEST shot EVER! Which is why you will notice his name all over my website! Keith and I have been featured on numerous blogs and publications together (thanks to his awesome photos), he has been named one of 2014's Fearless Photographers, featured in GQ Magazine and was personally asked to be the main photographer for Yandy Smith and Mendeecees Harris' LIVE Vh1 wedding featured in US Magazine (with yours truly being a photog assistant for a day)!
Keith, you have taken me on many adventures and I know there are more and more to come! Thanks for being my friend and my photog-boo! So without further ado .... Here's a little Q+A with the man behind the lens as interviewed by my Boss Lady Event Manager, Ashley!
PS. Yea, yea, The "unnamed client" is ME!
ASH :: Keith, Keith, Keith! It’s an honor to get the chance to interview someone with such personality and skill as your own. And not to mention STYLE! I’m so glad Maggie allowed me to have this wonderful opportunity to showcase what you do best. Now – we all finally get to know what goes on in Keith’s head! Not only will this interview benefit all of our readers, but I know it will aid in my photography skills/knowledge as well. Today I want all of us to take the time to get to know Keith “the photographer”. So let’s make this fun! I’ve arrived at some questions I’d love for you to answer for us!
ASH :: What got you started in photography?
KC :: In the late 90’s I became friends with a group of creative minds. Poets, singers, painters. At the time I was a 60 hour a week corporate suit and tie guy. I started to realize that I was falling into a rut and I had to find a creative outlet. I had horrible stage fright and couldn’t draw a circle so poetry and painting were out. I purchased my first real camera in 2001 and absolutely fell in love. In 2003 I took a trip to Nigeria with my fiance (now wife). I took THOUSANDS of photos. When I returned showing off my vacation photos I had requests from people to purchase and exhibit my work. At that point I figured I might be on to something.
ASH :: What's your absolute favorite thing to photograph?
KC :: That answer can change weekly. I’ve been lucky enough to shoot a few championship boxing matches. It’s an insane rush! Being inches away from a chaotic dance while trying to frame a shot and anticipate the action leaves you just as sweaty and exhausted as the fighters. I would easily take 2-3,000 photos in a single fight just looking for the right shot. Kind of like a wedding I guess.
ASH :: Any hands on techniques/skills you've acquired over the years that would be helpful for new photographers?
KC :: Learn how to use and shape your light. As a wedding photographer you walk into a different environment every week and have to deliver amazing images. Light is the great equalizer - learning how to make it fall on your subjects in the most flattering way is key to making a fantastic image regardless of the camera you use, number of megapixels or exotic lenses in your bag!
ASH :: Any tricks of the trade?
KC :: I love using a reflector to control light. It’s one of the most basic tools but it helps to place light where you need it in a matter of seconds without setting up cumbersome lights and gear. If you don’t have a reflector within arms reach, grab anything white that can reflect light. A piece of paper, a wall, a wedding guests white shirt. All are technically acceptable. Make sure the guest leaves the shirt on.
ASH :: What makes a good photographer?
KC :: Goosebumps. Photography is subjective. The image has to connect to the person taking it in. You can fire off all kinds of rules of composition and technical terms but in the end the image has to make the hairs on your arm stand up. That’s a good photographer.
ASH :: How do you focus on something and create the background to fade?
KC :: First, separate the subject from the background. The further the separation the more blur you can achieve. Second, zoom all the way in with your lens, even if you have to stand further back to compose the shot (if you’re using a zoom lens). Third, navigate your cameras aperture setting and make that number as low as the lens will allow you to. (f2.8 on the better lenses, f4.5 or f.5.6 on most consumer lenses) and BOOM!! Here comes the bokeh! That’s camera speak for a blurry background. Always talk camera speak around photographers - Instant credibility and cool factor.
ASH :: Bad weather - how do you perfect your pictures and not allow them to look dull like the weather?
KC :: I absolutely live for the bad weather! I love drama in images. I’ll subject myself and my camera to cold, rain, waterfalls, hurricanes (yep, did it) for an awesome shot! Wedding photography is storytelling. The weather is part of the story so I’ll incorporate those details in the images.
ASH :: Any advice for new photographers out there?
KC :: Shoot. A lot. Then shoot more. Shoot everything. Make an effort to find out what your niche is. Find out what you LOVE about photography before you go creating a logo and selling yourself. Once it becomes a business, take time for personal projects. Use the gift of photography to learn about yourself. Have fun.
ASH :: Besides wedding cake, what is your favorite part of the wedding? Also…what is your favorite wedding cake?
KC :: In the wedding world I love to photograph the reception! It’s the party to end all parties! All of the pressure is off of the bride and groom and they can get loose with a couple (or couple hundred) of their favorite people! I don’t stand on the edge of the dance floor, I jump in there and get the action! I also love to stick around after the wedding for an intimate end of night portrait session with the bride and groom. No more timelines and pressure on them to perform. We usually get our favorite images at the end of the night!
My favorite wedding cake? The slice that’s in front of me! Although there was that Jamaican rum cake once. Horace, (my inner fat kid) may have negotiated an extra slice for the ride home that night.
ASH :: If you were stuck on an island and could only bring one camera with you, which one would it be?
KC :: Easy, my little Fuji XT-1 is small, takes amazing images and has WIFI so I can upload my photos straight to Instagram and Facebook! @timefrozen if you’re in the mood to follow!
ASH :: What is the weirdest position you have had to get into to get the PERFECT shot? (Get your mind outta the gutter)!
KC :: Aside from a shoot in a running shower for an unnamed client, I once did a motorcycle shoot for the crew of the American Chopper TV show. We were on the freeway in Las Vegas in a minivan. I was hanging out of the side door hanging onto the seat belt with one hand and the camera a couple inches off of the ground with the other. Not necessarily the smartest move but the shots were well worth it!
If you didn’t get the drive and rush to quit your job and become a photographer after reading this, I don’t know what you’re thinking! KIDDING – we don’t want you to leave your job, but what we do want you to do is have a career you love. Take this blog post and have it motivate you to go out there and discover who you are and what you want to do with your life that will make you forever happy.
We hear this all the time and I know it’s easier said than done, but actually go out there and find your d-r-e-a-m job! Every day when you wake up you should be excited about work. Nervous, maybe sometimes if you have a big presentation, but always passionate about what you do!
On behalf of our dGE team we really hope you took something from this post and fell in love not only with photography, but with how much enthusiasm and love Keith has for his work and career. So now we encourage you to go out and do the same! Thank you Keith for your amazing photos and being an amazing vendor and friend to work with! We heart you!