Thursday, February 25, 2010

{meet and greet...Marla Carter}

{image by Ruth Williams Photography}

Welcome to Marla Carter~

Marla is the second half {actually first half} of Marla and Shane Photographers~ a husband and wife team in the Santa Rosa Beach area of Florida. They are renowned for their ability to capture moments as they happen.

Marla shared the following with us:

Tell me how it is working with your husband?

It is pretty great to work together. We really "get" eachother and it is so nice not to have to explain why you are stressed, or busy, or not coming home for a few more hours. It also makes it really easy to plan time off together! We have the same goals both at home and at work, can't beat that. Oh, and there is a total partnership when it comes to taking care of the kids which is awesome.

Do you ever shoot together?

Nope! He is too energetic and crazy for me!

How did you meet?

We met in Galveston, texas 10 years ago. We had some friends in common and just started hanging out. It is really a funny story, but you would have to know Shane to appreciate it!

Who was the photographer first…tell us about how you both got started in photography?

I have a bachelors degree in commercial photography and have been working in the photo world since college. I started out working for a commercial photographer in NYC and then moved on to teaching photography on the high school level, back in the dark know, film and a darkroom! As soon as people started switching to digital, I started our business. Shane came on board a year or so later. I taught him all the technical stuff but the creative comes easily for him. He has a tremendous personality and he works awesome with all ages and big groups, which allowed me to focus more on the little people I enjoy most.

Tell us about your studio? {which I’m totally envious of!}

We had to get out of the house, so we decided to purchase some commercial real estate. Intially, we planned to sell all kinds of odds and ends like candles, albums, stationary, etc. But after a year of that I realized we were not making much profit on the retail and I really did not like having to invest my time and money into it. Now, we only sell frames and the space is more of a gallery/workspace. It is a great place to work, show off our work, and meet with clients. We do not shoot here at all.

Do you think having a studio has helped your business grow?

Yes, it certainly helps to legitimize us and it also helps to show people all the products in person. We are about 90% tourist based so we do not do a lot of in person ordering, but we do try to get our clients to at least stop in and see what we offer. It also makes us more efficient and productive which in turn helps elevate customer service.

Any drawbacks to owning your own studio?

Hmmmm, If you asked Shane he would say a mortgage, but we would have to office out of somewhere and our house is not an option. We like the separation of business and family too much to ever merge the two again.

What inspires you as a photographer?

Real life and relationships.

Best marketing idea?

Having an assistant. Nothing makes your business stronger than good customer service. We do a few print ads here and there, and during the busy season we try to keep postcards in all our local hotspots, but really being friendly, efficient, and good at your craft is the best marketing tool there is.

What’s your weakness in this business?

I really feel pretty good about my business. I am happy with my work (most of the time). I am happy with how we relate to and treat our clients. I am happy with how we manage to balance our life and not let work takeover. And I am pretty happy with our income. We are really blessed.

Do you twitter? Facebook?

Facebook, but mostly just personal stuff and a few client images. I am pretty sure no one cares what I am doing all day long!

WHAT’S YOUR… Savvy indulgence?

Decaf Chai tea with Almond milk. Not fun enough? Okay, In the summer it is pretty hard to resist a good mojito!

Ideal getaway? Anywhere. I have a serious travel bug.

Favorite family ritual? Breakfast out on Saturday morning.

Current reading material? I just finished reading the acid-alkaline diet for good health. Geeky I know, but I am obsessed with learning how food effects our body.

Any children? How many? 2~ Avery is almost 7 and in first grade. Van is almost 4 and in preschool.

What are doing on a typical Sunday afternoon?

Church. lunch. laundry.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be?

Small business consultant. I am full of ideas and suggestions!! ha!

I love the fact the everything is black and white...

so classic and beautiful!

{tomorrow we will get to see the gallery/workspace of Marla and don't want to miss that!}



  1. Great interview! I love finding new inspiration and the 30-A "strip" where Santa Rosa Beach is located is my absolute favorite vacation spot! It would be incredible to work down there. It's just beautiful! Thanks for sharing, can't wait to "meet" Shane.

  2. I love your black and whites. they are so clean and pure! can't wait to see the studio.

  3. Marla and Shane, I love them! Their site is one of my bookmarks. Blog stalker, xoxo.

  4. I have actually had the pleasure of visiting Marla and Shane's studio/store! I buy a frame from them every year when I vacation in Watercolor, Fl. Their work is amazing!! I have never had the pleasure of meeting Marla but would love to! Shane has sold me both of my frames and even opened the store just so I could get a frame last year when I was down there! Their work is awesome and their shop is fantastic!! Great interview!!

  5. One of my absolute favorite people. Ever. One of my favorite things in my home is an acrylic piece Marla shot of my family last year. Never am I around her, does she not make me giggle. Your talent and style continue to inspire me always...
    Marla --- love and miss you.

  6. I love these photos. Come over to the UK and take some of my girls, please!

  7. Marla, your work is so candid and fun! a wonderful interview!

  8. Marla rocks!!!!!! :))

  9. Marla and Shane are the real deal. Two very talented people - we are blessed to call our friends :) And yes I am proud to have their art hanging in my walls!

  10. I just love hearing their comments, they seem like they are a fun couple:) Very Talented too!