Tiffany Kirchner is just that! Fabulous, Funky and Original! She has traveled the world and lived in a few different countries but she always comes home to her farm and her farm girl roots.
These roots combined with her eye for finding the perfect vintage prop make her commercial and private photo shoots uniquely hers. The Fancy Farm Girl has her own unique story and her own unique style, and we loved hearing all about it!!
I had the opportunity to interview Tiffany and she was fun and fascinating! I think you will agree! Check out what she had to say below and make sure to check out her sites, www.thefancyfarmgirlphotography.com and her blog, www.thefancyfarmgirl.com.
Tell me a little about you...where are you from?
I am a 38-year-old Commercial/Editorial Photographer that also moonlights doing Whimsical Concept Shoots for private clients. I love 1950's prom dresses, pink and Rodeo. I would rather ride a horse to work than drive a car, and I could eat ice cream for every meal in a perfect world.
Where I am from is probably the hardest question for me to answer. I was born in the US, but spent 8 years living in Asia, and 2 in Europe. I have been back stateside for a while now, but I am a very nomadic person. I currently reside on a little farm near the base of Mt Rainier, just outside of Seattle, Wa.
Happily married for 17 years, a darling man who indulges my hair brained ideas but still hates pink despite my many efforts to change his mind.
I have two beautiful daughters, one almost 16, the other 12. My eldest is a beautiful and fearless Tomboy Rodeo Competitor, tough and independent, a lot like her mother. My youngest daughter has severe special needs, she was born with a condition called Rett Syndrome. She is a real light in my life. She is non verbal, is in a wheelchair, has very bad seizures and is fed via a gtube. Despite these things, she manages to get up and smile every day. It inspires us on a daily basis to not sweat the small stuff.
How did you get into photography?
Somewhat by accident. I was a avid hobby photographer for years. I had dabbled in classes and had a decent camera and glass, but really only shot photos of my own family events and kids. When I started a vintage reselling business, I opened a blog and started taking photos of my product and vintage shows I would attend. The feedback I was getting was not about the cool vintage finds I had, but mostly about the "pretty pictures" I was taking. I began to really emphasize the photos I was taking, staging and editing until my photography was taking more time than my business! When a stranger contacted me and asked if I would shoot their event and how much I charged, it made me stop and rethink my current career choice and make the switch into photography.
Any formal training?
This question goes hand in hand with the last. You see, I am kind of a perfectionist. It can be a real dilemma sometimes! Once I decided to make the career change and market my services, I figured I better know what I was doing. I took almost a year before launching my business, and took many online courses and workshops, studying and practicing photography many days a week. I find the words "self taught" so confusing. What really does this mean?? I do feel I am self-taught but yet I did educated myself with materials made by others. I'll let you decide which I really am, and when you do, let me know, ok? Because I really don't know! :)
How long have you been a photographer?
I launched my business in 2009. I have been a photographer in my heart always......
Who or what inspires you as a photographer?
I have a rampant imagination. Conjuring the story is what inspires me. When I look back at my favorite things I have shot, it is always my whimsical concept shoots. I love props and I use A LOT!!! I will go to the ends of the Earth to make my concepts come to life. I had a shoot recently where I needed a Military Humvee, and I needed it by Friday. A seemingly impossible thing to get my hands on. But guess what, with a little perseverance and a whole lot of eyelash batting, I was able to get my hands on one!!
If I had to choose a photographer that has inspired me, there is really one that I can say has influenced me, and that is then incomparable Tim Walker.
How would you describe your photography style?
Whimsical Vintage Lifestyle. I want to tell a story, not take someones photo. Besides shooting for private clients, I also shoot commercial / editorial work and Boudoir. While I try to infuse my style into everything I shoot, sometimes these shoots are a little less whimsical and a lot more traditional. I love it when a commercial/editorial client hires me for my style, that is usually the best job fit, because you are both getting what you want!
What has been your proudest moment as a photographer?
Landing my first magazine job. Credibility is something as photographers we all strive for. Somehow it made me feel like I was finally "credible" to have been paid and published. This alone does not credible make, but it really made me feel proud of myself. Since then, I have had my work in over 40 publications and have even been the lead photographer on a book. It has been a wild and fun ride, and has given me invaluable experience.
Can you tell me what magazines, books and other publications you have been published in?
My work has been published in Where Women Cook, Where Women Create, Artful Blogging, Somerset Life, Mingle, Celebrations (book), Porch, and soon to be in Romantic Homes, and a British book called Gardenalia, just to name a few.
Can you share advice for anyone wanting to get into the commercial side of this business and wanting to get published??
Make both an online and traditional portfolio of your work. Make sure to include commercial work. If you have never done commercial or editorial work before, stage something and shoot it to show what you can do. Then submit your work to the publications you wish to work for. For commercial work, market yourself aggressively via the internet. Always have your traditional portfolio with you, so when you happen to be in the right place at the right time, you can whip out your book and show what you can do!! You never know when a potential client or an opportunity is going to arise, they are often very serendipitous!
What has been your most successful marketing technique?
For private clientele, most definitely FACEBOOK. It is the best multiplying marketing tool I have ever used, and it's free!!! I ask all my clients to friend me, and after a session, I always choose a fabulous "teaser" photo to edit and upload. I tag myself and my client. Then not only do my list of friends see the photo, but all my clients friends see the photo as well. Often times other friends or family members will then post it on their facebook as well, reaching all their friends. By the end of the day, it can potentially have been seen by several thousand people. All seeing the link to my site. Did I mention that it is FREE???? Sounds almost too good to be true, right??? I get 75% of all my private clients from facebook referrals.
What is the biggest piece of advice you could share with those starting out in this business?
Do NOT go into it half assed. Pardon my french, but it is true. Do not put yourself out there until you are convinced you can invest the time, money, and handle the stress. Also, make a plan of how big or little you want your business to be so you can give yourself some guidelines on time management from the get go. Also, never work for free under the guise of good exposure. Your time, skill and talent are worth it!!
What is in your camera bag?
Whoa.....my camera bag is big and full. Camera gear is my jewelery and I have a big collection :)
Here is what is always in my bag for every shoot though:
Canon 5d mark ii
batteries...lots and lots of batteries.....
My 50mm 1.2
not only do I love it's open aperture for the creamiest bokeh, but it is one of the lightest lenses I own, so my back doesn't hurt as much!
Studio, On-location or in-home studio?
yes.........While I shoot 2/3rds of my photography on location, I definitely need a studio. I am currently building the Boudoir side of my business, which I have been shooting in my home studio a.k.a. my bedroom, so I am actively looking for a studio space. It seems at this point though the more likely scenario will be another building on our property to house my studio, rather than renting an outside space. It makes more sense, and the financial investment goes into your own property and not into someone else's. Then in bewteen clients I can do laundry.
If you weren't a photographer, what would you be?
A showgirl in Vegas :) LOL!
What is your favorite savvy indulgence?
MOST definitely the barnwood flooring!!! This stuff is the coolest thing sliced bread, I LOVE it!! It is so easy to clean and it is portable enough to take on location. It looks exactly like the real deal, I am hooked!
I would like to thank The Savvy Photographer for the interview today, I hope you all enjoyed reading it!
Thank you Tiffany for the joining us...and a big thanks to Leslie Kerrigan for a wonderful interview!
We wanted to share with you more images from Tiffany~ The Fancy Farm Girl.