Finding your Artistic Voice with Fine Art Photographer Shannon Squires

Shannon and I explore how to niche down as a fine art photographer, and stay true to your artistic vision while still servicing a client market.

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Introduction (4:32)

How do you define a fine art photographer? (5:38)

When you have full control over the creative process and vision, and your clients trust you to create a piece of art, that’s when you are a fine art photographer.

How long does it take you to edit each piece? (6:41)

Composite pieces can be 8-15 hours. My studio fine art edits are typically 60-90 minutes.

How do you balance wanting to create fine art while still having lots of clients? (7:17)

When you show your fine art pieces, that is what clients will expect, and you can build your reputation as a fine art photographer.

Where did you find your love of photography? (10:40)

I went to art school and was into fashion photography. After a break from photography, a trip to Romania got me back, and I eventually specialized in child and family photography, and I started doing model shoots for children’s boutiques.

How did you strip away everything else to just niche? (15:42)

I filled my portfolio with sessions that I loved doing. I only posted images that I wanted clients to book me for. Then they hire me specifically because I’m a fine art photographer.

What is your process when you have a new idea? (18:45)

I find inspiration everywhere – in titles, songs, colour combinations, other art. I have a sketchbook where I write and sketch my ideas. Sometimes they sit there for hours, or for years! It’s like my personal Pinterest.

Do you always know where you’re going to take your images? (19:51)

Yes, when I take a photo, I’m already pre-editing it! It doesn’t always end up there, but the idea is there.

How do you find your artistic voice? (21:23)

Stay authentic to who you are. Trends will come and go, and if you follow them all, you will always blend in and never stand out.

How do your Imagination Sessions work? (25:54)

I talk to clients about their story and their reason behind their art piece. I photograph all the images I need for the composite in an hour with them. My flat fee includes a 16×24 print. I don’t sell the digital files for composites, as it’s a commissioned piece of art. I do sell digitals for regular fine art pieces.

How does styling, light and location play into the end product? (31:45)

They are the pillars of what I do. My clients trust my vision, and that starts with my client closet. I’m obviously fully in control of light and location.

About print competitions (32:56)

It’s a way to motivate me to great, and an incentive to show my clients that I’m a true fine art photographer. The feedback from many reputable competitions teaches me to fine-tune my images, as it should show in my client work too.

What would be your dream shoot? (36:36)

Probably somewhere in Italy or Greece, with fabulous dresses, perhaps with real animals. Also some editorial work in remote villages.

Where do find inspiration when you’re stuck in a rut? (37:37)

I push myself to keep going. I also enroll in masterclasses and listen to the stories of other creatives outside my genre.

What do wish you knew starting out? (40:08)

More about business. I didn’t know my CODB when I started.

Speed round! (42:55)

What are you artistically curious about? (44:36)

Underwater photography

Discover more about Shannon Squires
Shannon grew up in a small town in Nevada. From a young age art was always something she enjoyed, and she would spend hours drawing or creating art in some form. When Shannon was 16, she was accepted into a program in town that taught local youth, black and white film photography, in addition to audio story telling through recording interviews. From the moment her instructor Bruce Hucko showed her the dark room she was fascinated. As her love for photography grew, as did her portfolio, which she submitted to The Art Institute of Seattle. Which earned her a scholarship. Art school wasn’t always fun or easy, and she quickly learned the types of photography that she liked and did not like. After 2.5 years in Seattle, she graduated with an associate degree in commercial photography. Then taking a 6-year break from photography to be a makeup artist. Shannon returned to her original love of photography after an inspiring trip to Europe, jumpstarting her business in 2010. Once she found a PPA affiliate Shannon started to compete in image competitions. On her second year of entering at the national level Shannon won the 1st place Grand Imaging Award in the Children photography category for the Professional Photographers of America in 2019. Shannon won once again in 2021 taking 1stplace in the Children category, 3rd place in Photographic open, and the overall Grand Imaging Award for all of IPC. Shannon loves to teach and share her long journey with peers, and can be found teaching both online and in person around the country through various other forums.

When Shannon is not shooting, editing or teaching she is a very busy momma to 3 small kiddos, as well as a wife to her hard-working husband, and enjoying living life in beautiful Colorado.

Recent achievements:

  • Overall GIA recipient 2021
  • 1st place GIA- Children’s 2021
  • 3rd Place Photographic open 2021
  • 1st place GIA-Children’s 2019
  • Colorado State- General Photographer of the year 2019
  • Colorado State-Master Photographer of the Year 2020
  • Cover image of Professional Photographer Magazine Feb. 2021

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