The Painterly Effect – The Creative Process of Fine Art Photography with Emily Williams

SUBSCRIBE: iTunes | Spotify | Stitcher

Emily Williams is known for creating a painterly effect in her photos, making her a sought-after fine art family photographer. She talk to us today about inspiration, style and creativity.

Introduction (3:58)

How has studying art impacted you as an artist? (5:03)

In art lessons, we learned about light, shadows and composition.  As a photographer, those lessons all came back to me. I’m still drawn to the look of a painterly effect.

Is there a genre you are drawn to? (6:40)

I draw inspiration from just walking around an art gallery and seeing works of art that were created hundreds of years ago.

Do personal projects fuel your creativity? (7:43)

Yes, it’s important to do something for your own creative soul to stay refreshed and then give it back to your clients.

Are you doing fine art work for clients? (8:53)

My clients come to me specifically for my fine art style, so I can edit “regular” family photos with the painterly effect, as that is what they expect.

How did you find your painterly effect style? (11:02)

My painting background has influenced me to edit in a painterly style. I’ve also had inspiration from other photographers.

Tips for having your own kids pose for you (13:58)

Know that it can be a lot of pressure for a photographer’s child to know your parent is a professional and you need to perform. The more fun we can make it, the less awkward it will be. Make it less of a photo session, and more just a relaxed outing.

What is your approach in pulling personality from kids? (17:24)

Give kids their space, and use a longer lens if needed. Let them be themselves, and you don’t need to pose them. Don’t force anything.

Do you have vision for a photo before you start editing? (19:48)

If I styled something, yes. But for client work, I just try to enhance the beauty that is already there. If I get stuck, just take a break and go back later with fresh eyes.

Do you edit to music? (21:48)

Yes, or even a TV show.

What is your process when you have a brand new idea? (22:51)

I always jot down ideas I have on my phone, which I refer to when I have time for a creative shoot. I first scout a location, then decide on wardrobe, and then find a model.

How do you feel styling, light and location play into the work you create? (24:01)

Lighting is the foundation of a photo and the most important to me. Styling is fun, but my clients all have their own tastes. You can create an amazing photo in a less than ideal location as long as the light is good.

Tell us about the location of “The Girl in the Window” on your Instagram feed? (25:40)

I found a cute, vintage Bed-and-Breakfast, and styled the session around that with a client turned model.

Where do draw creativity from when you are stuck and uninspired. (27:26)

When I feel uninspired, it usually means I’m burnt out. I then take some time off and spend time with my kids and in nature, and that refreshes me.

How do you keep your client work fresh? (30:17)

It may feel repetitive to you but for every client, your work for them is fresh. Don’t lose sight of the value of the gift you are giving to clients.

Which Photoshop tool could you not live without? (31:52)

The Curve tool – I use it most of the time!

What, where and why would be your dream shoot? (32:44)

A shoot on the beach in Iceland.

Who has been the biggest inspiration and influence on you as an artist? (33:51)

My art teacher, Elena Shumilova, and photographers like Ansel Adams and Margaret Bourke-White

What do you wish you knew when you started out? (35:09)

Have patience and have fun with the process.

What are you artistically curious about? (36:43)

Film photography

Want more discussion about fine art photography? Check out this podcast with Lisset Perrier!

Discover more about Emily Williams

Emily’s journey to photography really began over 25 years ago as a young child when she started oil painting classes. Learning how colors and shadows/light work together to create art helped form how she captures and edits her images today.
After her oldest son was born she bought her first DSLR in hopes of capturing every milestone. She spent years studying and practicing different techniques until finally, she took the leap to start offering her photography services to others. It became her passion to create beautiful photos for her clients to cherish!

Show Notes

Elena Shumilova

Ansel Adams

Margaret Bourke-White

Avril Lavine Head Above Water

share the love


Leave a Comment




Focus on Inclusion: Empathy and Advocacy in Neurodivergent Family Photography with Stacey Feasel

Learning Curves: How Maintaining a Lifetime Learner Mindset Can Help You Master Your Fine Art Maternity with Esther Kay

A Kid at Heart: The Art & Business of Preschool Photography with Trina Julius

The Business of Being Yourself: How Embracing Your Uniqueness Unlocks Your Creativity & Helps You Stand Out in the Newborn Niche With Natasha Simpson

Better Together: How Hiring a Team of Associates Can Help You Grow Your Photography Business With Jill Smith

From Scrubs to Shutter: Balancing Nursing, Photography, and Passion with Shannon McTighe

The Wild Side: Embracing the Beautiful Mess, and Capturing Authentic Connection with Tiffany Crenshaw from Animal House Photography

Golden Moments: Elevating  & Nurturing Client Relationships with Maternity and Newborn Photographer Kellie Golden

The Heart of Photography: Josie Tan’s Approach to Client Connections & Building Relationships in Your Photography Business

Advice From the Pros: Lessons and Reflections From 16 Photographers on What They Wish They Knew as Beginners

Giving Up the Ghost: Releasing the Stories Holding You Back in Your Photography Business.

Practicing Presence: The Healing Power of Slowing Down & Tuning into Mindfulness & Creativity in Photography with Joy Prouty

Inkpot Insights: Crafting Web Magic for your photography business with KP and Jessie from Inkpot Creative

Creating or Consuming: Education as More Than Entertainment, Taking Intentional Action Towards Your Creative Goals

The Art of Elegance: Elevating Your Photography Business Through Client-Centric Strategies with Kayleigh Ashworth

Making Maternity Magic: Empowering Women, Staying Profitable, and Nurturing Creativity in Photography with Karli Braaten

Guiding Stars: 6 Truths from 14 Years in Business & Photography with Lisa DiGeso

Prints with Purpose & Crafting a Luxury Studio: A Conversation with Photographer Ambreia Turner

The Honest Lens: Capturing the Beauty of the Everyday with Documentary Photographer Amy Dangerfield

Storytelling Films: Incorporating Family Legacy Video in your Photography Business with Dorte Kjaerulff

Finding Focus Amid the Chaos: The Importance of Nervous System Regulation and Self-Care for Photographers with Renee Bowen

The Fine Print: Legal Tips Every Photographer Should Know with Paige Griffith from the Legal Paige

Let’s Play: Advice for Fun, Playful, Child-Led Photo Sessions with Melissa Miller

Let It Go: How to Stop Perfectionism From Holding You Back as a Photographer with Megan Boggs