CAITLIN:It's really a mix of styles - photojournalism, traditional and non-traditional portraiture, commercial (fashion and product) oriented
RUTH: How long have you been a professional photographer?
CAITLIN: I have been shooting professionally for about 11 years, full time for about 4
RUTH: What inspired you to get into photography?
CAITLIN: My family has always been into art, in high school I took all of the art classes we had available, but photography was not one of them - when I got into college I was able to take it as an elective and I just fell in love with it.
RUTH: Other than weddings, and engagements what other categories do you photograph?
CAITLIN: I do headshots and family portraits as well, and some commercial (mostly tabletop product shots)
RUTH:How do you achieve the combination of creativity, artistic and timeless images?
CAITLIN: I really draw on my back-ground in art and my influences from what I learned in school. When I am setting up an image or want to capture something, I usually see an image in my head and try to recreate it. I also use the environment I shoot in to find new angles. I also pay a lot of attention to lighting, especially on location.
RUTH: As a professional, a mother and a wife, do you find it difficult to balance your schedule?
CAITLIN: More difficult than I thought it would be! I definitely had my schedule down as a wife and business owner, but once my son was born I have realized I need to rethink the way I do things again - I am slowly but surely getting there.
I know that I need to leave as much time as possible to spend with my family - that is my number one - I think that is why I am so passionate about what I do, because I am creating visual memories for families.
RUTH: What challenges do you face in the photography business and how have you overcome them?
CAITLIN: A lot of it has to do with what I charge people - sometimes people do not see the value in professional photography, because it's so easy to go out and buy a camera these days. They don't see the work that is put in behind the scenes though -- the knowledge of how to capture a photograph and make it look a certain way, the ability to take charge and explain what I want in the photographs and be able to create it, the editing process, the time it takes to keep up with the business part of it too (invoicing, emailing, updating website, etc.)
RUTH: What tips can you give as-piring photographers?
CAITLIN: I would definitely work on a style and learn how to use the equipment you have to the best of your ability - either through school or through another photographer - being passionate about what you do and having the knowledge of how photography and lighting work is way more important than having the best equipment out there. Also, know that your time is valuable—your work is probably worth more when you are just starting out than you think it is.
RUTH: Where do you see Hazelton photo 3-5 years from now as far as growth is concerned?
CAITLIN: I would like to continue to grow the wedding portion of the business, and possibly have that separate from the portrait side. As a boutique studio, I have a limited client base but I would like to be able to provide even better customer service to my existing clients and new clients so they know they don't just have great photos, but a new friend! That may mean taking on new employees to help assist me!
RUTH: As a photographer, what tips can you give brides to be preparing for their big day?
CAITLIN: Pick someone you get along with to photograph your wedding! That doesn't mean your Uncle Bob who just bought a new digital SLR and wants to "experiment" with it - it means someone who is passionate about what they do, has some knowledge of the flow of a wedding day and is excited about your day too - and whose imagery you can see yourself in, if that makes sense—that way you know you have a similar style. Also, de-stress! If that means hiring someone to plan your wedding, do your hair and makeup take care of all the timing and details so you can have an awesome, memorable, stress-free day; then do it! Use those brides-maids. That’s what they are there for! I really emphasize stress-free photography at my company, I want to make sure your day goes exactly how you want, or if there are a few bumps in the road, they seem like no big deal! The most awesome day of your life is my #1 goal.