Carey Sheffield is a British photographer living the American dream. Life to her is like an all access pass to the best theme park in the world. She wants to jump all the lines, ride all the rides, and go around again once more just for the hell of it. She’s passionate about so many things. She cries when she’s happy, when she’s sad, and when she’s mad. She’s developing. When she dies and they ask who she was, she wants them to say, “You are going to want to sit down.. I’m not quite sure where to start.”
Let’s meet her.
What inspired you to delve into photography?
I’ve always loved photography. Advertising images mainly, at the time I took up photography I’d worked in marketing and loved the conceptual approach to images. I’m a creative thinker so I enjoyed visualizing and selling in this way, using images. I held photographers and still do, in high esteem. Back then, 15 years ago, photographers were respected more, everyone wasn’t a photographer. They were trained artists, skilled in their profession. I had just had my third child, I was 30 years old and owned a marketing and events company & a very busy florist shop. It was a lot! I sold the business to focus on my three young children and went to night school/college to study black & white ‘film’ photography. I had no aspirations to become a professional at the time.
What is the favorite photograph that you’ve taken?
This question! There are so many. It’s not about the picture, of course I have images I love. The most favorite images I have taken bring back all the feelings of the moment. The smell, the heat, the emotion… joy, sadness, love. They are my favorite photographs. If you don’t feel something when you look at my photographs, I did it wrong.
If you had one piece of advice to give a budding photographer, what would it be?
Learn and don’t stop. It’s not a quick way to earn money. You have to know your craft in order to break all the rules. I have been doing this for 15 years now and understand much but there is still much for me to learn. In order to stand out from the crowd, have longevity in your career, be successful, you need to understand light, composition, motion. And how they all work together. We can all ’snap’ a cute picture with our phone or on auto mode but unless you truly understand what takes to be a great photographer you will become frustrated. So, learn and practice. Whether with my camera or my iPhone I never miss a day without taking a photograph.
Why do you think wedding photography is female dominated?
I’m not sure they are as dominated, there was definitely a swing towards female photographers and I saw our numbers soar. I took up photography when it was male dominated and I saw first hand the women rise! But there are many men now again but the type of male has changed, in style and approach. Weddings are emotive and the photography of them moved towards a more reportage style. Cameras became digital and easier to work with. I think women saw images with their hearts over their heads and therein was the change in popularity. This style is still popular but we also have the editorial look now, shooting a wedding as you would see a fashion editorial. This came about from the ‘blogger’ era which was mostly women who promoted women and sold to women. Times have changed and with same gender weddings being legal I do think the times of male or female photographer as a choice has changed.. I think now we choose people for their style and approach.
What do you always hope your clients will take away from their She Shoot?
That they will be so much more than a client! A ’She shoot’ is an experience, a relationship. Yes, they will take away a collection of images that will remind them of that day but more importantly the photographs will remind them of how they felt in that moment. To look beautiful, glamorous, attractive is a wonderful by product of feeling all of those things. We all want to feel our best, know that we are capable of feeling a million dollars! The She shoot is life affirming. I’m not trying to make you more attractive I am trying to make you see that you are just perfect as you are. If you see this, if you feel that, then what you will take away from your shoot is confidence and a new outlook on life. I’m not kidding, to be captured when you actually feel incredible in an image really does change your life.
What’s your secret to seeing the magic in everything?
This is difficult without sounding like I’ve my head in the clouds! Light and emotion. That is all that it is. Sometimes it’s the way the light touches a subject and other times it is the emotion that the light triggers for the viewer. A street is just a street but at a certain time of day, with the right light it is a beautiful place that makes you feel alive. I stop and stare too many times a day looking for that magical light. Everything and everyone can look magic in the most beautiful light.
Life is magic, good or bad. My job is to see the light in which to capture that magic, so you can remember.
Lee Abrams is a health and wellness influencer with a strong voice in women's equality. She has amassed a global fanbase through her years as blogger. Lee's focus and vision for SkirtSmarts as lead writer is simple, celebrate women.