What exactly is lifestyle photography?
Lifestyle photography, to me, is capturing real people in natural environments bringing forth a feeling of their true nature to the viewer. The purpose of a lifestyle shoot can be for many reasons—the outcome, however, is to showcase a style of life, a way of being. It can really be anything one wants—from walking through a city street, to playing guitar on a couch, perhaps sitting stylish on a stoop, to yoga poses on train tracks.
What do you bring to lifestyle photography that is unique?
Over the years, practicing yoga and meditation has led me into a different realm with my work. Before a shoot, I now take the time to quiet my mind and set an intention of how I would like the shoot to go. It revolves around the flow of energy exchange with the people I am photographing—from my vision through the lens, to my subject sending their energy back through the lens, to my finishing touches in the post-production process. I see it as a harmonious cycle of creation.
How can professional photography impact a business?
Professional photography is an investment—and well worth it on making that first impression. As my work started to develop professionally, I realized a common theme was that I was working with individuals on developing their personal and business brands through my artistic craft. My client’s purposes to be photographed are to visually tell their audience who they are as a person, what they do, and reveal light to their true nature. Great professional photography will only raise the bar on the quality of that first impression!
What was the first photo you remember taking?
I don’t remember exactly what the first photo was, it was more a style and collection of photos. A friend recently asked me how I initially got interested in photography. It just so happened we were looking at another friend’s collage of images under a piece of glass on her coffee table and I suddenly discovered a deeper layer of when I first started taking photos. Growing up, in my parent’s and grandparent’s homes, there were big panoramic framed collages of family, real old-timey style like you would see on Instagram these days.
Looking at the glass coffee table, I flashbacked to the 6th grade when I started photographing friends at school, on field trips, girl scouts adventures, and so on. I would get poster boards, scissors and glue and make memory collages of my own. From then on I became obsessed with this form of hands on creation while still interacting with friends in another dimension of the creation process. Soon after I discovered this craft, I joined the yearbook staff in middle school where I was then able to showcase my photos along with my writing. This led me to the head photographer position in high school being a part of award-winning yearbooks every year in a row.
What three words would you use to describe yourself?
- Free Spirited
Is there any other type of photography you do besides lifestyle?
Yes, I photograph quite an array of photography. Events & travel photography are among my favorites. Events incorporates large-scale coverage such concerts, yoga & fitness classes, weddings, corporate celebrations and my travel photography includes more of a photo journalistic style of my personal journeys along with scenic fine art pieces that I sell.
What can one expect when booking a lifestyle portrait shoot with you?
Whether I’m photographing business-to-business such as athletes, entrepreneurs or corporate headshots or business-to-consumer for engagements, families or kids, I offer lifestyle portrait sessions that can be customized for anyone.
What is your proudest accomplishment?
Immersing myself into an artistic career after being in the real estate industry for 12 years. It was a leap of faith. I’m not going to lie; it was a scary jump yet it had to be done. It has taught me the greatest lessons I have learned in life thus far—to vanquish fear in the face, to trust the process and to truly believe in the absolute power of my own being. My yoga and meditation practice and been a guiding light—not to mention all of the wonderful souls I have in my life that truly believe in me, encouraged me along the way and continue to be the supportive beams in my foundation of personal and business growth. I am forever grateful for their influence, and more so, their genuine companionship.
Who has been your greatest role model and inspiration and why?
My greatest role model and inspiration would, without a doubt, be my father. His awesome calm demeanor has been reflected throughout my life. He puts his family first. He lacks judgment of others. He never discriminates. He always congratulates. And he has always had the mentality of stand up and try again—and again—and again. He is a wise man. He has gone through the battles of life and continued to have the courage to stand up and ask for another battle until he got it right. His message of “This too shall pass” when times are tough, is a sign of keep pushing forward. Any obstacle or ‘temporary’ hardship is simply that…it does not last forever. Believe in yourself. Keep pushing. Don’t stop running in the fog when you think you have had enough just because you can’t see the finish line—it could be three feet in front of you. Keep going. You have it in you. Never ever give up. He thinks with his mind. He changes his world with his thoughts. He’s an Irishman. He is a fighter and a survivor. He’s a healer. He is a believer in God. He is gentle with his touch. He is kind with his words. He loves with his thoughts. He is my father. He will forever be on the forefront of my greatest role model and inspiration to know and to love in this life and beyond.
Highlight of 2014 so far?
Meeting Michael Franti and being upfront and center photographing the Soul Shine Concert in Chicago. That was a blast. What made it so special for me is that I went to his concert at the Lincoln Park Zoo last year and thought to myself, ‘I should be up there in front taking pics. Maybe next year.’ And then it happened.
Hopes for 2014?
I think it would be cool if Michael Franti called, out of the blue, to book me for his personal photographer for travel, lifestyle, and yoga coverage at his Soulshine Bali Oasis Retreat. Anything is possible.
To learn more about Mary Carol and to view her online portfolio, please visit www.marycarolfitzgerald.com.