Meet OMC Collective Member Brittany of Blue Rose Photography. Brittany is a master of Film photography and we wanted to learn more about her process, why she prefers film, and where she goes for inspiration.
When and How did you become a photographer?
I got into photography when I was about 21. My boyfriend (now husband) got me my first camera. I was in school studying fine art and graphic design in San Diego. Some of my school projects included photography and that was the initial “I think I’m in love “. Then we moved to Boston and I got a more advanced camera and started attending meetups where a bunch of photographers would gather and shoot models. This is where I found my love for capturing people. I shot one day for 8 hours without getting hungry or tired and I couldn’t get enough. At that point, it took over my world and I’ve never looked back.
What attracts you to film photography?
I was drawn to it in 2010 when I fell In love with photos I had seen from some really amazing photographers (Jose villa). They were shooting this camera I had never heard of (the Contax 645). I took a whim and got myself one. The minute I looked through the viewfinder of a medium format film camera I thought “now this is how it should feel”. It was like a dream. It took years of mistakes and learning but I really couldn’t go back to just shooting digital. There are about a thousand things I love about shooting film but a few top ones are;
1. You have to be really intentional. You only get 16 frames per roll, and those frames are $2 each to shoot. So you don’t fire off thousands of shots. In the end, this leaves you with a group of images you don’t need to weed through. They are all shots you truly wanted to take.
2. The colors and consistency. With film, you don’t need to decide how the final photo will look. The film stock you choose is what will determine that for you. And these film stocks have the most beautiful highlight details, shadow details, and color rendering you will ever see. All the presets in the world can still never compare to the real thing.
What draws you to family portrait photography?
After having my first baby (5 years ago ) I really understood how it feels to be a mom. I understood how fleeting it is, how much they change as they grow. And this grew my desire to capture these memories for families. There is nothing in the world more important than family and nothing more real to photograph than that bond between child and parent.
With so many photographers and so many styles, what sets you apart from your competition? (your secret sauce)
I feel that being an extreme empath has really helped me with photography. I can feel every emotion my client feels. I can put myself in someone else’s shoes quite easily. This allows me to capture what means the most to them. It also helps me to get them comfortable in front of the camera. How my clients feel while I’m photographing them is my number one priority.
What is your essential camera equipment?
Contax 645, Sekonic light meter, film!
Favorite film stock and why?
Well… Fuji 400h has been my go-to for over a decade. But it is no longer being produced. So my second favorite is Portra 160. I love how both of them capture greens ( living in WA this is important). I love the cool shadows and contrast of Portra 160. It also shoots vibrant colors so well. Think blue water, colorful flowers, etc.
BW or Color?
What’s your go-to Fstop?
2.8 (I sometimes will use f2 and f4) but really just those 3.
Where do you get your inspiration?
All over the place. Movies, fashion, nature. It’s a mixed bag really. Lately, I’ve been looking at my old work and have been getting inspired by my younger self 🙂
Is there one picture by a photography master that inspires you and why?
Well, it would be an Elizabeth Messina image. I can think of a few of them actually. She has this unexplainable feel in her photos, they are dreamlike and effortless. You want to reach out and touch them. Her motherhood photography and photos of women, in general, are legendary.
What is your favorite picture you have ever taken for a Client? Personal?
The one that came to mind first is a mother whose birth I shot. She spent days in labor and waited so patiently fighting through so much pain to meet her first baby. When she finally held him in her arms you could just feel that release of tension, the joy, the happy waves just spilling over her. No one is happier than a mother holding her new baby for the first time. That was a highlight of my career for sure. And for me personally, my favorite photos are ones I take of my kids.
What is the biggest challenge for your photography genre?
Film is expensive. So we have to charge a lot more than a digital shooter. This can scare some potential clients away. But we feel it’s worth every penny!
What’s your favorite location to shoot in Seattle?
Lighting is more important than location so I love to shoot at Discovery Park since it has the best light. I also like Golden Gardens at certain times of the year.
What’s on your photography bucket list?
1. White sands New Mexico!
2. Shooting a snowboarding/ skiing engagement session.
3. Shooting 8×10 large format film!
4. Developing my own film
What is your top tip for Om Mamas who may not be photographers about how to take better pictures of their kids?
Don’t try to force them into photos you have predetermined in your mind. Just let them be and observe them and capture them in their element. It’s similar to shooting wildlife, haha, you don’t want to scare them off or make them have negative associations with cameras.
Follow along with Brittany on Instagram