Helena Tarn Art

An Interview With Talented Photographer Dee From Shutterdee Photo

Creative Profile

Finding Joy Through Narratives and Breathing Life Into Images

An Interview With Talented Photographer Dee From Shutterdee Photo

I’m thrilled to have you join me in the fascinating world of photography through the lens of a remarkable artist. In this beautiful interview, I’m sitting down with Dee from Shutterdee Photo, a true artist behind the camera, to uncover the stories, techniques, and the sheer passion that breathe life into her captivating images.

I recently had a brand photoshoot with Dee, and it is always such a pleasure. I do not like having my photograph taken. I always have a ton of questions buzzing around my head. What will I wear? How will I pose? Will it be awkward? But Dee, puts you so at ease, you’ll end up having a lot of fun!

Dee, based in Newry, Northern Ireland, has been a lifestyle and brand photographer for 20 years. Originally hailing from sunny California, Dee brings her effortlessly cool Cali-vibe to every photoshoot.

In this interview, we’ll be delving into the inspirations that fuel her creativity. What goes on in those moments before the perfect shot? How does she capture raw emotions and freeze them in time? How does she explore the heart and soul of the art form — the stories behind the photographs.

Whether you’re an aspiring photographer seeking insights or someone who simply appreciates the beauty of a well-crafted image, this interview is simply gorgeous. So, grab your favourite beverage, settle into your comfiest chair, and get ready to find out!

Hi Dee, can you tell us about your journey into photography? What initially sparked your interest?

Yes. To start, growing up I always had a camera in hand. I loved documenting friends, family, and also places we visited. Those were polaroids and film days. Getting film developed would make my heart flutter. The walls in my room were covered in collaged photos. It was just a thing I did…for fun…and thought of it as just normal.  Fast forward to high school graduation. I remember chatting with a friend about how confused she was regarding what to do after she graduated. She, like you, is an artist, so she wanted something to do creatively but nothing in teaching art. I encouraged her get into photography. As I described the different types of photography she could do and the creative/fun outlet it would be… I thought… why on earth am I not doing this for work. I soon reached out to a well established wedding photographer to train me and booked my first wedding and shot for a celebrity chef at some events.

How would you describe your photography style, and what influences have shaped it over the years?

I would say…it’s organic, natural, and has a lifestyle, candid feel. I’ve always loved magazines. I used to study the spread layouts and the way models posed. It’s actually always been a dream of mine to start a magazine. That was a huge contribution but I also am very much inspired by old developed photos we all had laying around the house from our/friends parents and grandparents. I’d sit for hours looking though them. There was a way about those past generations that would spill over out of those photos.

Every photographer has a favorite subject or theme they love to capture. What’s yours, and why does it resonate with you?

I would say it’s a near tie between engagement sessions and lifestyle photos. If I had to pick one it would definitely be lifestyle. Not only does it remind me of what I love about magazines but I absolutely love telling a story about how someone lives, what their home or work environment is like, what makes them happy, what are they proud of, etc. Just capturing people in their element brings me joy. Then I can help create a narrative or allow the viewer to create their own narrative. This could be in your own business or life at home. I actually started, years ago, sessions called “at home” for my clients when they wanted family, maternity, or engagement photos. I’d go in and let them play and live life at home while I captured it. Out with the prom poses and in with the real!

Do you have a personal favorite photograph or project that holds a special place in your heart?

Boy I have several, but I would say one of my favorite projects was when a client, and well known & published home designer asked me to help her submit photos of her and her family at home to show case her design, for the fab magazine: Better Homes and Gardens”. She had hoped to get a feature through these submission photos to be reshot for the magazine. She got the feature and it was as close as I have gotten to doing anything with a magazine.

Photography is often about capturing the essence of a subject. How do you approach photographing people to bring out their unique personalities and characteristics?

Developing a certain trust and a comfortable environment is what I aim for. While doing that I try to help everyone I shoot feel comfortable and good in their own skin. It’s hard and definitely not natural for everyone to be in front of a camera. I get it! So I make it clear it’s a judgement free, fun zone, where we can laugh and let loose. I remind my clients that being yourself is beautiful.

Photography can be a deeply personal and expressive art form. How does your work reflect your personality or emotions, and what messages do you aim to convey through your images?

Wow this one is hard. Never thought about it before. I think…I really love deep connections so I’m an inquisitive person. I’m very observant & can catch little things about a persons energy and personality quickly. Im also a cheerleader for others. I love to see people happy, feel good, and succeed. So I would say my goal is to showcase the best version of whoever it is that I’m working with. I want to bring joy or a smile to those that flip through my work, by bringing out the best in my clients. Capturing real and raw emotion can touch someone and make them feel like they’re there in the photograph. If I can do that then ace!

Natural light versus artificial light—what’s your preference, and in what situations do you choose one over the other?

Natural all the way! I’ve played with fun lighting for actors, comedians, dancers, etc for headshots. In many cases like, evening events and receptions, an external light source would be necessary. 

Lighting plays a crucial role in photography. Could you share some tips or techniques you use to achieve the perfect lighting in your shots?

Yes learning how to use your ISO and shutter speed is important if you’re shooting manually. Also I don’t love shooting in harsh light so working in overcast weather or shadier locations are helpful.

The post-processing stage allows for creative enhancements. What’s your philosophy on post-processing, and how do you strike a balance between authenticity and artistic editing?

Editing is important but I don’t like over editing. I try to shoot in a way that doesn’t require excessive editing, however color enhancing is a must in my book, while making a picture look as natural as possible. Over editing isn’t my thing.

Do you have any favorite photography techniques or equipment that you frequently use to achieve specific effects or moods in your photos?

I don’t I’m pretty boring. I love canons. Learned on one and have been shooting with them for nearly 20 years. 

Photography can be a solitary pursuit, but collaboration can also yield incredible results. Have you worked on any exciting collaborative projects, and how did they impact your creative process?

I once did a shoot I did for a family member of Michael Jackson. We needed a close up headshot for her book cover. It was a free for all because she didn’t really have ideas. This gave me  the opportunity to try to bring our different emotions in her. I wanted to capture something raw and real in one shot, and this led to some shed tears. It was awesome haha!

In an age where everyone has a camera in their pocket, what sets professional photography apart? How do you emphasize the value of professional photography to clients or viewers?

There are so many blogs and articles on this subject because it’s true…everyone has a camera so they feel they’re a photographer. Yes or may be cheaper to have an uncle try to capture photos, but hiring a professional photographer is a great investment. I’d say my top 3 reasons are:

  • This is what we do. We have the experience and the the creativity to be  able to capture the memories that you’ll carry with you.
  • Equipment. The equipment is expensive and it does the job well. If you want high quality images and editing…leave it to the pros.
  • For events and weddings… you don’t want to be working, nor should your guests and family. Be in the moment. Enjoy your day and let the one that’s there to be observant, and capture unnoticed moments by others, do their job to bring your moments back to to life through photos.

You have shot projects in lots of beautiful locations.. Are there any destinations that have left a lasting impact on your photography, and if so, why?

I’d say my favorites, and it’s so cliche, would be the beaches in CA & a pink sunset. It’s so so beautiful and calming to me. I recently did a surprise engagement of a couple that flew out to Ireland from the USA. I shot near Dunluce Castle in Northern Ireland. That was a dream. I’m really embracing the gorgeous scenery we have here in Ireland whenever I have the privilege of shooting in Ireland.

Photography is often seen as a means of preserving memories. How do you balance capturing candid, authentic moments with posed or stylized shots, especially in events like weddings or family portraits?

There is never an instance in my years of wedding photography where the couple have not wanted some formal shots. When I’m thinking of the day I’m thinking: wedding album, framed photos, and thank you cards. The majority of my photos are more lifestyle, candid, but I also know what formal shots to get for the family. This allows me to schedule time for the more formal shots and go through a mental or physical check-list of the necessary shots.

The creative process can sometimes hit a roadblock. How do you overcome creative slumps or find inspiration when you’re feeling stuck?

Instagram, Pinterest, and again magazines are my go to. We are blessed to be able to find a wide variety of talented individuals and creatives through these platforms and I’m always looking for inspiration. Sometimes I’ll set up a free session or styled shoot just because I need either inspiration or to get my creative juices running. That helps because the pressure is off then.

Many photographers have personal projects or long-term series. Have you got anything going on (or something you would like to try in the future) that you’re particularly excited about?

Yes I’m working on and have had this idea for years to create a motivational series e mag / newsletter of some sort that will involve photos and interviews of other creatives or business owners. I’m still piecing things together… so watch this space.

I hope you enjoyed reading about Dee’s beautiful process and inspiration as much as I did. And if you are looking for a wonderful photographer to capture a special event or simply want to capture memories with your family and loved ones, don’t hesitate to get in touch with her at shutterdee@gmail.com. Why not take a look at her gorgeous Instagram account too for inspiration and to follow her journey.

Here’s to the photographers who capture moments that last a lifetime, and to the stories that continue to unfold with each picture. 📸✨

If you’d like to see more of Dee’s work, head on over to my website where you can find several photos of me elegantly captured by Shutterdee!

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